Kirby’s Return to Dreamland DeluxeSwitch ¦ platformer
You could imagine that living in the shadow of one of the most recognised gaming characters of all time would make you bitter, but that doesn’t appear to be the case with the always chirpy Kirby.
Despite Mario being the brand ambassador for all things Nintendo, the chameleon pink ball of loveliness that is Kirby has continued to do what he does best.
This resulted in his stunning 3D debut in 2022 with Kirby and the Forgotten Land, which felt like he was placing down a marker that he was far from done yet.
It was disappointing to see then that Nintendo would follow up this impressive title with one that left a bitter taste in a lot of gamers’ mouths - Kirby’s Dream Buffet , a party-lite game that did Kirby a massive disservice.
That particular nightmare can be long forgotten, with Kirby returning on classic form, with a few nice little extras to feast on.
This title was originally released back in 2011 for the Nintendo Wii, and found our titular hero in his familiar 2D setting, with his trademark copy abilities at the fore of the game.
The story involves a spaceship called the Lor Starcutter crashing on Kirby’s home planet of Popstar. It was flown there by an alien called Magolor, and he’s in a bit of a mess as vital parts of his ship have been scattered throughout this unknown land, and he can’t get home without it. Being the good spherical egg that Kirby is, he agrees to go on an adventure and help this alien out, by collecting all the pieces of his ship so he can return home.
So Kirby sets off, visiting a number of distinct lands, in search of these missing pieces.
Much like Kirby’s own cloning abilities, this is a copy of that game that has been updated in a few ways for the Switch. It’s still a 2D platformer, which allows Kirby to inhale the abilities of other foes and use them for his own purposes, as he traverses the many levels.
Graphically it looks gorgeous, with some very nice touches added throughout, such as the glint on Kirby’s goggles when he’s swimming underwater. It’s incredibly colourful and just a joyous world to explore.
Much has been made of the difficulty of the game – or more accurately, the lack of it – and it’s true, it’s not going to be the most taxing platformer you’ve ever played. But Kirby has never been about being a gaming challenge; it’s a game that should simply be enjoyed, and not simply consumed for the sake of it.
In part that’s the reason for its drop-in multiplayer, as up to four others can join you throughout out any part of the game.
Personally, we like to keep Kirby to ourselves, and just experience the creativity that pours from it on our own. And to be fair, the difficulty levels do ramp up a level towards the end of it, which is where the co-op aspect may be useful if playing with youngsters.
So if you haven’t played this game on the Wii, and enjoyed his outing in the Forgotten Land, this would be the perfect follow up.
But what if you did play it on the Wii, is it still worth playing? Well actually, it just might be, as there’s something a little extra as the titles Deluxe suggests; on completing the game you gain access to Magolor’s Epilogue, which is a further 20 levels that sees you play as Magolor himself.
On top of that, the fun mini-games have also returned, with a few new additions, that can be played solo or multiplayer, including a number of challenges that are likely to see you return again and again.
Although Kirby and the Forgotten Land gave Kirby a new lease of life, this title serves as a reminder as to how classic his 2D adventures were, only further reinforcing his place in the pantheon of Nintendo characters.
Kirby’s Return to Dreamland Deluxe is a pure celebration of classic 2D Kirby – with a few new abilities thrown in for good measure – that illustrate what a unique character he is, and what an utter joy this game is to play.