Kirby's Return to Dreamland Deluxe
Kirby's Return to Dreamland Deluxe
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Kirby's Return to Dreamland Deluxe is an action platformer exclusively for the Nintendo Switch. This is the latest chapter in the Kirby franchise, which is a remastered version of a game originally released in 2011 for the Nintendo Wii. The game features Kirby, his friends King Dedede, Meta Knight, and Bandana Waddle Dee as they try to help Magolor, an alien whose ship has been broken into pieces. There's no inappropriate content to be found within the game. Kirby and his friends will use weapons like mallets, swords, laser blasts, and more to defeat enemies, but most defeated opponents vanish in a blast of light. Occasionally, some foes are tossed into the "screen" as a result of the use of a Super power. The game supports amiibo characters to provide characters with power ups and health items, which are sold separately.
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What’s It About?
KIRBY'S RETURN TO DREAMLAND DELUXE takes place on a relatively calm day on Planet Popstar, with Kirby and his friends King Dedede, Meta Knight, and Bandana Waddle Dee hanging out. Suddenly, a rift opens in the sky and a spaceship tumbles through, breaking into pieces that are scattered across the planet. Rushing to the crash site, the foursome discover that Magolor, an alien piloting the craft, has crashed to the ground and wants to find a way to get back home. It's up to Kirby and his friends to head out and use their weapons (or in Kirby's case, his ability to copy the powers of enemies) as they search for the missing pieces. Up to four players can hop into the or drop out of a game at any time, giving you the option to select at will which characters might be more effective for certain stages. For instance, you may want to have King Dedede's powerful mallet to break walls or Meta Knight's sword to cut through enemies. Kirby won't be left behind, though, because there are more than 20 different abilities available for him to use, and as he defeats glowing enemies scattered throughout different stages, he'll gain Super abilities for a limited amount of time, which are dramatically enhanced versions of these attacks that can clear the screen of opponents, and even uncover secret areas. As you move through each stage, you'll come across stars, which can be collected to earn extra lives, and cogs, which are only earned by clearing challenges in each stage. At the end of each level, players will also engage in a mini-game, where characters will be propelled on a trampoline towards the clouds, and the higher the character goes, they'll collect more stars and items. Players can also leave the adventure and go to Merry Magoland, an amusement park with mini-games that can be enjoyed, like shooting galleries, bumper cars, or egg catching games. There are 100 different "missions" that can be accomplished by playing these mini-games, which will earn stamps that can be redeemed for masks, which are cosmetic costumes for every character. Finally, Dream Land Deluxe also comes with the Magolor Epilogue and Arena, two areas that are opened up once you've completed the initial adventure with harder challenges. The Arena provides a challenge against the various bosses that you've defeated in previous stages, while the Epilogue is a separate adventure where the alien attempts to regain its power by fighting enemies in a severely weakened state. Can you help Kirby and his friends save the day?
Is It Any Good?
This adventure is enjoyable as a solo adventure, but it really takes off as a multiplayer matchup of chaos and co-operative fun. Diving into Kirby's Return to Dreamland Deluxe is an enjoyable experience, particularly if you haven't played the original version of the game from 2011. The gameplay is very accessible regardless of your skill level, and the option to have Magolor act as a helper to provide health and powers means that kids and new gamers alike can participate with experienced Kirby fans. Speaking of, the large number of powers for Kirby easily makes him more versatile than Dedede, Meta Knight, or Waddle Dee. In fact, the inclusion of the Super abilities tips the playing field fully in Kirby's favor since he can smash through environmental blocks and fling enemies out of his way "into" the game screen. Not all of these powers are equal – for instance, the enhanced version of the Sword and Beam are vastly better than many of the basic attacks, and the Sleep power is just awful. But figuring out which powers work better against certain bosses, or if they match your playstyle is part of the fun. This amusement is ramped up by adding three other people that can hop in or out at any time. The result is an amusing party game where players are fighting each other for power ups, health, or the finishing blow on an opponent, especially if everyone has chosen to play as four differently colored hues of Kirby.
Players will also find themselves entertained by the mini-games at Merry Magoland, where their reflexes will be tested in a range of mini-games. These can be amusing for a while, particularly at higher difficulty levels, where objects are moving at high rates of speed and you're frantically trying to shoot a target or avoid swallowing a bomb. All of your scores are redeemed for additional masks at the shop, which offer cosmetic pieces for your characters in the story mode. These are fine, but ultimately, not particularly deep, which, if anything, is probably the largest issue with Dreamland Deluxe – the gameplay is best done in bursts with friends rather than sitting down for a long play session. Stages frequently can be completed in a manner of minutes, and they're not overly challenging. Even Magolor's Epilogue, a section where you take on the role of the alien trying to regain his powers, barely scratches the surface. While the mechanics here revolve around making combos with attacks to earn points to help power Magolor up, his stages are easily half the size of the story missions, so you don't really get a chance to appreciate how different or unique the character is. That's not really an issue if you're willing to accept Dreamland Deluxe for what it is – a fun diversion best played with friends for small periods of time.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Kirby's Return to Dreamland Deluxe affected by the lack of blood and gore in the game? Is the violence acceptable because it's cartoonish and laughable, which is only intensified by the game's up to four player onscreen mayhem?
Do you feel the need to buy amiibo to access some of the hidden features of Kirby's Return to Dreamland Deluxe? Does the inclusion of this feature add to the gameplay, or is it simply being used to sell figurines?
- Platform: Nintendo Switch
- Pricing structure: Paid ($59.99)
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: Nintendo of America
- Release date: February 24, 2023
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Fantasy Violence
- Last updated: February 8, 2023
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