Customer Review

116 of 127 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A triumphant return for Nintendo's beloved pink puffball, October 25, 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Kirby's Return to Dream Land (Video Game)
In recent years, Kirby has had quite a few rather interesting outings that took everything we came to expect from his games and threw them out the window for a number of unorthodox directions. He was racing on stars, he was turned into yarn and thrown into an adventure comprised entirely of crafting supplies sans trademark enemy copying, and most recently he's been split into ten versions of himself and controlled only with stylus. While those (and a few other radical departure games for Kirby) were actually pretty excellent in their own right, it's great to see the adorable pink puffball return, not only to Dreamland, but to his roots (there are lots of "return" puns here. I make no apologies for them, or for the fact that this is a "long" review, get ready). This is Kirby at his purest, most concentrated traditional "Kirbiness" in years, and that alone makes this a fantastic game. However, even without looking at that aspect alone, this game is amazing on its own.

The story in Kirby's Return To Dreamland is simple, but functional. An alien has crash landed on Pop Star, and due to some truly good Samaritan impulses, Kirby and the gang decide to help their new extraterrestrial friend rebuild his ship. The story plays out in typical Kirby fashion, that being extremely charming (near cotton candy vomit inducing, and for once I mean that in a good way), and never gets in the way of why you and I pick up a Kirby title to begin with: gameplay and style.

Hal Laboratories has always been known for making incredible games with well-established mechanics that border on perfection (Super Smash Bros., Earthbound, Kirby... need I go on?). Even though Kirby hasn't been sucking, eating, and mimicking in quite some time, I'd argue he hasn't done it better than here. All of the enemy abilities you would expect to copy, such as hammer, sword, fire, rock, even the adorable-yet-uesless sleepy ability, all make a return here and they're as great as they ever were. There are new abilities to copy as well, and they really mesh well with the classics. As in Kirby Super Star (and Ultra, obviously), Kirby's appearance is changed based on who he has viciously digested and copied, and they all look awesome. There really is something fantastic and viscerally satisfying about the traditional Kirby gameplay design, and it's really a blast here. Level designs are stupendous despite their simplicity and when combined with Kirby's puffball float-jump and his copying, it all makes for a truly memorable experience. I haven't had this much fun with a Kirby title since Super Star Ultra. Each copied ability has a range of contextual attacks depending on if you're attacking while standing, aiming, running, and jumping, which makes for a rather deep experience when you consider the many abilities you will acquire over the course of the game. Boss fights are as satisfying and epic as ever in Kirby's history.

There are some new features in the gameplay that are worth mentioning here too. For instance, remember how intuitive and satisfyingly implemented shaking your Wii-mote was in Donkey Kong Country Returns or New Super Mario Bros. Wii? Kirby's Return to Dreamland utilizes that action in much the same way. Some enemies are huge or glowing, and need Kirby's new Wii-mote shaking "super suck" to vacuum them up. Once digested, these foes allow Kirby to perform some truly ridiculous super moves, such as a sword that obliterates most of the screen or a massive fire-breathing dragon(!), and so on. Kirby's super suck ability is also useful for getting rid of impenetrable brick walls. These new abilities aren't really ever forced on you though, and don't feel gimmicky in the least, thank goodness.

If you have friends alongside you, there has been considerable effort put into co-op should you fancy such a thing. Other players can play as Meta-Knight, King DeDeDe, and Bandana Waddle Dee (who wields a spear). Of course, none of these characters can copy enemy abilities, but they each utilize their own weapons and modes of combat to bring to the fight. This makes for a truly unique experience for each player, as totally different complimentary strategies can be implemented. Players 2-4 can also just play as a differently colored Kirby as well, and that's a blast too. The co-op in this game really reminds me of the old days of gaming. Tails' role in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 comes to mind. Lives and progress are only penalized if player 1 dies, and if anyone else does, they immediately respawn next to Kirby. This design really harkens back to a time when playing a game co-operatively was all about having fun together rather than getting a great score or everyone being punished for one person's mistake (and subsequently beating the tar out of that one person). I love it. I always give games extra points for being a great opportunity to bond with my wife, and this game has already done that in spades and I'm sure will continue to do so for a long, long time (Epic Yarn was great for that too). We have had a blast playing this together so far.

