Thursday, March 20, 2014

Review #102: Kirby - Return to Dreamland

 Suck your way to the top as you spit or swallow your enemies!
 Go out and buy this game now, not because of it's quality, but because it's a bit of a rarity, produced at the end of the Wii's life cycle, few copies were produced, and it's quickly becoming a very sought after item. But is the game any good? Long story short, it's your typical Kirby game.
 The story involved Magolor crashing his Lor Starcutter into dreamland, losing five key components in the process, and Kirby being the good fellow that he is, decides to help him gather all five pieces, alongside a Waddle Dee, King Dedede and Metaknight. Story was never, and never will be, Kirby's selling point, it's just there to give you a little bit of motivation, and it does hold a twist that most Kirby games pull, so you'll probably be expecting it. As simple as the story is, the cutscenes peppered throughout the game are incredibly charming, as silly and dull and the story is, I just couldn't stop myself from smiling at times.
 At its core, the game plays just like any other Kirby game, on a 2-D plane, with a multiplayer component. At any moment, a second player can hop in as either MetaKnight, King Dedede, Waddle Dee or a different colored Kirby, the former three behave like the Sword, Hammer and Javelin powers respectively. And now is when I get to call foul, player 1 cannot choose any other character. I understand how accessing hidden areas would be impossible if you couldn't pick other Powers, but I just want to play as MetaKnight, but the game won't let me because I'm player one. Not fun, let ME choose if I want to screw myself out of hidden areas. Besides that, the rest of the game is the usual Kirby fare, suck in enemies and swallow them to steal their Powers(If they have one) or shoot them out as a powerful projectile. You'll also have to do some jumping and avoid some obstacles as you search for hidden items.
 If you are expecting a hard as nails platformer, you are in the wrong place, but then again, people that say that Kirby is a "easy" game haven't really played Kirby. Kirby is not about getting through the levels, heck, Kirby can fly indefinitely and avoid most obstacles. The fun in Kirby comes in the form of collecting stuff, there's 120 hidden cogs to find, and many times, one single mistake means redoing the entire level, the developers were nice enough to make it impossible for you to kill yourself after said mistake, so there's no choice but redoing the stage. 'sides, beat the game and you unlock Arena and Extra Mode. Extra Mode cuts your life bar in half, places more enemies on each stage and gives them different sizes, the bigger ones can take more punishment. Doesn't end there, bosses get new palette swaps and new moves, there's also a new boss at the end of the game. Beat Extra Mode and you unlock the True Arena, which houses a second hidden boss.
 Besides multiplayer, there's a second new gimmick in the form of Super Powers. Every now and then you'll come across shiny enemies, eat one of these and you'll earn a Powered up version of Sword, Ice, Fire, Beam or Hammer. These are poorly implemented, as whenever you use it, it brings the game to a halt so that Kirby can strike a pose before unleashing the power. Some of them are more involved, like the Beam that you can move around or the Snowball that you can move about, but the others just have you, and other players if present, sitting as it goes off. Not fun. They are a poor addition to the series, even if cutting a rope with the Giant Sword is amusing the first time. Thankfully they are not the focus and they are only featured in a few levels.
 As for how it looks, the game is very colorful, filled with bright, solid colors. Enemies and objects in the game are very simple, with few details, the levels themselves fare much better, lots of tiny details everywhere, with different planes and objects, regardless, it hardly pushes the Wii's hardware, but as a whole, it's gorgeous. Music is very varied, from upbeat beats to more relaxing tunes, and they do tend to fit the levels they are in. Overall, it's all very cute, but nothing noteworthy.
 As one of the last Wii games produced by Nintendo, if not the last, it could've been a lot better, at the end of the day, what you've got is just another Kirby game that doesn't stand above or below its predecessors, nor does it try to stand out from them.
 7.0 out of 10.

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