Kirby’s Return To Dreamland is possibly the easiest game I’ve played in my entire life. Usually this is a bad thing, but in this title’s case, it’s simplicity and ease actually works in its favour.
The game’s levels are varied and extremely long. Early stages are very easy, but towards the end of the game, the difficulty ramps up significantly (I found the final boss insanely difficult). You don’t have to really try very hard to make it to the end of every level and surprisingly I actually enjoyed this. Kirby’s Return To Dreamland is the kind of game that’s a ton of fun after a rough day at the office or school because in Dream Land, Kirby is is almost invincible.
There’s not much of a plot this time around, but story has never been the main draw of Kirby titles. Essentially it boils down to this: an alien has crash landed in Dreamland and needs to find parts for his spaceship in order to make his way home. Since you’re a lovable pink fluff ball, you and your equally cute friends decide to aide this alien in his quest to return home.
In general, Kirby’s Return To Dreamland acts as a great introduction to classic platforming gameplay and is a complete return to the franchise’s roots, throwing in a number of nostalgic touches like familiar enemies and bosses (remember the tree that shoots apples?). This makes the title perfectly suited for young children.
Its colourful art design and generally forgiving nature is beyond child friendly. If you’re running along and miscalculate a jump, don’t worry, just suck in some air and float to safety. It’s also next to impossible to empty your health bar and die in the game, at least not until the later levels. Graphically, it is extremely impressive and at times the art direction looks almost hand painted. This isn’t an easy feat, especially not on the relatively underpowered Wii.
It also features a great co-op mode. The second player can either play as a Kirby clone or one of a selection of four other secondary characters. The strangest of these co-op characters is King Deedeedee. He’s usually the main enemy in the Kirby franchise and now suddenly he’s your best friend. How on earth did that happen? The best part of Return To Kirby’s Dreamland’s co-op mode is the fact that you can move through your partner’s character. This was a huge issue in New Super Mario Bros, I could not stand playing the game with my girlfriend. She constantly caused me to fall to my death.
However, experienced players may become bored with Kirby’s latest adventure. Floating through almost every level with relative ease is a definitive possibility for anyone with experience with the Kirby franchise, even just generic platforming games in general. If you’re playing cooperatively with a friend, Kirby’s Return To Dreamland becomes insanely easy.
For the challenge seeking gamer, there are much more difficult special zones located in each level and collectable gears. Some of the gears are insanely difficult to retrieve, requiring specific powerup types and a fair amount of ingenuity. Unlike collectables in some games, these gears actually have a purpose. They allow you to unlock various mini-games and timed stages. My favourite mini-game was the Ninja Dojo star throwing challenge; it’s simple yet addictive and is a welcome change of pace.
The Kirby formula is still fun, sucking up enemies and stealing their abilities is a blast. The inclusion of new super attacks is a little over the top though; they pretty much destroy everything on the screen in one attack. But, it’s pretty satisfying to obliterate every single enemy in the area. To me, Kirby has always been a b-list Nintendo character. I’m not sure why I feel like this, but I think it probably has something to do with the series’ strange enemies. Many of them seem like generic knock offs of Mario characters. A mummified floating monster that stops moving when you look at it? I thought that was called a Boo.
Kirby’s Return To Dreamland is a great game and there’s a whole lot of fun to be had in it, especially if you’re playing with a few friends. The problem is, most gamers will find it far to simple and easy. Of course, there’s ways to make the game more challenging, like collecting the gears strewn throughout the relatively short game’s levels, but that doesn’t adequately make up for how easy it is.
Overall Score: 7/10
Recommendation: Buy it! (but only if you’re a fan of the Kirby franchise)
-It’s a classic Kirby sidescroller
-It doesn’t bring a lot of new features to the series
-Great introduction to platformers and great for children
-The graphics are eye catching, colourful and downright beautiful
-It’s too easy for most gamers out there
-It’s a relatively short game and can be finished in a few hours