Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe review

by on February 22, 2023
Reviewed On
Release Date

February 24, 2023.


Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is a really nice time. It may seem an odd way to start talking about a brand new Nintendo Switch game, but it’s just entirely pleasant from start to finish, and playing the Wii classic again on Switch with extra bells and whistles is a reminder of how creative developer Hal Laboratory is, and how good at level design the studio can be.

After Kirby and the Forgotten Land, it’s interesting to see Nintendo dip back into 2D for the latest Kirby title, but Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is a more traditional experience full stop. A side-scroller with colourful, gorgeous visuals, Kirby will go (mostly) from left to right, up and down, grabbing fruit, stars, and sucking up enemies to borrow their forms to reveal secrets, defeat bosses, and complete the levels.

Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe review

This time around, Kirby is helping Magolor, an alien whose flying boat has crashed in Dreamland, with the parts to fix it strewn around the worlds you’ll need to explore, before beating a boss to get the part back and help Magalor get home again. The levels are beautiful to look at, and follow the tried and trusted tradition of going through the green fields, to water, desert, ice, and so on. The major new addition even back when it first released was the super-powered, screen filling special copy abilities, and it’s still enormous fun to wipe out entire screens of enemies at the touch of a button.

Crucially, while you can still basically fly through every level and avoid combat, as is standard in a Kirby game, in Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe, you won’t want to. Hidden in each level are cogs that unlock mini-games, trials, and copy ability rooms that unlock as you collect more and more cogs. I hate to say it’s too easy, but you’ll breeze through the majority of Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe if you have any level of experience with platform games. Halfway through I had over 60 lives and had died once, and after that I stopped really paying attention to lives.

Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe review

But that might be missing the point somewhat. First of all, this is a game that can be played by any age, such is the accessibility. Throw in co-op and you can even babysit very young players. Furthermore, I’m not sure the intent is to challenge players’ reactions, as much as it is to have them explore the levels to find the hidden cogs. Some will require specific copy abilities, and some require a mini-boss fight at the end of a slightly more challenging section. And frankly, I can’t knock Kirby for being easy when it seems half the industry is focused on chasing the masocore genre at the moment.

That said, for some reason the deluxe version for Switch has seen fit to add two things to make it even harder to die. First up, you can have two health bars now, and Nintendo has also added the option to have Magolor save you from a fall. It’s not easy to fall to your death in Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe, but it is possible, and in fairness, like being crushed between blocks, it’s one of the more frustrating ways to expire, so I’m actually not against this change. The extra health bar also means you can focus more on grabbing cogs and exploration.

Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe review

There’s a new robot mecha copy ability too, which makes things easy as well, as it has ranged attacks, melee, and can also fire rockets which act as fire, meaning you can melt ice with it, which would otherwise require the fire copy ability. Don’t get me wrong, there is challenge later into the game, but you have to play quite a lot of Kirby to get to anything approaching that challenge.

Merry Magoland is a glorious addition, however. While it slightly trivialises the need to open the locked doors in his ship to access mini-games, it’s hard to be cross about that when this is essentially a mini version of a WarioWare title. With minigames to play that are almost all a load of fun, and difficulty options that will actually challenge your reactions, you can fill out stamp cards and get prizes that let you change masks for Kirby or unlock items you can call upon in the main story.

Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe review

From the ridiculous egg-eating contest that lets Kirby open his maw-like mouth and eat eggs while avoiding bombs, to the new Magolor’s Tome Trackers mini-game which is reminiscent of early Mario mini-games, they’re all fun, with some more essential than others. The one-button reaction testing Samurai Kirby mini-game is great, and with a 100-player online test to go for every day, it’s exciting to test your reactions against real people online, or in person. There’s even a “find the Magolor” stickers experience in the park that is as devious as it is enjoyable. Merry Magoland is a tremendous addition, and I can see it being something I come back to every now and then just for a quick play.

There’s really very little to complain about with Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe, aside from the lack of challenge that will put some people off. I enjoyed every second of it, and found myself growing in affection for it the more I played. You will need to get through some very, very easy early hours, but the level design, aesthetic, and deluxe features make it a great game for first-time players, while the mini-game amusement park might just do enough to make returning players want to replay a classic Wii adventure.


Simple, but great fun
Some nice new additions
Accessible to all
Great mini-games


Very, very easy

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe is a great excuse to revisit a classic Wii title, with just enough new additions to shake things up.