For decades, many of us have lived alongside Kirby through his various journeys across many worlds and vast lands. One of the most well-known Kirby games in recent years is the original Kirby’s Return to Dream Land from 2011, which, once Deluxe was initially announced, drew on feelings of nostalgia for many. While I wasn’t among this group, I couldn’t shake away my excitement over playing and experiencing a Kirby game again, especially after playing through Kirby and the Forgotten Land. Rather than nostalgia, my feelings steered more toward child-like excitement and joy, which summarizes the game itself rather well.
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Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe – Journey Down Memory Lane
Despite never playing the original Kirby’s Return to Dream Land, any nostalgia I felt came from drawing comparisons to Kirby Super Star Ultra, my favorite and most played Kirby game of all time. While I won’t spend too much time comparing the two, thinking back to it throughout my playthrough reminded me of how much the franchise has changed over the years while still keeping things fresh and exciting.
Recognizing most copy abilities and catching onto how to use them within seconds of getting them also made things much easier for me. With new abilities added exclusively to Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe, I had plenty of opportunities to try new strategies and learn more about the game. It was immediately apparent that I’d still discover ways to enjoy this new rendition regardless of whether I was familiar with the original game. Just about anyone, ranging from Kirby game veterans to those brand-new to the franchise, can quickly catch onto the game’s mechanics without too much stress.
[Copy abilities] were by far the most interesting part of Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe and something I appreciated throughout my entire playthrough.
Speaking of copy abilities, these continue to be one of the most enjoyable parts of the game. With new ones like Sand and Mecha introduced, having various effects and ways to clear obstacles made for an overall pleasant experience. Super abilities, or stronger versions of regular copy abilities, are also a great feature to play around with to make you feel extremely powerful. These were by far the most interesting part of Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe and something I appreciated throughout my entire playthrough.
Another trip down memory lane for me was playing minigames through Merry Magoland, a new side area you can access shortly after beginning the game. I immediately recognized games like Samurai Kirby, with most of the others being wacky, fun games that I learned and appreciated. At the very least, if things ever feel repetitive or you just want to change things up, heading here and trying out some of these games is a great way to kill time.
Related: Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe – All Copy Abilities Listed
Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe – Starting Simple
Immediately when hopping into the game, I noticed two things: The music and visuals. Kirby games are well known for their adorable, colorful visuals and great soundtracks, and Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is no exception. If you’re easily captivated by a game’s visual and audio design, it’s easy to appreciate both here. I know I am, and I enjoyed watching Kirby jump and dance around happily as his signature songs played in the background.
Kirby games are well known for their adorable, colorful visuals and great soundtracks, and Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is no exception.
One point I noticed right away is how short the story is. It is a simple and easy-to-understand plot, with several levels you can complete in 6-8 hours, depending on your speed. Fortunately, going for every collectible and playing minigames adds to this time. While this may be great for some, it’s something to remember if you plan on sticking to the story without diving too much into side content.
Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe – There’s Easy, and Then There’s Kirby
One major point about Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe can be good or bad: Level design and length. As someone who doesn’t enjoy playing difficult games, I find these types of games fun and relaxing. I rarely get stressed out as I play the game since, for the most part, the story and levels are pretty straightforward. You run in, rid obstacles and enemies on the linear path, and enter the star doors signaling checkpoints and the level end. A fancy star portal occasionally appears, allowing you to tackle a short side mission for collectibles. Overall, it is simple and refreshing, but at times, it’s too simple.
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In a way, a Kirby game’s simplicity is its main charm and appeal, bringing in a casual audience. On the other hand, though, it started to feel slightly repetitive playing the same level types repeatedly, particularly at the beginning, with little challenge aside from new enemies and abilities. Admittedly, I did get knocked out several times throughout my playthrough, so I wouldn’t call it too easy, but even at its most challenging point, the game was still relatively easy and quick to progress through.
Verdict – An Adorable but Brief Adventure
Overall, Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is a wonderful and exciting adventure where you run in, clear levels and occasionally play some fun minigames. For all the completionists, there are also collectibles that are surprisingly challenging to find, adding an extra layer of difficulty. Every level and stage has a unique design, soundtrack and new abilities to explore to constantly spice things up and allow you to change your strategy. However, while many appreciate the game’s simplicity, it’s important to play it knowing that Kirby’s cute and joyful adventure lasts only a few hours if you primarily focus on the main story. If you’re perfectly fine with this or plan on investing a lot of time into minigames and gathering every collectible, it’s certainly worth playing.
- Adorable visuals and a pleasant soundtrack
- Natural difficulty progression
- Smooth performance and gameplay
- Enjoyable game mechanics and side minigames
- Interesting copy abilities, including brand-new ones
- Linear and straightforward with very little challenge for most levels
- Takes very little time to complete the game (6-8 hours, excluding collectibles)
- Basic, simple story with little depth
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review. Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.
Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is available to play on Nintendo Switch, Wii and Wii U through the official website. If you’d like to learn more about the game, check out Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe – All Merry Magoland Mini-Games and How to Unlock Magolor Epilogue in Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe?