Kirby’s Return to Dream Land

Kirby returns to his roots in this 3D platforming game
SeriousGamer - Staff Reviewer

Content at a glance:

Mild Cartoon Violence: Enemies can be swallowed and spit out, Kirby gains weapons with some abilities, enemies explode in starry bursts, bosses appear hurt, Kirby can be set on fire and eaten.

Destruction: Kirby can destroy envivronment with certain abilities, mini-game involves destroying robots.

Fantasy Magic: One of Kirby's abilities gives him a wand, plot involes magic items, final boss uses magic.

Ever wonder where your dreams come from? I’m not entirely sure myself, but I think we can assume that they don’t come from a star shaped planet floating somewhere out there. If that was the case, however, fans of one particular Nintendo franchise would be really happy because it would mean that Kirby is in fact real.

While Kirby may not be real, his series of video games certainly is, and it seems to be alive and well. Oh, yeah, he’s had some handheld games recently, but fans of the series, myself included, were probably all asking the same question: when is our favorite lump going to get a title back on a console? We hadn’t seen a traditional console game since Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards. Oh, there was Epic Yarn, but it wasn’t really the Kirby we all know and love. Well in October of 2011, we all got our dream in Kirby’s Return to Dream Land for the Nintendo Wii. And let me tell you, this game sucks…although in the Kirby franchise, that is actually a compliment.

Plot

Besides protecting everybody’s dreams and racing around, life has been pretty easy for Kirby. Things are pretty quiet on planet Pop Star, so Kirby sets about doing the one thing he specializes in: irritating his arch-enemy, King Dedede. I always wondered if they’d ever get over their squabble, but I guess not because Return to Dream Land opens with Kirby on the run from the king with a cake in hand. While fleeing with his sweet treat, Kirby happens to look up into the sky just in time to see a big spaceship (oddly resembling a sailboat) about to make a crash landing.

Kirby, along with Waddle Dee, Meta Knight, and King Dedede, decide to take a closer look (I guess the cake was quickly forgotten) at the ship, known as the Lor Starcutter. Inside, they meet a strange alien by the name of Magolor. Turns out five pieces of his ship are missing and all of his fuel cells are scattered around too. In short, he’s stranded. So, Kirby and his companions set off to repair the ship and get Magalor home.

Gameplay

Gameplay is very much like a standard platform game. If you’ve played any of the previous Kirby titles, you’ll have some idea of what to do. Levels consist of a number of stages that you unlock one at a time until you reach the boss stage. You hold the Wii Remote sideways, and use it like any other controller. Kirby can float, inhale and copy the abilities of certain enemies. What has changed a bit is that Kirby can now super-inhale, allowing him to suck up things that would normally be too big for him.

You can also find Super Copy Abilities that give Kirby’s powers a bit of a punch, though that is an understatement.

You’ll also want to keep an eye out for the Power Spheres, the fuel of the Lor Starcutter. Finding them will unlock special mini-games and free copy abilities inside the ship, which serves as a hub world.

Offensive Content

Mild Cartoon Violence

Kirby can inhale and swallow his enemies. He can also spit them out, although they take the form of stars when he does. Some of his copy abilities give him a weapon, like a sword or a whip (complete with Link and Indiana Jones hats). With the whip ability, Kirby can throw enemies around. In just about all cases, the enemy explodes in a burst of stars. Besides his copy abilities, Kirby can also find weapons in certain areas, like time bombs and small cannons. While you can use them on enemies, once again, they just explode in a stary burst.

One of Kirby’s Super Copy Abilities, the Monster Flame, can spurt some pretty big streams of fire. When used against one live obstacle, we see it turn black and then disintegrate. Speaking of fire, Kirby’s normal Fire copy lets you set Kirby himself on fire with the right button press. He’s shown among the flames, but he comes out unharmed afterwards.

The bosses do look a little beat up after you defeat them.

Kirby can also be eaten whole by certain enemies, but he’s never shown seriously harmed. If his heath depletes, he just falls off the screen.

Destruction

Kirby’s Super Copy Abilities give him a lot of bang. So much so that he can actually destroy portions of the environment in order to uncover secret areas.

One of the mini-games you can play has you shooting at a rampaging robot, and if you win the match, you’ll see the flaming pile of rubble left in the aftermath.

Fantasy Magic

One of Kirby’s copy abilities, Beam to be exact, gives him a wand of sorts that lets him shoot beams at enemies. It’s never really made clear if the wand is magic though. One of the bosses you meet resembles a genie, and he does conjure up a few things that he uses as weapons.

Part of the plot deals with a object that has magic powers, and it seems to transfer those powers to its wearer. The final boss also appears to use magic in the form of black energy balls and other such attacks to fight you. It also possesses an inanimate object in battle. The boss also disappears in magical bursts. It remains uncertain whether or not the object somehow possessed the final boss or not.

Positive Elements:

Kirby is a hero through and through. We all knew that, of course, but he shows it not just in big things. He doesn’t hesitate to help Magalor repair his ship, even though he hardly knows him. That says something about the little pink guy’s character. He later shows off more of that heroic side when his home is threatened. Arch-enemies are also willing to set aside their differences for the greater good.

Conclusions:

I had played Kirby before I even understood the idea of the games. To this day, I can fondly recall Kirby’s Dream Land as one of my earliest games. I’ve played most of them since then, all the way up to Kirby’s Air Ride for the GameCube. When Kirby disappeared from the platform front, needless to say, I was pretty disappointed.

Then this one came out. I was pretty excited when I heard about Return to Dream Land. I wondered if it might be as good as it’s old Game Boy namesake. Turns out it was even better. It’s been some time since Kirby appeared in a proper 3D game of his own, and I have to say, the looks alone are impressive. The plot wasn’t all that complicated, but Kirby games really weren’t know for that element. And it was every bit the sort of content we’ve come to expect from Pop Star’s little pink hero. For the discerning gamer, I can easily recommend this return.




Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.

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