REVIEW: ‘Kirby’s Dream Buffet’ Is Fine But It’s No Feast (Switch)

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Kirby's Dream Buffet - But Why Tho

Kirby’s Dream Buffet is a party game featuring everybody’s favorite pink puffball from HAL Laboratory and Nintendo. It’s the kind of game I’d have spent a few hours at a time playing with friends at a sleepover as you race opponents to eat the most strawberries per round among the four of you. It’s sweet and simple without too many modes or complications.

Either online or against friends locally, in Kirby’s Dream Buffet you compete against other Kirby’s in one of a few short games revolving around running over strawberries as you roll as a ball. You’ll race to get to the end of a track first, you’ll compete in battle royale-type games to collect the most berries without getting knocked out off the stage, or free-for-all collection mini-games with one particular gimmick or another. A sequence of several of these games strung together constitutes a whole round and the winner is crowned at the very end.

These are all perfectly charming and rather fair modes. The one gripe I hold is that the more strawberries you collect the bigger your Kirby gets, which makes you faster and therefore more likely to collect more strawberries than those who haven’t grown yet. It often feels hard to climb out of last place this way. Fortunately, the rounds are short and the next attempt is always only a few minutes away. The concept as a whole is totally cute enough to carry a whole game, as the food and dessert-filled world is really strong visually. It’s a theme that only Kirby feels like it could get away with but it works perfectly here.

Along the food theme, the game uses different foods to give Kirby their famous copy abilities this go around. Every round is typically limited to a select number of those abilities appearing in Mario Kart-esque surprise boxes. Seeing only a few per round helps to feel like you know what to expect and keeps the chaos to a minimum. This is especially helpful considering the huge frame drops I had a couple of times when the screen got too filled up. The abilities range from donuts that give you wheel Kirby to flame-giving chili peppers and carrots that let you dig underground. They all have unique purposes and none of them ever felt less useful than another.

I’m somebody who loves a good unlockable, and Kirby’s Dream Buffet is certainly full of them. From colors and costumes to soundtracks, displayable collectables, and even additional courses, the game is constantly rewarding you for playing well. I kind of miss the days where you had to complete certain feats, weren’t told what they were, and just unlocked them through playing over and over again with friends. These rewards are just given through a ranking system based on the number of strawberries you collect. It always feels satisfying to unlock things, but I do wish there was a bit more to the system.

This is ultimately where I land on the game as a whole. Party games don’t need to have a whole lot going on. I don’t need a single-player campaign or anything to justify this type of game’s existence. Just look at Mario Party and how straightforward those games are. My challenge with Kirby’s Dream Buffet though is the price tag. This is a game that you can certainly get plenty of entertainment out of, especially I’m sure for younger kids who don’t have large game libraries.

But in a world filled with equally simple and frankly more interesting and better polished free-to-play games like Rocket LeagueFall Guys, or even Pokémon UniteKirby’s Dream Buffet just doesn’t feel unique, interesting, or engrossing enough to recommend you spend $15. If the game were free and used a season pass system for unlocking costumes and colors like most free-to-play games are these days, I think it would find financial success and I might even want to get in on the unlockables myself that way. But in the world as it is, there is just simply not enough going on here to justify the cost compared to similar games available right now.

Kirby’s Dream Buffet is a cute and fun game while it lasts. It feels like the kind of game you might play as a warmup for a short period before breaking into something more substantial. For what it is, it’s quite nice, but it’s hard to justify what it is against its price tag and the free-to-play nature of some of its competitors.

Kirby’s Dream Buffet is available now on Nintendo Switch.


Kirby's Dream Buffet
  • 7/10
    Rating - 7/10
7/10

TL;DR

Kirby’s Dream Buffet is a cute and fun game while it lasts. It feels like the kind of game you might play as a warmup for a short period before breaking into something more substantial. For what it is, it’s quite nice, but it’s hard to justify what it is against its price tag and the free-to-play nature of some of its competitors.

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