Kirby’s Return to DreamLand Deluxe – Game Review


Kirby’s Return to DreamLand Deluxe

Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is a remake of the original game Kirby’s Return to Dream Land on the Wii in 2011, it is a 2D action platformer that sees the player journey across 7 worlds of various environments along with a new epilogue to expand upon the original ending of the game.

Pro:

Graphical overhaul.

The most plain to see difference between the two games is that the remake has an entirely new art style compared to the original and the levels have been completely remade with new assets to take advantage of the much more powerful hardware of the Switch.

Kirby and the cast have a more cell shaded look to them in the remake with a noticeable black outline around them to help them standout against the background making them easier to see during the more frantic gameplay levels.

The new assets for the levels help bring the levels to life with a lot more detail in each level and also the background (you can even see Magoland in the background of the early stages now), the levels are now even more colourful compared to the original and look great and much more vibrant.

New copy abilities.

In addition to the returning 23 copy abilities of the original game there is 1 old returning copy ability from prior games and 2 new copy abilities exclusive to this game.

The returning ability is Festival which isn’t used often in levels and is a one use ability, but it has received a nice graphical and audio overhaul to make it look it’s best in this remake and is handy in turning a screen of enemies into food to recover health in difficult sections.

The new copy abilities are really fun to use with them being Sand which turns Kirby into Gaara with his ability to generate sand constructs to attack with rushing sand, or defend himself in a pile of sand that has one of the best defences in the game being similar to Leaf. In that enemy attack will not touch you and so the player avoids any chip damage from stronger boss attacks.

The other new copy ability is my new favourite in the entire franchise with Mecha, as Kirby dons part of a mech suit with giant cannons and metal gauntlets reminding me of the Gundam Mudrock with its appearance and abilities.

Mecha is also the most versatile copy ability that Kirby has in this game with a beam attack that spans the width of the screen or incendiary mortars to attack enemies and destroy projectiles overhead.

I would highly recommend players try out these new abilities as they are the new gameplay highlights of this remake as both offer new ways to fight to bosses with either the close range power and best defence in Sand, or the raw ranged firepower and versatility of Mecha.

New controls.

Movement in water has been drastically improved from the original game due being able to move & swim diagonally in water. This makes navigation and gameplay much smoother and less awkward as the player can now be more precise in water.

While this hasn’t been reported I found that Kirby is much easier and smoother to control in the air floating too, so all around movement options in this remake got a great overhaul to make everything much better to play.

New epilogue.

The biggest change to the game that I was looking forward to was the newly added epilogue to show what happened to Magolor after the events of the main story and to bridge the gap between this game and when he showed up down the timeline in other games.

The epilogue let’s the player control a depowered Magolor as he goes on a quest to regain his power, and doing so let’s the player customise his moveset with some roguelite aspects as players can choose which of his abilities to upgrade.

This game mode also has some of the best writing in the game with Magolor’s commentary on the various screens really adding to his character development between the other game entries.

It is also a lot longer than I was expecting with 5 worlds for the player to travel through and fight harder versions of the bosses from story mode along with new challenge rooms centred around Magolor’s unique abilities.

Magolor’s magic abilities are also vastly different for Kirby’s copy abilities and include new super moves that use Magolor’s magic meter that builds up from combos to unleash devastating screen nukes.

Merry Magoland.

One of the biggest new features to this game is Magolor’s version of Disneyland with Magoland. Where players can play minigames, complete missions, unlock masks to wear or select items to take into the other modes to lessen the difficulty.

It also has a total of 10 minigames for the player and up to 3 friends to play, this is greatly expanded upon the original game which only had 2 minigames with Ninja Dojo and Scope Shot. With 8 returning mini games from prior entries in the franchise so returning players can enjoy some of their old favourites returning.

While Scope Shot has not returned in the remake it does have a spiritual successor with Booming Blasters, but players no longer team up to shoot a target with blasters but instead are put in an arena and have to be the last player standing after blasting the opponents.

2 brand new minigames debut here that were not in the franchise prior, these being Magolor’s Tome Trackers that has the players doing a mad dash to collect floating tomes before other players can reach them, with the other being Booming Blasters mentioned before.

Outside of the minigames players can complete various missions tasked to them in the minigames to earn stamps to level up the stamp card to unlock new cosmetic masks to wear or items to take into story mode.

The masks are a fun nod to other entries of the franchise that don’t offer much with their only benefit being the visual aspect and that some change Kirby’s audio to that character’s voice lines, but there is great variety with them being either friendly characters or the bosses from those games, this also includes the recently released Forgotten Kingdom.

Improved soundtrack.

Certain levels and rooms have had the track playing either remixed or replaced with a new track, as now there is music from newer games like Dream Buffet and Forgotten Land.

When the player is underwater now the background music fades out and remixes to create a more ambient soundtrack as the player floats and bobs around.

The Jukebox also now features the names of the tracks which was not a feature in the original, as prior it only gave each track a number rather than a title.

Con:

Extra mode unlock.

You still have to beat the original story mode to unlock Extra Mode, but it really should be an option from the beginning to allow players to take on what is essentially the hard mode for the story mode.

As currently you have to beat story mode, which while isn’t that long still feels unnecessary and just causes burnout from trying to play them both back to back to unlock everything.

Cutscene changes.

This is mainly an aesthetic issue that I have, but for this remake they recreated the cutscenes with the new character models (As most obvious with King Dedede sporting his Forgotten Land model) 

They however decided to put a more harsh filter over all the cutscenes compared to the original game, leading to the cutscenes being harder to watch and the colours are more washed out.

A.I cheating in mini games.

One reason why I will stay at 96/100 mission in Merry Magoland is that the A.I just straight up cheats when playing single player.

As whenever I play level 3 on Crackity Hack at least one of the A.I will always get a perfect score, and this is on top of not being dyspraxic friendly makes it way too difficult to win two level 3 matches in a row due to the A.I getting a perfect score that I can’t match.

Conclusion:

A faithful remake that doesn’t stray too far from the original and that is still a great time to revisit while also building up and improving the original.

It still has all the shortcomings of the original game with the levels being extremely short and the occasional missed input, but I would recommend Kirby fans pick up the remake if they want a revisit to 2D Kirby after playing Forgotten Land.

Score: 8.5

Reece Imiolek
Anime Amigo and Nerd Consultant

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The Next Axia6th March 2024
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