Kirby's Dream Course
- "KDC" redirects here. For information about the Wii game celebrating Kirby's 20th anniversary, see Kirby's Dream Collection Special Edition.
Kirby's Dream Course is a spinoff game released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It was first released in Japan in 1994 and saw an overseas release a year later, in 1995. It is the fourth game released in the Kirby series and is the first to be released on a 16-bit console.
The game does not feature traditional Kirby gameplay but instead casts the pink hero as the ball in a golf or miniature golf simulation with numerous Kirby elements and themes. This makes it the second game to focus on utilizing Kirby as a ball, the first being its immediate predecessor, Kirby's Pinball Land.
In 2007, Kirby's Dream Course was ported to the Wii's Virtual Console at a price of 800 Wii Points. In 2013, the game was ported on the Wii U's Virtual Console, and in 2016, the game was ported as a Virtual Console title for New Nintendo 3DS units. Kirby's Dream Course is priced at $7.99 (USD) on both the Wii U and New 3DS eShops. It is also included as one of the games on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition and can be accessed through the Nintendo Switch Online Super Nintendo Entertainment System emulator.
|“||One night, the inhabitants (of Dream Land) said to one another, "Let's gaze at the star-lit sky and have wonderful dreams tonight." However, when they gazed up into the sky they noticed something was different. The sky was black. There wasn't a single star in sight!||”|
— Kirby's Dream Course Instruction Booklet (North American print), page 3
The story of Kirby's Dream Course is contained entirely within the instruction booklet, where the premise is set for Kirby to go on his latest journey. This is not the case in the Japanese version, where the plot is described in-game.
Some time after the events of Kirby's Adventure (referred to as the "Dream Spring incident" in the booklet), the inhabitants of Dream Land decide to gaze up into the night sky to admire the stars that decorate it. However, they soon realize that all of the stars have gone missing. Night after night, they look again in hopes the stars will return, but they do not, causing the Dream Landers to sink into a deep depression. Soon, suspicions are raised that King Dedede is once again responsible for stealing all of Dream Land's stars and hoarding them in his floating castle. Kirby, once more arriving with the spring breeze, comes in to save Dream Land by retrieving its stolen stars from King Dedede.
Kirby's Dream Course is a miniature golf-like game set in an isometric 2.5-dimensional environment. Kirby serves as the ball, and the goal of the game is to get him into the cup at the end of each hole in as few strokes as possible. Unlike in traditional golf, the cup is not initially on the field, as it only appears in place of the last enemy remaining once all the others have been defeated, adding an extra level of strategy to each hole. As such, Kirby must defeat all but one standard enemy on the hole before he can finish, which is done by bumping into them during shots. To complicate this task, most of the courses are littered with various hazards and other obstacles which can be overcome with deft use of Kirby's controls and/or the ten Copy Abilities which can be obtained from certain enemies.
Instead of there being a specific par for each course, Kirby operates on an energy meter which depletes every time he makes a shot and replenishes whenever he defeats an enemy or makes it into a cup. His meter is represented by up to four "Energy Tomatoes", and if he runs out during a course, he will lose a life. Running out of lives results in a Game Over, and the course will have to be replayed from the first hole. The only way to gain more lives is to score a hole-in-one on a course or reach a new course with less than two extra lives (at which the lives will be reset to two).
As the ball, Kirby has many different options for movement along the holes that a normal golf ball would not have access to. As might be expected, he does not "cheat" by walking around the course, but he does have other ways of altering his trajectory while being shot. The following table goes over each of his basic movement options and how they are executed (details on Copy Abilities can be found in the "Copy Abilities" section):
|Kirby's Dream Course controls|
Kirby's Dream Course also features an extensive two-player competitive game (the first game in the Kirby series to feature Multiplayer), where the goal is to earn more points than the other player by claiming as many of the Point Stars on the board as possible. Player 1 controls Kirby, while player 2 controls a yellow Kirby (officially named Keeby), and the two play in turns on one of the four courses built specifically for the 2P Game. Before starting the course, players can set handicaps for their characters, including how far shots will travel, how long the guide line is while preparing shots, and how quickly the meters scroll. The order in which the players go depends on a dice roll prior to game start for the first hole, and thereafter is determined by whoever gets into the cup on the preceding board.
