Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Second Chances: Kirby's Adventure

No joke: Despite my avowed adoration of adorable games, I avoided playing Kirby's Adventure, which was released all the way back in 1993, until I downloaded it via the Wii Virtual Console five years ago.

What kept me from giving this precious platformer a go? I honestly don't remember, although I'm guessing it had something to do with the fact that I, like many gamers, already had moved on to the SNES by the time it hit the shelves of my local ShopKo.


Anyway, for some reason I also can't recall, I finally picked up Kirby's Adventure in 2007 ... and promptly found myself bored by it. Oh, it looked nice enough, and it sounded nice enough, too, but the early levels were so easy that I couldn't help but wonder if I'd wasted my hard-earned money on the gaming equivalent of a lemon.

Rather than hanging in there to find out if later stages were less of a calk walk, I pretty much gave up on ol' Kirby and moved on to other pursuits.


After playing and thoroughly enjoying both Kirby's Epic Yarn and Kirby's Return to Dream Land, though, I decided to give this cudly character's first console release a second chance. I'm glad I did, because I now consider Kirby's Adventure to be wonderfully captivating experience.

Don't get me wrong, I still think it's easy. That said, I'm pretty sure that's the point. It's not supposed to be difficult; it's supposed to be fun. Not only that, but players are simply supposed to enjoy hopping and bopping through each of the game's colorfully charming stages--or at least I'm guessing that's what players are supposed to get out of the game.


Now that I understand that, I happily, leisurely and regularly play this HAL Laboratory-developed NES title as I believe its makers intended it to be played: Smiling and swaying my head to its lilting soundtrack as I stroll through and take in, with no small amount of awe, its lovely, almost dream-like landscapes.

(Note: All of the images above were taken from theflatness.com, a great little blog that sadly hasn't been updated since early 2010.)

24 comments:

sharc said...

yeah, kirby games are traditionally about delighting rather than challenging their players; a design approach that only really works when you cram your game full of gorgeous animation and vivid palettes and impressive visual tricks and neat stuff to play with.

also, i had entirely forgotten about the flatness! thanks for reminding me about that one, even defunct it's still a great site.

Viewtiful_Justin said...

Easy?! I seem to remember the later stages and the final boss being hair-tearingly difficult. Maybe I should revisit it. I just know that I've never seen the credits.

Bryan Ochalla said...

sharc: Well, you hit the nail on the head there. HAL certainly employs the design approach you mentioned in this game, doesn't it? Seems they've done so in many later Kirby games, too.

As for reminding you of the flatness: You're welcome! So sad it hasn't received any new posts in years :(

Bryan Ochalla said...

I don't disagree that there are SOME difficult stages in this game, Justin, but overall I personally wouldn't describe the game as difficult.

I'd say the same thing about Kirby's Epic Yarn and Kirby's Return to Dream Land. Both have a small handful of no-question-about-it difficult stages, but the rest of them are pretty darn easy.

Which is OK, if, like sharc just mentioned, the rest of the game is captivating -- a word that definitely seems to describe much of the Kirby series.

sharc said...

well, kirby's adventure can get unduly frustrating when the game demands any remotely high-performance playing on your part, on account of 1) loosing a power with every hit instead of specific ones, with the star then rocketing into the nearest lake or pit or spiked floor with unerring accuracy and 2) the fly command being mapped to up instead of the jump button, which makes it accidentally trigger in all sorts of really bad situations

of note is that these are exactly the changes made to the controls in the next game, super star; also of note is that nightmare in dreamland changed them back despite being built from scratch and therefore most of the later games seem to have inherited the problem instead of the solution.

not that i'm an expert there, i haven't played anything later than amazing mirror.

anyway, when it comes to cute and colorful and crushingly difficult, gimmick is the main event. did you ever get a chance to finish that, bryan? know you mentioned it here at one point or another.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Interesting commentary, sharc! Thanks for sharing it :) I'm not well-versed enough in the Kirby series to know about the problems related to the Kirby games that were released between Adventure and Epic Yarn. Guess I'll have to give some of them a try sooner or later.

As for Gimmick!: I haven't played it in a long while, and back when I did play it I didn't get too far. I liked what I experienced, though, so I'm sure I'll get back to it soon or later. Sounds like you like it well enough? Of course, you described it as "crushingly difficulty," so maybe that's not the case...

Kimimi said...

Brilliant! It's such a charming and expressive game isn't it? I keep coming back for the mini games, especially the egg catching :D

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hi Kimimi! Oh, yes, charming and expressive are GREAT descriptors for this game. As for the mini games: I love them, too! Really, I was stupid to dislike it the first time I encountered it.

Kimimi said...

Oh don't say things like that - sometimes you just need to look at things in a different way. "Stupid" would be to make up your mind and then never have the courage to reconsider, let alone announce it to the internet!

Bryan Ochalla said...

