Quick Info on Kirby’s Return to Dream Land:
Console – Wii (re-released digitally on Wii U, unchanged)
Release Year – 2005
Metacritic Score – 77
Time it took to beat – ~7h
Now, this was fun! Around E3 I got really busy and couldn’t really play many games, and then after that I had the sudden whim of trying to freelance write again, and that combined by getting distracted by Steam Summer Sale titles I’m back to business. Mostly. My day job also got rather stressful, so I needed something easier and just… happier to play than most of the games on my list. So I started up Kirby’s Return to Dream Land!
Like any good Kirby game, it’s bright, colorful, and has a sweet little story that really doesn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things. You also have to collect little doo-dads that may or not unlock a special true ending if you collect them all (spoiler alert: The doo-dads unlock an Extra Mode which is basically a harder mode of the game). Also thankfully, these McGuffins aren’t too hard to collect most of as along as you’re observant and explore, which is good considering sometimes it can hard to know what you need to do and when in some of the previous titles. It’s essentially a Kirby game (and not a weird Kirby game like Rainbow Curse or Mass Attack, a… normal one), and that’s exactly what I came here for.
Return to Dream Land actually does emphasize multiplayer play, with easy drop-in drop out co-op and the plot’s emphasis on this being about all three of the series’ most popular characters… and Waddle Dee. I did not get a chance to try any multiplayer, but I imagine it’s the same as any platformer that has the option and makes the games both easier and harder at the same time… easier in that it would be far faster to wipe out mid- and end-bosses, but harder in areas that require speed and precision like auto scrolling areas.
I wish I could elaborate more on the games but… it’s Kirby. It’s a classic Kirby game with classic levels and it’s generally easy with some harder bits here and there (that are generally optional like the auto scrolling areas). I really enjoyed the Super Abilities and how it helped spice up the levels… and how the late levels featuring them required a bit of thought and puzzle solving compared to just mashing the 1 button regularly (I was playing on the Wii Remote). I prefer Planet Robobot to Return to Dream Land but that’s almost an unfair comparison to make… having played both, it’s clear Return to Dream Land laid the foundation for Planet Robobot to use that formula and really change things up with the robo-suit. I have to say I really enjoyed Return to Dream Land more than I thought I would though… I was worried it might be like too many other Kirby titles and their small, yet irritating issues (McGuffins are too hard to get, game is too long, game requires specific thought to be optional McGuffins to access the final level). I know 100%ing the game would be less than an easy romp, especially with the Extra Mode ramping up the entire campaign’s difficulty, but that’s not usually something I do for games and it’s great there’s so much extra content for those that want more.
So if you’re looking for a Kirby fix, I’d recommend grabbing this if you have a Wii or Wii U. The digital Wii U version is quite a bit cheaper than a physical copy, just a heads up on that.
As for other challenge games I’m working on a long one with Dragon Quest VII right now and getting in sessions of Cave Story+, but freelance work ramped up recently and it may be a while before I can beat either. Until next time!