Game Review

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  • Platform: Game Boy Advance
  • ESRB: Everyone
  • Genre: Side-Scroller
  • Players: 1-4
  • Online: No
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Suggested Retail: $39.99
  • Graphics: A
  • Sound: B
  • Gameplay: B
  • Replay: C+
  • Fun Factor: B
  • Reviewer's Wild Card: B


The pink puffball comes to the Game Boy Advance

By James Stevenson     January 16, 2003

It has been a while since Nintendo released a new game in the Kirby franchise. The games are best known for the pink marshmallow-like hero that can ingest enemies to steal their abilities. The innovative gameplay, plus the ability to float-jump, as always set Kirby apart from other platformers, and continues to do so on the Game Boy Advance.

NIGHTMARE IN DREAMLAND is basically the same game that was released 10 years ago on the NES. The evil King DeDeDe has taken the Star Wand and broken into five pieces and distributed those to his minions. Players play as Kirby, a pink puffball that can inhale enemies and steal their abilities. The game features 24 different abilities to steal, and each has its own uses and strategies during gameplay. While the game is similar to the old NES version, the graphics have been given a complete overhaul which might fool some gamers into thinking this is a new title.

The game is fairly simple to rush through as it isn't that difficult. Bosses and levels are all fairly simple and easy to beat. The challenge in the game is finding all of the cleverly hidden secret areas. It will take time and dedication to find them all. There are lots of hidden doorways that give the game a little bit more life.

The game also features a set of mini-games that you can play to earn extra lives. One of these games is essentially hot potato, another is quick draw game, and the final is an air grind where you have to jump over obstacles and make it to the finish line before the other Kirbys. You can use the Game Boy Advance link cable to play these games against friends.

If you have four gamepacks, you can play through the story mode cooperatively. While this doesn't make the game any harder, it is quite a bit of fun to play with other gamers. Still, it won't last you long.

As a whole, KIRBY: NIGHTMARE IN DREAMLAND is a great game, but it is a bit short unless you're into going for all 100%. The multiplayer modes add some life, but not enough. You will eventually toss this game aside, something that can't be said as quickly for some other GBA games.

The graphics are one of the best parts about the game. The backgrounds are absolutely gorgeous, and the animations have all been re-worked. If you didn't know better, you would have never thought this at one time was an NES game. It's really quite pretty and is one of the more colorful Game Boy Advance games released.

The soundtrack of Kirby games is here and is perfect. Nothing really taxing or special on the system, it's good, but nothing great. Everything is clear and crisp though. For Kirby vets, the sound will make them feel right at home.

If you're looking for a good platformer on the Game Boy Advance, don't look any farther than NIGHTMARE IN DREAMLAND. Kirby fans will eat this up and not just because of its special ability.


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