Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land - GBA

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Viewed: 2D Side-on, Scrolling Genre:
Arcade origin:No
Developer: HAL Soft. Co.: Nintendo
Publishers: Nintendo (GB)
Released: 26 Sept 2003 (GB)
Ratings: 3+
Connectivity: Link Cable


If you’re rich and middle-aged, Kirby will be a giant vacuum cleaner you have in the cupboard, capable of collapsing stars with its power of suction. Appropriate really, as Nintendo’s Kirby is a tenacious pink blob that astonishingly shares this rare sucking skill.

Nightmare in Dreamland is Kirby’s 17th outing in the ten years he’s been (quite literally) floating about. Released in the US last year, Nightmare in Dreamland makes for an essential piece of well-crafted, well-meaning videogamery.

Arguably Kirby is aimed at two very distinct groups: under 12’s and the Nintendo hardcore who’ll play any first-party Nintendo game without question.

However, Nightmare in Dreamland transcends this somewhat. It is a cracking videogame of the highest order and worth a look for any GBA owner. Slipping into the crevice between the platform and puzzle genres, Kirby must pass through impressively large worlds in an attempt to nobble the antics of predictable foe King Dedede.

It's all stock and quite frankly uninspiring until the play engine at the core of the game is explained. Kirby can suck up his enemies and eat them. Once eaten, their powers are absorbed, enabling Kirby to perform a staggering array of previously unattainable moves.

In fact, the pink cloud of justice has 25 different power-ups at his disposal, an impressive figure that points to the underlying quality of Nightmare in Dreamland. And it’s fair to say that the game looks as good as any piece of proprietary software to be found on Nintendo’s portable. It bristles with colour and detail. Classic 16-Bit parallaxing blends seamlessly with modern videogame detail, resulting in a resplendent, camp and luscious game world that belies the target age group we mentioned a paragraph or two ago.

Indeed, the development team behind Kirby’s Nightmare in Dreamland did something quite unique by today’s standards. Briefed to make an accessible platformer for kids, they ignored this instruction, and delivered a quality title with a true gaming pedigree. If you’re done with Super Mario World and Yoshi’s Island, be sure you don’t overlook one of Nintendo’s brightest, pinkest stars.