official title finally announced, Kirby's Return to Dream Land firmly positions
itself as a throwback to classic Kirby of yore. We've loved Kirby's more
experimental forays like Canvas Curse and Epic Yarn, but the time seems right
to finally bring a more traditional Kirby to Wii. And if you didn't think Kirby was adorable
before, it's getting even tougher to deny it now.
Super Mario Bros, a major part of the update to classic Kirby revolves around
the addition of multiplayer. Up to four players can play at a time, with
drop-in/drop-out fully supported at any time. Player one must play as Kirby,
but any additional players can choose among Kirby, Dedede, Waddle Dee or Meta
Knight as playable characters. If everyone wants to play as Kirby, that's fine
too – since Kirby is the only character with the ability to absorb and copy
enemy powers, it makes sense that most people will primarily want to play as
make quicker work of enemies, of course, but Dream Land also works in some
opportunities for teamwork and light puzzle solving. Energy gear collectibles
are scattered throughout each level that Kirby and friends must collect to
rebuild the Lor Starcutter, a spaceship that has woefully crashed on Dream
Land. In exchange for Kirby's kindness in helping the stranded aliens, collecting
gears also unlocks various extras and goodies within the Lor Starcutter itself,
which also doubles as a homebase for Kirby on the world map. Some of the gears
are easy to grab, while others require a little more thought, skill and
coordination to snag.
Above: Kirby, please don't make Whispy Woods cry again. What kind of monster would destroy a tree with heart-shaped leaves?
same screen with four other players is bound to be a bit hectic, but we found
it to be manageable during the four levels we played in our demo. Despite the
novelty of playing as Dedede, Waddle Dee or Meta Knight, we eventually switched
over to play as Kirby. Each of these frenemies has his own cool weapon –
Dedede's hammer, Waddle Dee's spear and Meta Knight's sword – but nothing beats
the versatility of Kirby's copy ability. Plus, with so many Waddle Dee enemies
in some of the levels, it got a little confusing at times keeping track of
which Waddle Dee was on our side. Luckily, you can't accidentally hurt your
friends, so you don't have to worry about friendly fire.
hugs, on the other hand, are totally allowed. When someone grabs an HP-healing
item like a tomato, that player can share the HP with another player by approaching
and giving him an adorable hug. We couldn't help but giggle when another player
very sincerely yelled "I need a hug!" when he was running low on HP. As
we mentioned in our earlier preview, the detailed animations really shine in
Return to Dream Land, and watching Kirbies join in mid-air embrace was certainly
– *puts sunglasses on* – aww-inspiring.
Above: Some of Kirby's copy abilities have super versions
For those of
us lacking in friends IRL (*cries softly behind sunglasses*), fear not – Dream
Land can be played like a regular single-player Kirby game too. To further
distract you from your loneliness, there's also a challenge room, accessible
via the Lor Starcutter, where solo players can hone their skills with Kirby's various
abilities and earn medals for meeting each challenge's goals.
Return to Dream Land releasing on Wii so close to the release of Kirby Mass
Attack on DS, it looks like Nintendo and long-time Kirby developers HAL are
hoping to show that Kirby excels in both old and new. Look for our full review
when Kirby's Return to Dream Land releases October 24.
Aug 24, 2011