Kirby Return to Dreamland, a long awaited project for the Gamecube that was pushed back for a couple of years, which was supposed to be the next home-console Kirby game…a better Kirby 64. As time passed and passed and then we were tricked for another Kirby Wii-home console game (Kirby Epic Yarn), we were finally delivered one of the Wii’s swansong games.
Kirby Return to Dreamland is a 2.5 side scroller with cooperative player similar to the New Super Mario Bros Wii. In the game Kirby retains his ability to copy and inhale with the side bonus of now “super inhaling” where you can inhale multiple objects or enemies and fire a larger star out of your mouth. The game ranges from 7 worlds with 5 levels and a boss in it and in addition to the ship parts there are 120 gears to be collected in each level, which lead to mini-games and bonus challenges for Kirby. The multiplayer let’s you choose to being Kirby (for 2P-4P) or Meta-Knight, King Dedede, or some sort of like pirate Waddle-Dee. The only problem with multiplayer is the sharing of lives, but there are enough free/1-up’s in each level to make sure you don’t strangle your partner. There are no camera problems and all-in-all there is enough “space” for four players thought I find the game played ideally with one or two players.
Difficulty– The game is not overly difficult but compared to Epic Yarn where you couldn’t die in basically every level, it is much harder. Some of the real challenges coming to getting 100% (clearing all challenges and getting all 120 gears); some of these gears actually make you think, but other than that it is fairly easy game for a seasoned-pro [and its cake walk for Super Mario Bros: Lost Levels players lol].
Gameplay– Gameplay in Kirby plays like many of Kirby’s games that aren’t his side adventures so basically like Kirby Superstar with new features. In this game besides inhaling and copying abilities, you get multiple moves with each ability compared to say the Amazing Mirror where each move was limited. If you would get the Fighter Ability, you can hadoken, uppercut, Akuma downkick, rapid punch; as for getting the sword many Zelda homages are in it such as charged sword spin (SSBB-Link) and a laser for a full-health swing (Link to the Past). One of “easy” aspect of the game is the fact you can fly forever (in which other Kirby games you get tired from SuperStar to Kirby 64), but other than that no changes are made to mainstream gameplay. Multiplayer was discussed; many levels played similar to Kirby 64 and Superstar as mini-bosses featured during each level with a set bar of health, in which you can inhale them after defeated.
One new aspect though is that of Ultra Abilities which allowed you to inhale a glowing enemy and do “ridiculous” attacks. Say you received the Ultra Sword, Kirby would pull out a Giant Sword, a Giant Meta-Knight Sword, or a fan and it would swing across the entire screen destroying not only enemies, but parts of the area as well. The Ultra attacks all vary from launching a fire dragon to becoming a giant snowball you control.
Compared to Kirby 64, which allowed you to mix abilities to create new ones, the abilities seem a bit downgraded, as you had a lot more possibilities in K64, but with all the new attack additions, you feel like you have discovered a new power; or this how you always imagined Kirby would be.
*sidenote I think this game was created with Melee or Brawl’s engine which helps
Music– Music is classic Kirby, there is no real words to say on that being an either you like it or you don’t. But you will recognize some old tunes, remixed of course, and you will hear new tunes. I for one am a fan of Kirby’s happy melody’s so this was a win.
Overall– Overall the game is pretty quick, but getting all 120 gears and fighting some classic bosses, with the addition of multiplayer makes this another Kirby game worth its buy. This may be a game for fans to start getting into the Kirby series as it is no Kirby 64, Amazing Mirror, Superstar or Dreamland 3 (with the animals), but it still a great Kirby game. Compared to Epic Yarn the game completely dominates in all aspects. While Epic Yarn felt like a Scribblenauts mixed with Kirby to try and make a new formula, Return to Dreamland returns to its roots and adds more for the modern day gamer, showing sometimes games don’t need to change to be good, maybe just a few additions.
Michael Troina writes features and reviews Nintendo games for Analog Addiciton. When he’s not writing or playing games or sports, he’s out at his job at the Daily Bugle taking pictures as the web-slinger we all have come to love…either that or he’s getting sandwich saving one world at a time. Find him anywhere with this flavors.me/michaeltroina