The graphics have been brought up to modern standards, and the gameplay and level designs are intact with minor alterations, the majority of which are positive.
Nintendo's run of nostalgic remakes continues with Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land. It's actually a revamp of the 1993 NES game Kirby's Adventure. The graphics have been brought up to modern standards, and the gameplay and level designs are intact with minor alterations, the majority of which are positive. As Kirby, you are a cute, floating puffball who can inhale and absorb his enemies' abilities. The game itself plays much like an installment in the Super Mario Bros. series, except that Kirby can fly and the difficulty isn't nearly as serious.
Kirby's motivation is to help his fellow residents of Dream Land, who are unable to dream because King DeDeDe has stolen the Rod of Dreams. In order to reclaim the rod, Kirby must visit the seven different realms of Dream Land and battle DeDeDe's followers. In practical terms, this means you'll visit roughly 40 different stages and be able to absorb the abilities of approximately 30 different enemies. There are also a dozen nightmare characters strewn throughout the game that you'll battle at frequent intervals in order to acquire rare abilities or reclaim a portion of the Rod of Dreams.
Compared with similar games, Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land isn't that innovative or challenging. Each stage scrolls from left to right or bottom to top. Along the way, you need to avoid enemies and hazards, such as the spike pits and cannons that are typical of other side-scrolling adventure games. Kirby can walk, jump, swim underwater, and float in midair. In most cases, you can access the exit for a particular area without ever interacting with a single enemy. At the same time, you have six hit points to squander before losing a life, and there are numerous chances to gain additional lives.
Variety is the factor that makes Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land so enjoyable. Most of the enemies in the game have unique attacks that they try to spring on Kirby, but you can turn these attacks against them by inhaling their bodies and absorbing their abilities. The number of different attacks you can acquire is staggering. There are at least two dozen separate abilities, some of which can be mixed together. Notable examples include flame breath, a sword, porcupine spikes, and a laser beam. One of these abilities even lets you transform into a rock to drop on enemies. You can't move while the rock is on the ground, but you can't lose any hit points, either. An added challenge is to attempt to complete the game with a 100 percent ranking, which you can only achieve by discovering every hidden door. Some doors are located in hard-to-reach areas, and some require that you use a specific ability to clear away obstacles. Part of the game's charm is that there are so many different things to try in order to find these hidden doors. Your rewards on the other side of these doors are extra lives, new abilities, and arenas where you can fight bosses you've previously defeated. The dozen or so bosses you'll encounter throughout the main quest will also spice things up a bit, since they generally have clever attack patterns and are vulnerable to specific abilities.
For all practical purposes, Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land is a brand-new game. The gameplay is identical to that of Kirby's Adventure, but there are numerous changes and improvements that affect almost every other aspect of the game. If you owned Kirby's Adventure for the NES, you probably won't recognize Nightmare in Dream Land. By the same token, if you're just now discovering Kirby for the first time, you'll be hard-pressed to find any feature of the game that seems dated or otherwise out of sorts with the other adventure games that are available for the Game Boy Advance.