Kirby has had a roller coaster ride over the past ten years. It's felt both stale and revolutionary within the span of a third of its history. Kirby: Planet Robobot was a blast, which was then followed up by the bog-standard Kirby Star Allies, but a few years later, we were treated by the loveable pink puffball's first major 3D outing in Kirby and the Forgotten Land, which 12 short months ago, I couldn't stop raving about. With the volatility of Kirby's innovation, the scepticism that comes from the announcement of a Wii remake that played it safe is not unfounded. But it's sometimes important to reflect on the fact that, in the end, not all games can be revolutionary, and thus, we find ourselves with Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe.
Speaking of revolutionary, that is not what Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe is, but that's OK. This game is rock solid in its fundamentals, containing all the 2D platforming goodness that one would expect from a quality Kirby game. Since this game is a remake of a decade-old Wii game, what was new is now standard for the series, but the new modes are what breathes new life here.
The party mode Merry Magoland is so much fun!! I'll admit, when my partner and I started to play through some games, we found that some were a bit too similar, simply requiring you to press the A button as opportune moments. However, as we continued to play them, we found ourselves laughing with pure joy, to the point where we were fully invested in the games. Our favourite mode was, hands down, the Checkerboard Chase game which required players to press A to remove a row/column of blocks in the direction the player's facing in order to eliminate your opponents. As we got the hang of it and cranked up the difficulty of the CPUs, it quickly turned into a madcap wild ride, to the point where before we knew it, a whole hour had passed. We just had just finished playing some Super Bomberman R with some friends a few days prior and immediately said to each other that we'll need to invite them around again as this mode was similar but just as fun. I would honestly love to see this party mode fleshed out into its own game in the future; Kirby Party... why not?!
The newly added Magalor Epilogue is a welcomed little addition that unlocks after you beat the game's main story and it is simply wonderful! Its level design can be a little simplistic, but that's the point as so is Magalor's abilities until you upgrade them by collecting magic droplets and using them as a form of currency. You'll unlock new abilities as you progress, such as a huge beam attack or the ability to dash, and the level design certainly becomes more complex as you do. It's a nice 3-4 hour addition that wasn't particularly necessary, but I'm thankful that it was included as a nice way to round out the package.
The art is crisp in this deluxe version, especially with the thick bold outline of the playable characters and enemies. It's a minor change which adds so much in terms of personality and being able to distinguish between characters. This is especially important during co-op sessions when there's a lot happening on the screen at once.
- Solid traditional Kirby gameplay
- Surprisingly fun party mode
- Welcomed epilogue adventure
- Crisp art
Is it fair for me to criticise the 2D platforming considering how it's such a staple of the series? It's something I've internally wrestled with whilst writing this review; on the one hand, 2D Kirby can often feel stale and repetitive, and this entry is really no different, but on the other hand, do I only feel this way after having loved the 3D nature of Kirby and the Forgotten Land and my own bias viewpoints on preferring 3D adventures to 2D ones. It's a subjective opinion, for sure, but I believe it to be a valid one if you are someone who has grown quite tired of Kirby's standard adventures and felt a huge rush of relief when the pink blob entered the third dimension.
- Same old core 2D gameplay
Final Score: 9/10
Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe is a solid entry into the Kirby timeline, and is one that leaves little-to-no blemishes on its reputation. The newly added Deluxe moniker is also put into practice well with Merry Magalor and the Magalor Epilogue, providing more than just your run-of-the-mill remaster which insists on slapping on an expensive price tag. These additions justify its re-release quite well and helps to provide a well-rounded package. The only downside to this title is that it is a remaster of a safe 2D entry, one that may canibalise (or be canibilised by) the sales of the 2018 Kirby Star Allies, which, on the surface, comes across as yet another bog-standard entry.
Thank you for checking out our Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe Switch review, thank you to Nintendo AU/NZ for providing the review code and thank you to our Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: