Kirby’s Dream Land 2 is a game that I own on the Game Boy, but I’m not quite sure how or why. Not that it’s a bad game–I just have almost no idea how I actually acquired it (My best guess is it was part of a “I’ll borrow this and you borrow that” trade in high school that never got un-borrowed). Despite that, I hadn’t played very much of it until acquiring Kirby’s Dream Collection (If you’ve been wondering why recent entries were so Kirby-centric, you now have your answer). Do I regret waiting this long?
Before answering that question, a bit of the plot–the Rainbow Bridges connecting the seven Rainbow Islands have been stolen. Kirby sets out to recover the Rainbow Drops and defeat King DeDeDe yet again. To do so, Kirby teams up with three new friends–Rick the Hamster, Coo the Owl, and Kine the Ocean Sunfish. Each animal pal gives Kirby enhanced control in a given region–Kine can swim against currents, for instance–and they also change Kirby’s copy powers.
Speaking of the copy powers, the number of them has been reduced in this game–I counted about 10 in my playthrough, compared to the 24 of Kirby’s Adventure. However, depending on your partner, or if you have none, each power actually changes into something slightly different–for instance, instead of the normal Spark power, using Spark with Kine as your partner causes Kirby to spit out explosive light bulbs (Yes, really), while doing so with Rick essentially gives you Kirby’s Adventure’s Beam powerup. The various powers and combinations add value to the game, and certain combinations are actually essential to collecting the Rainbow Drops and 100%ing the game, which I confess I haven’t done yet.
Unlike Kirby’s Adventure, Kirby’s Dream Land 2 lacks minigames with which to acquire extra lives, outside of the “Push A at the right time” microgame at the end of each level. Instead, 1Ups are scattered throughout the levels, as are stars. Collecting seven stars at any point also gives you an extra life, and your lives get saved with your file, which means the game is simple to merely get through. 100%ing it is another story, as some of the Rainbow Drops are cunningly hidden and will take both a specific route and good execution to unlock. Besides that, the gameplay is what you’ve come to expect from Kirby by now, with the running and the jumping and the flying and the sucking. One sad thing is that Kirby has lost his dash ability from Kirby’s Adventure. This is an annoyance, but some of the control options provided by the friends (Particularly Kine’s ability to swim while retaining full powerup use) do make up for it.
While it isn’t the giant leap forward in the series that Kirby’s Adventure was over Kirby’s Dream Land, Kirby’s Dream Land 2 is still a game worth playing. It isn’t the longest experience, at least to simply get through–I was able to complete it in about 2 and a half hours–but I enjoyed it regardless, and plan to continue to try to 100% the game before I move onto something else.