February 24, 2023
Is there anything comfier than jumping into a Kirby game? Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe may be a remake of an older game, but it certainly looks as good as new, and since I never played the original Wii game, it’s the perfect addition to my Switch library. But if you already played the original, is it worth getting again? Are the upgraded graphics, multiplayer subgames, and the new story Magolor’s Epilogue worth shelling out for Deluxe? Let’s jump in and find out.
Kirby’s Return to Dream Land for Wii was well received when it came out, and I believe Deluxe will be even more so. There’s the same story mode, of course, featuring an amazing graphical overhaul and two new copy abilities for Kirby: Mecha and Sand. Deluxe hasn’t just been given some higher-resolution textures: the entire game’s been given a full facelift. Everything looks like it was created just for the Switch; Kirby and friends’ designs have even been updated to keep them in line with their designs in Kirby and the Forgotten Land. On top of that, various gameplay and sound design tweaks have been added to make for a smoother and more modern experience. The levels are otherwise mostly unchanged though, so you’ll need to be aware that this is still very much a 2011 platform game, with all the good and bad that entails.
The platforming is extremely solid, it’s just nothing we haven’t seen before. The world themes are the usual forest, volcano, water, ice, and so on; and the gameplay does not much evolve from world 1 to world 8. It definitely gets progressively harder, but it doesn’t introduce any new platforming concepts. Kirby has always been a series designed for all skill levels; completing each level is not terribly difficult, and even finding all the energy spheres becomes trivial if you’re playing with friends. This is a feature rather than a design flaw, but it remains true that it’s not the most inventive nor unique of platformers.
That doesn’t stop it from being fun, but it limits the amount of time I can spend on a single Kirby session without feeling like I’m playing the same levels over again. That’s why Return to Dream Land is at its best with friends.
Playing with at least one other player cuts through any monotony you may begin to feel. Any fun I had going solo was doubled with every friend that joined in. The multiplayer characters — King Dedede, Meta Knight, and Waddle Dee — have their own move sets and each play quite differently, and Deluxe even introduces the option to play as a different coloured Kirby if you prefer. Not only does multiplayer make it a breeze to collect those harder energy spheres, but playing as Kirbys with different copy abilities makes levels a whirlwind of fire, ice, laser beams, swords, and bombs. The chaos can make things hard to follow onscreen, but there’s something entertaining about that, isn’t there?
Subgames have been added to Deluxe by way of Merry Magoland, a fun theme park managed by Manager Magolor. You and up to three friends can play a range of subgames from previous Kirby titles like Samurai Kirby, Ninja Dojo, and Crackity Hack. An all-new game, Magalor’s Tome Tracker, has been added as well. They all provide a quick few minutes of entertainment the same way a Mario Party minigame would; it’s a good break between levels. Playing the subgames will also reward you with dress-up masks which you can wear in either Merry Magoland or Story mode. There are heaps of these masks: Waddle Dee, Adeleine, and Whispy Woods are just some of the more than 50 masks there are to collect.
“Return to Dream Land Deluxe’s charm deserves to be shared.”
Whether it’s giving your buddies a little kiss to replenish their health or laughing at each other’s choice of dress-up mask, Return to Dream Land Deluxe’s charm deserves to be shared.
After completing the main story, a few extra modes become available. Extra mode, the harder version of the story levels and Arena mode, a boss rush challenge, both return from the original game, but there’s one more mode that’s sure to steal the show.
Magolor’s time to shine
The real draw for owners of the original with likely be the brand-new post-game mode Magolor’s Epilogue. It follows Magolor through four worlds and bosses as he gathers his strength and magical powers back.
These levels play similarly to Kirby’s levels, but with one marked difference: rather than finding hidden energy spheres, you’re aiming to get the highest score possible by stringing along attack combos as you complete the level. Most enemies don’t take more than a few hits to kill, so this is more about how quickly you can go from one enemy to the other, or how many you can catch with the same attack. At the start, you won’t be able to complete many combos, but upgrading Magolor’s abilities with increase his magic’s power and reach.
Magolor’s spread of magical abilities is surprisingly vast and incredibly fun to use. He starts out with a piddly magic attack and barely any jump ability, but you will soon be casting cool laser beams, fire attacks, and deadly spikes from the ground. You can upgrade all these abilities in any order, giving you some freedom of customisation according to which moves you like to use most.
You will likely finish Magolor’s Epilogue before you have maxed out all of Magolor’s spells, so this freedom of choice comes in very handy.
Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is stuffed to the brim with stuff to do, and I wasn’t even allowed to list some other stuff hidden in this game waiting for you to find. Merry Magoland and Magalor’s Epilogue brings an extra layer of replayability too, but if you plan to play solo it might not hold your interest as much as it would with some friends along.
- Updated graphics almost makes it feel like a brand new game
- Great to play as Magolor in Magolor's Epilogue
- New Merry Magoland adds more fun with friends
- New copy abilities add even more gameplay variety
- Not much staying power if you plan to play solo
- Those looking for complex platforming will be left wanting
Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe only improves on the original. It’s great to be able to play as Magolor in the new epilogue, which changes up the platforming gameplay simply but effectively. There’s even more fun to be had playing subgames in Merry Magoland with your friends. If you’re playing solo, there might not be as much to keep your attention, but it will still be a short and sweet adventure.