While on a board, Kirby and Keeby enter sequentially to take their turns, starting each course with 6 HP. This HP is not replenished between holes, however. HP can be lost or regained in the following ways:
- Taking a shot costs 1 HP
- Colliding with Gordo, Kracko's lightning, or a Danger Zone costs 1 HP
- Being hit by the opponent costs 1 HP (and also forces a swap of Copy Abilities if applicable)
- Being hit by an opponent using a Copy Ability attack costs 2 HP, and results in no ability swap
- Falling OB costs 2 HP
- Running into the opponent while he has Needle activated costs 4 HP
- Defeating an enemy restores 1 HP
- After taking a turn to nap at 0 HP, 4 HP is restored for the next round
- Entering the cup restores 2 HP
Once HP drops to 0, the contestant in question is forced to take a nap and skip the next turn. Taking further damage during this nap will not stop HP from recovering the next round, even if the napping contestant is knocked OB or frozen.
In order to win the 2P Game, one player has to score more points than the other. Unlike in the 1P Game, score is not related at all to how many shots were needed to finish the course. Instead, points are gained by claiming Point Stars that emerge from defeated enemies. Each enemy releases one star upon defeat, and when the cup emerges, two more stars appear in orbit above it. To claim the stars, a contestant simply has to roll over them, and the stars will adopt the color of that contestant. Stars can then be taken by the other contestant when they touch it, and when one of the two enters the cup, all stars are then counted and added to the total. As such, the typical strategy to win is to enter the cup (or force the opponent to) with the majority share of the stars. Once all eight holes of a course are complete, all the points are added up, with the winner being the one who collected the most. It is also possible to draw at the end.
A few more gameplay notes can be made regarding the 2P Game, as follows:
- When running out of HP, contestants do not lose their Copy Abilities if they had them. Instead, they can only lose the ability if it is taken by the opponent, or the contestant goes OB.
- When going OB, contestants will be placed back where they were before making the shot that sent them out on the following turn.
- While napping at 0 HP, contestants will dream of a piece of candy, a slice of shortcake, or an ice cream cone.
- While one contestant is moving, the other will turn to keep eyes on him.
- The Stone and Needle abilities, if activated, will be held during the opponent's turn.
- Using Freeze on the opponent turns him into a solid block of ice, forcing him to lose a turn in order to defrost (this turn skip does not work on a napping opponent, despite still being frozen).
Levels and stages
The single-player mode consists of eight courses, each with eight holes, for a total of sixty-four holes in addition to the stage for the final boss, Robo Dedede. If all the courses are cleared with a silver medal or better, the Extra Game is unlocked, which has separate score tracking and places enemies and other objects in different locations. If courses are all cleared with gold medals in a given mode (Main or Extra game), the player will unlock the option to freely select any hole in any course for that mode:
|1P Courses in Kirby's Dream Course|
The two-player mode has four themed courses with eight holes each, for a total of thirty-two holes. These courses are named after their main enemy, which prevails throughout much of the level. As with the single-player mode, Extra Game versions of each of these courses are also available, unlocked when a bronze medal or better is attained on all single-player courses in the main game:
|2P Courses in Kirby's Dream Course|
Kirby can obtain various Copy Abilities (known as Special Powers in this game) by colliding with (and thus defeating) certain enemies. These powers can be used once per shot — starting with the same shot during which they are acquired — by activating them with the B button. If Kirby has already used an ability and collides with an enemy that provides the ability he has, he can use his ability again. In 2-player mode, Kirby and Keeby will swap abilities if they collide with each other.
Kirby keeps his ability until he loses a life, falls off the course (in 2-player mode), completes the course, or replaces it with a different ability; this means that abilities can (and sometimes need to) be carried from one hole to the next.
|Copy Abilities in Kirby's Dream Course|
Unlike in other Kirby games, most enemies in Kirby's Dream Course cannot harm Kirby, instead, they act as stationary targets that must be eliminated simply by making the pink hero touch them. Some enemies may grant Kirby a Copy Ability when he defeats them; this happens automatically and overrides his current ability. Once all but one of the enemies that must be destroyed are gone, the sole remaining one is replaced by a hole in the ground that Kirby has to fall into in order to finish the Hole.
