Kirby's Return to Dreamland is the first Nintendo-published game for the Wii since June and only the third of the year, but scarcity alone does not guarantee quality. Nor does the fact that this Kirby game allows him to do what he hasn't done for years: inhale his enemies. So Kirby sucks, but is Kirby's Return to Dreamland worth buying?
Stephen Totilo, who will be reviewing the game and writes the following with some sadness: I got it backwards. Last year, I thought Kirby's Epic Yarn wouldn't be any good. I wound up loving it. This year, I thought, okay, Kirby Wii sidescrollers = high quality. Wrong again. The game is an ordinary platformer, a one to four-player game of running, jumping, inhaling enemies, appropriating their powers and occasionally wielding timed hyper-powers like a sword or hammer that are almost as big as your TV screen. In a five-minute session that's charming. At length, it's numbing and asks its players to make no interesting decisions. Kirby has an amazing amount of moves in this game, but few that make a difference.
The problem with Kirby's Return to Dreamland isn't that it's easy. Great Kirby games, such as Epic Yarn often are. The problem is that this new game is simple without excelling at anything. It animates nicely, giving lie to the idea that the Wii can't render beautiful games in 2011, but Epic Yarn, drawn with a faux yarn-and-fabric style, looked better and was more visually inventive. Its levels flow smoothly but they lack the creative construction of Donkey Kong Country Returns. The multiplayer is no more enjoyable than Lego Star Wars'. Any asset Return to Dreamland has, other Wii games have better. This game feels trumped on day one. Should you buy it? No.