Monday, May 27, 2013

Kirby's Return to Dream Land (Wii, 2011)

 Behold! That's one sweet title screen. The graphics are borderline high-def with their intense colorfulness. 

It's currently the 20th anniversary of the first video game I ever owned...Kirby's Dream Land. It's only fitting that for the next degenerate post, I'm looking at the latest Kirby game. People think that Kirby games are for babies, but if that were true, there would be more z's in the titles. This game, for instance, would be Kirbyz: Return to Dream Landz featuring Mary-Kate and Ashley.

The truth is, Kirby is tough as nails. A tatted-up Kirby once made BOTH of the Bad Dudes his bitch while in prison. He has been a bouncer at some of New York City's roughest clubs. He also temporarily worked as a breast implant for Stephanie McMahon, showing his versatility. But like an extreme/hardcore/"x-treme" indy wrestler joining WWE, Kirby had to tone down his in-your-face persona before becoming a Nintendo mascot.

Despite that the system has a perfectly good classic controller, there has been a trend of major Wii side-scrolling games using the sideways Wiimote as a controller instead. This is uncomfortable and backwards compared to the controllers of competing systems. It almost seems like Nintendo is trying to turn back the clock to the simplicity of the NES control setup.

Somewhere far, far away, in the peaceful land of... uh... Dreamland...

"I'm gonna pop some tags!" says Kirby. "Only got twenty dollars in my pocket!"

 Look! It's Meta-Knight! And King Dedede! All of Kirby's old foes are now his friends. Or are they? I've watched Game of Thrones. Beware who you trust, Kirby, for you may end up beheaded., well, maybe not. The man is all head, after all.

 But suddenly... a huge ship warps in! Uh oh.

 Kirby turns to his friends, murmurs "I'm sorry", and then the ship OPENS FIRE. JESUS CHRIST! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!

 ...wait, no, it turns out those were just pieces of it flying off. It crash-lands nearby, and the alien pilot is upset because he's now stranded in Dreamland. "Where the women at?" he says while looking around nervously.

 Kirby is on the case! Kirby to the rescue! He'll get that ship running again in no time!

 But first, he must traverse five worlds, each with multiple levels. They all take place on a star. When reached for comment, several internet message board denizens pointed out that this is impossible because stars are hot. They then went back to watching The Matrix and leveling up their warlocks.

The first world transpires on a massive golden clitoris. It is a magical land of wonder!

 This game supports up to four players at once, and they can drop in at any time. This is AWESOME. Reminds me of the New Super Mario Bros games, or at least the Wii one. It also supports four players simultaneously. Personally, I only support up to two players simultaneously.

This game is really vibrant and colorful. After the metallic drabness of MGS4 and the real-worldyness of Assassin's Creed 2, it's great to play something with this kind of palette.

 All of Kirby's powers are here, including my favorite: the sword. Unfortunately it isn't a fiery sword like you might find in Game of Thrones.

There are 120 magical gears to collect in this game. Not sure what the prize is for getting all of them. They're scattered throughout the stages, usually hidden in a level or the reward for finishing a challenging room. Early on, the game pretty much gives them to you.

 Kirby GETS PSYCHO~! with the Ultra Sword. There are several "super powers" like this in the game. They have a limited duration, but let you obliterate most of the screen.


 Mein Gott! A giant meat cleaver? "PSYYYYY-CHO!"

 He also has the power to administer YOGA FIRE~! Ya know, I'd hate to see what happens when Dhalsim passes gas at his foes.

Gigant Edge (no relation to U2's The Edge) is one of many minibosses in this game. Most of them are amped-up versions of regular foes.

 Are those massive blocks of cheese in the background? Reminds me of Black Swan. Specifically the part where the waiter goes "Got enough...cheese?" and Mila Kunis is all "No, but you do" and then the guy just kinda sulks away.

Crystal caverns are always nice scenery in a game, and this is no exception. On that note...


Sphere Doomer is the recurring side-boss of the entire game. Sphere Doomer is so evil that his seed causes Fox News contributor Ann Coulter to spawn smoke monsters from her vagina. Wherever Sphere Doomer goes, all of the nearby birds fall out of the sky.

The first world-boss is Whispy Woods, of course. Wait, where are his eyes? WHERE ARE HIS EYES??

