Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe Review
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Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe Review

Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe Review

The Kirby series is a long running Nintendo franchise, and the iconic pink ball has seen numerous spinoffs and sequels over the past 30 years. Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is a remake of the 2011 Wii title with the same name in NTSC (American) regions and released as Kirby’s Adventure Wii in PAL regions (including South Africa).

Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe returns Kirby to its more traditional 2.5D platforming roots. If there’s one thing Nintendo can pull off, it’s platforming games and controlling Kirby is precise and smooth while the level design feels familiar to anyone who has ever played a Mario game.

Kirby’s signature move is the ability to swallow enemies and copy their abilities. In this way, Kirby can gain abilities ranging from exhaling fire or water, freezing enemies, jumping higher than before, wielding a magic staff, or even turning into a mech. There’s more to these abilities than just spamming the B-button: each ability provides various moves and combos and can be used to navigate levels in new ways.

In Your Dreams

Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe features 6 classic themed worlds to clear. It starts off painfully slow with tutorial-like levels, but eventually presents some interesting challenges and clever level design. This remake also adds a new 2-hour long epilogue where you play as Magolor who tries to regain his magic powers. The epilogue is surprisingly engaging and features some great new ideas for the franchise.

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There’s not much in terms of plot and story elements are presented through eerily silent cutscenes. However, the game still pulls of a few interesting twists and turns as it concludes.

Dream or Nightmare?

The game features a hand full of mildly interesting mini-games but overall, it’s a very mind-numbing experience. In addition, there are some “challenge” levels that tests the player’s mastery of Kirby’s copy-abilities. These are quite fun and often present a real challenge for veteran players.

Being a bright pink blob, Kirby (often confused with Jigglypuff) can easily be dismissed as a game intended for children. While that’s not entirely incorrect, it’s important to note that this game mastered accessibility to players of all gaming experience. New or young gamers will enjoy the level design that won’t really challenge experienced players. However, expert players can gain satisfaction by tracking down the optional hidden secrets each level offers. The game also adds a more challenging mode after completing the main story.

While most veteran players won’t need it, there’s a “helper” feature that makes it impossible to fall off a platform or take significant damage. It’s also easy to connect up to four controllers, and while I can’t recommend it for veterans, it has great appeal as a “guardian” mode. An experienced player can help a new or younger gamer experience the wonders of gaming together.

Verdict: Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is a cheerful family-friendly experience and can earn a worthy place in anybody’s collection – because gaming should be for everyone.