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A smorgasbord of four-player fun.
Kirby's Dream Buffet is a multiplayer racing Nintendo Switch game developed by HAL Laboratory and a part of the Kirby series. The game is a racing game where multiple players playing locally or online take the role of multiple Kirbys who must roll through food-themed areas to collect as many strawberries as possible, with the one who eats the most at the end of the course winning. The game was announced on July 12, 2022 and released on August 17, 2022.
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Trailers: Announcement Trailer, Overview Trailer


Tropes:

  • All There in the Manual: Several of the "Tasty Tidbits" that appear on the Home Table reveal minor bits of background for the game, such as the name and purpose of the Dream Fork.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Items for customizing Kirby's appearance, such as hats and different color schemes, are among the rewards that earned at the end of each game. The higher you place and the more points for your Gourmet Rank you get, the more rewards you get.
  • Balloon Belly: The more strawberries (each) Kirby eats, the bigger he becomes; his face, hands, and feet staying the same size can only mean this trope is in play. It's also weaponized in that a bigger-sized Kirby can roll faster and knock other players away with greater force but in exchange for shorter hovering.
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  • Better to Die than Be Killed: One tactic you can use in a Battle Royale is to simply jump off the edge of the stage if a particularly persistent opponent is targeting you and has Copy Food. You still lose strawberries, but because you knocked yourself out your opponent doesn't get them.
  • Big Eater: While Kirby has always been one, this game puts special emphasis on it. For example, in the opening cutscene, Kirby can't care less about being shrunken down to the size of a marble - it's the Mountain of Food his cake has become that has his undivided attention. In the game proper, he can get even bigger, with the main goal of each session being to eat the most strawberries throughout the game's run.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • This is the first game to feature the Burning ability since Kirby: Canvas Curse, the Hi-Jump ability since Kirby's Return to Dream Land, and the Wheel ability since Kirby: Planet Robobot. This is especially notable for Burning, as it was deemed redundant in later games and combined with the Fire ability.
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    • Yellow Kirby's color is referred to as "Keeby Yellow", a name which has been out of use since Keeby's original appearance in Kirby's Dream Course.
    • Thanks to the player being given the option to make Kirby any color from the available choices, certain Kirby colors are once again playable in a Kirby spin-off for the first time in a while. Fire Red, Grape, and Mint Chocolate Kirby are once again playable for the first time since Kirby Fighters Deluxe. A few of the Spray Paint colors (such as Cherry, Citrus, and Chocolate) even make their first appearance since Kirby: Squeak Squad, which released 16 years prior.
  • Canon Foreigner: This game introduces a brand-new Copy Ability, Jelly. Kirby turns into a blob of jelly that ignores the effects of terrain and can phase through opponents and breakable objects.
  • Comeback Mechanic: Food boxes are designed this way. Players in the lead will more frequently see strawberry drops compared to Copy Food, while players behind will more frequently see Copy Food and may even obtain multiple at once. In Battle Royale, the lead player will rarely see any Copy Food drops other than Jelly, which is exclusively defensive in nature.
  • Continuity Cameo:
    • A large amount of the Kirby universe cast gets cameos in the form of Character Treats.
    • Some characters appear in the form of unlockable hats and colors that a Kirby can equip, making him resemble the character. Most notably, animated versions of Gooey, ChuChu, Ribbon, and Elfilin appear as hats that a Kirby can wear, with colors to match.
    • Some characters even get unlockable stages based upon them, with the aforementioned Elfilin being one of them.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Whenever an online match runs short, the empty spots will be filled by computer players, most of whom have nicknames calling back to older Kirby games. Examples of these include RnbwIsland, Ado-Chan, Magmister, TunaBlade, and Voidalike.
    • As shown in this tweet, one of these random names is "Q.Joronia", which is linked to Queen Sectonia (possibly being her original name from before she became a wasp).
  • Easter Egg: While the game doesn't have a traditional HAL Room, the Free Rolling stage has three cookies with "H", "A", and "L" written on them.
  • Eating Contest: Multiple Kirbys are in a contest to determine who can eat the most strawberries.
  • Excuse Plot: The game's plot is only set up to give the player a reason to roll around giant dessert-themed levels. Kirby was invited to a gourmet festival, and used the magical Dream Fork to eat a cake, which made his dream of eating a mountain-sized cake come true by making him bite-sized. Now he gets to race other Kirbys up the humongous cake in order to eat as many sweets as possible.
