Kirby and the Forgotten Land proved to be a huge success for the HAL Lab, selling many copies and demonstrating that the copying abilities of the pink down jacket can well turn into a real 3D platformer. The Kirby series has long been known for its child-friendly nature and interest in adapting to various genres, which has led to a number of spin-offs that compete with Nintendo’s Super Mario franchise. Several additional games have appeared on Switch, and Kirby’s Dream Buffet is the latest announcement.
Unlike many spin-offs, which are larger versions of sub-games from the main games, such as the previous releases of Switch Kirby Fighters 2 and Super Kirby Clash, Kirby’s Dream Buffet is an original concept that has been compared to Fall Guys. It features matches for four players in which Kirby of different colors roll into balls and overcome obstacle courses to eat as much food as possible. In some ways, it seems like the game is borrowed from Kirby’s Dream Golf Course HAL Laboratory on the NES, but the Dream Buffet trailer also deepens the connection between Kirby and Super Smash Bros.
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How Kirby’s Dream Buffet Uses Master Hand
Kirby’s Dream Buffet looks easy on the plot, with its candid trailer showing Kirby ready to enjoy a lovely strawberry shortcake before it shrinks to tiny sizes with some magical, possibly cursed fork. Unlike the setting similar to Kirby: Squeak Squad, in which the adventures of the down jacket begin with a stolen cake, here Kirby gets the opportunity to eat even more.
When the racing gameplay begins, fans should immediately notice that the Master and the Crazy Hand are hovering over the obstacle course in the form of a cake to inform Kirby and the Waddle Dee group when they can cross the starting line. The soaring Gloves duo reappear at the end of the race to provide fanfare and applaud any Kirby who wins by eating the most food. While many viewers will gravitate to the mechanics on display, such as how Dream Buffet interprets the abilities of the main copies of the series, the presence of Hands speaks to a long-standing connection between the franchises, which can give an idea of how this spin-off works.
link: Future Kirby games should mimic Kirby and the town of Waddle Dee from the Forgotten Land
The Master and the Crazy Hand have a history with Kirby
Master Hand debuted for the first time in Super Smash Bros. on N64, acting as the final boss in the single-player “classic” mode of this game. However, the character is perhaps most notable for his appearance in the opening part of the fighting game, during which he collects a collection of Nintendo toys and rearranges objects on the table to bring to life a child’s imagination. Master Hand is counting down to the start of the Smash Bros. match, and this animation is reproduced in Kirby’s Dream Buffet.
The gloved character has become something of a mascot of the Super Smash Bros. series, reappearing in every subsequent game — with Crazy Hand introduced in Melee as a more complex variant that uses more unpredictable movements. Their roles will expand over time: Smash 4 will introduce Master Core and a couple of game modes led by Master and Crazy Hand, and then Smash Ultimate will make Master Hand playable in the history of World of Light.
Since the Smash Bros. franchise was created by HAL Lab under the guidance of Kirby creator Masahiro Sakurai, there has always been some overlap. Many of the Master Hand’s attacks are similar to those of Wamama Bam Rock from Kirby Super Star’s Great Cave Offensive, and both Hands will become bosses in Kirby and the Amazing Mirror, a subsidiary of Capcom, Flagship. When Master Hand appears as a mid-boss in Amazing Mirror, Kirby can absorb him to gain his “Smash” ability, which replicates movements from the fighting game.
This was the most significant appearance of the Wizard and the Crazy Hand in a Kirby game before Dream Buffet, although they were also collectible stickers in Kirby: Planet Robobot. While this new inclusion may just be a fan service paying homage to HAL’s story, it could be argued that Kirby shrinking for a racing game with obstacle courses based on real objects uncannily resembles a Master Hand building Smash Bros. stages. Whether this will become an actual plot point in the spin-off remains to be seen, but nevertheless, it shows that the duo Hand has much more potential now that the development of Smash Ultimate is complete.
Kirby’s Dream Buffet will be released on the Nintendo Switch in the summer of 2022.