Switch has become quite a home for the incomparable pink puff cloud, with both new and returning adventures.
We’re returning to Dream Land, a familiar location now reinvigorated from the Game Boy classics, with another stunning Kirby Adventure.
It’s everything you’d expect from a classic, conventional Nintendo platformer, from its beautiful 2D art style to creative mechanics and eclectic cast.
And when Nintendo put out a platformer, it’s an event. Much like an RPG from a Bioware or a strategy simulator from Paradox, there’s nobody out there who does them better.
So you already have an idea of the standard and quality before you even pick up the game. Whether it’s Kirby, Mario, Donkey Kong, all of them offer something different and each lean into their own individual strengths.
For Kirby, it’s about morphing into various different forms, from oversized snowballs to miniature tornados and wreaking havoc on anything in your path.
And this might just be the best of the best when it comes to Kirby games. Star Allies was a hoot and Forgotten Land was a really fascinating, entertaining diversion from the norm, but Return to Dream Land is both a classical recreation and a modern reinvention for the series.
Originally released on the Wii back in 2011, this Deluxe Edition looks better, plays sharper, and is loaded with a chockfull of new extras, including Merry Magoland, an amusement arcade park full of tickets and mini games.
It’s the perfect time to revisit and is yet another reminder – so shortly after Metroid Prime Remastered – of the care and attention to detail Nintendo do put on their back catalogue.
In Return to Dream Land Deluxe, players must help out poor old Magalor, an interdimensional traveller, who’s ship crashes and smashes into a ton of pieces and it’s up to you to help him find them and get back up into space.
As with Star Allies, you can play with three others in co-op, you can also go it solo and experience the game’s weird and wonderful delights for yourself, but it’s the nature in which the game lets you experiment with all the abilities which really makes the action fun.
You can float around with a parasol or produce sandstorms, even set fire to things. Kirby has a ton of abilities to try and each will serve the pink cloud well as you balance between absorbing enemies to take on their powers or uncovering power stars to unlock new potential within yourself.
Within the game’s eight worlds, there’s also some quirky bosses to tackle, some that might even present a challenge to even the most ardent player. But unlike a Donkey Kong which definitely favours hardcore platforming, Kirby and Return to Dream Land especially are accessible to anyone and everyone.
This still remains one of the best platformers Nintendo have done in recent years and easily one of Kirby’s best adventures, and with the game still aging very gracefully, it’s also really refreshing to see Nintendo add in an additional campaign.
The Magalor epilogue continues the story for a little longer as you actually play as the space traveller through a sequence of new missions following on from the events of the base game. It’s a wonderful touch to prolong a game many have already played but also adds another solid batch of content onto what we already have.
And to further add to the replayability as well as keep you playing together with friends and family, there’s the aforementioned Merry Magoland where you can go up against AI or even play against friends and try out a series of challenge to test your skills.
Tapping X at any point from the menu screen, you can visit the park and try out a wide selection of fun games. By trying these out, you can earn stamps and progress through a series of stamp rallies to gain additional energy drinks and powerups, as well as earn dress-up masks.
Yep, you can actually put a mask on Kirby and play through each of the levels, from Waddle Dee to Whispy Woods.
But it’s these little touches that really enhance the game and make it feel like a different experience whether you played it before or not. And with Merry Magoland, you can actually compare your skills to others around the world by connecting online and seeing how your stats compare.
How many bullseyes did you get, how many books have you matched correctly, you can even play other people with samurai Kirby and see how quick off the draw you are.
The cool thing about Deluxe is that the game has also tried to stay faithful to the Wii original with many of the mini games offering motion control in addition to buttons. It’s a lovely throwback and it allows even more creativity and experimentation to shine through.
As remakes go, you really couldn’t ask for more. The game gives you the same classic experience that has truly aged much better than you’d believe, it adds a ton more to keep it feeling fresh for another run while also modernising it for Switch to look and play better than ever. This one is a real treat.
Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is further proof that no one treats their back catalogue with the same love and care as Nintendo. It’s the same classic platformer you fell in love with on Wii, but with better graphics, a smoother feel, and an absolute ton of new content and mechanics to make this near thirteen year old game feel fresher than a daisy. The pink puff cloud at its absolute best.
+ Beautifully sharp and slick
+ Re-engineered to modernise an older platformer
+ Tons of new, enriching content to keep the game feeling fresh
– Kirby’s difficulty may not be enough for some
Kirby Return to Dream Land Deluxe is now available on Switch
Code Kindly Provided by Nintendo
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