Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe Review
Get ready to embark on a fun, quirky 2.5D platforming adventure in Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe on the Nintendo Switch.
The 2011 Wii classic returns new and improved in Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch. The beloved characters, whimsical settings and 2.5D gameplay are back and better than ever. Players can embark on an exciting solo or local cooperative platforming adventure with up to four players, tackling the game’s more than 38 stages and using a myriad of copy abilities to thwart enemies. The game is incredibly fun and fast-paced seeing dozens of quality-of-life improvements but still retains the classic Kirby charm. With bright visuals, cheerful music, zany characters and plenty of power-ups, this version of Kirby's latest adventure is sure to please both veteran fans of the series and newcomers alike. Over a decade later Return to Dream Land has returned, is it worth joining the adventure again? Let's explore everything the game has to offer with my full review.
Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe Details
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Developer(s): HAL Laboratory
Genre: Action Platformer
Modes: Multiplayer 1-4 players
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)
A story that sets up signature Kirby fun
The story in Return to Dream Land sets the stage for the tough pink puff Kirby to save the day. This time around it's a character named "Magolor" that needs help to rebuild his ship the "Lor Starcutter." Kirby, King Dedede, Meta Knight, and Bandana Waddle Dee are thrust into a new adventure when Magolor crash lands on the world of Popstar. Kirby and his pals agree to help gather parts of the ship that are scattered across the land. Once the ship is assembled, Magolor thanks you for your efforts by transporting you to Halcandra. There you need to face off against a giant mystical creature and unravel the mystery behind who the Magolor really is, and his true intentions. The main storyline is fairly linear but sets up the real action which is the incredibly fun 2.5D action platforming.
A Magolor-ian adventure
One of the biggest additions to the new game is a story addition called "Magolor Epilogue: The Interdimensional Traveler" which unlocks when you complete the main story. In it, you play as the Magolor, trapped in another dimension, as he tries to find a way back home. This new content adds 20 stages of platforming action and introduces some interesting mechanics to the gameplay. You'll need to collect magic points that you can use to upgrade your depleted abilities to eventually open a dimensional rift to escape from this dreary realm.
An extremely fun side-scroller with a twist
Return to Dream Land Deluxe is a 2.5D side-scrolling platformer in which you take control of Kirby, King Dedede, Meta Knight and Waddle Dee as they traverse more than 38 stages. The game is incredibly fast-paced and frenetic with plenty of enemy encounters, puzzles, boss fights that will keep you busy for hours. Overall, the title is geared toward a younger audience making some of the challenges easier to complete for more experienced gamers. That being said, this has been some of the purest fun I've had with a game so far this year. The controls are easy to learn and the level design is top-notch. The game also features some new mechanics which add a unique twist to the classic side-scrolling formula.
Character abilities and supers
Kirby has an impressive arsenal of over 25+ copy abilities at his disposal including Beam, Fire, Sword, Cutter, Hammer and more. These powers can be used to fight off enemies or solve puzzles by manipulating objects (or completely destroying) areas of the stage. In addition to using these abilities offensively, you can also use them defensively with unique team attacks or shield yourself from damage. Not only does this game include two new Copy Abilities, Mecha and Sand; but you can also unlock the enhanced Festival Ability from Kirby Star Allies. Overall, these new abilities blend extremely well with the 2011's original offerings and didn't feel out of place at all.
My favourite ability is the newly introduced "Mecha," transforming Kirby into a mean battle machine with a host of newfound abilities. In this form, he wields two powerful mechanical fists and two massive cannons on his back that doubles as a jetpack.
Merry Magoland mini-games added
Return to Dream Land Deluxe also builds upon the minigames that the original offered. The game now boasts an exciting "Merry Magoland" theme park, where players can win prizes by participating in an expanded suite of mini-games. The 11 games are tailored for single or local multiplayer play and can be accessed at any time from the main menu.
You compete in a series of challenges such as timed races, target practice and guessing games. You will be rewarded for playing the minigames by earning stamps that can be redeemed for cosmetic upgrades, such as Dress-Up Masks or items for use in the main game. These diversions can help break up some of the monotony between levels, but they aren't terribly exciting or original.
Graphics and performance
Return to Dream Land is the best it's ever looked on the Nintendo Switch. There have been plenty of big and subtle changes over the 2011 Wii version that really enhance the visuals and performance. The game runs at a very stable framerate and there were no performance issues during my playthrough. The environments are bright and vibrant, with colours popping off the screen. I reviewed the game on my Nintendo Switch OLED, and Return to Dream Land Deluxe absolutely popped off the screen, it looks incredible. There is also an abundance of small details that bring life to each stage, from stars twinkling in the night sky to trees blowing in the wind. Character animations also have received changes, even when Kirby walks he has more of a bounce in his step. Even though much has changed since 2011, the graphical quality still holds up today making this an enjoyable experience for old-school Kirby fans as well as new players who may have never experienced what Dream Land had to offer before.
Game's audio and sound design
Return to Dream Land Deluxe also features an amazing soundtrack which brings out the best in each stage. The music is upbeat and cheery, with catchy melodies that make you want to keep playing. One of my favourite tracks is the level select theme which really set the tone for each stage. Sound effects are just as important as the music, and Return to Dream Land Deluxe has plenty of them! From jumping sound effects to item pickups - it all sounds great.
The verdict on Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe
Return to Dream Land Deluxe is a fantastic title that stays true to its roots while adding new content, mechanics and improved visuals. It's an incredibly fun side-scroller with a twist that appeals to both old-school Kirby fans as well as newcomers alike. I often found myself reaching for my Switch when I needed a break from "more serious" games, it's just pure fun that doesn't demand a lot of you. If you're looking for a fun, stress-free title to play then you can't go wrong with Return to Dream Land Deluxe.
The addition of the Merry Magoland mini-games and Magolor Epilogue adds even more depth and replayability that makes it worth a return, even if you have already played the 2011 counterpart. The level design, music and visuals are all top-notch; and the controls feel great. All in all, this is a must for any Nintendo Switch owner looking for a fun and more relaxed gameplay experience solo or with friends.
Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe PROS:
-Core gameplay is pure side-scrolling fun
-Great level design and visuals
-Fun mini-games for single or local multiplayer
-Controls are spot on
Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe CONS:
-The mini-games lack originality
-No online co-op play
-Lack of challenge at times
Overall Rating: 33.5/40 (84%)
A copy of the game was provided by the developer for the purpose of this review.
About the Author - Matthew "Dapper Tux" Rondina
Matthew has been involved in all things gaming since the 8-bit era. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry who has been passionate about technology and gaming for over 20 years. Along with being the Managing Editor of dappertux.com, he has bylines with Best Buy, Cineplex Entertainment, Mobile Syrup and Walmart. Follow Matthew’s gaming + tech adventures on twitter, Instagram and join in on the fun!
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