Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Kirby's Return to Dreamland - Review

Kirby has never been an "oh man, you have to play this" kind of series.  It does what it does very well, and there really aren't too many adventure/platformers like it, but for the most part, if you've played one, you've played them all.  This all remains pretty true with the newest installment for the Wii, but the gameplay (not to mention multiplayer) is so fun that you'll hardly even notice.

The game follows Kirby and his friends as they see a ship falling from the sky, and...yeah you don't care what the story is.  The story is only there to provide a beginning and ending to the game; there's no real narrative or characters to speak of, it's all just framing for the gameplay.  And the gameplay is quite good.  Pretty much all of the powers you've come to know and love are back and the game feels easy enough to play through, but not so easy that it becomes boring.  The biggest change to this game is the implementation of super powers that you can acquire for a time in certain levels that help you make quick work of the enemies; some are even needed to find all of the Gears scattered throughout the levels (the game's collectibles akin to the crystals in Kirby 64).

Aside from some hidden sections in certain levels, there are also a variety of minigames and training levels that are unlocked by collecting Gears.  The minigames leave a lot to be desired, though one of them (Ninja Dojo) is pretty fun and makes decent use of the Wiimote.  The game also has an Extra mode to run through after completing the main game, made more difficult due to much lower maximum health.  Having said that, there isn't really enough changed in Extra mode to warrant playing through again right away.

If there's one major flaw with the game, it's that it doesn't really excel at anything, asides from the four-player option.  Most things done here are done better in Kirby Super Star or Kirby 64, but if you are even a casual fan of the series, then this is definitely one to play.  It's loaded with classic Kirby fun and will easily satisfy you and some friends for a couple of days.


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