Kirby’s Return to Dreamland Deluxe Review – Immense Adventure Nostalgia

    Title: Kirby's Return to Dreamland Deluxe
    Developer: HAL Laboratory
    Release Date: February 24, 2023
    Reviewed On: Switch
    Publisher: Nintendo
    Genre: Action, Platformer

I have yet to meet one person in this world who hates Kirby. While you can hate on the games all you want, you can’t deny that the pink puffball is just an overload of cuteness. My first ever Kirby game was Return to Dreamland on the Wii, so I’m very excited to check out this remaster on the Nintendo Switch.

In Kirby’s Return to Dreamland Deluxe, while you are happily frolicking around in Planet Popstar, a ship known as the Lor Starcutter crashes into the planet. The crash caused all of the ship’s parts and its Energy Spheres to get scattered all across the realm. And Kirby, being the kind puffball that he is, agrees to help Magolor find all of his ship parts and Energy Spheres so that he can return home once more.

There’s not much I can say about the Story Mode itself, but the gameplay has been severely enhanced compared to the original. You have two new Copy Abilities, such as Sand and Mecha, and every single of the Copy Abilities have been updated to include additional attacks that debuted on games such as Kirby: Triple Deluxe.

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In the original Wii version, the Lor Starcutter had only two minigames that you could play with your friends, Ninja Dojo and Scope Shot. That has been increased by a staggering ten unique minigames, with lots of them being remastered versions from past games of the Kirby series. You can also play those minigames in the brand-new Merry Magoland.

Accessing Merry Magoland can be done at any time in the stage select by pressing X. There, you can play those 10 minigames I’ve mentioned, either alone or with friends in Multiplayer. You can also connect to the Internet and learn some…interesting trivia about everyone’s forays, including the amount of Waddle Dees everyone has “punished” so far. Thanks, Nintendo. I certainly needed to know that, I guess. Going online also allows you to play a special iteration of Samurai Kirby 100, where you go against players from around the world to see how fast you can tap A before anyone else.

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Moving on, I absolutely adored each and every single minigame, but my favorite by far has to be the newly added Magolor’s Tome Trackers, where you find as many  as possible within 60 seconds. It’s incredibly hectic, and as you complete each minigame’s stages, you’ll earn stamps which will grant you “souvenirs” that can be used in Story Mode, such as Energy Drinks that will refill your HP and Copy Abilities for when you need them. They are certainly a welcome addition.

Perhaps my only complaint, but one that is rather minor is that King Dedede’s design was updated to be more consistent with his Forgotten Land form, and let’s just say I didn’t like that redesign back then, as I preferred his rather goofy design from the original but I am willing to swallow that, if the reason they did so was to preserve a sort of continuity with the series. Another small detail is that the cel-shading art style does make a couple of the stages lose some of their uniqueness from the original Wii version, but the differences weren’t significant enough for me to notice.

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These definitely make this iteration of Dreamland Deluxe far easier than the original Wii release, and that is further enhanced by the fact you can enable a feature known as Magolor Helper, where the titular character will give you a tonic that gives you a second HP bar, as well as assistance when you fall on a pit. Of course, if you’re really seeking a challenge, then you also got Extra Mode, which limits your healing options, and halves your health for a bigger challenge, accessible after clearing the main story once.

I need to talk about this for a second: The original Wii version comes from a time where Brazilian Portuguese (my native language, for those unaware) translations of Nintendo’s mainline games was something inexistent. Still, Nintendo has been steadily bringing it to their latest releases, and I must say, seeing one of my childhood games finally translated to my language? Let’s just say it’s a beautiful thing to see, and I strongly hope Nintendo continues this trend.

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If you told me Kirby had gotten a Portuguese translation 10 years ago, I would’ve thought you were crazy.

Now let’s talk about the mode that also opens up after beating the Main Story mode in addition to the Extra Mode I mentioned earlier, which is a new epilogue featuring Magolor. The entire gameplay is rather unique when compared to what you’re probably used to in Kirby games, but instead of finding ship parts, your objective is to find the five Fruit Fragments, which will restore his magical abilities.

Doing so will give you Magic Power, and by defeating enemies in quick succession, you’ll accrue a combo, which will give you a bonus and will also influence your stage score at the end. These are required to upgrade his abilities, because well, Magolor isn’t capable of using any Copy Abilities, but your task is to still defeat the enemies and reach the goal.

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The entire epilogue overall only contains 20 levels, and they’re all relatively short, but it’s still challenging, especially the Boss Stages at the beginning when your abilities are underleveled. Tallying a proper combo might seem easy at first, but it’s especially hard on your first couple of tries if you don’t know the stage’s enemy layout well. Still, the story of this epilogue ties in nicely on what happened with Magolor after the events of the main story, establishing a proper sense of continuity to the other games in the series.


Kirby’s Dreamland Deluxe was already a charming title back on the Wii, but this updated release allows old fans a chance to return to Dreamland to discover updated features and new players an opportunity to play a standout entry in this series. This release presents many improvements and additional content creating a memorable experience for all who play, even if it isn’t as genre-defining as Forgotten Land.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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