John picked this up last week: Kirby’s Dream Collection. I had never actually played a Kirby game, a fact which earned me reproachful looks and disbelief when revealed. Apparently Kirby is kind of significant in the Nintendo pantheon, owing obeisance only to the likes of Mario and Link.

Last night I finished Kirby’s Dreamland and started Kirby’s Adventure. You play as Kirby, who is . . . a Kirby. Seriously, that is the best answer I could get out of anyone whom I queried about the game. You are Kirby the Kirby, your home is Dreamland and your superpower is eating. And sometimes just swallowing things whole and then projectile vomiting them at your enemies. But it’s not as gross as it sounds, because Kirbys apparently vomit stars. Also if you just swallow a whole bunch of air, you can fly. If need be, you can even spit air as an attack.

Kirbys love to eat. Their bodies are designed to do little more than eat. They are creatures that are pretty much all mouth and stomach1, with only vestigial limbs. Kirbys love nothing more than sitting around all goddamn day swallowing whatever rolls into their faces, pausing only for the occasional regurgitation. Presumably they live in a land of natural bounty or have some sort of agricultural industry in place that allows for this.

Kirby is an all-consuming entity that dwells in the dreaming.

Kirby is an all-consuming entity that dwells in the dreaming.

So the Kirby nation exists peacefully in this endless convivium, and for a time, all is good. Then this fuck, King Dedede comes along and ruins the party for everyone by stealing all the food to enjoy in one massive banquet. The Kirbys, all bloated from decadence and rolling around in pools of their own sick stars, are powerless to stop him.

I didn’t really have a problem with any of this. Everybody in this story is disgusting, and nobody deserves any help. However, they do manage to find one Kirby that is still sort of mobile, so they charge him with waddling up the mountain to go deal with this asshole.

From there on nothing in the game makes any sense, which makes it a fairly standard platformer. Loads of bizarre enemies roaming about (subjects of King Dedede, one would assume) for you to consume. Each of the themed levels are super colorful (and seem very reminiscent of Super Mario 3 – something about the shape/color of the hills in the background, I think). The music is aggressively cheerful and energetic, and the character design is kawaii enough to keep you from thinking overmuch about the horrifying nature of the race you are attempting to save2.

In my opinion, the fight with King Dedede was non-intuitive. You cannot inhale him and he produces no minions to use as ammo. I thought maybe you could grab his hammer. At one point, I was even taking gulps of air and essentially spitting into his mouth when he tried to swallow me. I suspected that was probably not what the game designer intended, so I asked the internet. You have to inhale and spit the stars produced when he tries to jump on you. I guess I should have realized this, as everything Kirby vomits at his enemies turns into stars.

John made a point of mentioning this while I was playing, so it seems worthwhile to note – The Wii U has emulators for pretty much all the old Nintendo hardware, including the Wii. Kirby’s Dream Collection is technically a Wii title, so from the Wii U, I had to run the Wii emulator. From within the Wii emulator, the software runs on the emulators for whichever system the title was originally release. Additionally, all the emulators are designed to be exact replications of those systems, including the places where the system would slow a bit due to overload on the hardware. So you are actually experiencing it in the same way as you would had you played it on the original system.

1Possibly they do not even have stomachs. I suppose it could be feasible to absorb nutrients directly into the lining of the mouth. Maybe you wouldn’t get much for each meal, making constant consumption a more reasonable proposition.
2Unless King Dedede was actually just taking the food to save them from themselves. In which case, you are an unwitting agent of their doom.

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