Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe review: Classic Kirby fun

Nintendo /

Title: Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Publisher: Nintendo
Platforms:  Nintendo Switch (reviewed on)
Release Date: February 24, 2023

I love Kirby games. It’s hard not to. Kirby has been iconic for 30 years now. The look, the aesthetic, even the sounds and music are stuck in our heads whether we know it or not. Hell, you couldn’t pay me enough money to silence my opinion that it wasn’t in Snoop’s head when he made “Drop it like it’s Hot”. For real, listen to how well this meshes.

There’s been a trend lately though, where Kirby games will release and they will go out of their way to reinvent the adorable pink wheel. Kirby and the Forgotten Land put Kirby in a 3D game that took place in a realistic apocalyptic wasteland leading up to a final boss that gave my kids nightmares for a good solid month.

But Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is a return to classic Kirby and I’m so thankful for it. Obviously, this is mostly because it is a remake of a Kirby game that released forthe Wii in 2011. It was also a game that a lot of people slept on because most of the people with Wiis in that era were only in it for motion control games and a steady trickle of Mario games (seriously, a LOT of Mario games came out in the Wii era, it’s crazy) so they missed this game.

Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe fixes up an already fairly terrific game with new features and a lot of additional fun stuff.

Kirby-Rt-DLDMagoland /

They’ve added a new place called Merry Magoland. Merry Magoland takes place in an alternate dimension in which a mustachioed Magolor has opened a theme park. One to four players can participate in really fun mini-games that put a lot of Mario Party games to shame. There’s even a return of the famous Kirby samurai game with a new mode that allows you to play versus 99 other people online at once.  100 pink fluffballs stand in a ring and have to hit the attack button as soon as the exclamation point appears and it tells you how many of the 99 opponents you were faster than by having you literally fly through them all.

There’s really no purpose here other to have fun, which is what Kirby should be about, but you also get weird masks you can bring into the story mode. These do nothing. But if you want to creep yourself out and wear a mask of Kirby’s creepy Marx character go for it.

Kirby-Rt-DLDMarx-Mask /

Some of the masks, like the aforementioned Marx, even change Kirby’s sounds. With Marx on Kirby now makes creepy chuckles. The masks from the Kirby 64 characters make the weird windy noises they made. Things like that. It’s just a minor aesthetic change that can add a silly layer to the game. I assure you you haven’t lived until you’ve seen a King Dedede rocking a fish mask.

As far as the main game is concerned, the primary campaign is Kirby at his purest. Every world is about 5 stages deep within a small stage select screen where you need to go through various doors. The stages are 2D and feature plenty of hidden rooms for those who appreciate the background details enough to notice the weird black space in the branches of a tree. And the powers you take from enemies are super fun and able to provide an entire unique moveset. Some of them, like the mallet and the stone powers, have brought in additional moves from previous games as well, fleshing out some of the more basic powers and making them more fun to use. In addition, two brand new powers were added: sand and mecha.

Sand allows Kirby to fight dirty by throwing sand at enemies faces, dropping big balls of sand from above, and, with a quick down-up motion, creating a massive sandcastle that absolutely destroys the first thing unfortunate enough to touch it.

Mecha adorns Kirby in a special helmet with various tools coming off the back. You can do crazy elemental punches, drop land mines all over the place and use a jetpack instead of floating.

Both are super fun.

You can also play the game with up to four players which is an absolute blast for all involved. Instead of just being different Kirbys, the additional players can take control of Bandana Waddle Dee (who Hal REALLY wants to make a character), King Dedede, and Meta Knight. One of the best things about this is that when they get a power, it effects their moveset instead of making every power just work like Kirby’s so it adds some fun surprises to the game.

Kirby-Rt-DLD4-Player /

The multiplayer is great, especially if you’re a parent and you’re just tagging along with your kids on their individual play through to spend some time with them. If you’ve beaten the game already, getting to play with a different move set absolutely breaks up the monotony.

After you beat the main game you also unlock a secondary game entitled Magolor Epilogue: The Interdimensional Traveler. This is a cool secondary mode in which you play as Magolor completely stripped of his powers. Now, monochromatic and weary you have to make your way through stages with limited abilities. As you make your way through though, you start gaining the power to give yourself small upgrades, getting some of your powers back at a time.

There’s a surprising amount to do in this game with constant unlocks and game modes to keep you running back in, including an extra harder mode and a boss battle Arena.

As a Kirby game it’s definitely a lot easier than the other Nintendo mainstays, even easier than Mario, but that’s fine. That’s where Kirby should be. My kids, ages 7 and 9, have been playing it and being able to tear through a game with only minor difficulty has made them exceptionally happy. And that’s what Kirby should be for, a fun time with no stress.

Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe (Nintendo Switch) Score: 9/10

Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe offers the classic 2D Kirby experience: simple platforming, plenty of secrets, and fun power ups with a variety of different moves. The inclusion of new modes and new powerups give even players who played the original on the Wii something new to discover and play with.

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.