Artistically and graphically, Kirby's Return to Dreamland is fantastic. Kirby games are usually the last hurrah for any Nintendo system, historically, and have always been the beaming example of what those consoles were capable of. Now, it seems with the Wii's console lifetime nearing its end, Hal Laboratories really knows how to squeeze out every last drop of capability the Wii has, even seemingly surpassing it. This is one gorgeous game, regardless of the simplistic art style and decidedly under-powered system it's on. It's vibrant and colorful, very stylistic, and nostalgic, which is exactly what I want from a Kirby game. When developers focus on art design over graphical limitation, it always makes for a better experience, and is why many of this generations' most beautiful games have been on the Wii (Metroid Prime 3 and Muramasa: The Demon Blade are both great examples of that). The music is exactly what you'd expect and want from a Kirby title, catchy, cutesy, and joy inducing. I don't think the soundtrack is quite as memorable as past titles, but it is still quite good and fits in the soundtrack canon.

Kirby's Return To Dreamland is a remarkable game. I bought it as soon as I could find a copy from my local *cough cough* because I just couldn't wait (lots of confusion regarding when, exactly, this game released. October 24th, 2011, was incorrect for many stores, evidently). I suspect that many of you are like me here. I grew up loving Kirby's many, varied adventures in Dreamland, from the original 2 Gameboy Dreamland titles, to the SNES classics, to the DS remakes, to Epic Yarn, and now this. It has been quite a ride (on a star, maybe?). It's not a particularly long title. Conceivably, one could beat it in seven hours or so on their first attempt. Of course, there's lots of incentive to keep coming back for completionists. I'd say it's a very good value, and I'm a relatively poor, newly-wed young man who has to pinch pennies. For Kirby purists, the timeless, refined gameplay, beautiful, imaginative art/sound design, and overall charm of Dreamland and its citizens will be enough to make this particular entry a real stand-out for Nintendo's pink mascot. As a longtime fan of Kirby, I look forward to playing this game over and over for years to come, and I give it the highest recommendation. Buy it, devour it, and be entranced by this gloriously triumphant return to Dreamland.
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Comments

Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 17 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 30, 2011 6:11:24 AM PDT
ncstateguy says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 30, 2011 10:45:30 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 31, 2011 1:53:09 PM PDT
Relytia says:
Wow, nice. I don't appreciate such baseless, downright insulting accusations. I write reviews on here as a hobby. I'm a young janitor who has intellectual interests. Trust me, I WISH reviewing games was my job, but this is nice as a diversion. To flex my muscles with the English language in reviews is enjoyable to me. Video games are my favorite pastime. To combine the two is awesome. I've given games all sorts of scores, even 1-star before. It's important to put each game into context within its own purpose, and in its own context, this game is a 5-star, especially if you're an old-school Kirby fan like I am.

I ALSO pointed out what some COULD view as flaws, such as its short length or multiplayer set up that makes playing with others super easy, but I also gave you a positive spin on those in the replayability department and how fun and sorely missed this type of old-school approach to multiplayer is.

A good review has two important goals to meet:

1.) Being as informative as possible so that people have a good idea of the things a game contains, in all its aspects, and...

2.) Commentary on whether those aspects (visual, audio, gameplay, story, etc) are well implemented.

I did both of these. So basically, I got a thumbs down and a put-down of my character because I wasn't negative enough for you? You didn't find fault with my grammar, my verbiage, or how informative my review was... no, instead you write a very vague derogatory comment calling my review an insult and then "explain" by asking if I am employed by Nintendo or Hal Lab? lol, sorry, but as I said, I am a lowly Janitor, lower than the dirt you walk on everyday, so thanks for putting me in my place. I know I deserved it. Also, sorry if my enthusiasm for the English language and Kirby bothered you.

By the way, did you feel the same way about the other reviewers, both of which have gushed about this game too? No? Why is that?

