Review by ChronoCactaur
"The definitive Kirby experience on Wii, 6 years later"
Kirby's Adventure was announced for the GameCube back in E3 2005. In a recent Iwata Asks article, it was revealed that it was but one of 3 prototype for what was eventually released as "Kirby's Return to Dream Land".
Thinking that Kirby's Epic Yarn was the outcome, many fans were ready to raise the white flag of surrender on Kirby's Adventure, but Nintendo & HAL brought it back from the ashes by announcing it in January of 2011, as a full blown traditional Kirby platformer for the Wii, finally what we waited for has come to fruitition! But was it really what we wanted?
The game starts Kirby and friends off on a search for ship parts to help an estranged stranger named Magalor. Kirby is aided by the unlikely crew of Meta Knight, King Dedede, and Waddle Dee. What might set the crew apart is the fact that they're all rivals of Kirby in one form or another; This creates a bit of static between the team, but they still cooperate quite well in an effort to get a stranded alien back home. After a long opening cinema, the player is thrust right into the gameplay, starting off in the beginner's fields of Cookie Country, aided by the familiar soundtrack of the E3 2011 trailer, you will be relieved to find out that Kirby can suck up enemies to gain copy abilities once more! Not only that, but up to 3 other players can join in the fun as either Meta Knight, King Dedede, Waddle Dee, or a different colored Kirby, which is a more robust roster than that of New Super Mario Bros. Wii surprisingly. Meta Knight is more or less a glorified Sword Kirby with some Wing thrown in for good measure, while King Dedede plays like a bigger and heavier Hammer Kirby; Waddle Dee is somewhat different in that he emulates Spear Kirby.
A key change in gameplay is the "Super Ability"; A temporary ability that allows Kirby to more or less utlize a clear-screen move for as long as the rainbow bar allows, devastating hordes of enemies like it was nobody's business. These Super Abilities are also useful for finding secret locations, often indicated by hanging rope, but the main draw is the fun that can be had by killing hordes and hordes of enemies in one fatal blow! It's like using a Final Smash over and over again, it's crazy!
Gameplay progression is standard Kirby fare, 4-5 levels in a stage, and roughly 7 stages in the game. If that is a bit too short for you, the game also has a second playthrough set up for those savvy enough to complete the game once. This EX mode is a playthrough of the entire game with certain parameters adjusted to make the game harder, while changing boss tactics to reflect the change. Return to Dream Land also offers sub-games ala Kirby Super Star in the form of mini-games, and an arena that is perfect for boss rushes. Nintendo and HAL really went the extra mile to make your money well spent, and it shows in the quality and polish of this title.
If you enjoyed Epic Yarn, then Return to Dream Land will blow you out of the way. Fans of Kirby Super Star, this is the sequel you've been waiting for 15 years, though it seems to borrow equally from Super Star as well as Crystal Shards on the Nintendo 64 and obviously the Dream Land series.
It's been 6 years, but the wait was worth it. Kirby is back on a home console, and he's never been better.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 10/27/11
Game Release: Kirby's Return to Dream Land (US, 10/24/11)
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