True, Kimimi! Thanks for putting things in perspective :)

Sadly, I'm not sure I would have given the game a second chance if it weren't for Epic Yarn and Return to Dream Land -- both of which I completely adored.

Have you played either or both of those games, by the way? If not, you should -- esp. if you like Adventure.

Of course, I'm not even sure if you have a Wii...

Kimimi said...

Oh yes I've played thorugh them both! Epic Yarn is one of my favourite games this gen, and one of my favourite Kirby games ever! Return to Dream Land felt quite average to me, even though that's the "proper" Kirby game of the two. I couldn't tell you what was wrong with it, I just didn't like it as much.

As for console ownership, I'm fine for just about everything apart from the Jaguar, CDi and 3D0 - never owned those at all.

sharc said...

gimmick is one of my favorite platformers. it's very tough, but consistently fair in what it asks of the player; failure comes from clear and understandable mistakes on your part. still, there's at least one boss that can stonewall attempts at clearing it for a while.

out of curiosity, how is kirby's fly handled in return to dreamland? up on the dpad, or jump while airborne?

Bryan Ochalla said...

Oh, that's great to hear that you've played them both -- and that you love Kirby's Epic Yarn. One of my fave games of this gen, too, BTW.

I'm kind of surprised you didn't like Return to Dream Land, although I'm guessing you have loads more experience with the Kirby series than I do and that prompted you think it was average?

I've only played Adventure, Epic Yarn and Return to Dream Land myself. Oh, and Canvas Curse!

As for not owning a CDi, Jaguar or 3D0: Well, I guess I can let that slide :P

I actually wanted a 3D0 at one point, BTW (when that system was new). I'm now glad I spent my money on something else!

Bryan Ochalla said...

sharc: Well, it sounds like I should get back to Gimmick! then. I certainly liked the looks of it when I played it last, and I liked the feel of it, too.

As for how flying is handled in Return to Dream Land: I ... honestly can't remember! My first thought is that you hit the jump button a second time (while in the air), but it's been a while since I've played it and I'm not at home right now so I can't check...

Kimimi said...

You guess wrong, I love a few of them but I haven't played that many either, I'm especially patchy with the GBA and later games.

I just felt RtDL was a bit underwhelming - Epic Yarn was stuffed full of the charm and detail that I always loved about the earlier games, wheras RtDL seemed to be missing some of that IMO.

I do own one 3D0 game, but I play it through an emulator ;)

Bryan Ochalla said...

Ah! I'm surprised! I thought for sure you'd played the Super Fami and portable releases. Guess I thought wrong :)

As for RtDL: I can see where you or others might think it lacks a bit of the charm found in Epic Yarn. Of course, what game doesn't lack that charm, right?

Which 3D0 game do you own? I always wanted one of its RPGs. I think it was made by Micro Cabin, but I may be wrong. The same folks made a Saturn game (3D RPG) I loved despite its hideous graphics. Can't remember the name of it, though...

Kimimi said...

I've played Kirby's Dream Land 1 & 2, Koro Koro Kirby, Kirby's Adventure, Super Deluxe (and the DS remake), Dream Land 3 (don't like that much) and the Wii games. I *think* that's everything but I have a feeling I'm missing something.... :S

The 3D0 game I own is Kuroki Shi no Kamen, I bought it because it's the final game in the trilogy started by Laplace no Ma. Not played much of it yet, I was just happy to get the emulator working!

Bryan Ochalla said...

What do you think of Super Deluxe, Kimimi? I've heard people rave about them elsewhere, but I haven't experienced them yet myself. Do you think I'd like them given my love of Adventure, Epic Yarn and Return to Dream Land?

I'm jealous you get to play and enjoy the Laplace no Ma games, by the way. That series *totally* is one I'd play if I could understand the language :|

Kimimi said...

:O You've not played Super Deluxe? :O

It's the best Kirby game *ever*!

Bryan Ochalla said...

Nope! Not sure why. Actually, I am -- I think I passed it up back in the day (SNES era) because my nose was already turned up toward Kirby as a result of my experience with Adventure.

I don't know why I haven't played it since then, though.

Anyway, I'm guessing I should get the DS version if I want to try it out these days?

Adam said...

Adventure was one of my favorite NES games. I was a bit bummed to buy Nightmare in Dreamland on GBA for full price and realize it's just a pretty remake.

Bryan Ochalla said...

That's great to hear, Adam! (That Adventure is among your fave NES games, not that you were disappointed by Nightmare in Dreamland.)

RE: Nightmare in Dreamland: I like what I've seen of it, but I still prefer the original NES graphics :)

Alois Wittwer said...

Kirby's Adventure is one of the best games ever made. I'm not even joking.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Ah, that's interesting, Alois! Why do you think that? I don't necessarily disagree, by the way. Well, actually, I don't agree, but I do think it's an awesome game. Anyway, I'd love to hear why you think it's one of the best games ever made.