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Kirby's Return to Dream Land

by Neal Ronaghan - October 19, 2011, 7:44 am EDT
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We go hands-on with the final build of the game's first five worlds.

While our full review won’t get posted until the game’s release day (October 24), I did get to spend a good deal of time with Kirby’s Return to Dream Land, completing World 5. There is more content past World 5, but you’ll have to wait for the game’s release before you hear about it.

The game begins with Kirby hanging out with the gang (Meta Knight, Dedede, Waddle Dee), eating cakes and stuff. Soon, a spaceship crashes and approximately 120 energy spheres pop out of it. While Dedede and Meta Knight might not be totally into it, Kirby leads the group over to check it out. They meet Magolor, who is from another planet. Magolor’s spaceship, the Lor Starcutter, was damaged by some evil folks. Kirby, being the strapping young puffball he is, decides to help.

The game’s overworld isn’t anything too fancy. Going from level to level is uncomplicated, as it’s like past Kirby games where you go into different rooms to enter levels. The more complicated area to explore is the Lor Starcutter, where you can explore a few different rooms and unlock different extras, such as two mini-games, four copy rooms, and seven different challenge stages. The mini-games, including a shuriken-throwing game and a target shooting one, reminded me of the mini-games in earlier Kirby games, such as the Quick Draw one in Kirby's Adventure. The challenge stages are interesting, making use of some of the unique abilities of the powers. For example, one will challenge you to use the new Whip power-up to grab different items.

As for the abilities, here’s the big list of them:

  • Sword
  • Cutter
  • Beam
  • Fire
  • Ice
  • Water
  • Sleep
  • Whip
  • Hammer
  • Parasol
  • Ninja
  • Spark
  • Stone
  • Bomb
  • Tornado
  • Needle
  • Hi-Jump
  • Fighter
  • Wing
  • Spear
  • Crash
  • Mike

Below, I’ve compiled a list of every level and stage that can be covered before the embargo. In total, there are 120 energy spheres, and the ones below contain 84 (number of spheres per level/stage in parentheses). Make of that what you will. Also, I didn’t make notes on every single level.

    Level 1: Cookie Country (13)
  • Stage 1 (3) - First appearance of the Ultra Sword power-up, which lets Kirby wield a giant-ass sword
  • Stage 2 (3) - Has a cannon pick-up that automatically fires cannonballs until it runs of juice. It reminded me of the Cracker Launcher in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
  • Stage 3 (3) - One of the first levels to use keys a lot. You hold them and can only jump (not float). It makes it a little more challenging. Also, there was a sequence where you raced an enemy holding key, and you had to steal the key from him before he fell off a cliff in order to get an energy sphere.
  • Stage 4 (4) - First appearance of the Monster Flame power-up, which lets Kirby shoot surprisingly lame horizontal flames. Also, rock formations in background fall down on you. You can notice them shaking to avoid them. Lastly, a french horn pick-up oddly blocks you from falling debris and enemies by projecting an umbrella-like shield.
  • Stage 5 (Boss) - Level 1 ends with the quintessential first Kirby boss - Whispy Woods. He’s cake for the first half, but actually varies up a little bit. Honestly, he might be the hardest Whispy Woods to date, though that says very little.

    Level 2: Raisin Ruins (16)
  • Stage 1 (3) - The whip (brand new!) and hammer power-ups showed up here. Also, I did the ol’ use-fire-to-light-fuse-and-hop-in-the-cannon trick.
  • Stage 2 (4) - Flare Beam, the beam super ability, is on display here. Kirby freezes on screen and you maneuver it around kind of like Pikachu’s Final Smash in Brawl.
  • Stage 3 (4)
  • Stage 4 (5) - Pick up a candle to light the world around you in some areas, while you hold a crystal that makes you invisible in other areas. Also, more Ultra Sword.
  • Stage 5 (Boss) - The boss here is Mr. Dooter, a genie thing who throws snakes at you. I whipped them Indiana Jones-style.
    Level 3: Onion Ocean (16)
  • Stage 1 (3) - Snow levels show their face in this area, as does Ice Bowl, the ice super ability that turns Kirby into a giant snow ball. It’s rather choice.
  • Stage 2 (4) - Kirby dawns what is essentially Kuribo’s Shoe in the first of a handful of appearances in the game. It’s clever throughout, as you have to jump off of enemy hands to make it to the hidden energy sphere.
  • Stage 3 (4)
  • Stage 4 (5)
  • Stage 5 (Boss) - Fatty Puffer, a vaguely Dedede-esque, big puffer fish, takes up residence as Onion Ocean’s resident baddie.
    Level 4: White Wafers (19)
  • Stage 1 (3)
  • Stage 2 (4) - Kuribo’s Shoe makes a return and the Grand Hammer debuts. Using some rudimentary timed Wii Remote shakes, you pound down stakes and break stuff. It’s fun.
  • Stage 3 (4)
  • Stage 4 (4)
  • Stage 5 (4)
  • Stage 6 (Boss) - This boss, an ice monkey named Goriath, was one of the tougher ones, as he throws Dragon Ball Z-esque energy attacks and pounds the ground. Damn monkey!
    Level 5: Nutty Noon (20)
  • Stage 1 (4)
  • Stage 2 (4)
  • Stage 3 (4)
  • Stage 4 (4)
  • Stage 5 (4)
  • Stage 6 (Boss) - ??? (Embargoed)

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Hoshi no Kirby Wii Box Art

Genre Action
Developer HAL Laboratory
Players1 - 4

Worldwide Releases

na: Kirby's Return to Dream Land
Release Oct 24, 2011
RatingEveryone 10+
jpn: Hoshi no Kirby Wii
Release Oct 27, 2011
RatingAll Ages
eu: Kirby's Adventure Wii
Release Nov 25, 2011
aus: Kirby's Adventure Wii
Release Dec 01, 2011
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