New 'Kirby' Video Game Is Perfect for the Whole Family

Courtesy of Nintendo
It's hard to find a good game for the entire family to play, especially as my son and daughter are getting older yet are still too young for the smash and slash of even some of the tamer Wii titles. But man cannot live on Mario Kart alone and so I was quite pleased when the Kirby series -- games featuring a lovable pink fluff that can inhale his enemies and spit them out as energy stars -- began returning to the platform. They are quite well done and easy to play on the Wii, plus they're great family fun.

The latest title, Kirby's Return to Dream Land, is no exception. It offers four-player gameplay along with a fairly engrossing storyline. Add in simple mechanics and a system for ensuring that the younger players won't get left behind and you've got quite a nice video game.


You play as Kirby and your mission is to help an alien recover pieces of a spaceship that crashed on your planet. In this game, Kirby can inhale some enemies and take over their powers, giving him the ability to swing comically huge wands and swords to destroy bricks and knock out an entire screen of his rivals. You can also do a Super Inhale, which allows you to spit out enemies not as energy, but as projectiles.

Courtesy of Nintendo
The comic violence may be a little rough for younger kids, but there's really no way to "die" in the game except when you fall off the screen. In the multi-player mode, you and your friends have to stick together and the system drags stragglers back to the head of the party whenever they fall behind.

If you've played Kirby's Epic Yarn, you'll be familiar with the graphics and M.O. of this one -- simple, bright shapes and colors and a storyline that is tissue thin. However, my son loves the simplicity and action and gets a huge kick out of swinging a giant magic wand at one of the enemies, an infuriated tree that cries when you've knocked it out.

The game is very similar to the Super Mario Brothers or Sonic franchises in that it uses a very basic, platformer-style gameplay to keep kids interested. The multi-player function allows the whole family to participate, ensuring that Mom and Dad aren't left out.

The game is available now and could make a nice holiday gift -- if Dad can resist the temptation to tear it open and start playing immediately. Nintendo is currently holding a call for artwork for young Kirby fans to submit their own super abilities, which will appear in a Kirby slideshow.

DS owners will be pleased to know that Nintendo also launched the portable game Kirby's Mass Attack, which pits multiple tiny Kirbies against large, looming bad guys. It is stylus-based, so it has a little less fluidity than the standard arcade-style Kirby games. But it's a hoot nonetheless.

Do you and your kids play video games together?


Images via Nintendo

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