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Retro Review: Kirby's Dream Course

I love golf games. I love Kirby games. But the question is, would a Kirby golf game be any good? I think the answer would surprise you. Originally released on the SNES in 1995, Kirby's Dream Course combines the ascetic of Nintendo's Kirby series with gameplay that combines the elements of golf and billiards. This fusion of styles may sound a bit strange, but it works astonishingly well.

The goal on each board is to knock Kirby into all the enemies on the field and then into the hole that the last enemy turns into. For each stroke that you take, you lose one tomato (Health Pip in 2-player mode), and you gain one back for each enemy you take out on the field, and if you manage to get a Hole-In-One, an automatic 1-Up would be your prize. Kirby can be putted or driven much like in golf, but he bounces off many obstacles in a similar fashion to a cue-ball on a pool table. Because of this, careful planning must be employed to ensure victory.

In classic Kirby fashion, specific enemies grant Kirby certain powers that may help improve your chances of winning, but if you don't know what each ability does, it may actually make matters worse. Some abilities include Spark (destroys roadblocks), Stone (halts all movement), Hi-Jump (launches you into the air) and Wheel (skims across water hazards). These powers are often extremely helpful in certain courses, but like most Kirby games, it is usually pretty forgiving when it comes to mistakes.

In 2-Player mode, you compete against a friend in a series of 8 courses while you try to collect as many stars as possible. Stars are collected when you defeat enemies or by stealing your opponent's stars on the field. The player with the most collective stars at the end of last course is declared the winner. It is also a lot of fun messing with your opponent in this mode as you can knock your Kirby into theirs to swap copy abilities and/or to force them off the course reducing the number of times they can act before their inevitable 1-turn penalty.

I had a ton of fun with this game. It's creative, the controls respond really well and VS mode is a great way to pass time with friends. If you want to purchase this game legitimately, it is also available for Virtual Console on the Wii and Wii U. You may even enjoy it as much as I had. But until then, I'll be seeing you.



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