Kirby’s Return to Dreamland Deluxe Review
Kirby was never a Nintendo franchise I had much interest in. That sort of changed with the launch of Kirby and the Forgotten Land, a more 3D take on the traditional 2D Kirby experience.
The last Kirby game was so charming that I knew I had to give Kirby’s Return to Dreamland Deluxe a go. Having never played the original, would I find this as charming as The Forgotten Land, even without the 3D experience? Let’s take a look.
I took the original Return to Dreamland for a spin before hopping into this remake. When we talk about old games getting new life we talk about it in two ways – it is either a remaster or a remake. I often find that companies don’t necessarily use the right term all the time, but to me, a remaster is taking an old game, quickly slapping a coat of paint, and putting it out into the world.
A remake takes the core game, tears it down and builds it back up, potentially adding new content along the way. Tales of Symphonia Remastered is a remaster in it’s truest form – Kirby is kinda somewhere in between.
Kirby’s Return to Dreamland Deluxe is absolutely gorgeous, and easily one of the more impressive games on the Nintendo Switch. The game does a great job of highlighting its roots via cut scenes and more, but then blows you away with gorgeous HD visuals that pop all over the screen. It’s not a huge leap over the Wii game, but it is an improvement. This is a very colourful adventure, even when you get into darker, more dingy places. This is classic Nintendo, Nintendo at their best.
Both myself and my 8 year old son Lochlan have played through the entire adventure, and we both came out with the same opinion – this game was outstanding, beautiful, and fun to play. With tons of different abilities for Kirby to take on, plus new content around every corner, there is a lot to like about this release.
Gameplay Fairly Unchanged
The core gameplay of Kirby’s Return to Dreamland Deluxe remains basically unchanged. After playing through The Forgotten Land, Dreamland Deluxe is going to feel like an absolute cake walk. The game is VERY easy to beat, and although there is a new mode that makes the game harder (less healing items, more enemies, harder bosses), it only unlocks AFTER you beat the game once, which is a bit disappointing. This should have been a feature available right off the top.
You still will be finding gears in each world, and unlocking secret areas. There are a few new copy abilities added. While the new Mech ability is really cool to play around with, I was less enthused about the Sand ability.
While minigames in Kirby’s Return to Dreamland Deluxe are nothing new, the games are packaged in a brand new way, allowing players to visit Merry Magoland to enjoy these games with up to 4 players. There are a few new games added to the mix, and while it’s not rivalling the best party games available on the system (ahem, Mario Party, ahem), they are still really fun and engaging experiences, which Lochlan and I had a blast with.
As you play minigames and set high scores, you will earn stamps that in turn unlock new skins / masks that Kirby can wear. There are other achievements within the game that also unlock these masks. This was a really cool way to tracking progress, and gave both Lochlan and I a reason to return to old levels and see what we could accomplish.
One thing Nintendo has been doing with remastering games is adding a host of brand new content to an already great package. Bowser’s Fury was added to New Super Mario 3D World, and they have done this before as well with Mario + Luigi: Super Star Saga. This time around it’s an entire epilogue around the character Magolor.
It’s not overly long – only about 20 levels – but it brings a new twist to the Kirby formula that is welcome. We won’t spoil any of what you might experience here, but the addition makes the AAA asking price reasonable and understandable. And a bonus for RPG fans, it uses features you might expect in an RPG, including earning and leveling up skills!
Still Kirby Return to Dreamland
This is still very much Kirby’s Return to Dreamland. If you enjoyed that experience, you will enjoy this. If you were lukewarm on that title back on the Wii, there likely isn’t enough added here to change your mind.
That being said, Nintendo has added enough to the experience to justify the AAA price, and although the game is probably on the easy side for adults, this is one kids will have blast with. Lochlan has already invested north of 10 hours, and still has lots to accomplish yet.