Today’s Special is Kirby’s Dream Buffet, which is here to serve you a delicious helping of multiplayer races, minigames, and battles. A more casual course than the recent Kirby And The Forgotten Land, this is more about quick matches and fun with friends, whether locally or online.
Kirby’s gluttonous aim in Kirby’s Dream Buffet is to eat all the fruit before the human and AI competitors. This is done through rolling around, whether to the end of a race course or just to knock an opponent out of the way of your next sweet snack.
Through all types of levels, the basic gameplay is the same here. Roll around to grab strawberries, then grow bigger as you eat them. The bigger you are, the faster you roll. That said, eating so much does weigh you down. Hovering time is shorter, which isn’t what you want with moving platforms and edges that you can fall off.
There’s a selection of temporary power-ups to grab that use Kirby’s transformation powers. Get lucky and they may get an item to let them change into a wheel to speed through, or a weight to knock everyone nearby down. Using fire to rocket forward and knock others out of the way is always fun. There are plenty more too
Players can choose the full course which includes all types of game modes set together with a winner chosen at the end, or choose to play in more bite-sized chunks, selecting to do a single random race, minigame or battle at a time. I felt like the full course worked well. It kept the slightly longer races broken up with the very short minigames and battle sections, which helped to keep me engaged.
The Fastest Kirby
Most of your time will likely be spent in races, if just as the mode that takes the longest to complete. Despite being a race, the goal isn’t to get to the finish line first. This may help as there’s a mountain of strawberries waiting there, but the goal is actually to eat the most strawberries. As such, I’ve occasionally come second or even third but still won.
The courses consist of plenty of enemies, obstacles to block or slow you down, tight platforming areas, and plenty of alternate paths that are more difficult but often more rewarding. While all the courses are food-themed, they do feel suitably varied that it won’t feel too repetitive, especially if playing in short bursts as seems intended by the type of game. Other players don’t often seem to get in the way, but power-ups are set around the course and it certainly is possible to use them to try and knock someone off the edge. More often, they seemed to be used to push ahead though.
Courses keep things exciting by making sure that nobody usually gets too far ahead. At several points, there are barriers that need to be knocked down. These typically slow down whoever is in front quite a lot, and let others catch up. There are some other ways this is done too, such as boosters that you can only fit through if your Kirby hasn’t eaten too much yet. It really did keep things competitive, even for the less skilled players, and who was in first place suddenly changed often when it came to these sections.
Becoming Large Through Minigames
Minigames in Kirby’s Dream Buffet are absolute chaos. They always take place in a small area with an extremely short time limit, so it’s a rush to win.
The goal is always to eat the most strawberries while knocking others down and out to grab theirs, but each minigame differs slightly. It might be rushing into bowls as strawberries appear, smashing crates before others do to get the sweet contents, grabbing falling fruit while avoiding bombs from the air, or other tasks.
Until I got used to it, I often found myself losing track of my Kirby, just because there was so much going on. These work really well as a short burst of chaos between longer events.
The Hungry Warrior
Not quite Smash Bros, battle royales again take place within a small area and focus on eating the fruit, rather than knockouts.
Much like the minigames, these take place in a small area. They make games feel fast-paced but not too chaotic to me. That said, that frantic feeling is added to by other players eating power-ups to attack you and moving elements of the level itself tracking down and attacking players. Baskets of strawberries also appear as a shadow first, so players can tell where a drop will be and fight over the area.
I enjoyed getting to knock other players around here, especially since it was so rare during the race elements. Anyone thrown out of the ring has a chance to get some extra strawberries or a weapon to get revenge too, which kept the energy and competitiveness up.
While I had a lot of fun with Kirby’s Dream Buffet, I could see it getting old without something to aim for or to keep things dynamic. This comes in the form of unlocks.
As you play, your gourmet level increases. This unlocks a few different things, mostly Kirby customization items. This can involve different colors for Kirby or costumes. On top of this, there are soundtracks and more to unlock.
Much more rare, but new minigames can also be unlocked through this method. As someone who likes customization but isn’t too excited about new costumes, this was a pleasant surprise.
Kirby’s Dream Buffet absolutely goes all in on the food theme with its art direction and other aspects of the game. The consistency was nice to see, though it did make some levels visually quite similar unless looking at the details.
In terms of production values, it brings a selection of the same great Kirby music as always. The visual quality looks great too.
Kirby’s Dream Buffet was a pleasant surprise. It’s budget-priced, and a lot of fun. It’s certainly no epic adventure like Kirby and the Forgotten Land, but it’s a great party game that’s kept casual and competitive enough for all ages to play.
KIRBY’S DREAM BUFFET IS RECOMMENDED
If you would like to see more games for playing with friends, you may be interested in our review of Mario Party Superstars.
Many thanks go to Nintendo for a Nintendo Switch review code for this title.
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A gamer since the days of Amstrad and DOS and someone who has dabbled in a variety of professions. He enjoys a wide variety of genres, but has been focusing on visual novels and virtual reality in recent years. Head Editor of NookGaming. Follow him and the website on @NookSite.