Kirby's Dream Land 2, like previous Kirby titles, is a platforming video game. Kirby is able to walk, swim, and fly throughout a variety of levels, using several allies and enemy powers in order to reach the goal at the end of each level. However, a variety of obstacles lie in his path. These obstacles range from pits to enemies. If Kirby touches an enemy or is hit by an enemy's attack, Kirby will lose one bar of health (out of six total health points).
Kirby's basic abilities include running, jumping, flight, swimming, and inhaling. Flight involves inhaling air (UP button), followed with the press of the jump button which will make Kirby fly. By continuously pushing the jump button, Kirby can reach any height (unless something prevents him from reaching that height). At any time when Kirby has inhaled air, he can exhale by either landing on the ground or you can also release it yourself. When the air is released, Kirby will exhale a puff of air, which can be used to damage enemies or destroy blocks.
Inhaling objects, enemies, and food is the trademark ability of Kirby's. To inhale anything, the player must hold down the B button. Kirby can then indefinitely inhale, and if an enemy, object, or food is in range, Kirby will eat it. When food is inhaled, it is automatically swallowed and will heal Kirby if he has any damage. When Kirby inhales an enemy or object, it remains in his mouth. At this point, Kirby can shoot them out as a star (causing damage to anything in its path), or simply swallow them. When certain enemies are swallowed, Kirby will gain their ability, such as ice breath or the ability to turn into stone.
Kirby's Dream Land 2 introduces three new allies to aide him in his adventure: Rick the Hamster, who allows Kirby to ride on his back, runs faster, and doesn't slip on ice; Coo the Owl, who can carry Kirby and fly through harsh winds and allows Kirby to inhale while flying; and Kine the Ocean Sunfish, who can carry Kirby in his mouth and swim through waters with ease even against currents (although he performs poorly on land), and with whom Kirby can inhale underwater. Whenever Kirby is aided by an animal friend, his current power is altered. For example, if Kirby has the Spark ability, riding on Rick will change it to the Beam attack from Kirby's Adventure.
Source: Wikipedia, "Kirby's Dream Land 2," available under the CC-BY-SA License.