Kirby's Dream Buffet | Review | Switch - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Friday, August 19, 2022

Kirby's Dream Buffet | Review | Switch

Kirby’s Dream Buffet kind of came out of nowhere. Originally revealed in mid-July 2022, the game came racing on to the Switch eShop on August 17, 2022. This cute, racing/competitive mini-game has a focus on multiplayer, particularly online. Given the issues that some Switch titles have online, is Dream Buffet worth it if you’re looking to play with others across the globe? Is there enough content here for a single player experience? We take a look at these questions and more in this review.

Kirby’s Dream Buffet has very simple controls, making it easy for anyone to jump in and play. Players move Kirby around with the joystick and can perform a jump with the face buttons. Your goal here is to pick up as many strawberries or other fruit scattered about the stages. The more you eat, the bigger Kirby gets. The bigger Kirby gets, the faster he rolls. The person with the highest fruit count at the end of the match wins.
Just like any other Kirby game, copy abilities are here, too. These are inside of “Food Boxes” and can be used with the press of R. There are a number that can be picked up in the races or battles that can help you take our other players or enemies. While the controls are relatively simple overall, they can feel a bit touchy at times. With Kirby getting larger and larger over time, there is a sense of momentum that can be a little unwieldy for first time players. Running into other characters or obstacles slows this down, so it behooves you to avoid crashing into things. It feels a bit weird at first, but after a bit of time with the game, you will get used to it.  

Dream Buffet starts you out in an interactive hub. Here you can see items you’ve collected, decorate a cake, view the credits, practice in “Free Roll” mode and of course, race and battle against opponents. The Gourmet Grand Prix can be played locally with one or two players, online with four players, or via local wireless with up to four systems. This Grand Prix consists of four events - two races, a mini-game and a final battle round that decides the winner. The races are pretty straight forward - you just need to keep progressing across the stage to reach one of three cakes goals at the end of the stage. The cakes give different amount of strawberries - 10, 20 and 50. Even if you arrive at the finish line first, it’s possible to get overtaken by other players before you hit that sweet strawberry cake. 

The mini-games are varied and offer some very quick, frantic modes of play consisting of a variety of ways to grab strawberries. The battle is similar, except you are looking to not only pick up as many strawberries as possible, but also take our your opponents to take strawberries away from them. It’s pretty crazy, strategic and fun. These four events can usually be finished in roughly five minutes or so, which makes it perfect to just hop in for a quick game and then carry on with your day. 
Playing through these modes earns you experience and ranks, which in turn gives you numerous collectibles. 135 ranks are available right now, so it will take some time before you unlock everything. There are different colors and costumes for Kirby as well as treats to decorate a cake located in your hub. 

Dream Buffet can be played both online (more on that later) and offline. Believe it or not, the offline mode solely against CPU opponents is just as robust as the online mode. Here, you can participate in a the Gourmet Grand Prix or individual mini games or battles if you choose. Not only that, but you are able to earn ranks and rewards in the same way you would online. Although online play is seemingly the go-to way to play Dream Buffet, I found myself having more fun offline. Here’s why…

Online Performance
Of course, given the nature of gaming online, numerous factors come into play. People are going to be playing in all kinds of different ways - connected via a wired connection, wirelessly, tethered to their phone, stealing their neighbor’s Wi-Fi…we have no control over that. My experience with the online play in Dream Buffet has been varied. Most of my opponents have been Japanese (or at least sported Japanese usernames), so I’ve been playing opponents that are in the same general region. I have, however, experienced moderate to major online issues in about a quarter of the matches I’ve played. This ranged from a few hiccups here and there to an all out slideshow. When things work, they work pretty well and the game can be quite a bit of fun. With online being such a big component of this game for multiplayer, the  performance issues are definitely something you should keep in mind before picking Dream Buffet up. Even with the said, you should keep in mind that the offline mode against the CPU can still be quite fun if you’re just looking to play the game in general. If you’re in it for online competition, prepare yourself for a less than optimal experience. 

Visuals, Audio & Performance
Dream Buffet sports a clean, cute look full of sweets and other food items. Of course, being a Kirby game, character models themselves are quite simple, and yet look nice. The environments are believable recreations of various foods - cakes, doughnuts and even burgers. It’s charming and a really fitting aesthetic for a Kirby title. The race courses are quite large, however some clever visual tricks (i.e. clouds obscuring far away areas) play a part in keeping the game running at a smooth framerate. Audio is also on point with various familiar Kirby tunes filling the experience. Outside of the issues online, performance here is top-notch as the game runs very smoothly. 

When things are running well, Kirby’s Dream Buffet is a blast to play. The game looks great and is easy to pick up and play in short bursts. On the flip side, when the online hits some snags, gameplay can almost come to a complete halt. Thankfully, local play with others or single player are legit options here. If you’re looking to play Dream Buffet mostly online, you are in for disappointment. If you’re just looking to experience a fun, easy pick-up-and-play game, single player offline can be quite a bit of fun.

No comments: