Kirby’s Return to Dreamland Deluxe

Review: Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe

Kirby’s got a pretty expansive catalogue of games dating back to the Game Boy in 1992. Since then, we’ve seen some great titles hit Nintendo consoles, including last year’s Kirby and the Forgotten Land. I’m not proud to say it: I own Kirby’s Return to Dream Land but I’ve never played it. It was a gift I received but it also arrived at a time when I wasn’t playing video games.

Given that the Switch has in recent years become a console where many games end up thriving due to the nature of the hardware, it should come as no surprise that the Hal Laboratory-developed Wii exclusive is getting a second chance in the spotlight.

Well, not only the spotlight in this case as Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is effectively a remake adding quality of life improvements to the mix.

Return to Dream Land

A spaceship plummets into the world of Dream Land, breaking into several pieces as it shatters the atmosphere right in front of the stunned Kirby, King Dedede, Waddle Dee, and Meta Knight. In order to help Magolor, the ship’s pilot, get back to his world, the unlikely foursome begins a journey in search of the five missing pieces. Most of the scenes are shown with a short CGI sequence devoid of any dialogue, accompanied only by a nice little music that almost anticipates the disarming simplicity that characterizes the whole game.

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A lot of the original’s DNA is still imbued into Return to Dream Land Deluxe but with the added luxury of gameplay changes that flesh out and enhance the overall experience. HAL Laboratory retouched the visuals for the Switch, and it is immediately noticeable that there is a vibrancy I don’t feel the Wii ever achieved. A lot of the textures pop on screen and when you see the entire level in action, the combination of background and characters stands out. It also helps that the studio went back and modernized the stylization of each character so you’ll feel a bit more familiar with the designs.

If you’re new to Kirby, the premise is simple — using your Copy ability, you assume an enemy’s power. Here, there are cannon fodder enemies who are nothing more than expendable, but there are many different enemies with their own power worth grabbing.  When you do, Kirby changes appearance in many cases. For instance, Nintendo’s most powerful mascot can turn into a cowboy who lashes out with his whip, a bird who throws around sharp wings, and an ice-imbued skater with an icy breath. Of course, there are two new Copy abilities to the mix — Mecha, a mechanized exosuit Kirby wears that packs a shockingly powerful punch in addition to a jetpack and mines, and Sand, a wholly new power-up that turns Kirby into the Sandman with a sand fist.

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Kirby’s Got A Lot To Clean Up

Some enemies glow while you’re working your way through the various levels, which are something to look out for each time you venture out. These are special enemies that are outlined with a glowing profile and when inhaled, grant Kirby usage of Super Abilities. The first allows Kirby to use Super Knight Blade, which gives Kirby a massive sword to take out swathes of enemies in a swing, or Super Hot Head, which summons a fiery dragon to sweep the level of enemies.

Kirby’s got some support this time with not only his teammates but also Magalor. Your extraterrestrial friend is a support companion who will toss you potions that double your stamina or save you from a bad situation. For veteran players, this is luckily an optional feature so you don’t need to worry about using the built-in safety net. If anything, this is a perfect way to provide younger kids with a viable way to play Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe.

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Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is effectively a multiplayer game, encouraging you to get your friends together. Any time I’m able to wrangle a group of friends together means I’m likely to cause mayhem in-game. Alternatively, parents with small children will love the drop-in multiplayer, and you can even take advantage of being a bit of a brat toward your partners. It’s possible to jump on a partner’s head, but it is difficult to really annoy someone with that. Since the game is already very easy with multiple people, bullying could have been a fun addition, but unfortunately, that opportunity was not taken.

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Merry Magoland

If you’re looking for a break from the campaign, a new hub area is available, housing 10 minigames to play and enjoy. It’s like an amusement park for Kirby to enjoy with his friends to collect souvenirs. To make the attraction even granted, Magolor has a Stamp Rally available — a way for Kirby to earn stamps by playing the attractions. Several souvenirs are masks for Kirby to wear, including Meta-Knight, Waddle-Dee, Magolor, and more with the choice to bring them into levels with you.

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I had a lot of fun taking a break from the campaign to play some of the fun attractions like Crackity Hack, a game where you attempt to break a boulder by waiting for the gauge to top out at the highest level by wagging your Joy-Con or by pressing a button. Similarly, Bomb Rally has you playing hot potato with your opponents, using timing to ensure you don’t end up on the receiving end of the sizzling explosive.

Another addition to Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is the post-game epilogue, Magolor Epilogue: The Interdimensional Traveler. Playing as Magalor, you’re stranded once again and need to find a way to solve your predicament. Previously our interdimensional companion served only as support for Kirby but now leads the charge in the realm between dimensions. The idea behind this vignette is simple — Magalor’s powers have disappeared and now you’ll need to find them. At first, you have no access to your abilities but as Magalor completes the stages, he begins to unlock his powers by spending magic points.

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While brief, the epilogue is fun and you’re even able to play with up to three other players to explore the unknown realm. I played it solo and had no issues finishing the campaign, which shouldn’t come as a surprise since most Kirby titles are easy already.

Verdict

Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe reintroduces a strong platformer to the Switch with a shiny coat of paint and quality-of-life improvements. Thankfully, the already impressive core remains intact and while we’re not seeing anything new, their inclusion of the post-game Magolor Epilogue: The Interdimensional Traveler episode adds some longevity to the overall experience. If you can gather three friends for an afternoon of shenanigans, Return to Dream Land Deluxe is well worth the laughs and memories that only Kirby offers.

Recommended

[A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.]

Reviewed on: Switch

Summary
Liked
Enhanced graphics and framerate make this a great port
Tons of silly and excting Copy abilities to utilize
The epilogue with Magalor, Merry Magoland are great
Didn't Like
Can't play as other characters in single-player