Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is an enhanced blend of a remaster and a remake of the Nintendo Wii game Kirby’s Return to Dream Land. I got into the Kirby games through Kirby Triple Deluxe on Nintendo 3DS, and ended up adoring Kirby Planet Robobot. When I first played Kirby Star Allies on Switch, I was very let down. Since then, I didn’t bother much with the series until Kirby and the Forgotten Land last year ended up being one the best games of the year. When Nintendo announced Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe, I was curious about it, and hoped it would satiate my desire for a quality 2D Kirby game. Having now played it, I’m glad that Nintendo and HAL Laboratory brought it to Switch, because I had never played it before. For my Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe Review, I will cover the game from a newcomer’s perspective.
If you’ve never played a Kirby game before, Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is a 2.5D action platformer where you control Kirby. Kirby inhales and copies enemy abilities that help with defeating enemies, solving very light puzzles, platforming, and boss battles. Kirby also inhales various things from the environment to use as projectiles on enemies or to clear out obstacles to collect items. The levels in Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe are gorgeous, and full of items that heal you or collectibles you need. While you could just make a beeline for the end, you’d be doing yourself a disservice with how much care has gone into hiding things here.
Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe actually has a story that follows a spaceship that crash landed onto your home planet. As Kirby, your aim in the various stages is to collect specific ship pieces and other items to help Magalor get back home. While I didn’t play the original Wii game, Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe adds a new epilogue that is a few hours long, and quite great. I hadn’t looked into too much of what was new in Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe, but the developers have done a great job in making this package offer a lot of quality content through the main story, mini-games, collectibles, cosmetics, more accessibility, the new epilogue, and more.
Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is a lot more than a bare-bones port as some suspected initially, and the additions and improvements make it feel like a perfect follow-up to Kirby Triple Deluxe and Kirby Planet Robobot, which feels weird as this game came out before those did originally. My point here is that I love the trio of games, and hope we eventually see Triple Deluxe and Planet Robobot brought over to a modern Nintendo platform in the future.
Barring the new epilogue, Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe also adds new copy abilities. Two are new to the series while one is from Kirby Star Allies. The new abilities are lovely, and they are integrated into the main story so they fit in perfectly. While Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is a very easy game, there is a new helper option to make things even easier.
When Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury released, you could play Bowser’s Fury directly from the menu. In Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe, you can only play the epilogue once you’ve beaten the main story. This wasn’t an issue for me as I’d never played it before, but those who have already played it and want to just get to the epilogue will need to spend time and clear the story first.
I didn’t dabble much with the mini-games in the 3DS Kirby releases, but most of the ones included in this Switch release are quite good. I’d say they add up to be a nice mini-game collection that could be sold for $20 on its own on the eShop given how much fun they are with multiple difficulty options. You can sample these from early on through Merry Magoland despite them unlocking in the story through progression. Egg Catcher, Samurai Kirby, Samurai Kirby 100, Ninja Dojo, and Magalor’s Tome Trackers are highlights.
Visually, I’m very pleased with how the stages look and run in Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe. Targeting 60fps is also welcome after how lacking Kirby Star Allies felt when it launched a few years ago. Barring the colorful visuals that shine on the OLED display in handheld mode, I wanted to highlight how good the interfaces are in Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe. A lot of care has gone into making everything fit the aesthetic and look good overall. On the audio side, Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe has delivered. Kirby games almost always have amazing music. Even the games I don’t care much for have soundtracks worth checking out. I love the music and sound design in Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe.
Despite the visual upgrade compared to the original going by comparisons I’ve seen on YouTube, Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe has a few technical shortcomings. The core stages look and feel great, but the Merry Magoland location and some other non-core stages feel sluggish. Splatoon 2 and 3 swap to higher resolution for a 30fps target in the hub while targeting 60fps during gameplay at a lower resolution. The 30fps portions of Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe are lacking because they even look a bit rough with no anti-aliasing. Barring that, some of the load times are a bit too long.
So does Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe offer any sort of challenge over the recent games? It does not, but Kirby games are meant to be accessible and easy. My only complaint outside of the few technical issues with the game itself, is the lack of online multiplayer support. The mini-games are lovely and it would’ve been amazing to play them and the campaign stages online with friends. Right now, Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is limited to local multiplayer.
If you got into the series recently through Kirby and the Forgotten Land, Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is definitely worth getting if you’re ok with a traditional Kirby game. It is a big step up from Kirby Star Allies, and I’d recommend checking out the demo at least to see how you find the gameplay. If you’ve already played the Wii version, this release might be a harder sell unless you’re ok paying full price to have it on Switch with extras. As a newcomer to Kirby’s Return to Dream Land, Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe delivered, and I hope we don’t need to wait too long for the next Kirby game on Switch.