...oh, there they are. In an effort to be ironic, I blasted him with the Leaf power. Round 1 KO!

For winning, I get... blue baseball bats. No word on if the next world will give our hero blue balls.

 Wait, no, they're oars for the ship. So Kirby returns the oars, but there are still four more worlds to traverse. Why are we helping this guy again?

 Keep up the good work, eh? I bet this guy turns out to be evil at the end, after using Kirby to help him get his death-ship running again. Wait, no, this is a Kirby game, that kind of thing never happens. Besides, if he did turn out to be evil, it would send a bad message to all the eight year olds playing this game: help others, and they might stab you in the back. Especially hitchhikers.

World 2 is a desert, following the pattern set by Super Mario Bros 3. Coming this Summer to a site near you... possibly. If I get around to it.

 Kirby tempts fate by getting shot out of a cannon.

Another miniboss is Triple H, seen here with his mighty sledgehammer. Man, I'm all about the wrestling references today. Kirby is prepared with his Indiana Jones power. That or he's Bill Murray's "Whipmaster" character from old episodes of SNL.

The hammer is one of my favorite powers in the Kirby-verse... at least, looks-wise, because it isn't exactly the most wieldy power. It's cool to have the weapon previously used by King Dedede.

The next miniboss? King Doo. Judging from the hair, this is the emo version of Waddle Dee.

He's nothing compared to the big boss that follows, Dr. Pooter.

Well, I was close enough. Mr. Dooter may well be the most profane boss name I have ever seen.

Onion Ocean? That sounds unpleasant. The game follows the SMB3 pattern again here, as that game also had a water world for world 3. This is the end of the pattern-following, though. More or less. Both games also have a fire world for the last one.

This world is full of serene beaches. Now that I think about it, the original Kirby's Dream Land had a third level that was a lot like this.

Here we see a bunch of minions building a sandcastle. In the world of Kirby, even the bad guys aren't so bad...aside from Dark Matter (or in this game, Sphere Doomer) who is the root of all evil. Yep, every bad guy in the Kirbyverse is only bad because they're being possessed by Dark Matter. That's racist.

Sphere Doomer returns. This guy is so evil that even Dick Cheney thinks he needs to lighten up. Sphere Doomer is so awful that when he opens his mouth to speak, only bats fly out. Sphere Doomer is so nasty that when the ancient Mayans predicted the world would end in 2012, it was because they saw a vision of this guy and mistook it for billions of dying souls.

Seriously though, what is up with these boss names? Fatty Puffer could be a formidable foe, but no one will take him seriously with a name like that.

And what is up with these world names? None of them make any sense! At this point I half expect the next world to be called "Zuchini Goggle".

This is the "ice world" of the game. And it's just as expressive and colorful as the rest of the game. You know, after the disappointment of Kirby 64, I'm glad I played this game to make me a Kirby fan again.

This game has barrel cannon type deals that spin and launch Kirby when you press a button. These are pretty much taken right from Donkey Kong Country, and I suspect this game got quite a bit of inspiration from DKC Returns the previous year.

Kirby becomes the world's creepiest snowman as the battle for the soul of Dreamland rages on.

Sphere Doomer is so singularly evil that if he were to go to hell, Satan would immediately relinquish his throne without even trying to compete. When Sphere Doomer enters a room with cats, they all immediately turn towards him and hiss.

I suffer my first death roughly halfway through the game. Got caught between moving walls with no escape. That brief moment where I realized that my undefeated streak was about to end was intense.

The Ninja power is complete with throwing stars and a deadly katana. One of the things I really like about this game is that the powers have so many different maneuvers at their disposal. In earlier Kirby games, a power might give you one move. In this game, a power can have 5+ moves depending on the context of your attack.

Goriath? Is that a mistranslation, or is Nintendo of America just a bunch of Asian-mocking racists?

The fifth world is called Nutty Noon. What does that even mean? It does have a cool solar system on the main map.

Nutty Noon is a sky level, like the same numbered world in SMB3. Now I get it. For the world set in this game they just took the Giant World out and put the Ice World in its place. Other than that, it's the same set of world themes.

This game really is majestic at times. It's the height of 2D graphics, right up there with DKCR (which is more impressive, but it's close).

