Released on the tail end of the NES's lifespan, Kirby's Adventure is the follow up to Kirby's Dream Land for the Game Boy. Kirby's Dream Land was a fun enough game on the go, but it wasn't much if anything special besides the fact that Kirby sucks up enemies and spits them out as a means of attack. HAL Laboratories took this concept and expanded on it when they decided to put this up on a bigger screen with an NES release. The way that they expanded on it vastly improved on the experience and it's due to this that Kirby's Adventure winds up becoming one of the more creative and fun games to come out on the NES. It's especially impressive as it was during the days when the NES was just chilling out near the refreshment table while the 16 bit Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis were warring with one another with the Sega Genesis breakdancing while the Super Nintendo resisted the urge to punch it right in the face.
Dream Land is in a state of disarray as people aren't dreaming! Kirby investigates why this is and it turns out, the "naughty" (whether that's a euphemism for evil or just a stinker is up to you I guess) King Dedede had broken the Star Rod while swimming at the Fountain of Dreams and given the pieces to his friends to guard with their lives. So it's up to Kirby to put it back together and save Dream Land from being destroyed by the lack of dreaming. Outside of the instruction manual, to actually get the story, you first have to first wait a while on the title screen, then you watch a tutorial video that shows you how to play the game. Only then, will you be told about the story through a few text screens. It's nice of them to do things like that, but like most NES games, that's about as much story as you get until the end.
Or in simpler terms, you suck up enemies and gobble them up!
Kirby, at his core, is a puffball with the sucking power of a vacuum. Naturally, the game is going to be designed around that by having you sucking up enemies and spitting them out to hit other enemies. You'll occasionally run into mini bosses during each of the game's many levels and then a big boss at the end of each set of levels, with idea generally being that you suck up their projectiles and spit them back. Unfortunately in that form, while it's not bad, not much really stands out about it besides the boss fights. Ranging from the iconic Whispy Woods and Meta Knight to the Sun and Moon, each encounter, although they require the same methods of attack like the mini bosses, are distinct and memorable. They have their own methods of attacking you, and they can be rather tricky to take down at first due to said methods.
It's a shame because other than that, it's nothing too special. I mean, the level designs function fine as you can navigate through them without too much trouble, but nothing about them really raise the ante for level designs, not even by NES standards. Plenty of NES games have far more interesting levels and gameplay mechanics than what this game presents, and given that this game is about three hours long, it does get dull. At least it saves after every level, so you don't have to play the entire game in one sitting, and I definitely wouldn't recommend that. I understand that making Kirby's Adventure an easy game was a design choice as it was meant more for people who couldn't really play video games, but when not much really excites you, it just gets dull. Really, the bosses are all that stand out as impressive.
With all that said and done, HAL Laboratories needed something to make his big screen debut more memorable, so they added in his now trademark copying abilities! So now, instead of just spitting out enemies as shooting stars, he can swallow them and absorb their powers, if they have any. Quite honestly, reviews are too short of a medium to describe every power that's potentially at his disposal, so let me just quickly explain that you either have ranged attacks, charge attacks and more close quarter attacks. Each power has their own specific use, like one that has a wide area of attack in the direction you're facing or the ability to descend more slowly. Because of the wide variety of powers you can obtain, the game goes from easy and fairly boring to one that's plenty of fun as you utilize each of the powers to your advantage in order to kick some ass!
I'M CUTTING UP THESE TREES!
For the most part, Kirby's Adventure looks pretty good. The graphics aren't super detailed or anything, but there are at least details where they ought to be to keep it looking interesting. There are some objects that are just a few shades of a solid color, and some of the colors out there have that weird “neon but not exactly” look that just looks a little off in comparison to the smoother colors out there. At the same time... the other colors, especially on the sprites, look very neat. The designs themselves are cutesy, which goes along with the fact that Kirby was more for people who were intimidated by the harder games you'd find on Game Boy and the NES. So at least the graphics are fairly good, no problem there.
The soundtrack is alright. It's listenenable in the sense that it at least doesn't hurt your ears or anything, but that's about the best thing I can say about it as a whole. For one thing, it sounds like it was mostly recorded inside a bubble, and anothing thing is that even if it was recorded like every other NES soundtrack, it would still be pretty damn... boring. I'm not exactly saying that Kirby is high octane action, but the soundtrack had the potential to excite you. Unfortunately, it felt restrained, like they had to remember that they needed to compose happy songs on top of upbeat songs because oh my god, Kirby is so adorable. But it's like they either focused too much on being happy or they just went with the first thing that sounded happy and upbeat, not realizing that it doesn't really elicit those feelings nor are they even remotely memorable. The only good songs are the boss and victory tracks. The victory track is exactly what they wanted and it's such an ear worm, that you'll remember it and will probably want to bang your head when it comes to mind... not that it's a bad tune, but you should know the feeling when a small tune creeps inside your mind. The boss track is upbeat enough to get you going, although it's not exactly memorable either. At least it's not completely bland, unlike the rest of the soundtrack.
Kirby's Adventure gets a 7/10 and that's mainly due to the fact that the bosses are really good, plus it helps that Kirby has a wide range of attacks up his sleeve with his new copy ability. One of the biggest pitfalls of Kirby's Dream Land was that it was boring due to unimpressive game design in tandem with its overbearing sense of easiness. For the most part, Kirby's Adventure has these problems, although the bosses are at least interesting. But because of the powers Kirby can acquire, there's suddenly an X factor that can maintain your interest throughout what is essentially a mediocre game. The series can only get better from here, but this is at least a good enough starting point if you want to know where Kirby's roots lie.