Kirby's Return to Dreamland Review

Kirby revisits his roots in this fun, familiar platformer.

Nintendo's popular pink protagonist has been on some wild rides of late. Journeying into lush yarn-filled worlds and splitting into a tiny horde of cute little ankle biters have offered some neat new ways to hang with Kirby and his pals. But after spending the past few games shaking up the status quo with off-the-wall concepts, HAL Laboratory returns to the series' roots with Kirby's Return to Dreamland. While innovation has pushed the series forward in interesting ways, the return to basics is no bad thing. New screen-annihilating super abilities and bubbly multiplayer co-op liven up this ever-charming romp through Kirby's old stomping grounds. This is classic Kirby with a few minor twists.

Multiplayer co-op is a cool addition.

The adventure picks up with Kirby and his cohorts being interrupted mid-snack by an alien ship falling out the sky and crashing into Dreamland. Pieces of the craft break apart and scatter across the realm, leaving the friendly alien traveler in need of a helping hand to gather his missing components so he can return home. Kirby is more than eager to take on the task, but he's not alone this time. Mischief makers King Dedede, Meta Knight, and Waddle Dee are available for recruitment too. Each has his own weaponry and play style. Grabbing couch mates to join in with local co-op adds a little depth to the jubilant experience. Extra players can drop in or out of the game at almost any time, and co-op specific elements like sharing health power-ups and piggybacking together to unleash team attacks make playing with friends a lot of fun.

Regardless of how you choose to take them on, each of Dreamland's themed worlds holds a handful of beautifully designed stages filled with colorful environments that are loaded with playful personality. There's a good level of variety from one area to the next, and despite the fact that you travel familiar terrain, the obstacles change up at a steady pace to keep things from getting stale. Secret areas and branching paths also frequently appear, giving ample incentive to revisit stages to grab all the loot. Aside from the main ship parts you must track down, there are tons of gears tucked away in the nooks and crannies of each area. Grabbing these hard-to-acquire items unlocks special stages, minigames, and bonus content to explore on the downed spacecraft. Item-specific challenges test your abilities with the game's various powers in timed runs through obstacle courses. Other unlockable minigames, like Scope Shot, Ninja Dojo, and The Arena, also offer some light diversions for solo or competitive play. There's a lot of ground to cover and a good amount of replay packed into this adventure.

Gallivanting about the foodie-themed landscape as you gobble up goodies, whomp enemies, and hunt for collectibles delivers the same flavor of easy-to-pick-up platforming that made the original Dreamland such a standout game. Kirby's trademark ability-copying power remains intact this time around, and holding the Wii Remote sideways, you run, jump, float, and dispatch foes as you go. The usual cast of ability-yielding edible foes returns alongside newcomers that give the loveable pink puff some cool items like an Indiana Jones whip and a Mega Man-style leaf shield. Kirby has a few new tricks up his sleeve too. There's a new super inhale power that lets him gobble down hulking foes or large numbers of blocks by shaking the Wii Remote.

Small Kirby + big sword = epic win.

Once Kirby has gorged on enough baddies to turn into a rotund bulging mass, he can spew the whole shebang out as large shiny projectiles that are capable of plowing through multiple obstacles. His new super abilities are even more amusing and are picked up by inhaling special glowing foes. Once consumed, you can use these absurdly devastating powers to destroy every enemy in sight and thrash the environment to bits. It's amusing to see a tiny Kirby swinging around a sword that takes up the entire screen, even if these super abilities have a limited use and are only found in specific stages.

For those who've grown accustomed to the numerous creative surprises woven into Kirby's past few outings, Return to Dreamland's old-school-oriented approach may not be as dazzling as Kirby's Epic Yarn or Kirby Mass Attack. It makes up for this with tight gameplay that is as absorbing as it is adorable. The addition of seamless multiplayer does bring something fresh to the table, and Kirby's handful of new abilities add an extra touch of comedy and silliness to the mix. You won't find much trailblazing action here, and the challenge is a light one for most of the way until you unlock the tougher game mode by completing the story. Still, there's enough charm on tap to satisfy diehard Kirby fans and younger players.

The Good
Fun, silly new super abilities
Loads of charm
Excellent multiplayer co-op
The Bad
Light on difficulty
7.5
Good
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Discussion

9 comments
Nintendo_ltd
Nintendo_ltd

I want a Kirby game for my Wii, Which one should I get?

aquaglow
aquaglow

I'm not sure why this game is marked down for being too easy. The reviewer is aware of Extra Mode, which definitely provides a challenge for the competent player.

iHarlequin
iHarlequin

It's essentially the first Kirby games revisited. I thought it, and its level design, was a tad lackluster - specially when compared to Kirby's Epic Yarn, which is something entirely new. Still a good game, and if you enjoyed the first games of the series you're definitely going to enjoy this one.

RACiEP
RACiEP

I don't understand why people complain of the lack of difficulty for this game. Have ANY of the Kirby games been known for their difficulty? No, Kirby is no Mega Man.

XenoLair
XenoLair

Its a great Kirby game, worthy of the series. Sadly the developers think we are all loosers so they downed the difficulty for us, the only bad thing about this game.

turtlethetaffer
turtlethetaffer

Just beat this game... not the greatest Kirby game ever, but it's good, light hearted fun, and rewards exploration. I liked it alot.

jackwaterga
jackwaterga

i really recommend this game is awesome!!!

Rickystickyman
Rickystickyman

Why is this game so unheard of? I thought it would get more praise than Epic Yarn since it has actually been in development since around 2003... and is FINALLY RELEASED!

redmario217
redmario217

I rather enjoy Return to Dream Land more than Epic Yarn. It deserves at least 9.0; it's not perfect, but it's still excellent game that I expected.

Kirby's Return to Dreamland More Info

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  • First Released
    • Wii
    Kirby and his friends are back in Kirby's Return to Dreamland, which is an adventure designed to satisfy longtime Kirby fans and beginners alike.
    8.4
    Average User RatingOut of 260 User Ratings
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    Developed by:
    HAL Labs
    Published by:
    Nintendo
    Genres:
    2D, Action, Platformer
    Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
    Everyone 10+
    All Platforms
    Mild Cartoon Violence