Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe Review

February 27, 2023

HAL Laboratory has been making Nintendo games since the beginning of time. From the Adventures of Lolo series to the first Kirby game on the original Game Boy, they’ve now produced a whopping 38 Kirby titles across eleven Nintendo platforms. Kirby’s Return to Dream Land launched on the Nintendo Wii in 2011, some five years after the console, to a positive reception, but sales didn’t reflect its charm. With last year’s Kirby and the Forgotten Land exploding onto the Nintendo Switch and smashing all Kirby sales records, there couldn’t be a better time for HAL Laboratory to release a remaster of arguably the best Kirby experience.

Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is a remastered blast from the past, allowing fans of the franchise to play through the original eight levels while having all the benefits of HD graphics, a smooth 60FPS, and new gameplay abilities. Rebuilding the Lor Starcutter to go on a journey with Magolor to his homeworld of Halcandra is a fond memory for many Kirby fans, and now old fans can relive the adventure while newcomers get to experience it in remastered glory, so join us while we inhale and digest the latest Nintendo Switch remake.

Each level in Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is a different biome with its own unique enemies and challenges. Most levels include five or six stages, each with Energy Spheres to collect which assist in repairing the Lor, unlocking sub-games on the Lor, and for those that want to achieve 100% completion. Some stages end with a mid-boss, while each level ends with a harder boss battle, with the latter ones requiring some strategy. With respect, Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe doesn’t revolutionise or even evolve the franchise’s gameplay, but as the old saying goes: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Although nothing can compare to the copy abilities of Kirby in last year’s Kirby and the Forgotten Land, this game features a whopping 26 copy abilities with an additional five super abilities. There are only two new copy abilities however: ‘Mecha’ gives Kirby a mechanical robotic armour allowing him to perform abilities that match the Metal General boss, while ‘Sand’ gives Kirby a range of sand attacks as well as the ability to turn into a pile of sand, which younger children will find hilarious.

A great new feature is Helper Magolor which is essentially an easier difficulty setting. Helper Magolor appears throughout stages and gives you items to help you on your journey. The easy-mode doubles your health bar, and even saves you from falling deaths. There’s also an auto-inhale setting which can be switched off, but Helper Magolor will definitely help newcomers to Kirby games as well as younger players, and it can always be switched off entirely should you want to up the ante.

Where Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe shines is in its multiplayer, and if you’ve got 1-3 friends or family to play with then you’re going to find the experience to be far more wacky and fun. King Dedede, Meta Knight and Bandana Waddle Dee are the other playable characters with their own unique abilities, while all players can choose to play as different colour Kirbys if they wish. Both the main story and Merry Magoland mini-games are capable of the drop-in drop-out style multiplayer, and the game really is a case of the more the merrier.

While combining and strategising together is not required, there are a bunch of useful skills to consider when playing co-op such as carrying items, sharing food, and of course the Mecha ability. Combining all four characters together can have a devastating effect on enemies and was definitely one of the highlights of playing the main story cooperatively. There are two key controller settings in the game with Type A being standard Kirby controls while Type B plays like Kirby Super Star. Motion controls are much more optional in this remaster, so while they may be fun, the more competitive player will probably lean towards using buttons and control-sticks when available.

Merry Magoland is a new amusement-park style location that resembles Magolor, the main antagonist from the original Kirby’s Return to Dream Land. Ten Mario Party-esque mini-games taken from previous Kirby games are available, ranging from the ‘hot potato’ style Bomb Rally to the shuriken tossing Ninja Dojo to the Mario Party ‘Bumper Ball’ style Smash Ride. Tickets are awarded after each game which count towards a leveling system that unlocks items and masks that can be carried across into the main story. We found Merry Magoland was not only a great way to hone some Kirby skills, but also a fun bonus to the game which will likely have fans coming back long after they’re done with the main story. Lastly, Samurai Kirby 100 pits you against 99 other online players in a battle of reflexes. This variant of Samurai Kirby which was first seen in Kirby Super Star on SNES ranks how fast you can push the A button once, and you can do it once per day. While the mode itself is quite simple, it’s one we kept coming back to each day over the past week for the hilarity of slicing your way through dozens of other peoples’ Kirbys.

At a locked 60 frames per second, the graphics have received a huge overhaul from the Wii game, with each of the playable characters updated to reflect character models from the latest games they’ve been in, now with cel-shading. The five super abilities now have more visual flair but take less time away from the gameplay, while many items and icons have also received some remaster love. The original soundtrack has also been remastered, we also noticed a few new tunes throughout the game including some from older Kirby games. Various characters now have voice clips that may surprise fans, with main characters shouting during super abilities while some enemies during the main story also speak their mind.

Just when you think you’ve beaten Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe, the brand new epilogue begins. While other reviewers have chosen to spoil what happens after you defeat the final boss from the original game, we just want you to know that there’s more to the game – and it’s one of the best and most unexpected Nintendo epilogues we’ve experienced. Expect your first playthrough of the main story to take anywhere from five to ten hours depending on how fast you run through stages, though completionists will need around 40-50 hours to unlock all masks and items. While the world waits for Tears of the Kingdom in May, now’s the perfect time to jump in and enjoy this brilliantly remastered 2.5D side-scrolling platformer. A free demo is also available via the Nintendo eShop which features limited access to the story mode and to Magoland.


Developer: HAL Laboratory

Release date: 24/02/2023

Rating: PG

Rocket Chainsaw reviewed Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe on Nintendo Switch with review provided by the publisher. For more information, head to the official website.


4-player gaming doesn’t get much better than this Merry Magoland offers extended replayability Crisp Switch graphics bring nostalgic Wii feels.


Only two new sub-games Only two new copy abilities

Overall Score: