• Kirby's Return to Dream Land Review Nintendo Wii

    It's not uncommon of late to hear gamers talk about how a series, usually those of triple A status, has had two or three entries in the same number of years. It may come as something of a surprise then, to learn that Kirby's Return to Dream Land is the third major Kirby game (after Epic Yarn in October 2010 in NTSC regions and Mass Attack earlier this year) to see a release in the last twelve months. Is it a case of too much, too soon, or is Return to Dream Land worth playing, even for the dedicated Kirby fan?

    Return to Dream Land is a traditional Kirby game in the sense that it shares more with NES Kirby's Adventure and the Game Boy's Dream Land (the land to which we are returning in this entry) than the likes of Mass Attack, Canvas Curse or Air Ride the world map is divided into individual worlds, each containing four or five stages and a boss fight as is the standard for most platform games.

    The story tasks Kirby with visiting five different worlds in order to defeat the boss in each and obtain a piece of a ship belonging to Magolor, an alien who has crash landed on Kirby's world and needs to get back home. This sets the game up nicely with the goal of collecting each of these pieces something that keeps the player moving forward. As is the case with most Kirby games, the overall challenge is quite low, although some later stages and bosses may take players a couple of attempts to get through. It is worth noting that there are more boss encounters than is usual for the series as well as the ones guarding a piece of ship at the end of each world, there are also some throughout certain levels, breaking up the platforming and most provide satisfaction in fighting and defeating them.

    Controlling Kirby is as simple as it is in the earlier entries in the series holding the Wii remote sideways, NES style, 1 is used to inhale enemies which can either be spat out as a projectile or swallowed, bestowing their special power onto Kirby, 2 is used to jump and tapped repeatedly, allows Kirby to float through the air handy for avoiding pits that will cost a life and A is used to defend against enemy attacks. There are a number of modern twists on the classic formula though. As well as being able to inhale larger blocks and enemies by holding down the inhale button and shaking the Wii remote, (inhaling these larger items allows a more powerful projectile to be fired) there are now enemies that have a more advanced version of one of the standard special attacks. For example, whereas the fire breathing enemies give Kirby the ability to breath fire, if those with the more powerful fire attack are swallowed, pressing the 1 button will trigger a screen filling special attack, in this case engulfing everything in fire, defeating all enemies in range and clearing out the screen or room. It provides some variety to the standard attacks and needs to be used to find some of the secrets hidden in the levels.

    It is these secrets that extend the life of the game and provide incentive for players to revisit levels in order to collect everything. Each stage has a number of energy spheres hidden throughout some in plain sight and easy to reach and others more well hidden (the best of which are obtained by locating a black hole in a level and then playing through what usually amounts to a race against time to find the exit). The more of these that are collected, the more mini-games can be unlocked and played independently of the main story mode. The unlockables also include two player stages, copy stages and challenge stages for those that are seeking more of a challenge. Those who obtain all of the pieces of Magolor's ship by completing the initially available worlds will also find a bit more to keep them occupied. Although the main story mode is by no means challenging or lengthy, the addition of these bonus stages and items gives the option to prolong the life of the game.

    Additionally, there is a four player mode reminiscent of that seen in New Super Mario Bros Wii, with players working together to progress through the game. One slightly baffling point to note is that should a player controlling a non-Kirby (Meta Knight, King Dedede and Waddle Dee) character in multiplayer die, they will simply respawn. However, if the player playing as Kirby dies, it's back to the last checkpoint or start of the level.

    In the end, anyone who has played a Kirby game will know what to expect from Return to Dream Land. It's by-the-numbers but when the game is as bright, charming and plays as well as this, that is no bad thing. The more dedicated Kirby fan will appreciate returning to a setting from the early days of the series and everyone else in between whether male or female, young or old, will find it an easy game to pick up, jump into and have a good time with.


    - A solid, well presented platformer.
    - Lots of extras.
    - Accessible.


    - Not a huge amount of challenge.
    - May feel like a step backwards to some after last couple of Kirby games.
    - Kirby fatigue may be setting in for some.

    Score: 7/10
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. teddymeow's Avatar
      teddymeow -
      I'm loving this game. Yes it's simple and lacks any real challenge but it's fun to play. Looks nice too.
    1. PaTaito's Avatar
      PaTaito -
      I love this game......kirby has never been about challenge really. Just mirroring what teddymeow said really, huge fun to play.
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