  • Final Battle: At the end of each Gourmet Grand Prix, the Battle Royale round occurs, where all players put their strawberries on the line. Unlike other rounds, knocking a player out of the arena lets you steal some of their strawberries, and strawberries constantly fall out of the sky to pump up your Kirby even more and potentially steal the lead or maintain it.
  • Glass Smack and Slide: Sometimes during a Battle Royale round, when a Kirby is knocked out of the arena high enough, he slams against the screen and slides down.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: Character Treats, which each depict artwork from an older Kirby game, in the vein of Keychains from Kirby: Triple Deluxe and Stickers from Kirby: Planet Robobot. There are 256 in all. They can be used to decorate a cake in the hub area and the one used to top the cake will also be Kirby's starting podium in every race.
  • Internal Homage: The entire game is based heavily on the Gourmet Race mode from Kirby Super Star.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: It is possible to obtain Invincible Candy from a food box instead of Copy Food during a Battle Royale. Upon acquisition, the player is temporarily enshrouded in a rainbow aura that instantly KO's any opposing Kirby that draws near.
  • Level Ate: All of the game's levels are food-themed. Most are themed after sweets — like cake, ice cream, fruit, candy, and cookies — but others are themed after breakfasts, barbecues, and sandwiches and hamburgers.
  • Macro Zone: This is the premise behind Dream Buffet, where Kirby is shrunken to the size of a marble and a normal-sized cake becomes an obstacle course.
  • Market-Based Title: The Japanese and Chinese title of the game is Kirby's Gourmet Fest, making the Gourmet Race allusion more obvious.
  • Mountain of Food: The level designs invoke this trope, as a normal-sized cake looks like a delicious mountain to a shrunken Kirby. On a smaller scale, the goals of the race courses are a trio of "strawberry mountains", with 50, 20, and 10 strawberries each.
  • Musical Nod: Many of the songs in this game are remixes of obscure tunes from Kirby games that are rarely acknowledged, such as Kirby's Pinball Land, Kirby's Dream Course, and Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • No Antagonist: No King Dedede, no Evil Plan, no Eldritch Abominations; just multiple Kirbys racing each other in a friendly eating competition. The only major threats are the Server Hands, who just attempt to grab the lead in the final round to try and even the field and genuinely act like jolly game show hosts who congratulate everyone at the end of a course.
  • Old Save Bonus: If you have any saved data from any Kirby game for Switch (e.g. Kirby and the Forgotten Land), you will get three music tracks from that game that can be heard during races.
  • Power-Up Food: Referred to as "Copy Food Abilities", this allows Kirby to transform into different food items that emulate his various Copy Abilities. Examples include, but are not limited to, Kirby transforming into a donut for the Wheel ability, soft-serve ice cream for Tornado, and a chocolate block for Stone.
  • Random Number God: At the end of each game, three randomized bonuses are distributed among each player, similar to Mario Party's Bonus Stars. These can range from who ate the most cherries/blueberries/raspberries, to most minigame strawberries eaten, to most cookie walls crumbled. Each bonus is worth a whopping 40 strawberries, which can easily sway the final results.
  • Rolling Attack:
    • The main way by which Kirby can knock away other player Kirbys. Certain Copy Foods such as Wheel offer a knockback boost to this attack (since the players don't take damage), and the more strawberries Kirby has eaten, the bigger and faster he gets and the stronger his roll attack becomes.
    • After deploying the Needle ability, the R button can be tapped and released again to launch Kirby in a held direction. Any opposing Kirbys in the launch trajectory will be sent flying.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Battle Royales seem to be a big one to the Super Smash Bros. series, as not only is the primary objective knocking other players off the stage, getting knocked out causes a puff of smoke and stars to appear, just like Blast KOs in that series. There are even Screen KO-like animations for if a Kirby gets a ring out from Invincible Candy.
    • Another shout-out to Smash Bros. comes from the Server Hands; while distinct from Master Hand and Crazy Hand, they are very similar, even mimicking Master Hand's countdown at the start of Super Smash Bros. 64.
  • Stealth Pun: The music that plays in the last seconds of a battle royale is a remix of the Shooting theme from Kirby's Dream Land, which originally played when using the Superspicy Curry or Mint Leaf powerups. In other words, an after dinner mint.
  • Sticky Situation: Toppings like chocolate sauce or melted butter can serve as obstacles by drastically slowing any movement across them. Jelly Kirby is capable of throwing off globs of jelly that act the same way, even for him.
  • Sweet Tooth: In the opening cutscene, the food that Kirby is about to tuck into before the Dream Fork shrinks him is a cake decorated with strawberries, and once he's shrunken, it looks like a Mountain of Food, much to his delight. Fittingly, most, though not all, of the stages in the game proper are dessert-themed.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: The unlockable cosmetics and colors allow the player to customize their Kirby to their liking.

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