Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe review: perfect timing

Kirby slashes a Waddle Dee with a massive sword in Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe.

Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe

MSRP $59.99

“Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is an exceptionally well-handled rerelease, bringing new content that enhances the Wii classic.”

Pros

  • Base game is as fun as ever
  • Fantastic art upgrade
  • Smart experiments in new content
  • Great minigame implementation

Cons

  • Lacking challenge and variety
  • Magolor Epilogue is light

Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is a classic example of “right place, right time.”

In the age of double-dips, video game rereleases can often feel a little random. It’s great that we got a full remake of Dead Space in 2023, but why now? How is the 2008 game enriched in a new modern context? Not every remake or remaster has a real answer to those questions, but Kirby’s latest Nintendo Switch adventure certainly does. On the heels of 2022’s excellent Kirby and the Forgotten Land, the pink puffball found himself riding a new wave of adoration from both old fans and young ones meeting him for the first time. Now was as good a time as any to bring back one of his best 2D adventures — a Nintendo Wii classic that had nearly been lost to time – and Nintendo has gone above and beyond in doing so.

Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is even more charming now than it was over a decade ago thanks to an excellent visual makeover that makes classic platforming feel modern again. Though what’s especially impressive here is the package’s brand new features, which double the amount of content and give developer Hal Laboratories space to experiment with ideas that could radically reinvent Kirby’s next mainline adventure.

Reason to return

Kirby’s Return to Dream Land originally launched in 2011 for the Nintendo Wii and has since been hailed as one of the series’ finest

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Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe Embraces Multiplayer

Kirby’s Return to Dream Land is back 12 years after its Wii debut. And this time it’s “Deluxe!” What does that mean? Well, in this case it involves leaning further into the original game’s family-friendly fare. Aside from design changes to ensure appearances are consistent, this feels like stopgap that satisfies Nintendo’s desire to give people a multiplayer game in early 2023, as well as a new, more traditional Kirby adventure after Kirby and the Forgotten Land.

Kirby’s got a new friend, and he’s decided to drop in. Literally, as Magolor’s Lor Starcutter crashed onto Popstar, losing Energy Spheres and equipment alike. He needs to get home, so it falls to Kirby (and if you have friends locally, Bandana Waddle Dee, King Dedede, and Meta Knight) to find the missing parts to help Magolor on his way.

Review: Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe Leans into Multiplayer Experiences

What follows is an incredibly traditional Kirby installment. Kirby and his friends go through eight areas, referred to as levels, with different themes like Cookie Country, Nutty Noon, and Egg Engines. When playing as Kirby himself, the puffball can inhale and steal Copy Abilities from certain enemies, granting him 26 total options. Some of these can even become Super Abilities, allowing Kirby to wipe out large swaths of enemies and decimate terrain to reach certain special areas and acquire extra Energy Spheres. Leaf, Spear, Water, and Whip debuted as Copy Abilities the first time around, and this time Festival, Mecha, and Sand join them. Each one is serviceable and useful in its own situations, though I sometimes found Sand so similar to Leaf that it didn’t feel all that distinct or necessary. If someone is on-hand locally, they can join you in the adventure as Bandana Waddle Dee, King Dedede, or Meta Knight. However, given the relative ease of the

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