Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe Review – Now with Couch Co-op

Alana Grace

Image Source: Youtube Nintendo of America

In recent years, the Kirby franchise has been on a roll. With Kirby’s Dream Buffet and Kirby and the Forgotten Land (review), fans were treated to two new titles in 2022. When it comes to releases, Nintendo is known for its two-pronged approach. Alongside new titles, the company regularly releases remakes of popular classics. For Kirby fans, 2023 starts with a remake of the 2011 Wii classic Kirby’s Return to Dream Land. However, with the Nintendo Switch version, Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe, players can expect more than just a graphical update to this platforming adventure.

Once again, players find themselves on the planet Pop, the home of the little pink hero. An crashing spaceship disrupts the idyllic setting, and Kirby and his friends set out to investigate. The captain of the spaceship, Lor, Magolor, asks Kirby for help as all the spaceship parts have been scattered across the entire planet. So, together with Kirby, players embark on a search for Magolor’s spaceship parts, spanning the planet Pop. In our review, we’ll see how the remake fares and what the Deluxe version has to offer.

Stranded on Planet Pop

The journey through Planet Pop consists of seven worlds with a total of 37 stages. Players venture into areas like the Raisin Ruins or the Fruit Ocean, each world with its own unique theme. In this classic platforming action, players must overcome obstacles and defeat all the enemies that stand in Kirby’s way. Kirby’s diverse set of abilities plays a significant role in the game. With the Water ability, enemies can be washed away or overwhelmed by a wave, while the Beam ability gives Kirby a wand filled with powerful energy. Depending on the level, there are various ways to utilize these abilities. They can be acquired by inhaling enemies or collected directly in the game world. In addition to the familiar abilities, the remake also introduces three new ones: Sand, Festival, and Mech abilities.

The platforming sections are interspersed with small boss battles, the search for hidden gears, and bonus levels. Apart from the abilities, activating special powers like Dragon Flame or Giga Hammer provides a visual spectacle. During this time, Kirby gains powerful abilities that can crush a variety of enemies and even entire level stages. Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe creates a playful atmosphere with strong visuals instead of relying on challenging gameplay mechanics. This creates a digestible gaming experience that can be enjoyed comfortably on the sofa with the Switch.

The casual gameplay style makes the title not only a pleasant casual platforming experience but also perfect for local co-op play. With the Deluxe version, players now have access to this co-op mode. The transition between single-player and multiplayer mode is seamless. Simply detach the Joy-Cons from the Switch and reconnect them in the menu. Players can take on the roles of King Deedee, Meta-Knight, or the Waddle-Dee assistant and accompany Kirby in his search for the spaceship parts. The game can switch between single-player and co-op mode at any point, so there’s no need to create a separate save file. As an additional treat for those who have completed the story mode, Nintendo presents players with the Magolor Epilogue after finishing the mode. It features 20 completely new levels that add extra gameplay hours to the title. During the epilogue, players accompany the already familiar Magolor on his search for his powers. Just like Kirby, they crush enemies and overcome obstacles.

Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe, as a classic platforming adventure, is slightly more linear than recent entries like Kirby and the Forgotten Land (review). While some secret passages can be revealed, players are generally guided towards the right edge of the screen. In the original Wii version, players had to use the gears they found to unlock mini-games. In the Deluxe version, players can enjoy a new and accessible mode with just a button press: “Fun Magoland.” This mode takes players to a colorful amusement park.

Magoland Mini-Games

Upon entering Fun Magoland, players have access to a total of 11 mini-games. Alongside some new additions like Magolor’s Book Chase, many familiar mini-games from the Kirby franchise return. These include “Checkboard Chase” from Kirby 64: The Crystal Shard and “Egg Engines” from Kirby’s Adventure. Gameplay-wise, Magoland takes inspiration from the Mario Party franchise and also offers a Magoland Tour. In this mode, players can play four different attractions (mini-games) locally against friends or computer-controlled opponents. Players inhale eggs, throw bombs, and shoot targets. Each mini-game can be played excellently with either stick or motion controls and provides a fun and time-limited gaming experience.

However, online support is only available for the Kirby Samurai mode, where 99 players compete against each other to see who can draw their sword the fastest. In addition to accessing the mini-games, the charming amusement park also serves as a reflection of the player’s progress. As defeated enemies are commemorated with new statues, the park grows. Players can also unlock portable masks as souvenirs for Kirby to wear during his adventure. Further gameplay contents can be found on Magolor’s spaceship, which is accessible from any world. Depending on how many magical gears have been collected, players can unlock ability tests.

These tests showcase the players’ skills with one of Kirby’s many abilities, all against the clock. Especially during the tests, the potential of the abilities shines, providing enjoyable challenges in between. With its additional content, Nintendo strives to deliver varied gameplay outside of the story mode. While elements like the Hero Exam offer entertaining tasks, the Fun Magoland mode quickly loses its appeal. If you rarely make use of local co-op modes in video games, you’ll have to make do with computer-controlled opponents. Despite this, the mode still offers some entertaining hours of play, but we feel that the Fun Magoland mode is more of a charming side feature from the developers rather than a robust expansion like the new Magolor Epilogue.

Graphics and Technical Implementation

When it comes to remaking a classic, the graphical presentation must be right to strike the delicate balance between nostalgia and modern graphics standards. While the original Wii version followed a classic 3D visual style, the remake adopts a vibrant cartoon look in a cel-shaded style.

With the Deluxe version, the backgrounds truly shine on the Nintendo Switch. The technical implementation is flawless as well, with Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe maintaining smooth animations even during intense boss battles. Throughout our gameplay, we encountered no technical issues or crashes.


Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is available for the Switch at a price of €45.


Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe is a classic platforming adventure with a fresh new design. In addition to the extensive graphical makeover, the title impresses primarily with its additional content, particularly the Magolor Epilogue, which provides a significant bonus. Kirby’s abilities, combined with the level environments, make for an enjoyable gaming experience. The new “Fun Magoland” mode adds a charming element and provides access to 11 mini-games.

However, in the long run, this mode can become somewhat monotonous, especially due to the lack of online support. Thanks to its accessible co-op mode, the game is perfect for entertaining hours with friends, family, and fans of classic Nintendo adventures. If you’re not sure if the Kirby adventure suits your personal taste, you can get your own impression with the free demo of Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe.

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