Here's the final boss, Grand Doomer. He is, I assume, the Grand Dragon of Sphere Doomers. If you thought Sphere Doomer was evil, this guy is even worse. He subsists on a diet of children's happiness.

A pitched battle follows. This is certainly worthy of a Kirby final boss. Not too difficult, but not easy.

Our heroes celebrate because the Dreadnought nice flying boat is back in working order.

But wait! This four-headed dragon immediately shoots it down. For some reason. And here I was sure that the game was over!

At this point I legitimately didn't know how much of the game was left. I thought I was at the end, then wham. Good to know I can still be surprised.

World 6 is mechanical-themed and somewhat post-apocalyptic. Very incongruous with the rest of the game up to this point. I can only conclude that Sphere Doomer is responsible, because Sphere Doomer is the epicenter of evil in the cosmos.

Deadly rooms right out of a Saw movie await the unsuspecting Kirby. This game just got dark fast, huh? And aren't you glad they finally stopped making Saw movies?

The Emo One is back, and he's brought a friend.

The "whip challenge", huh? Save that kind of talk for the bedroom, mister!

The boss of this world is a killer robot. I think Kirby games need more killer robots and post-apocalyptic settings. Modern gamers don't want happy stuff, they want zombies and depressing shit.

World 7 is the last world, know what? These world names make so little sense that I suspect they were created by a random word generator that automatically alliterates. This world could have been called Lava Lagoon or Molten Mountain or something that made sense. If there were an eighth world, they probably would have called it Repressed Rugburn.

This world has some very impressive visuals, though. Great usage of fiery colors.

This is the shortest world in the game, clocking in at 3 levels. Too bad, it was over too soon.

The three-headed dragon is the final boss of the game. He's nowhere near as evil as Grand Doomer, who consumes babies for sustenance. I think this dragon is just misguided.

The fight is difficult, more difficult than any other fight in the game... unless you bring the Leaf power, as I did for one of my attempts. It makes the second half of the fight easier.

Oddly enough, he splits into four smaller dragons as the fight goes on. That just makes the fight even easier, and the Leaf power makes short work of this battle. If you think this has some correlation with the game supporting up to four players, you're right.

Kirby and friends are overjoyed that they beat up this innocent four-headed dragon for no reason. That's assault and battery, pal!

Huh, The Angel of Death our alien friend seems oddly menacing all of a sudden. That's odd. Well, no big, glad the game is ov-

...egad! He was using us all this time to get the dragon's crown for him? Bastard! This kind of double-cross has to be a first for a Kirby game. I bet this guy was the mysterious Sphere Doomer all along.

King Dedede is in shock, and I think Waddle Dee died over there. The nefarious villain proceeds to explain his whole crooked plan, Bully Ray style.

They even use black and white footage of earlier events as he explains everything. Nintendo should sue TNA! And if you have any idea what I'm talking about, kudos.

The four mini-dragons suddenly have purpose. Our heroes saddle up as the Skyrim theme plays, and we're off.

The final level of the a shooter. This is unexpected and awesome.

A battle with the Dreadnought follows. To think I helped repair this thing! Hell, you basically spend the entire game working for the bad guy. Not my favorite storyline choice, but hey.

And here it is: the REAL final boss, after several red herrings. He's formidable, but not too bad.

BOOM! I win. Onward to the next gam-

-nope not yet. He returns in a new, badder-ass form and the battle continues. It just me, or does he look a lot like Deadmau5?

He unleashes a massive kamehameha wave, but little does he know that Kirby is hiding in the corner bashing him with a sword. The AI in this game isn't the best.

BOOM! Battle over. I'm sure there'll be another boss, so I'm not holding my breath.

...oh, huh. That WAS the end. Good game, lot of fun. Wonder what happens if you get all 120 of the gears scattered about in the worlds.

Two Project posts left.

Read other Kirby-related posts!


  1. Kirby's all "yo I got this bro"

    Mr. Dooter should become a legend.

    This game is great! Kirby Lives!

    The powers being so versatile really comes from Kirby Super Star, this game is a proper sequel to it with the continuation of that.

  2. This is one of the best posts you've ever done. The most beautiful screenshots I've yet seen and great writing. I enjoyed it very thoroughly, and I'm looking forward to the new Mario building on the artistic achievements of this title.

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