Kirby's Dream Course: A SNES Hole-In-One thumbnail

Kirby's Dream Course: A SNES Hole-In-One

Let's play some 16-bit minigolf

Alex Legard

Written by for Retrospectives on

Nintendo is well-known for providing unique gaming experiences and Kirby's Dream Course was definitely distinct for its time. The question is: how does it hold up almost 25 years later?

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Kirby's Dream Course screenshot 1
Getting a hole-in-one feels great every single time

Kirby's Dream Course is the only console golf game that I've played except for Wii Sports and a bit of Golf on NES a very long time ago. I like sports games, especially Wii Sports but I'm not particularly excited by them. The main reason I played Kirby's Dream Course is that I want to beat every SNES Classic game and also, Kirby is great! Although I didn't expect Kirby's Dream Course to be addictive, it's surprisingly one of the most fun games that I've played in a long time. As a competitive gamer, I enjoyed maximising my score and going for the best medals. Kirby's Dream Course has 8 courses and each has 8 holes for a grand total of 64 holes. The first course is somewhat easy so you can get a feel for the controls then the difficulty slowly ramps up and it gets much more challenging around course 5. v1d30chumz 44-212-99-248

There are a lot of things going on in each course. To play, you aim with the D-pad and L and R then tap up and down to make sky shots and ground shots. You can also adjust the spin so that when you touch the ground, you move in different directions. When I was mid-way through the campaign, I watched a speedrun video of Kirby's Dream Course and I didn't understand how the runners were doing what they were doing. Heck, I didn't even know how to do simple things like using items.

Kirby's Dream Course screenshot 2
You'll eventually have to learn how to make tricky shots like this

This is the point when I remembered that old games often included helpful information in their instruction manuals so I took a look at the manual on Nintendo's website which helped explain some of the finer points like how you hit A for a burst of speed. Learning how to play effectively is definitely Dream Course's biggest shortcoming while playing it in 2019. After all, it's probably the most complicated game on the Super NES Classic Edition so it's a bummer that there are no tutorial messages or anything.

Even though I wasn't expecting to like Kirby's Dream Course a lot, it got much more fun once I knew how to properly play it. As I said, I'm a competitive player so I enjoy maximising my score and going for gold medals. In each level, there are 3 medals that you can earn: bronze, silver, or gold. Unfortunately, the gold medals are a little too difficult for me but I could certainly try for the silvers if I wanted to. By the way, getting all of the bronze medals unlocks a secret course and getting all of the silvers unlocks yet another one.

Kirby's Dream Course screenshot 3
This fun power-up turns you into a pink twister that you can actually steer

I enjoyed the process of learning the strategy required for each level and finding consistent strategies for getting the best scores. This aspect felt a lot like a puzzle game as it features a similar element of strategy. Also, your timing has to be on point or you might end up flying off a cliff. Anyway, I liked using the power-ups that you find scattered around although I didn't know what most of them did at first. For instance, you can have Kirby turn into a rock and stop in his tracks as well as have him turn to a twister, glide on an umbrella, or pilot a UFO. I love how all of the pieces are put together to create impressively interesting levels.

Kirby's Dream Course has appealing graphics but I wish it looked more like a golf course instead of a checkered grid. It's useful for measuring distances but I still wish it was more realistic. The music is okay but isn't that memorable even after listening to it for a long time. 2 player mode is also implemented although I didn't get a chance to play it with a friend yet. There aren't many great multiplayer games on the SNES Classic so if you're gaming with a chum, do yourself a favour and remind yourself that you can play this.

Kirby's Dream Course screenshot 4
Jumping on these trampolines is great fun

If you're in the mood for a relaxing game of golf then you can't go wrong with Kirby's Dream Course. Its primary problem is that it can be quite complicated so it's one of the few games that I recommend reading a guide for. Not that you need to reference a guide for every single level but overall, Kirby's Dream Course was much more fun once I knew that I had so many different options to make the perfect shot. Overall, it isn't too difficult if you merely want to beat every level but it can be a challenging game if you want it to be. I'll just put it this way; I've seen holes-in-one that are so impressive, it made me wonder how they were even possible.

Gameplay video for Kirby's Dream Course thumbnail
Gameplay video for Kirby's Dream Course
Kirby Trivia

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