Thank you so much for your constructive criticism and positive, helpful feedback. I loved it. }:D

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 31, 2011 7:36:13 AM PDT
Madam Pince says:
Well, the answer's in his name. NC State Guy... he probably couldn't understand your verbiage. *wink*

Good review. Thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 31, 2011 1:56:55 PM PDT
Relytia says:
lol I thought the same thing about his name, but went the extreme sarcasm route in my reply instead. High road, you know. lol :P

Thanks for the nice compliment, I'm glad you enjoyed the review. Means a lot. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 1, 2011 6:47:26 AM PDT
Magus says:
This review was well written. I think it was too hard for you to comprehend.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 12, 2011 6:26:35 AM PST
Michelle says:
It is thanks to reviews like yours that most of us who save and view buying these games as a luxury dont waste our precious pennies on junk! thankyou Reytia x

Posted on Nov 14, 2011 9:30:40 AM PST
Relytia says:
Thanks for the support Magus, lol.

ShelleyC, that is precisely my goal in writing these reviews, to help others make informed purchases. I'm glad my review could help you in that.

The more I play this game, the more I love it. It is so awesome.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2011 4:41:01 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 4, 2011 4:42:18 AM PST
Ellen Ripley says:
Great review! Since I know nothing of Kirby games it helped me understand just how the Kirby series has evolved. Almost got Kirby's Epic Yarn last year, but it sounded too easy and the idea of him doing stuff with yarn and textiles just didn't appeal to us. Is this game better, easier or harder, does Kirby have more abilities. If we like games like Super Mario Galaxy, would this be a better choice than Kirby's Epic yarn. Appreciate any thoughts.

Is it shorter than Epic yarn?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 6, 2011 4:22:34 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 6, 2011 4:26:59 AM PST
Relytia says:
Epic Yarn's appeal and draw is most definitely in its visual presentation and arts and crafts motif. It is no stretch to say Epic Yarn is one of the most beautifully designed games in terms of artistic presentation I have seen this generation (that includes PS3 and Xbox 360 games, which have much more horse-power than the Wii). Epic Yarn was very easy to just get through. It became a lot more challenging if you were trying to keep your collectibles to get higher medal scores in each level. You could lose them if you got hit, much like old-school Sonic would lose rings if he took damage. Epic Yarn was definitely a fun game to play either alone or with family/friends.

I'd say Return is about the same difficulty as Epic Yarn was, but the gameplay is very different. Kirby most definitely has a lot more abilities in Return because he can copy so many various enemy abilities, making for what I am guessing Kirby's largest, most diverse set of abilities yet. I think there are 20+ enemies you can copy, quite a lot. Return and Epic Yarn are about the same length.

If you enjoy Super Mario Galaxy... well, they're quite different simply because Galaxy 1 & 2 are masterful 3-D platformers, and Kirby is a very unique 2-D platformer with twists that make it really stand out from others in the genre. I'd say if you like Galaxy, then you'll like this. I do. I say that because Nintendo platformers, whether 2-D or 3-D, are pretty top-of-the-line in terms of quality, charm, presentation, and overall FUN factor.

I have to say though, I really love this Kirby game a lot, but I have been a fan of Kirby's since I was a little kid, so I may be a bit biased myself. I DID play a bit of Return with my brother-in-law recently, and he is usually only interested in more complicated, adult-oriented video game genres like RPGs that are very story-heavy and definitely geared toward mature audiences (don't get me wrong, I love those games too). I never thought he'd enjoy such a cute, child-friendly game, but he loved Kirby's Return to Dreamland! He loves the copying mechanic and found it to be a blast playing the game. I think that says a lot.

Personally, while I enjoyed Epic Yarn a lot at the time (I gave it to my little sister as a gift when my wife and I were done with it), I would prefer Kirby's Return To Dreamland anyday, honestly. That isn't to say Epic Yarn is bad or anything, it's actually quite excellent, but I like Return more. It all depends on perspective.

Hope all of this helps you. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2011 7:02:41 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 10, 2011 7:19:00 AM PST
Ellen Ripley says:
Thanks so much for your detailed comments which have helped me me decide that I think this game would be a great addition to our collection this year. The game graphics look amazing and I like the idea that Kirby has lots more abilities now. We have been playing too many RPG's and need a break into something lighter, different and fun like we used to play. Btw, love your avatar
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