Kirby's Dream Land 3 (known in Japan as Kirby of the Stars 3) is a side-scrolling platformer developed by HAL and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System on March 27, 1998 in Japan and November 27, 1997 in North America. It is the last game published by Nintendo for the SNES in North America and was unreleased in European regions.
The fifth main installment of the Kirby series starring the pink puffball of the same name, Kirby's Dream Land 3 expands on Kirby's Dream Land 2 by adding three new animal friends: ChuChu the Octopus, Nago the Cat, and Pitch the Bird. While most of the features added in Kirby Super Star were not included (including "Helpers" and ability hats), a computer AI or second player can join in as Kirby's friend Gooey (a friendly blob previously found in Dream Land 2) at the cost of some of Kirby's maximum vitality.
Set after Kirby's Dream Land 2, the game's story has the planet of PopStar (where Dream Land resides) invaded by black cloud-like objects which possess many inhabitants, including King Dedede and his minions. It's up to Kirby, Gooey, and their animal friends to find a way to rid PopStar from the Dark Matter.
Kirby's Dream Land 3 was digitally re-released via Virtual Console for both the Wii on January 5, 2009 and the Wii U on May 8, 2013. The Wii version was also used in the Kirby's Dream Collection compilation to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the series.
Kirby's Dream Land 3 plays much like other Kirby platformers. Kirby travels through different stages and eats enemies to copy their attack abilities. What makes this game unusual in the Kirby series is the inclusion of Kirby's animal helpers. While they were first seen in Kirby's Dream Land 2, Dream Land 3 expands on the lineup of friends by adding three new characters: Nago the cat, Pitch the bird, and Chu Chu the octopus. By traveling with one, Kirby can alter what his copy abilities do when he uses them. For example, without a friend Kirby's "Fire" ability transforms him into a fireball that acts as a battering ram. However, when he rides Rick the hamster the fire ability causes Rick to breathe fire at Kirby's enemies.
Kirby's friend Gooey is available as a second character. Normally he is controlled by the computer and fights enemies on his own. However, a second player can take control of him and play along simultaneously with the first player. Gooey has almost all of the same moves as Kirby does, except that he heats things with a long Yoshi-like tongue instead of inhaling them. Gooey can be summoned at any time, but to do so Kirby must surrender a bar of his life meter, which will remain gone until Gooey leaves. Between them, Kirby and Gooey can only ride on one animal helper at a time. Kirby can recover his health at any time by swallowing Gooey.
To truly complete the game Kirby must earn a heart on every stage. To do this he must accomplish a mission that helps a character that hangs out at the end of every level. Looking at the character should normally give the player a hint as to what they should do to complete the mission. Examples of missions include stomping on flowers of a certain color but leaving others alone, or completing a level with a certain animal helper to show off to the character at the end. Some levels even featured cameos by other Nintendo characters; one level's heart character was Samus Aran, who would give Kirby a heart if he destroyed all of the Metroids, which only appear in that level.