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Kirby's Return to Dream Land - Wii Review

Game Info
Kirby's Return to Dream Land

Wii | Nintendo / HAL Laboratory | 1-4 Players (co-operative play) | Out Now
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote (sideways)
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21st December 2011, By Patrick

Kirby's Return to Dream Land
has had a very abnormal development cycle. It was originally announced as a GameCube title, known in Japan as Hoshi no Kirby. Since then, it went under various complete transformations, trying out different camera angles, art styles, and gameplay mechanics, frequently appearing on Nintendo's list of upcoming titles and teasing gamers. Finally, at E3 2011, we saw tangible proof that the game still existed under the title Kirby Wii, and now, after all this time, the game has released under the final title, Kirby's Return to Dream Land. Oh, and what a glorious return it is!

    Return to Dream Land is the first traditional Kirby on a home console since Kirby 64, and it is clear that Nintendo did not forget the traditional Kirby formula. This game has everything you could want; floating, sucking up enemies and copying their abilities, super abilities, mini-games, and more. In a traditional Kirby game? It's here.

As far as story goes, like most Kirby games, you won't really be getting much. A character named Magalor has a spaceship that crashes, and you, King DeDeDe, Meta Knight, and a Waddle Dee decide to help him gather the parts. That's it, really. It's a Kirby game, after all. On the other hand, the lack of depth and exposition means that you can jump straight into the gameplay, which is the point of this game.

    The focus on gameplay and fun first, and everything else second is my favourite thing about Return to Dream Land. The art style looks lovely, the music is pleasant and bouncy (albeit not as memorable as Kirby music usually is), but the only thing that seems to have been on HAL Laboratory's mind is that the player enjoys their experience, and this pays off in spades.

The controls are tight, with the player(s) holding the Wii Remote sideways. Pressing Left or Right twice makes you run, and the 2 Button allows you to jump indefinitely. The 1 Button causes Kirby to suck or use his special ability (if he has one), or have the other three characters use their weapons. Shaking the Wii Remote up and down while you hold 1 (which feels very natural, just like in
New Super Mario Bros. Wii) allows you to Super Inhale, which sucks up enemies all around you, and large obstacles so that you can spit out a massive star to do even MORE damage.

    As KnucklesSonic8 mentioned in his impressions article, Super Abilities are "really sweet!"; watching a little pink ball of fluff gain control of a giant sword, massive fires, and more, then wreaking havoc upon the stage is brilliant -- especially in the game's multiplayer component. The game even occasionally goes into a small bit of slow-motion (or slowdown if you see the glass as half-empty) as you destroy the environment, which regardless of your theory of why it's present, adds to the effect even more.

The multiplayer itself is a drop-in/drop-out co-operative system that supports up to four players, and it could not be any more simple. If you want to start playing, simply pick up the controller. Need to leave for whatever reason? As long as someone's still playing, you can stop right away. The game seems to work the best when played with one or two players, but if you have up to four, the game will still be extremely enjoyable. One concern that you might have is that if there is a second player, they are locked as playing as a specific character, or even a non-Kirby character; rest assured, 2P, 3P and 4P have full control over what character they play, with a different-coloured Kirby as an option.

    The game could probably be rushed and be completed in 4-6 hours, but that is definitely not the point of the game. Each level in the game is carefully and delicately crafted so that there is always something to do. There is a ranking system in place as always to grade you based on how well you completed the level. There are two different mini-games that, while not as great as some of the mini-games in other Kirby games, will extend the longevity of the lifespan. I have put in over 18 hours into the game and I am not yet satisfied, so obviously the game will last you for quite some time.

    Overall, there truly is not much to say about the game beyond the fact that this is Kirby in his prime. Return to Dream Land might even be the best console Kirby, if not one of the best Kirby games ever -- something that seems to be a trend this year
. If you are a fan of Kirby, a fan of 2D platformers, a fan of co-op gameplay, or just a fan of feeling happy in general, you need to play Kirby's Return to Dream Land.

29/30 - Excellent

Gameplay 10/10 - Kirby in his prime, tight controls, levels carefully crafted, Super Abilities a blast, multiplayer works great and is highly fun
Presentation 9/10 -  Colourful visuals create a beautiful, vibrant experience, music not as catchy as usual, whole experience leaves you feeling good
Enjoyment 5/5 - Both single and multiplayer extremely enjoyable, just being around the game puts you in a good mood, fun for everyone
Extra Content 5/5 - Tons to do in each level, game very long if you're willing to do all it has to offer, two minigames add further longevity

Equivalent to a score of 97% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System

Review by Patrick

Kirby's Return to Dream Land
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