Nintendo packs a colorful and fun party game, but not always completely in focus. Ideal for families and the very young.
“Food is about 50 or 60% of the dining experience. But the rest also counts: the environment, the atmosphere, the music, the feeling, the design, the harmony between what you have on your plate and what surrounds the plate“. This is supported by His Highness Alain Ducasse, the most starred chef in the world. And it is incredible, but true: if from the top of his throne of cutlery, baguettes and barigoules, he tried Kirby’s Dream Buffet, he would see how his precious creed has been respected even in a video game with a pink ball.
Playing this new Nintendo party game, starring the famous Kirby, in fact, you are surrounded by colors, sounds and even the sensations that make up the gastronomic experience: the goal of the game is to roll, bounce and compete, between courses that make up an entire gourmet menu. In this crazy but delicious ride, you are (literally) struck by flamboyant sponge cake, cream, biscuits and fragrant savory. At first glance it is very reminiscent of the crazy Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz or the colorful Fall Guys (in this regard, here our review of Fall Guys Ultimate Knockout), but on the palate Kirby’s Dream Buffet leaves a different, much sweeter feeling. Strawberry flavored.
The Nintendo Switch restaurant
The Japanese giant had surprised us, or rather, had enticed us when just a week ago it unveiled the release date of Kirby’s Dream Buffet, just a month away from the reveal.
But it was not so much the rush to push the announcement, as an anniversary: this year in fact celebrates the thirty years since the first publication of Kirby for Nintendo. HAL Laboratory, the Japanese software house that took care of the little hero, organized a festival for the occasion and during the celebrations announced the debut of the game in the land of the Rising Sun and in other territories. Basically, Nintendo Switch currently hosts three official Kirby chapters and two spin-offs. Once again, we are talking about an experience designed for familieswith an immediate and fun multiplayer that does not make the variety of gaming its main course: it focuses in fact on the setting, the design and the greedy atmospheres that make everything more greedy.
After crossing the threshold of the “Nintendo Switch” restaurant, let’s get ready to start the papillo-sensory journey of the kitchen of HAL Laboratory: the story is put aside, we just need to know that Kirby holds a dreamlike forkae, before being able to enjoy a cake with strawberries, is magically shrunk, landing on the cream of the cake. Never mind, now he will only have even more food to taste. Thus he begins his hungry race to grab the delicacies.
The gameplay is very simple: this time our pink ball has to roll along some paths, with the ultimate goal being to devour more strawberries than the others. By hopping it is possible to avoid obstacles, throw away opponents more easily and, if we fall over the edge, float to return to the field. The drift is also of great importance, to be used at the most appropriate time to dodge the dangers.
Free training is particularly suitable for getting used to rolling and practicing with “copy foods”, which are temporary power ups: these can make you run like a meteor, roll faster or turn you into a jelly, giving you way to overcome some obstacles such as annoying biscuit walls. Without time limits and without pressure, in this area of the game we can have fun in a vast field of all the foods that will be offered to us during the battles, sorry, tastings.
Among the other options, however, the section dedicated to Kirby’s costumes and colors will allow us to change our gluttonous protagonist. To get these delights we will have to progress with ours “Gourmet class“, which will see us embark on a long journey up to level 135. Obtainable by winning games, the points increase if you make the game more” spicy “and consequently difficult.
Being able to see our Kirby wearing the helmet and wings of Meta Knight or the role of King Dedede, will certainly push many to roll between ice cream and slices of bread. But the unlockable costumes and colors aren’t the only incentives to keep playing: the sweets collections are also tempting, always unlockable thanks to our level advancement. They are small sugary or biscuit badges, in total 256, which retrace the titles and main moments in Kirby’s career and with which we will be able to customize the giant cake to the left of the main panel. We also have the opportunity to see all the prizes obtainable thanks to a special section, rewards represented not only by the aforementioned badges but also by the music that made the history of Kirby and by other levels that will be chosen randomly for our races. The main course of the experience, however, remains the Grand Prix Gourmet.
Grand Prix Gourmet
Here we are at the crème de la crème of Kirby’s Dream Buffet: by selecting “Competition” we will be able to savor the path in single player, alone or with a maximum of two diners, oops, players. In online mode, on the other hand, you can challenge up to a maximum of four opponents chosen randomly from all over the world or via a shared password. Otherwise you can challenge yourself with local multiplayer, thanks to the direct connection of up to four consoles.
