The Dreamland saga of Kirby is probably the best-known aspect of the series. Although the first game in the Kirby series was Kirby’s Dreamland, many consider Kirby’s Nightmare in Dreamland to be the series’ magnum opus. Nightmare in Dreamland was a remake of Kirby’s Adventure for Game Boy Advance with graphic and sound enhancements.
It was a remake, but it was an excellent remake. Which is exactly what Dreamland Deluxe is. Though the story and general features are almost identical to the original, this remake of Return to Dreamland is outstanding. The movement is better on account of the user not using a Wii Remote, and the updated graphics and new copy abilities make this a thrilling play-through.
The Kirby series is taking a big step back into Nintendo’s spotlight since the masterpiece that is Forgotten Land, and they’re rolling the hits back out to remind us why we love that little pink puffball.
The story is pretty much as Kirby as a Kirby game gets. Magolor crashes on the Planet Popstar, ruining his interdimensional ship. Kirby, along with King DeDeDe, Meta Knight, and Bandana Waddle-Dee, agrees to help Magolor retrieve the missing parts of his ship.
I was ready to be disappointed by the story. As I reached the end, I had gone through a very standard and very dry Nintendo platformer setup, albeit with excellent gameplay. I thought to myself, “How is this Kirby game about to end when I haven’t fought some strange multidimensional deity yet?”
If you’re familiar with Kirby games, that may be a feeling you’re familiar with, and as usual, it doesn’t disappoint. While not as riveting or as complex as Forgotten Land, it certainly gets the job done.
The Graphics Are Great
There are clear roadblocks to having truly outstanding graphics on the Switch. It’s a tablet that can only display up to 720p or 1080 if you’re on a TV. But what developers have been able to produce with the console is impressive nonetheless. Games like Hollow Knight and Luigi’s Mansion 3 play to the system’s strengths, using a cartoon style to create striking imagery within the gameplay, and Kirby is no different.
The faux-3D and strong cartoon lines give the game a striking quality, almost like Borderlands. Except instead of psycho cannibals, it’s a little pink gumball.
Despite being a remake of a Wii installment to the franchise, Return to Dreamland Deluxe did provide something entirely unique to the Switch: new copy abilities. These are the Sand, Festival, and Mecha abilities. While all of them are cool, they don’t particularly add anything drastic to the game. For example, the sand ability is basically a nerfed version of the water ability, as it takes away the ability to extinguish fire.
The Festival is cool and very campy in a very Kirby way, but it’s also a 1-time use ability that will kill everything on screen, but do minimal damage to bosses. So, if you wanted to take a boss on without a copy ability but wanted a bit of a head start, this would be a solid option. Otherwise, just burn it as soon as you acquire it.
The Mecha provides
The Other Copy Abilities
A quick section on the already installed copy abilities is necessary here because it provides some of the most unique in-game mechanics seen in a Kirby installment. The whip ability, in particular, has many different inputs that do many different things. This makes the ability challenges, which we’ll get to later, all the more difficult.
The super abilities that you can acquire honestly make the game a bit too easy, but they do make it more fun as well. For example, it’s fun to be able to demolish walls and crush enemies with a hammer ten times as big as Kirby.
But overall, the unique mechanics of the copy abilities in this game provide the user much more variability and flexibility as Kirby than previous installments have.
The Minigames and Add-Ons
This game also has a large amount of minigames, including an entire “theme park” separate from the main story called Merry Magoland. In Merry Magoland, you can go through a number of fairly basic but fun minigames that you can play against computers or with up to 4 friends.
It’s definitely a nice little add-on, but overall the minigames are fairly banal. Compared to something like Mario Party, this isn’t up to snuff.
The game also features an “extra” mode, which is a harder version of the original storyline, which is much more fulfilling for those who play Kirby games for their difficulty, but still not as challenging as other installments.
Finally, there is an epilogue where the user plays as Magolor after Kirby has banished him and robbed him of the crown he desired the whole way through. In this epilogue, Magolor builds his magical power back up as you fight through hoards of Dreamland monsters.
It’s not particularly difficult and felt a little dull at times, but it provides a unique perspective to a Kirby game that isn’t seen much.
Something Kirby games always have, especially at the end, is an absurd level of difficulty at the end of the game, relative to the rest. The final boss fight is hard before you understand their movements and patterns. Even then, it’s hard to get hit. But this game lacked that. The final boss fight was undoubtedly more difficult than the others, but an average player could get it within five attempts.
I have to step out of the journalistic voice to tell you that it took me two days to beat the final Forgotten Land boss. That was because I didn’t know about stat boosts and storing extra health or the deep sleep ability, but nonetheless, it took me a long time. This boss was done in about 10 minutes. Once you understand Magolor’s rhythm and where his attacks are going, it isn’t difficult to do absurd amounts of damage very quickly.
Look overall, this is a fantastic game. The graphics are captivating, and the gameplay is fun and full of little puzzles for the user to figure out, and every level has its own unique challenges. Unfortunately, the issues with this game come in the form of the lack of difficulty and the weakness of the minigame section. Was this good? Absolutely, and Return to Dreamland was well worth a reboot. It was enough to hold us over for the next main installment and let’s cross our fingers that it’s a sequel to Forgotten Land.