Some time ago, we reviewed Kirby’s Epic Yarn, which was decidedly not-epic for dads to play. With a no-death system and non-traditional Kirby play, it left father-fans of the franchise wanting a real Kirby experience to share with their kids.
That’s why I’m happy to announce that Kirby’s Return to Dream Land is nothing like Epic Yarn – and that’s a good thing for you dads. As well, kids (let’s say kindergarten to tweens) will get more of a kick out of the risk-vs-reward gameplay moreso than the all-rewards gameplay of Epic Yarn. There’s not too much risk, but I’m pleased to report that you CAN die in Kirby’s Return to Dream Land, but a little saddened to report that you might not ever taste that bitter death because the game’s so easy. More on that later.
Surprisingly enough, I can’t remember the last time I played a proper Kirby console game, aside from Epic Yarn – which was not a “proper” Kirby game at all. In the meantime, I’d played all sorts of handheld iterations of the franchise and enjoyed them all. Humorously enough (and I’m talkin’ gamer humor, not real, actual humor), Kirby’s Return to Dream Land was supposed to be released for the GameCube in 2005, but then got pushed back to the Wii. It was then put on hold in favor of Epic Yarn (good call, guys), yadda yadda yadda, and here we are.
Kirby’s Return to Dream Land is by no means a hard game, but it’s classic Kirby franchise gameplay, which will entertain you and your little dudes and dudettes for a good amount of time, as long as you don’t power through the game on your own – and if you do, do it on your own profile, dad!
The game is laid out like most of the previous Kirby games – with an “overworld” where you move from stage to stage, and 2.5D side-scrolling stages. You, thank god, inhale enemies and take on their powers. You’ve got a lot of choices as to which powers you’d like to use to beat levels, so if you like to be sword-Kirby or fireball-Kirby, you can use them as long as the game will let you, or until you need to advance with a specific ability.
You’ll use the controller “classic” style, with it held sideways. This might not thrill younger players who love to waggle and point, but it thrills me, a guy that grew up on a D-pad and face buttons.
There are also super abilities in the game – which are generally timed and have bigger effects than the smaller stuff. For example, you can use a giant (and I mean giant) “ultra-sword” to cleave through enemies and parts of the landscape.
The story, just in case you’re one of those “what’s my motivation” types, is that a UFO has crashed on Planet Pop Star and its pieces have been scattered across the land. Since Kirby’s a hell of a guy (or gal), he’s taken it upon himself to find all of the pieces of the ship and return them to the alien. As you know, you’ll have to move through levels, collecting things (in this case, energy spheres and gears), taking on enemies’ abilities to advance. Also in this game is the ability to play multiplayer – much like New Super Mario Bros. Wii from 2009. In fact, this game is reminiscent of NSMB Wii‘s sentimen