Platformer Review

Kirby’s Return To Dream Land Deluxe – Review

The resistant pink blob is back once again with Kirby’s Return To Dream Land Deluxe! Having seen plenty of outings this generation such as Kirby and The Forgotten Land and Kirby’s Dream Buffet, this latest title is just further proof that you cannot derail the Kirby train, and with great reason why!

Imma Get That There Kirbeh!

Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe sees our titular character enjoying a nice peaceful life on Planet Popstar alongside friends and frenemies Bandana Waddle-Dee, Meta King, and King Dedede. That is until the peace is disturbed by a spaceship crashing onto the planet. When investigating, the cast meets Magolor who comes from the far reaches of space. With their spaceship broken into several key pieces, Kirby and Co offer their assistance in exploring Planet Popstar to find the pieces and get Magolor home.

This title is very much a “Kirby” title. There isn’t a whole lot in terms of cutscenes or character development via dialogue, but you do get a few cutscenes typically before a boss fight or each time you bring a ship piece back to Magolor.

Kirby is often aimed at younger players and the lack of dialogue and cutscenes make this quite apparent. You’re not going to get more “lore” here, though I do believe Kirby has some rather interesting story quirks throughout the series. The lack of downtime really plays into its audience, keeping the action and fun flowing without being brought down with lengthy speeches and unskippable cutscenes.

Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe - Cutscene

New Money For Old Rope

Naturally, when it comes to everyone’s favorite hungry pink blob, the gameplay is over half of the reason people turn up. There is a good reason why Nintendo has chosen to revisit Kirby’s Return To Dream Land (also known as Kirby’s Adventure Wii in its European release). 

Unlike the previous release Kirby and The Forgotten Land, Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is a 2D platformer. You go from left to right until you find the end of the stage, collecting stars and 1-ups along the way as is standard. Where Kirby stands out is the ability to devour everything in your way and to copy special abilities. This comes in various forms, such as being able to throw bombs should you eat an enemy that throws bombs or wielding a sword that looks very much like the Master Sword from Zelda if you chomp down on a foe with a sword.

Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe - Ultra Sword

Copy and Paste

Without the Copy ability, Kirby would be a very bare-bones platformer. Kirby has the ability to fly, as does Meta Knight meaning most platforming sections are moot unless you’re playing as Bandana Waddle-Dee in the multiplayer modes. The Copy ability adds a lot of diversity in the way you tackle the levels. Simple puzzles such as blocks on fire require you to gain a “Freeze” ability to progress or open up a secret area to find one of the game’s many hidden tickets or cogs, rewarding players for exploration and experimentation. It also helps the Copy abilities are just so darn fun! Special shoutout to the new Mech ability which brings back memories of the 3DS game, Kirby Planet Robobot!

The game is divided up into several “levels” which are then split into 5 stages, culminating in a boss battle at the last one. Each level follows a theme such as a grass area, a desert area, and everyone’s favorite the water stages. As this is a Kirby platformer, you can expect to see the same bosses long-time fans have been fighting since the early 90s. Yes, Whispy Woods is back. While they all have a few new tricks, you won’t be getting stuck on them, especially if you make good use of the Copy system.

Throughout the stages, you can collect a certain amount of “Cogs”. These are usually hidden off of the beaten path, in secret challenge areas, and held captive by a sub-boss that repeats far too many times with only slight variation to its attacks or the arena you fight it in. These Cogs unlock areas on Magolor’s ship with training rooms for the Copy Abilities and special 1-player challenge stages to test your Kirby abilities.

Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe - Beach

What Makes It Deluxe?

Another thing you can find in stages are tickets for one of the main additions to this new version of Kirby’s Return to Dream Land, Merry Magoland. This is a theme park area, separate from the main game. Here you can find a selection of mini-games to compete at, either against the A.I., another player in couch multiplayer, or just to show off for the online leaderboards. 

While the mini-games are a fantastic addition, they won’t hold your attention for too long as is their nature. One I’d like to highlight is Kirby on the Draw. It’s a fantastic “press the button quickest” mode with Kirby looking like the most adorable samurai this side of Like A Dragon: Ishin! Another great one is a top-down shooter, with the look and feel of Hudson Soft’s iconic Bomberman series. If you are familiar with previous Kirby games, you’ll have come across the majority of these mini-games in previous titles. 

