Kirby’s Dream Buffet review: The berry juice is not worth the squeeze

Nintendo /

Title: Kirby’s Dream Buffet
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Publisher: Nintendo
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: August 17th, 2022

Kirby’s Dream Buffet was an interesting title when it was first revealed for the Nintendo Switch. With the popularity of Fall Guys over the years, many were wondering what Nintendo could bring to the table. Turns out, not much. Saying Nintendo brought something to the Fall Guys-Esque buffet table is like saying you’re going to bring something to a potluck and showing up with a large bag of plain potato chips.

In Kirby’s Dream Buffet, you pick from one of four color schemes and head out either with other players either locally on the same system or online. When you play as Kirby in ball form, you have to race several other players across a course of food while making sure that you eat the most strawberries. While collecting the food is important, you want to make sure you’re not falling too far behind as there are three different piles of berries at the end for the first, second and third place finishers.

Kirby's Dream Buffet
Nintendo /

As far as these races go, these are the majority of the game and you are always going after strawberries. This looks cute on the stages made of cake or gelato but looks really strange on the stages that look like they’re made out of hamburgers and other meaty foods.

Usually, you play in four-round bursts. And while the game looks like it supports up to sixteen players at once, surprise, it’s Nintendo, so you’re only playing against four other people.

The races are rounds one and three. The second round is a mini-game in which you’re on a strange platform with some sort of gimmick, like a spinning floor or a series of teacups, and you have to eat as many berries as possible in a short amount of time.

The final stage is a Battle Royale in which you and the other three players have to fight while collecting more berries. The players that have been in the lead are larger and harder to knock off the stage. The smaller players, however, can float/fly easier and longer. So while it’s easy to knock them off, it’s also easier to get them to return.

Kirby's Dream Buffet
Nintendo /

There are two big issues with this game though.

One, despite the food stages, the variety is minimal. You would think stages of deserts and food would be interesting, but you learn very quickly that no matter how rogue-like the race stages are designed, brightly colored cylindrical and cube shapes get old quickly. Combine this with the fact that every stage has the exact same goal of eating berries and you’ll get tired of the game really quickly. I love minigame-type stuff and I love Fall Guys, but I got bored with this game in about 30 minutes.

Part of the issue is despite the fact that the Switch can handle the aforementioned Fall Guys and its 60-player games, this game can’t handle four people. Every online match I played lagged to the point where I was just holding a direction and hoping when the game decided to move again that I’d be rolling in the direction I needed to be going. I know that Nintendo holds fast to their “no betas,” “no press release” until the day of strategy but man, this game should have been beta tested because online is busted. I even played other network-based games to see if the problem was on my end and nope, it’s just this game.

Kirby's Dream Buffet
Nintendo /

All in all, I think this game is a major swing-and-a-miss for Nintendo. The races, stages and mini-games all feel redundant. And knowing Nintendo’s network history, the lag issues probably won’t be fixed any time soon.

Kirby’s Dream Buffet (Nintendo Switch) Score: 5.5/10

Kirby’s Dream Buffet is cute and is undeniably Kirby, but so is a still picture of Kirby. A stunning lack of variety mixed with surprising lag issues for a game with so few players equates to a massive swing-and-a-miss that is likely to kill people’s interest long before Nintendo ever gets around to fixing its network issues.

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.