What to know about ‘Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe’ before it releases this month
A new mecha suit. A villain turned life-saving helper. Challenge modes and 10 minigames for up to four players.
That’s all coming in “Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe,” releasing Feb. 24. It’s the latest game starring the puffball hero and uncategorizable entity (who’s reportedly named after an American lawyer, no less!).
This new “Return to Dream Land,” rehauls the original 2011 Wii game for the Nintendo Switch. It introduces two abilities for Kirby — one that allows him to attack with an arm made of sand, another which equips him with robotic hands and a jet-pack.
But it’s the multiplayer I saw in the preview event that appeals to me most. I grew up playing Kirby games with my siblings, and now have had the pleasure of introducing the pink shapeshifter to my little nephew. Last year’s “Kirby and the Forgotten Land” featured a delightful two-player co-op accommodating enough to keep a six-year-old engaged. “Return to Dream Land Deluxe” supports up to four players, who can join in as differently-colored Kirbys (red, yellow, or blue), or play as other characters like Meta Knight, King Dedede, or Bandana Waddle Dee.
“Kirby” has always been more forgiving than Nintendo platformers like “Mario” or “Donkey Kong Country.” If you miss a jump, you can just tap the button again to float. If you tire of the Sword ability, you can easily switch to abilities ranging from Fire to Ice to Wind by inhaling another enemy. Every adversary is a potential power-up.
“Return to Dream Land Deluxe” pushes this generous design philosophy further. The remake includes a “Helper Magolor” mode that summons a benevolent version of the game’s villain. He’ll pick you up if you fall into a pit. He’ll drop food during boss battles to keep everyone nice and healthy. Most significantly, players get an extra life bar while “Helper Magolor” is active.
Notably, you can’t use “Helper Magolor” in the game’s tough “Extra” playthrough. “Kirby” games frequently provide additional challenges that unlock after finishing the main game, and “Return to Dream Land Deluxe” is no exception.
The new title continues another tradition: a suite of minigames to enjoy alongside the Story Mode. “Deluxe” has the most I’ve ever counted — 10 in total, with two that are completely new to the series. You can think of these like more elaborate “Mario Party” minigames: diverting enough to spend five or 10 minutes with at a time.
Nintendo told me that they’d release an eShop demo for “Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe” soon. Should it live up to past games, I have little doubt it’ll keep me and my nephew quite entertained.