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Kirby’s Return To Dream Land Deluxe Review

Can’t get enough of the pink puffball

There’s nothing more colourful and enjoyable than a good Kirby platformer. The pink puffball’s track record tells a story of easy to play adventures, plenty of cooperative shenanigans and more food than anyone, creature or otherwise, would ever be able to eat in a lifetime. Having adventured into the 3D platformer space in the very well received Kirby and the Forgotten Land, we now venture back to more familiar 2D territory in Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe, and thankfully the magic hasn’t been lost in the process.

As a repackaged edition of the 2011 Wii original, this aptly titled deluxe package not only polishes things up for the far superior Switch console visually and audibly, but also introduces a handful of new additions to spice things up. The plot, however, remains the same as the original release, which sees a strange alien vessel crashing through a worm hole onto planet Popstar and a subsequent quest to retrieve its parts with the aid of new friend Magolor. Each mission brings with it new enemies to retrieve powers from, which you will use to guide Kirby through obstacles, some minor puzzles and a healthy dose of platforming to the goal.

The one true wizard

In what is now Kirby tradition, everything you would expect of the pink puffball is here. From sucking up just about anything comprised of physical matter (enemies and obstacles included), to copying the numerous abilities of your foes to use for your own gain, Kirby remains an unbeatable legend of video game lore. Okay, maybe that’s pushing it a little, but the whole point of Kirby is to make it as easy as possible to allow just about anyone, young or old, to jump and float their way through each level to the goal without too much trouble. So unlike Mario, Kirby can survive plenty of encounters and food items to restore health drop rather regularly (there are options to make it even easier for those little ones who need it). For those looking for an added challenge, that’s there too, but the target audience has been and always will be kids, and to that end this adventure nails its most important objective.

As it does cooperatively, where four players can jump into the action across every level and absolutely trash the enemy. I say that since, when all four are working together, the majority of the story mode is far easier to complete than trying to master it solo. Most boss fights can be washed out quickly when you have four players spamming their ability (actual skill be damned), though be mindful that if you do die it’s a shared health pool. Collect enough stars and banking lives shouldn’t be a problem either, but it’s worth noting.

Strange as this may seem, it’s nice to be back playing a traditional 2D Nintendo platformer

As for those challenge-starved adult fans such as myself, there’s some decent meat to chew off the bones (not that Kirby has any teeth…I think). Every level holds a handful of energy spheres to collect, and while the vast majority are easy to obtain, some of them require a little cunning and the correct ability in order to reach them. It won’t strain the old brain muscles too much to figure it out, but there are a few clever ways in which the game points you in the right direction to solve them, for instance by simply having an enemy a few rooms prior with the right ability you could have sucked up but ignored. There are also a decent amount of challenge rooms you’ll unlock over time, smaller levels with specific requirements to complete that have just the right amount of clever design and difficulty.

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Slice and dice!

What makes this a true deluxe edition is the inclusion of a new story chapter. Unlocked after completing the main story, Magolor Epilogue: The Interdimensional Traveler continues the story but with Magolor as your lead playable character. Unlike Kirby, Magolor can’t suck up heroes to gain powers, but does have the equivalent of an upgrade tree where you can cash in the magic he recovers to regain unique abilities. While not quite as long as the main game, Magolor’s bonus quest is a nice addition that provides a different yet familiar Kirby-ish experience and it can also be played cooperatively (though not quite as inventive as, say, Bowser’s Fury).

Another traditional Kirby element is the decent but largely forgetful mini-game collection. They make a return here, some refreshed from the original release, but again most of them you’ll play maybe once or twice with your team of four and move on. It’s nice to have them there and it helps to round out an already solid package, and some you can play solo against reasonable computer controlled characters, but Kirby’s mini-game escapades have never been one of its strong suits.

Strange as this may seem, it’s nice to be back playing a traditional 2D Nintendo platformer. I say this since it feels like forever since the last time we got the chance to do so on Switch, given the latest trend of adapting everything to broader open worlds or expansive 3D environments, but hopefully this is a sign that Nintendo will remain willing to explore that area of its history more often. Given the success Forgotten Land was however, it seems more likely we’ll see Kirby venture between both old and new school designs in the future (or at least that’s what I’m hopeful for), but the chance to revisit the 2D roots for a while was a welcome one in what can be considered one of Kirby’s best adventures.

I found the Mario Party DLC you were looking for

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Final Thoughts

While it may not be as creative as the Mario franchise, Kirby has stood the test of time and remains one of Nintendo’s most consistent IPs. The return to Dream Land may be another of their many remasters of older titles, but given how unique and enjoyable Kirby and the Forgotten Land was last year, I’m willing to forgive them for delving back into the past to fill out their release schedule, especially when it’s as enjoyable as Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe. It’s a solid package, even though you’ll likely spend only a few minutes on some of its content, but the bulk of the story mode, challenge rooms and the newly minted epilogue make this a worthwhile adventure both for fans of Kirby and platform lovers alike.

Reviewed on Switch // Review code supplied by publisher

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Kirby’s Return To Dream Land Deluxe Review
A welcome return
As a follow-up to the highly successful Forgotten Land, Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe may tread on old ground, but it does so with confidence and colour aplenty.
The Good
Traditionally enjoyable Kirby content that will put a smile on your face
Colourful and engaging in solo or co-op play
A decent amount of content for the asking price
Very easy for just about anyone to pick up and play
Magolor’s epilogue is a worthy addition to the fold
The Bad
Mini-games remain a minor filler
Perhaps a little too easy at times in co-op
Not quite as creative as Forgotten Land
8.5
Get Around It
  • HAL Laboratory
  • Nintendo
  • Switch
  • February 24, 2023

Kirby’s Return To Dream Land Deluxe Review
A welcome return
As a follow-up to the highly successful Forgotten Land, Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe may tread on old ground, but it does so with confidence and colour aplenty.
The Good
Traditionally enjoyable Kirby content that will put a smile on your face
Colourful and engaging in solo or co-op play
A decent amount of content for the asking price
Very easy for just about anyone to pick up and play
Magolor’s epilogue is a worthy addition to the fold
The Bad
Mini-games remain a minor filler
Perhaps a little too easy at times in co-op
Not quite as creative as Forgotten Land
8.5
Get Around It
Written By Mark Isaacson

Known on the internet as Kartanym, Mark has been in and out of the gaming scene since what feels like forever, growing up on Nintendo and evolving through the advent of PC first person shooters, PlayStation and virtual reality. He'll try anything at least once and considers himself the one true king of Tetris by politely ignoring the world records.

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