A threadbare plot tells the tale of a friendly (or is he?
) extraterrestrial visitor, with Kirby and chums gathering the parts of his crashed spaceship so he can return home.
At least it has the decency to remain unobtrusive - every cut-scene is thankfully skippable - but the half-hearted storytelling is symptomatic of the apparent lack of effort put into making the game.
At least the menagerie of enemies has been expanded a little, meaning that Kirby has more abilities to pilfer.
Yet the transformations are barely more than a series of different hats.
Some have unique abilities, but many are identical bar the cosmetics - the differences between Water, Spark and Needle Kirby in particular are negligible.
Judicious use of this can help less skilled players get past tougher obstacles.
Indeed, it's not a bad game for parents to play with their kids.
Fortunately, everyone can choose a Kirby of a different hue, and while lives are shared, restarts are instant unless player one buys the farm.
Though the difficulty is supposed to scale as the number of participants increases, it's hard to spot the difference: one side effect of having a full complement is that every boss battle becomes ludicrously easy. Meanwhile, collectable orbs that are about as well-hidden as Snake in rainbow camo can be used to unlock challenge rooms, which, despite the low difficulty level elsewhere, are genuinely worthy of the name.
So it's a surprise in some ways to see him revert to old form.
Kirby's Return to Dream Land (as the more accurate US title would have it) is a retrograde platformer where you consume enemies to obtain their powers.