Kirby’s Dream Buffet Review – Vooks

Kirby fans have been eating well lately, and Kirby’s Dream Buffet might prove that while a lot of things are good, you might get sick of them. Kirby’s Dream Buffet is a game worth playing quite the opposite of its name. Taking inspiration from Fall Guys, Mario Party, and even Smash Bros, Kirby’s Dream Buffet borrows a lot, there’s a lot going on — it’s just a lot.

Kirby’s Dream Buffet is a simple concept and fun enough for everyone to experience. You race your Kirby against other Kirbys to collect more strawberries than the others. Only the tallest Kirby will win, so it’s a balance of running, picking strawberries and jousting with other racers. Each round only takes about 10 minutes. At the start, it’s a race to the finish through a course made of food by collecting strawberries. Powerups like Mario Kart litter the track, but so are Kiby’s copycat abilities like Tornado, Jelly, or turning him into a wheel to boost speed. The courses have fairly linear paths, but there is a “better path” with more goodies if you’re willing to take the risk. All is not over; if you go off course, you can go back and resume the race. The first at the end can get a bonus of 50 strawberries, the second 20 and 10 for the third.

After that, you go on a mini-game of collecting strawberries, collecting them from teacups or smashing them into blocks before heading back to the races. Once the second race is over, a Super Smash Bros-style battle royale kicks off where you can eliminate others from the arena to snatch first place (while collecting strawberries, you guessed it). Next, the Mario Party Esque tally screen rewards most strawberries collected or bonuses used. It can turn the tide of results, so those who like things to be strictly competitive will hate it. Whether you win or lose, you’ll earn XP (and you’ll earn more if you’re playing online). These points unlock different Kirby colors, costumes, and decorations for your starter mat and to place on a cake in the main menu. More courses and mini-games unlock as you progress, but most play all the same.

That’s pretty much where the game is going; the only difference is with whom and how you play it. Playing offline by yourself is usually pointless; the processor offers no challenge and, unfortunately, local split-screen is limited to two people. It’s always fun, but to play four locally requires four Switch consoles and four copies of the game between all of you. Unless all of your friends are Kirby fans, you might run out of numbers.

Online play works well most of the time. However, it seems that if one person has a bad connection, you’ll have some stuttering along the way. It seems to vary from region to region, as others I spoke to had no problem, and some had it worse than me. Results will vary. I’m afraid that in the future you will end up playing against CPU players because if it’s a paid game (looks like it might run as a free game) the user base will eventually decrease. That’s not to say that Kirby’s Dream Buffet isn’t worth the money or should be free, but it’s the reality that when people have to pay for online and then for a game eventually, that game will die (unless you don’t be the immortal Mario Kart 8 Deluxe).

One thing in which Dream Buffet is not left out at all is its look and sound. Each course is built from a beautiful selection of realistic cakes and desserts. Later, scenes with burger and barbecue themes appear. It’s a bit distracting, actually, but it works well. The soundtrack of the game is also delightful, the main theme of the game and all the other tracks from other games that appear match the game perfectly.

Kirby’s Dream Buffet has an assortment of unlockables that longtime Kirby fans will appreciate. However, the gameplay is quite superficial and it won’t take long for you to feel like you’re enjoying the same course over and over again. The omission of a four-player offering for local multiplayer on a system prevents it from becoming a true party staple. The base game here is super fun, but it’s just missing a few ingredients that keep it from becoming a true five-star dish.

Rating: 3.5/5

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