Nintendo has a tricky job to do with Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe. Nintendo Switch’s next release revives a Kirby entry from 2011 that was quite fan-favorite at the time, but will launch in the shadow of last year’s best pink puffball adventure, Kirby and the Forgotten Land . Although a wave of love for Kirby should help Back to dreamland getting extra eyes will require a little more than visually retouching an old platformer to fully capitalize on this success.
The good news is that developer Hal Laboratories seems up to the task. I saw about 30 minutes of gameplay from Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe, showing some of the new features of the re-release. Although its base platform remains unchanged, presenting itself as a return to form for the series, its improvements made me happy to dive back into Dream Land – especially once I saw Kirby’s new mech suit in action. . Although I’m more interested in some genre experiments here that see Hal testing out promising new 2D platforming ideas in a safe package.
Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe know if you played the original version or not. It’s a simple 2D Kirby game where players inhale enemies, gain copy abilities, and collect a whole bunch of stuff. The added twist in the Wii era was that it featured four-player co-op, which returns here, although it’s not as much of a special selling point in 2023 as it was in 2011. There are a few key new additions though. , which should keep Kirby fans coming back.
For example, Luxury Dreamland introduces new copy capabilities into the fold. An all-new sand power will allow Kirby to blast enemies with sandcastles and dust tornadoes. While I didn’t see this in action during my demo, I did see what instantly became my favorite sight-only ability: Mecha Kirby. Remind Kirby’s Planet Robobot days, the puffball dresses in Gundam-like armor allowing it to shoot enemies with laser fire. Most copy abilities only give Kirby access to a few basic attacks, but Mecha is an entirely different game. I counted five pages of attacks listed in a menu, giving him nearly 20 moves in a single ability.
During the demo, I saw him fire basic forward blasts, upward arc missiles at an enemy, punch a boss with his fists, and unleash charge shots that change based on how long the button is pressed. attack is held down. All of this almost turns the platformer into another standalone mech platformer in a single capacity. It’s an exciting change, which I hope means that Hal is committed to making 2D Kirby games more mechanically complex in the future.
Other than that, the main adventure updates feel light. For younger players, there’s a new assist mode that will prevent players from falling into pits, double their health, and give them copy abilities during boss fights when needed. This should help to Luxury Dreamland a good option for any parent who wants to introduce their young children to another Kirby game after-forgotten land.
Apart from the main story, Luxury Dreamland expands the relatively short original game with new content. Merry Magoland is a new hub that is home to 10 multiplayer minigames from the Kirby series, including two brand new ones. This is a mini board game mode where players can earn stamps to complete challenges and purchase cosmetic masks. This gives the package an extra boost in multiplayer potential even though it probably won’t replace Mario Party.
The main board of the package, however, is Magolor Epilogue. The all-new story mode is a complete departure from the usual Kirby formula, in a way that almost reminds me of the Metroid Zero Mission bonus ending. The idea is for players to control campaign rival Magolor after his defeat by Kirby. When the story begins, Magolor has lost all of his powers except for a single jump and a gunshot. The ultimate goal is to regain all of his powers while navigating a new set of 2D platforming levels. After completing the first level, for example, Magolor regains the power to drop bombs by tapping and attacking.
The Epilogue is much more progression-focused than a typical Kirby game. By chaining together combos, players earn magic points which can be spent on buying and upgrading abilities. For example, some early upgrades extend the range of his blaster or increase his rate of fire. Considering that Kirby games are generally too lacking in the power curve, I’m excited to see how Hal Laboratories can stretch their 2D platforming legs and create a side story that stands on its own.
Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe will need this help given that the original game was a quick six hour adventure. Magolor Epilogue is expected to expand on this, as is the main campaign’s Extra mode, which acts as a harder replay with some levels remixed. Based on what I’ve seen so far, Hal makes the case for double dipping here by going the extra mile with new content. Although what excites me the most is how it seems the developer is using the release as a safe way to test out new platforming ideas. Whether Luxury Dreamland is a taste of what’s to come, we may soon have another reimagining of the series.
Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe will launch on February 24 on Nintendo Switch.
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