Whatever your preference, everyone will have to taste the Grand Prix Gourmet, a full four-course menu, which change name each time. The initial one, however, is always a race, in which the goal is not only to finish first to earn the strawberry cake with the highest score, but above all to eat as much fruit as possible along the way.
In fact, in Kirby’s Dream Buffet, whoever is the most “chubby and heavier” at the end of the race wins. Try to defeat the competitors among jellies, rollcakes and ice cream, find the power ups and don’t worry about devouring cherries and raspberries too.
The more you eat, the bigger you get and the faster you will be. If you go out of range, however, you risk being too heavy to hover towards “dry land”. If you are diligent and hungry, you could cross the finish line first and be able to gorge yourself with the 50 strawberry cake (the largest), because whoever wins this loot manages to unseat even those who proved to be more skilled in the race. Everything is lawful, in love and on the table.
The banquet then continues with a very fast minigame, in which the objective does not vary: to face the other Kirbys or the enemies to eat as many strawberries as possible. This time it doesn’t roll at speed, but there is a battle between waffles, sandwiches and soups, looking for strawberries in cups, boxes or on enemies. At the end of this interlude between the main courses, the “third dish” is presented, to which you arrive more prepared and even more hungry for victory. We need to be careful of the last phase, a Battle Royale that can confirm or overturn the final result: they say that in the end you always need a dessert. But it is better not to be against one’s opponents.
Candies, strawberries and cream
In Kirby’s Dream Buffet the winner is whoever eats the most strawberries and is the most “chubby and heavier” at the end of the race. Perhaps not exactly the best message that we would like to pass on to children or small children, the public that could be most enthralled by this title. But if we leave out this aspect and the almost total absence of healthier foods, such as vegetables, legumes and cereals, the new title of HAL Laboratory remains a viable alternative to the wide range of multiplayer games offered by Nintendo.
Some players have complained about some small slowdown in the online but as far as we are concerned we have nothing to report. And playing alone against the CPU is also fun, especially if you increase the difficulty level, which starts (rightly) from “Sweet” to get to “Super spicy”. However, it remains a game that lends itself a lot to multiplayer with friends: whether you lose or win, you will still have an experience … appetizing. The positive aspects of the game are largely linked to the sensory experience it offers, starting with the graphics: Kirby’s Dream Buffet by name and by nature, looks just like a big, big and delicious dream buffet, with many sweets of all colors, accurately defined. They are represented so faithfully that you can even feel the softness of the cake or the crunchiness of the biscuits, the viscosity of the honey or the yolk. If you play with it on an empty stomach, you risk even smelling the grilled burger or the taste of those blessed, triumphant piles of pancakes.
However, the more you progress by increasing your Gourmet class and the difficulty level, the more you will notice the strategies you could adopt. If you don’t just follow the other Kirbys, you may discover “secret” paths and earn more strawberries or recognize treacherous obstacles such as chocolate stains, then use them as weapons against your opponents. The essential gameplay is, in short, a sweet deception, underneath that icing is the soul of a little platformer which aims to entertain and entice its players with the right amount of competitiveness.
That said, it would have been nice to be able to binge on more types of competitions right away. The gameplay loop, in the long run, is a bit boring, especially if we think of the 135 levels to be achieved in the Gourmet class. In addition, it would have been intriguing to compete in levels that differ not only in settings but above all in race objectives.
Could an internship have been made with some “menacing giant ice cream ball” that risked overwhelming you along the way? The potential was there and we can only hope that the situation will improve with the arrival of additional content. Another revisable element is certainly the final count, with points being awarded based on random triggers, which could annoy those who stood out in the game without relying on luck.
Kirby’s Dream BuffetVersion Analyzed Nintendo SwitchIt is certainly not a novelty that a tender palletta famous for gulping down enemies or Bon Bon, can be greedy, but this time Kirby exceeds expectations: Kirby’s Dream Buffet presents itself as a party game that proudly rests on a gastronomic dimension. Through a four-course menu, you will roll, bounce and immerse yourself in a contest of sponge cake and burgers, trying to conquer as many strawberries as possible. It would be more exciting if there was the possibility to customize the Kirbys of the secondary players or if other mini-games were also included in the path, to make the tasting even more varied. “Vote die you”? No. But as an alternative to other games it is inspired by, it leaves a sweet, soft feeling, less of contention and more of feasting. We advise against playing it on an empty stomach.