Dinnertime can be a bit of a battle. Who will get the succulent leg of that roast chicken, the crispiest potato, the biggest slice of cake? Kirby’s about to discover the real trouble of dinnertime as he battles it out over decadent courses to become the biggest of them all.
They say you are what you eat, so does that make Kirby’s Dream Buffet the crème de la crème or worse than an over-flambéed brûlé? Find out in our review after the break!
Kirby’s Dream Buffet
Developed by HAL Laboratory Inc.
Published by Nintendo
Released: 17th August 2022
Review code provided by Nintendo
While Dreamland and other locales from the Kirby universe are at peace, the round, pink puffball loves to indulge himself in lots of tasty treats. Gobbling them all up on his own isn’t any fun however, so why not turn it into a competition? That’s where Kirby’s Dream Buffet comes in; a battle royale for up to four players where the aim is to become the biggest and roundest Kirby there ever was by eating lots of strawberries.
The main game, the Gourmet Grand Prix, is split into four courses: a Gourmet Race, a Mini-game, a second Gourmet Race, and a Battle Royale. During the gourmet race (not the official name, it just sounds a bit better than race) you’re tasked with rolling down a finely baked and decorated course full of strawberries and enemies, trying to be the first to gobble down the giant strawberry cakes at the end. There are three cakes: the first grants you fifty strawberries, the second nets you twenty, and the third a measly ten; being last grants you nothing!
As you roll down this rocky road, there will be plenty of obstacles and enemies that get in your way. Luckily, there are also various copy abilities scattered about, such as tornado frosting and burning peppers, to give you a little boost and a means to attack (both enemies and opponents). In addition to this, the more strawberries you gobble up, the bigger and faster you become; use your heftiness to bash others out of the way. If you do fall off, you have the chance to float back to the course, so don’t worry if you struggle to remain on the ground.
Next up is a mini-game. Players are put into a random twenty-second challenge to collect even more strawberries. Strawberries will either fall in random locations or you’ll have to defeat enemies to obtain them. Unfortunately, there isn’t a massive variety on offer with the mini-games. The third course is another race; different environment, same objective.
The final and most important course is Battle Royale. Everyone is dropped into a random, yet decadent arena, where you’ll battle it out to decide which Kirby is crowned the chonkiest. Getting knocked off the stage will force you to sacrifice a handful of strawberries, scattering them across the stage, giving others a chance to gobble them up. Use copy abilities that randomly appear to gain the upper hand, as this is the moment that can make or break the final results.
After the Battle Royale has finished, you’ll come to the final weigh-in to decide who is the fattest of them all; who knew the chubbier the Kirby the cuter they are, especially with splotches of frosting on their face. The more strawberries you eat the higher your Gourmet Rank will increase. Each rank you go up rewards you with cosmetic bonuses such as costumes, colours, and different pieces of music that play during races, you may also obtain some decorations for your personal cake.
You can play through a Gourmet Grand Prix on your own or with one other person against CPUs on the same console offline, or up to three others through local play or online; you can either choose to be matched against random players or create/join a password lobby in online play. Choosing offline or local play also allows you to take on a single race, minigame, or battle royale for those who just want a quick game. You can also roll about and test copy abilities on your own in Free Rolling. It is a shame however that the offline mode only allows up to two players simultaneously.
As with most Kirby games, the aesthetics are super cute and looks delicious from the fluffy frosting all the way to Kirby’s expressions and sounds. My favourite part is the weigh-in, seeing all the tubby Kirbys covered in frosting and looking super proud. The game looks especially good on the Nintendo Switch OLED’s screen.
As cute as the game’s exterior may be, I found it difficult to want to go back to playing it often. The gameplay works and can be fun but I can’t help but feel that there’s not enough variety; it becomes repetitive fairly quickly. This is similar to how I felt about Fall Guys when that first released the other year; it was fun for a little bit, but got stale quickly. Since then, Fall Guys got frequent updates adding more courses and games, something I really hope Kirby’s Dream Buffet does too.
Kirby’s Dream Buffet is a cute little title that has a lot of potential to be a fun romp but unfortunately left me starving for more variety. If the title receives content updates or took a more free-to-play structure then it would be easier to recommend (and I would definitely reconsider my score), but with the current state it is in at the current price point I just cannot do so.
Final rating – 2 out of 5
I am a huge Nintendo fan, hence why NintyBuzz exists. I especially love all things Zelda and Metroid. NintyBuzz was started by me back in the Summer of 2014, it started out mainly as a hobby, though the site has gradually grown, and I hope it grows for many years to come!