August 10, 2020

By JAKE DAVIDSON

Get ready for an adventure with Kirby that was 11 years in the making.

Kirby’s Return to Dreamland first started development in 2000, right after Kirby 64 was released. In 2006 the game was taken off the list of releases for the Nintendo GameCube. A year later, when most people were expecting it to be out on the Nintendo Wii, it again failed to appear. Finally on Oct. 24, 2011, the long awaited game hit the shelves and promptly flew off them.

The game opens with a spaceship crashing into the planet Pop Star. Kirby, Meta Knight, King Dedede and a waddle dee go to investigate the crash site. There they find Magolor, a resident from another dimension, out exploring the universe. He asks them to retrieve the pieces of his ship, the Lor Starcutter, that were scatted over the planet’s surface. Kirby is more than happy to help and sets off on his adventure.

Kirby’s friends only truly appear in the opening cutscene although they appear in co-op mode acting like a permanent form of one of Kirby’s abilities. Meta Knight is Sword, Dedede is Hammer and waddle dee is Spear. Kirby has also gained some new enemies to inhale and steal new powers from. Spear can go through walls and kill several enemies at the same time. Leaf allows you to hide behind a bush or summon a vortex of leaves to slice everything but your friends to pieces.

Super enemies who give enhanced powers when inhaled appear in certain levels. With Ultra Sword, Kirby summons one of several large weapons to slice ropes and any hapless creatures that are in the way. Snow Bowl turns Kirby into a ball of snow to roll over obstacles.

The visuals are beautiful. The designers clearly spent hours perfecting everything. Normal levels are usually very bright and colourful, with some of the enemies looking like a box of crayons exploded on them. The later levels are full of fire and machinery, which, while cartoonish, are very detailed down to the smallest crack and screw. The bonus areas are mostly grey and have odd backgrounds reminiscent of a whirlpool made of lines being sucked into a point of light.

Playing with your friends is exciting and enjoyable. Players can be one of Kirby’s friends or another differently coloured Kirby. Up to four players can work together to explore areas and crush e
nemies. Players can ride on another player’s back to form a totem pole if you have enough people. You can also perform a combination attack by holding down the correct button and releasing it in sync with your friends.

Kirby’s Return to Dreamland is something anyone who enjoys running, jumping and exploring-type games should play. It may have taken over a decade to be released but that time was spent making this a feast for the eyes and fun for anyone who picks up the controller. I give this game a 9.5 out of 10.

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