|Enemies in Kirby's Dream Course|
In addition to enemies, there are other course obstacles, objects, and hazards that must be contended with. They are as follows (all names are taken from the Kirby's Dream Course instruction booklet (North American print) unless otherwise noted):
|Course obstacles in Kirby's Dream Course|
The following is a list of staff who have worked on Kirby's Dream Course:
|Staff of Kirby's Dream Course|
|Map Cad Programmer||Hiroaki Suga|
|C. G. Designers||Shigeru Hashiguchi|
|Map Designer||Shinichi Shimomura|
|Music Composer||Hirokazu Ando|
|Originally Designed By||Tatsuya Hishida|
|Special Thanks||Satoshi Ishida|
Shane C Allala
|Executive Producer||Hiroshi Yamauchi|
Scan the course and check out the obstacles ahead. Get ready for the most surprising game play imaginable in Kirby's battle against King Dedede! This checkerboard challenge brings outrageous hazards and bizarre surfaces. Gordo, Kracko, Whispy Woods and a cast of zany characters await you. Gain special powers including Fireball, Freeze, and Spark. Transform your enemies into stars revealing eight hidden cups. Control the force and angle of your shot and sink Kirby for a hole-in-one!
(This description was reused for the game on the My Nintendo Store.)
Step up to the tee for the wackiest golf game of your life. This one- or two-player game features a floating golf course in the sky. High above Dream Land, players can pitch and putt the ever-popular puffball, Kirby, through a maze of obstacles on a zany checkerboard course. Players must aim for the multitude of enemies that are spread throughout each fairway. Kirby's Copy Abilities return in this installment, and these must be put to good use in order to complete a level objective. Hit all of the enemies to make them disappear, and the last one becomes the hole. Sink Kirby into the hole to advance to the next stage as you clear all eight courses—64 holes in all.
Special version from Nintendo Switch Online
Dance along with Kirby!
Think you can copy Kirby's moves?
In this special version of Kirby's Dream Course, all the secret modes have been unlocked! With everything opened up, you have a few different options available you can choose from that aren't available otherwise. These new options include PLAY EXTRA COURSE (both under 1PLAY GAME and under 2PLAY GAME), NORMAL COURSE and EXTRA COURSE (under MAP SELECT), and even the DANCE SELECT option inside the SOUND ROOM. It's time to dance!
- A working title for the game was Kirby's Tee Shot. Furthermore, the game started as an unrelated title, Special Tee Shot, which was under development in 1992. Special Tee Shot was eventually released as a Satellaview-exclusive title in January of 1996.
- This game marked the first external appearance of Kirby's dome-shaped house (in the manual and the Japanese-exclusive intro cutscene), which would reappear in several subsequent games in the series more-or-less unchanged (as well as the anime). Kirby's house had been seen previously in the manual of Kirby's Adventure, but only from the inside.
- The manual mentions that Kirby "comes in with the spring breeze and saves Dream Land in times of crisis" in reference to the Japanese manual of Kirby's Dream Land, which is also where the name of the Spring Breeze section of Kirby Super Star originates.
- The instruction booklet reuses a large amount of artwork from Kirby's Dream Land and Kirby's Adventure, sometimes with slight alterations or used in conjunction with other artwork to illustrate specific situations.
- The Kirby's 20th Anniversary Celebration Book claims that it is possible to get a hole-in-one on every hole in Kirby's Dream Course, instructing the reader to "play very strategically". So far, this has not been documented to be achievable in practice, with a theoretically-perfect tool-assisted speedrun requiring more than one shot on some holes in Course 3 and Course 5 (in the main game).
- Main article: Kirby's Dream Course/gallery
Names in other languages
Written as such in the official Japanese guidebook and many other official sources.
The spelling of "Ball" is nonstandard; it is normally ボール. It can alternatively be translated as "Kirby Bowl".
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- Kirby's Dream Course on Kirby Informer
- English manual (official archive)
- Japanese manual (external archive)
- Name taken from Kirby's Dream Course instruction booklet (North American print), page 45
- Kirby's Dream Course on the My Nintendo Store
- Nintendo Products Source Book (1994) (image)
- "Special Tee Shot". SNES Central. Published June 13, 2019.
- Kirby's Dream Course instruction manual (page 5)
- "Did you know that it's actually possible to get a hole in one on every hole? You've just got to play very strategically!" –Kirby's 20th Anniversary Celebration Book (North American print, Nintendo), pg. 24
- Thanks Kirby Wiki on Twitter