Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Jorge Ba-oh 02.03.2023

Review for Kirby

If there were ever a console to be the home of the pink powerhouse Kirby, the Nintendo Switch is certainly a strong contender. Whether it's a stunning 3D platformer or pummelling classic baddies in arenas, there's all manner of gameplay styles to gobble up, literally, on the console.

Nintendo and HAL Laboratory are resurrecting a classic platforming gem for Nintendo Switch, a remastered Kirby's Adventure from back in 2011. The game scored incredibly well back on its Wii debut; but can Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe hold its ground amongst today's platformers?

Kirby has always been one of Nintendo's strongest franchises; sitting proudly amongst the likes of Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda.

The Dreamland star has had a fair share of different guises over the years, but where Kirby has excelled at are his platforming roots. The Wii game was well received all around; so the Nintendo Switch edition has a strong foundation to build upon.

The Nintendo Switch edition keeps the story from the original intact. An adorable interdimensional being named Magolor crashes onto Kirby's Planet Popstar. Magolor's in a spot of trouble and needs to seek out parts to rebuild the ship. Of course, the ever-cheery protagonist wanders onboard to help. Go solo or partner up with up to three pals to battle through classic platforming stages.

In many co-op games, secondary characters lose out to player one having the better movesets; but fortunately, Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe lets alternate Kirby colours join in. It allows for all manner of copy ability madness to unfold on screen. If Kirby characters aren't desired; Meta Knight, King Dedede, and Bandana Waddle Dee can join in, too, but they can't benefit from those much-loved copy abilities. Co-op is just as frantic as ever; with friends able to drop in and out at any time for a hearty helping of Kirby. Local couch play is always a joy, especially in today's age, but unfortunately the Nintendo Switch edition is still lacking online support.

Screenshot for Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe on Nintendo Switch

At its core, Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe takes Kirby back to his roots. It's an effortlessly charming side-scrolling tale revolving around eight worlds, multiple levels and challenging bosses. Kirby sucks in foes like a belly-less beast, absorbs powers and goes hard with big dollops of special moves. No odd gimmicks, no frustrating motion control. Dream Land Deluxe is cram full of refined concepts that are just dipped in pure, simple, fun.

In terms of mechanics, the remaster doesn't introduce anything too radically new, but in lots of ways that's a good thing. Familiar copy abilities like sword, fire and jester make a welcome return, with a handful of extras including mecha and sand. The abilities are what truly make a Kirby game, well, a Kirby game. There are so many scattered throughout - whether it's at an item spot or by borrowing it off a baddie. Solve puzzles, literally plough through foes - the unpredictability keeps the adventure fresh from start until the credits roll. Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe is certainly on the more inventive side without dipping into gimmick territory or disrupting the flow of the game.

Screenshot for Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe on Nintendo Switch

What made the Wii game great was just how accessible it was - not too difficult, challenging in places and really carrying that sense of feeling accomplished. Unlike Kirby, who always seems like he's hungry, there's a feeling of being well fed when crossing through the finishing door at the end of a level. The Nintendo Switch version keeps that balance very much in focus.

This time round there's also a "Magolor Helper mode" for a little extra assistance, plus the return of "Extra Mode" for that extra dollop of difficulty for seasoned Kirby adventurers.

Visually Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe is absolutely striking; colourful and absolutely pops on the Nintendo Switch. The original Wii released was praised for its detailed set pieces, slick animation, and lush environments.

The remaster feels very much like a truly refined take. Smooth framerates, consistently strong performance throughout and character models, baddies and interactable objects have an interesting "cell-shaded" visual style in the Deluxe edition. It may seem jarring initially, but that contrast makes the action pop in a cheery, cartoon style that works incredibly well on the Switch screen or TV.

Screenshot for Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe on Nintendo Switch

Beyond the main campaign, which is of a decent length, Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe introduces additional content/modes. The first is a quirky set of mini-games, think Mario Party, where Kirby and friends battle each other in amusing fun-fair attractions. Some are nods to past Kirby titles, with others brand new to the Switch game. It won't be a big a time drainer like Mario Party, but it's a neat nice-to-have extra to chip away at.

The other bonus mode shifts the spotlight onto Magalor. Just who is the interdimensional traveller? These extra levels feature Magalor as a playable character, just what is his back story? A near set of extra content to flesh out the story and serve up something new for those already familiar with the original Wii levels.

Screenshot for Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Much like the original Wii release, Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe is an excellent Kirby adventure, packed full of heart, classic gameplay and dipped in a delicious HD upgrade. Throw in bonus modes, collectable content, and backstory for a truly definitive platforming experience. It's unfortunate that there's no online co-op play, but both single and local couch-play are an absolute joy from the opening title.


HAL Laboratory




Action Adventure



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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