Kirby - Nightmare in Dream Land Review by: luigi25Really Good Kirby Remake!
Kirby's Nightmare in Dreamland was released for the Gameboy Advance near the end of 2002. I mentioned in my review for Kirby's Adventure that I liked this version better. The main reason for this was the improved graphics and musical numbers. This is one game series I never got into when I was a kid the way I did with Mario or Sonic. The experience I had with Kirby's Adventure was a somewhat mixed to positive experience. Nightmare in Dreamland is a good remake unlike a lot of the ones Nintendo did for the classic Mario games. It is one of the few ports/remakes of a video game that I enjoy more than the original, and I think that mainly has to do with the better visuals and sound. Other than that, Nightmare plays the same as Adventure and everything else feels the same to me.
Graphics 10/10: Right off the bat, Nightmare in Dreamland has better graphics than Kirby's Adventure. Adventure had some pretty impressive sprites and backgrounds for an NES game, but there were some hardware limitations that kept it from being a flawless looking game unlike the GBA version. In Nightmare, the whole game has been given a facelift! All the objects have plenty of detail and color to them. Nothing in this version looks dull or boring, and the artwork is a lot better and takes full advantage of the 32-bit handheld system. This is a really great looking game for the Gameboy Advance and looks like it was made for this console!
Music 9/10: Nightmare in Dreamland has a soundtrack with a lot of variety, and in some ways this helps the game and in other ways it hurts it. Overall, you get the same exact soundtrack from the NES version, but the songs sound better on the GBA. There have even been a few tracks brought in from other Kirby games like Kirby's Dreamland 3. I like the way the music in this port sounds better than what I did in the original Kirby's Adventure no doubt, but not all the songs are all that great. The track for Butter Building is kind of dull, but most of the other songs are excellent. Mostly, Nightmare has excellent sounding music with exception to a few songs.
Gameplay 10/10: The GBA port of Kirby's Adventure plays exactly like it did on the NES, but the control feels smoother this time around. There isn't as much slowdown on the GBA, but there is the problem with screen crunch. I don't see much of a difference between the two versions. The copy abilities are still there, but on the GBA, Kirby changes his appearance whenever he has one. The overworld maps return, and all 7 worlds have their own themes the same as last time. This game reminds me a lot of Super Mario All-Stars. These stages look so much better for this remake that it really makes you want to see what Nintendo did to enhance the look of all 7 worlds and each of their levels.
I enjoy playing these levels more than what I did on the NES because of their new look similar to my experience with Mario All-Stars. The stage design and gameplay is the same, but I love exploring these improved levels in order to find the same secrets from before with the NES game. The big secrets to both versions are the switches Kirby has to find in order to 100% Normal Mode and unlock the game's Extra Mode. After getting 100% in Extra Mode, players get to play another Hard Mode called "Meta Nightmare" where you play the same game again as Meta Night with the same amount of health. I didn't like these other two modes very much.
I believe a lot of the same mini-games and all are unlocked from finding all the switches with exception to a few. There are some new mini-games I like better such as: Kirby's Air Grind and the bomb mini-game. Both games give you extra lives and are pretty enjoyable. Unfortunately, many of these switches require Kirby to bring a copy ability with him into the level in order to reach them. I hated how when Kirby took damage, he lost that ability, had to go back, get it again, and replay the level in order to get to the switch. Some of these switches are very difficult to get to without losing your copy ability. Despite all of this, I do enjoy the better look of the stages, the exploration, and optional challenge of Nightmare in Dreamland just as much as I did in Adventure.
Story 5/10: The storyline for Nightmare in Dreamland gets the same score as it did in Kirby's Adventure. Kirby sets out on a quest to find the Star Rod which is the source of dreams for the people of Dreamland. He notices that when he woke up the next morning he didn't have any dreams and neither did any of the other inhabitants of Dreamland. Kirby plans on finding the Rod and placing it back in the center of The Fountain of Dreams in order to return dreams to the Dreamland kingdom. The intro for the game probably explains the plot better than I can.
This plot has some twists and turns to it players will discover when they reach King Dedede. I don't want to give away too much, but it is a pretty confusing storyline that I don't like very much. It's hard to follow, and I never got into the storyline for Kirby's Adventure that much. These characters are not that familiar to me, at least not at this point in the series.
Content 9/10: Nightmare in Dreamland has the same amount of enjoyable content that Kirby's Adventure had. I only found Normal Mode to be all that exciting, and after that everything became too repetitive for me. In this version, I hated Meta Nightmare which was the mode you unlocked after beating Extra Mode. Only having 3 bars of health always got me killed because of how I constantly took so much damage from bad enemy placement and input lag. In Meta Nightmare, I could never get used to the controls, so you can imagine how much I struggled with this mode. I did beat all 3 hard modes, but only found Normal Mode to be all that fresh and reasonably paced/difficult.
The Normal Game consists of: Vegetable Valley, Ice Cream Island, Butter Building, Grape Garden, Yogurt Yard, Orange Ocean, and The Rainbow Resort. Many of the levels from Butter Building onward contain switches which add to the game's exploration. Players are in for at least 2 to 2 and 1/2 hours worth of content that is fun, fresh, original, and exciting. For the GBA port, they are also in for levels with better graphics and music which makes this version even more of a blast to play.
Difficulty 3/10: This is a pretty easy game in both Adventure on NES and Nightmare on GBA. A lot of the problems with unresponsive controls exist in this game along with some screen crunch, bad visibility, and poor enemy placement. Although, Kirby has 6 bars of health (in Normal Mode), unlimited continues, lots of opportunities for extra lives, copy abilities, etc. There isn't as much slowdown for Nightmare in Dreamland either. After playing through both versions, I rate them both the same as far as difficulty. They're pretty easy to play unless you're trying to hit all the switches or play the game's Extra Mode and Meta Nightmare.
Overall 8.6/10: Nightmare in Dreamland is a good remake of Kirby's Adventure. It isn't a great remake, but the game, as a whole, is an improvement over the original, and I guess it is a pretty good game in general. The graphics are really exceptional, and they do the same thing that the improved graphics did for a game like Super Mario All-Stars. This gave the game new life and made it look more interesting. Every level looks so much better and different than the ones in the NES version. The presentation is A+ material, but the music isn't as perfect. This game still sounds better on GBA, but all the other categories are the same. It is still just a remake but a very good one which is rare for most remakes/ports of old Nintendo games from the late 80s and early 90s.