|Dev: HAL Laboratory|
|Release: October 24, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p|
The real draw of this game, however, is the cooperative multiplayer. While it has some flaws, it's easily one of the most fun Kirby co-op modes yet. The first thing you have to realize is that Player 1's Kirby, the pink Kirby, is the most important Kirby in the game. If he dies, it's game over. The camera will follow this Kirby, and every other player will simply teleport to him if they fall off the screen. Players can share health by touching each other after picking up a life. Everyone shares lives from the same pool, although anyone besides Player 1 can spawn infinitely as long as Pink Kirby is alive. So Player 1 is the leader; remember that.
Once you get that through your head, co-op is pretty fun. Players 2, 3, and 4 can choose to control another Kirby or one of Kirby's friends: Meta Knight, who has the power of the sword, DeDeDe, who has the power of the hammer, and Waddle Dee, who has the power of the spear. Each of these characters has an array of unique abilities as well. The upside to these characters is that they don't lose their powers when hit, but the downside is that they can't copy any other powers in the game. If this doesn't appeal to you, you can also choose to play as a different colored Kirby with access to all the same abilities a Kirby has (Copying, Super Inhaling, etc.) Players can even piggyback on each other to make getting through the level easier and to perform combination attacks between all the characters. Overall, this co-op play is fun, but it does make the game a whole lot easier. Nearly any puzzle can be solved by having one of your buddies with the right power activate a trigger while you run to enter a door or grab an item. In the end, the timed rush and difficult puzzle-solving elements of having a single Kirby simply disappear when you have a group of four.
Kirby's Return to Dream Land is pretty much the exact Kirby game we all wanted. Sure, his animal companions aren't involved (seriously, Nintendo, bring them back), but the same gameplay that made Kirby Super Star so much fun back in the 90s is present and accounted for. Add a whole bunch of powers, a fun cooperative multiplayer, and an inexpensive price tag, and you have a recipe for a great Kirby game. This is a fine game to see the Wii out on, or at least hold us over until Skyward Sword comes out next month. If you are a Kirby fan, you simply won't want to miss out on this one.
Angelo M. D’Argenio
CCC Contributing Writer