The pink puff ball has always been attached to eating, from the iconic Gourmet Race to his devouring of foes, it’s surprising it took until the series’ 30th anniversary to give Kirby the all-out snack fest he very clearly dreams of. Kirby’s Dream Buffet brings a Fall Guys inspired multiplayer blast that may give you hours of fun, or just a few minutes, depending on if the game is as addictive as chocolate is to you.
Does this 2nd entry in the “New era of Kirby” carry the flame of quality that Forgotten Land had? (Check out our Forgotten Land Demo review here!) Let’s find out as I review the Nintendo Switch Eshop Exclusive, Kirby’s Dream Buffet!
The story is as simple as Kirby’s design, the Dream Fork shrinks Kirby down to a small size allowing him to eat his heart out of all the food in the buffet around him. This setup is simple enough to get the premise of the level design and gameplay across to the player. Outside of this one note intro, there is a lack of any story or single player offering which would have been highly appreciated, due to the heavy multiplayer focus. Even just a small mission mode culminating with a race against King Dedede (calling back to Gourmet Race) would have given the game more of an identity.
In this delicious battle for food, players will fight it out in minigames over the course of 4 rounds. These 4 rounds consist of a race, 2 random minigames, and a final battle royal, in each of these players will compete to eat the most strawberries, with various ways to go about this. Each mode also gives the player access to Copy Food Abilities which act as the items to wreak havoc on your opponents and get the lead. The gameplay loop consists of getting 4 of these rounds randomly and competing to see who the biggest glutton is, which can get quite repetitive.
Aside from playing online with randoms and friends, you can play offline with CPUs, however weirdly you cannot select what stage you want to play on or create custom matches which is really frustrating, as this means it could take you multiple tries to get the one you would like to play. A little bit of player choice would have been very welcome as not even online can you customise anything, it would be cool to be able to set the number of rounds, so that games with friends don’t end so quick. It is strange that you can only have two players offline on one system, despite the four player lobbies.
Control wise the game is very simple with Kirby only being able to jump, move, and use an ability. Moving does feel quite loose at first but considering the ball like nature of Kirby rolling around it, makes sense. It feels more intuitive once you get the hang of it.
Music Fan Service Galore
As it is Kirby’s 30th anniversary, HAL Laboratory made sure to stuff the game full of the deepest cuts from Kirby history. Tracks from games such as Kirby Tilt ‘n’ Tumble, Super Star Stacker and Block Ball have remixes that can randomly play during any mode. Aside from remixes of incredible tracks, there is also tracks from the NES and SNES kirby titles to give that nostalgia hit you need for motivation. Kirby music never fails to disappoint, but given the theme being all about food, it would have been great to see some of the Kirby Café remixes make their way in.
Replayablity And Unlockables
Unfortunately, being a budget title, the game is very limited in terms of varied content. How it is structured, being all about that multiplayer madness, there is a lot of fun to be had if you gather up a group of friends online. Despite that empty plate of things to do.
Each match converts the Strawberries eaten into your Gourmet Rank, this when levelled up give you a plethora of unlockables. From new courses to hats and colours referencing series favourites, you always feel rewarded for playing. There is also a ton of Character Treats, which allow you to customise your starting pedestal with images of various Kirby media, which I loved.
The rank caps at level 100 which means if you enjoy chowing down on the game it will reward you for hours to come. After a certain level new stages are much less frequent and so some may not want to grind for an hour to unlock a new slightly tweaked version of something they already have. So, whether or not these rewards are worth it is purely up to you.
The sugar-coated food courses of the game smell and look delicious with clean graphics and bright colours. I played the game on a Nintendo Switch OLED; the food made my mouth water looking at it. However, due to the detail in the stages, the backgrounds are very limited, just being solid cloudy skies and nothing else. This does help with keeping player attention on the fast-paced action and keeps the frame rate consistent.
As expected from a Switch title, the game does struggle with online play, with me having multiple bad frame-drops during the few online matches I could find. Just like Kirby Fighters 2 shortly after release, the online is already dwindling with lobbies being filled with CPUs more often than players — this really hurts a majority of the replayablity.
It already suffers with a lack of fresh content; with only three modes it feels like the game is due for some content updates to keep players coming back. They should give more content, as what is here is great! It’s a shame that this is a budget title that will be left to rot…
Kirby’s Dream Buffet was reviewed on Nintendo Switch