After a few unsuccessful deviations from the classic Kirby formula, the 2011 release was a strong addition to the Wii’s already impressive lineup of platformers. Now, twelve years later, HAL Laboratory has brought us a deluxe edition of the game, and it’s even better than before. The visuals have been updated, the gameplay has been improved, and two new modes have been added. It’s a banger in every sense of the word, and a must-play for fans of the series.
For those who have not had the pleasure of playing the original game, let’s take a step back. Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe brings us back to Planet Popstar where Kirby and his friends must come to the aid of Magalor, an intergalactic traveler whose ship, the Lor Starcutter, has crash-landed after traveling through a wormhole. In this 2.5D platformer, you must traverse through eight worlds, each filled with creativity and fun as you utilize Kirby’s copy abilities to take on foes and classic Kirby bosses. The game’s roughly seven-hour campaign strikes a perfect balance between challenging gameplay and accessibility for younger players. However, the game’s 120 energy spheres will increase the game’s replayability, especially in later levels where they present more of a challenge to find.
Although the game’s levels are relatively standard for a Kirby game, the game’s use of color and character design are what sets it apart. The game also introduces super abilities, which are ultra-versions of the regular copy abilities, that enable you to activate screen-shaking variations of your normal attacks to eliminate groups of enemies and uncover secrets. Local co-op also adds an extra layer of entertainment, allowing for proper multiplayer mayhem. Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe remains a joy to play, with its dated elements only adding to the game’s charm.
Upon revisiting Kirby’s Return to Dream Land with this deluxe edition, it’s clear that the classic formula of Kirby action still holds up incredibly well. While Kirby and the Forgotten Land might have offered newer, innovative gameplay mechanics, there’s just something special about the tried-and-true gameplay that the series is known for. But this isn’t just a simple graphical upgrade of the 2011 game. Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe includes several new modes that add a lot of value to the overall package.
One such mode is Merry Magoland, which is a collection of 11 Kirby minigames that up to four players can enjoy. This amusement park-style mode includes eight fan-favorite games from past Kirby titles, including Ninja Dojo, Kirby on the Draw, and Egg Catcher. Additionally, there are three new minigames exclusive to the deluxe edition, namely Booming Blasters, Samurai Kirby 100, and Magalor’s Tome Trackers. Booming Blasters is an exciting top-down arena shooter, Samurai Kirby 100 challenges players to beat online leaderboard times, and Magalor’s Tome Trackers requires players to grab assigned books off shelves before their opponents.
Individually, the minigames in Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe may not be the most engaging, but when grouped together in Merry Magoland, they become a fun-filled experience that can keep players occupied for hours on end. The mode’s upbeat and colorful theme park setting provides a lively backdrop for up to four players to take part in 11 Kirby minigames, including eight classic titles such as Ninja Dojo and Kirby on the Draw, and three new additions unique to this deluxe version. By completing missions and collecting stamps, players can unlock up to 86 different character masks for Kirby and friends to wear during the main campaign.
Additionally, the tour mode lets players choose any four minigames to complete, making it the perfect way to work through the 100 missions available in the game.
Another notable addition to Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is Magalor Epilogue: The Interdimensional Traveller, a mini-campaign that unlocks after completing the main story. Players can take control of Magalor and embark on a journey across four missions, each consisting of four stages and a unique boss battle. This new mode offers a good 90 minutes of gameplay, complete with upgradeable powers, platinum medals to collect, and some of the game’s most exciting boss battles. These battles, which are slightly more challenging than the main campaign, provide a decent test of Magalor and his powers.
When it comes to Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe, there’s no shortage of exciting new features to sink your teeth into. First up, there are the brand new copy abilities, Mecha and Sand, which offer unique and enjoyable ways to explore the game’s levels. Mecha, in particular, is a standout ability, providing players with powerful lasers and thrusters that make navigating levels a breeze.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are also a ton of new modes and features to enjoy, from the Merry Magoland minigame collection to the challenging Magalor Epilogue: The Interdimensional Traveller. And let’s not forget about the returning Extra mode and boss rush mode, which offer plenty of additional challenge for players who have already beaten the main campaign.
Overall, the amount of content on offer in Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is truly staggering. Even after playing through the main story, epilogue, and minigames, our save file was only at 34% completion. And with the game running at a smooth frame rate and boasting gorgeous new graphics, it’s an absolute joy to play.
But it’s not just the new features that make Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe such a great game. There have also been some key tweaks to the core gameplay mechanics, including the ability to bring souvenir items into stages and a new dodge mechanic. And with a range of in-game emotes now available, there are even more ways to express yourself and have fun with your friends.
All in all, Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is an absolute must-play for fans of the franchise, offering hours upon hours of fun and replayability.