Kirby’s Return to Dreamland supports drop-in and drop-out multiplayer for up to four people.

Kirby’s Return to Dreamland supports drop-in and drop-out multiplayer for up to four people. (Nintendo)

Nintendo never gets rid of good ideas. It just stores them like seeds, waiting for the right time to plant them. They’ve done it with the Mii, which was originally an experiment for the Famicom Disk System, and it took producer Yoshio Sakamoto almost 20 years to complete his vision of Metroid Dread. Hardware limitations kept that game on the back burner.

The recent Kirby games on the Switch originated from an 11-year gap when Nintendo didn’t release a main console series entry starring the pink puffball. The issue was that HAL Laboratory was working on a Kirby console title but the developers couldn’t get the concepts right. They were eventually referred to as the three lost Kirby games.

Although the games were called “lost,” the ideas for them were actually slumbering and later incorporated into Kirby and the Forgotten Land and Kirby Star Allies. But the game that broke the console drought was Kirby’s Return to Dream Land, which was released on the Wii in 2011. Now more than a decade since its release, the multiplayer platforming game is coming back as a remake on the Switch.

Helping a new ally

Return to Dream Land Deluxe follows the puffball and his friends Bandana Waddle Dee, King Dedede and Meta Knight as they help Magolor, an alien that crashed his ship on Planet Popstar. The main campaign has Kirby and company roaming around to find five pieces of his ship so that he can return to his homeworld of Halcandra.

The entry features three areas of play, amiibo support and of course updated visuals. (The original came out on the standard definition Wii. This 2D Kirby title returned the series to its roots but it featured polygon characters instead of sprites.) The puffball keeps his signature ability to swallow enemies and copy their abilities, and players will recognize some of his classic powers such as the sword, fire breath and hammer. The update adds a new Gundam-type ability that makes him look like the iconic Mecha with the firepower to match.

Additional players can join as different Kirbys or one of his allies. Because they aren’t Kirby, they won’t have his ability to swallow foes but they will always have a weapon at their side.

In multiplayer mode, players can pull off team attacks, share health power-ups and stack atop each other like a totem pole. The gameplay can be a bit chaotic with up to four players, but because Kirby is the star of the show, the camera will always focus on him and if friends are lagging behind, they’ll teleport to where player one is.

Lastly, Kirby has a Super Ability, which is an extra strong power that’s time limited. Players can do things like turn into a giant snowball and roll over foes. The puffball can also suck up giant blocks that block the group’s path.

Minigames for fun

The second area of play is called Merry Magoland and features 10 minigames in which players can compete for fun. Eight are from the original and two are new. One activity, Kirby on the Draw, requires players to shoot targets before anyone else does to get points. The minigames have 100 missions to complete and with the points that players earn they can get masks to use on their characters in the rest of the game.

Lastly, Return to Dream Land Deluxe features an epilogue that’s unlocked when players beat the game. It’s called Magolor Epilogue: The Interdimensional Traveler. It supports up to four players just like the regular campaign except this time around, players control the alien. It has a different feel from the Kirby adventure because Magolor doesn’t have any of the puffball’s moves. He shoots magic at enemies and his jumps are less floaty. It has more of a Super Mario Bros. feel.

What’s notable about the multiplayer mode in the epilogue is that Magolor has a combo meter and if several players are battling enemies, it jumps up quickly. At the same time, if one player gets hit, they lose that combo. The higher the combo that players score, the more magic points they get to improve Magolor’s powers.

Platform: Nintendo Switch


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