The final main addition to the game is the new Epilogue campaign where the action swaps from Kirby and Co to Magolor. they have to explore “Another Dimension” to gain enough power to return home. It’s a nice addition and adds even more playtime and challenge to the game, but I’ll refrain from saying too much about this mode – it’s a bit of a spoiler. 

Other tweaks to the game include the ability to carry items with you through a stage such as additional health to top you up, the previously mentioned new copy abilities, emotes for the Fortnite generation, and a new “Easier” mode making the game more accessible than ever.

A Kirby For Everyone

As mentioned Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe has a multiplayer option. It supports up to 4 players with drop-in and drop-out conveniently letting anyone just come in and pick up the game for a level or two. his has you playing as either a Kirby clone, King Dedede, Meta Knight, or Bandana Waddle-Dee. Other than Kirby, none of them have the “Copy” ability and one cannot fly. If like me you have younger children, you can give yourself a challenge as Bandana Waddle-Dee, while your younger version runs around Planet Popstar with the power of a hungry tactical nuke!

You can pass health onto characters who may need it simply by running into them and you can also piggyback for tougher areas, helpfully letting you assist other players. As fun as the game is in single-player, the chaos on screen with another 3 players is where Kirby’s Return To Dream Land Deluxe truly shines. While I didn’t have the chance to get a full 4 player run due to the lack of online multiplayer, I did have 3 players at one time and Kirby has never been so fun and stressful in equal measure!

Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe looks and feels like a much-enhanced remake of Kirby’s Adventure. It takes the best of Kirby games of old to create a really fun and charming experience but can feel slightly stifled when compared to Kirby and The Forgotten Land which in my opinion moved the series further. It doesn’t do anything previous titles haven’t already beaten into the ground. Simply put, Kirby’s Return To Dream Land is your usual order at a restaurant; you know what you’re getting. It’s not exotic rather it’s a familiar warm hug. 

All The Sights and Sounds of Whispy Woods

Visually Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe has seen a cel-shaded change to the visuals which works brilliantly when the game is in motion. Screenshots don’t do it justice, and I feel that when the game isn’t in motion you can somewhat see the age and limitations of the original game creeping through its new colorful and cartoony facelift.

Kirby is known for its bright, cutesy art direction, and Return to Dream Land Deluxe nails it again, emulating that feeling of the original NES and GameBoy titles but with more modern bells and whistles rather than the gritty at odds style of The Forgotten Land. It’s very visually appealing and the use of colors pop, particularly when seen on an OLED screen. Don’t be thinking it’s a slouch docked though. It still looks like an absolute “Dreamland” with that trademark Nintendo charm about it.

Performance is smooth throughout running at 60fps with no frame dips whether handheld or docked, unlikely the sometimes shaky performance of Forgotten Land, which ran at a mostly stable 30FPS. This likely comes from the fact it’s an enhanced port of a title that ran pretty well already on the original hardware.

The music in Kirby is always sickeningly cute and tends to stick with you long after you have put the game down — this one is no different. Featuring a mix of new and original tracks, it sounds crisp on the Nintendo Switch. There’s no voice acting; we don’t need a situation like Kirby: Right Back At Ya! But you do have all the usual sound effects and noises that only our loveable Pink Blob can produce. 


Kirby’s Return To Dream Land Deluxe feels like a comfortable game. Offering plenty of additional content for anyone who has played the original release, it’s a mighty fine time for Kirby fans new and old alike. This is the best 2D Kirby game available on the Nintendo Switch, even if it doesn’t quite match the originality of Kirby Planet Robobot from the Nintendo 3DS. It’s a great title for families and provides that lovely little dopamine hit that the series is famous for. Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is a brilliant break from the gritty world of first-person shooters, tactical RPGs, and fighting games. 


Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Purchase: Nintendo Store

If you enjoy platformers, then perhaps you’d like our review for Kirby and the Forgotten Land or Metroid Dread.

Many thanks go to Nintendo for a Nintendo Switch review code for this title.

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