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.
The Review (Giveaway at the bottom)
When my wife and I first let our son play Wii Music, he loved the fact that he could swing the controller and make his avatar play the piano. The controller, however, was towering out of his hands – and when I’d try to point to a button for him to press, he had to put down the nunchuk attachment and press the button with the other hand. Though he was just fine with the idea, I knew eventually, when he wasn’t just swinging his arms and making noise, he’d need either bigger hands or a smaller remote. My problem was then having to decide between expensive hand-transplant surgery for my son, or having to crack open a Wii remote and mod it to be shorter.
Or, I could just Google “mini wii remote”.
Sunflex had the answer: their snakebyte MiniMote, which is 25% smaller than Nintendo’s original remote. Sunflex’s remote can, according to their website, “be used by people with small hands and assures them the same control, comfort and game play as those with larger hands.” What a great idea – and thank god, I didn’t have to keep saving my pennies for my kid’s hand-transplant surgery.
I’m a fan of the Kirby franchise. I didn’t play the games “back in the day,” but rather, started playing them in college with the help of Funcoland‘s NES game section (in 2001, that was a total score). The simple platform action, coupled with the powerup-sucking mechanic did not suck. Years later, even DS releases such as Kirby Super Star Ultra and Kirby Squeak Squad held my attention and did moderately well with critics.
Kirby’s Epic Yarn is…well…different.
Initially intended to be a game for the character of Prince Fluff, Nintendo suggested (with the help of the Yakuza, I’m hoping) that developer Good-Feel make the game into a Kirby game. And when faced with the Yakuza, who ever declines?
Kirby’s Epic Yarn is not a bad game at all – it’s very well done. But despite the major game press giving it a resounding average of 90%, one can’t help but feel like Kirby’s Epic Yarn is lacking something.
If you’re 30-ish and had even a base-level interest in basketball in the early 90’s, you probably, like me, spent a lot of time screaming at the top of your lungs 1 inch from your friend’s face after dunking on him in NBA Jam Tournament Edition. Good news for you and your sports aggression – NBA Jam is back, and although you’ve grown up, the game hasn’t…and that’s a good thing.
A great thing, actually, as NBA Jam on the Wii serves as a great game for you and your budding basketball fan to play together. It’s a – dare I say – “charming” mix of the old school Jam you loved, with a couple new things to keep your youngin engaged when you’re not there screaming “BOOMSHAKALAKA” 1 inch from his face.
THQ’s anticipated platform for artists big and small is set for a November release, and I’ve yet to find a person that’s not totally excited. Take a moment and try to remember how rad that one kid in your neighborhood was when he got the Vtech Video Painter – that’s how your kid is going to be when he gets the uDraw. I mean, not that we’re espousing the link between material possessions and popularity. Okay, maybe a little.
Video after the break