Known as Kirby's Return to Dream Land in the US, Kirby's Adventure Wii is a side-scrolling platform game starring one of Nintendo's second-tier mascots, Kirby (obviously). An amorphous pink blob, the titular dude likes to suck things up and spit them out — it's kind of his thing.
One of the things he can suck up is air; doing so allows him to fly, which makes many of the platforming sections much simpler than they might be were Kirby otherwise restricted to his Mario-like jump-based perambulatory tactics.
And that's something of a feature of the game; much like Super Mario 3D Land, until you unlock the "extra" levels at the end of the game, there's not a great deal of challenge in the game. If that's a deal breaker for you, Donkey Kong Country Returns - which is otherwise very similar in structure - might be your thing.
Still here? You chose wisely. While it's not challenging, it is very definitely charming, gorgeous, entertaining, and - most importantly - fun. Kirby and his pals - more on that in a moment - are so well brought to life you'll just want to spend time with them.
The outstanding characterization extends to his enemies, too, which are gorgeous, funny, and entertaining - while also visually strongly representative of their abilities, without being blatantly obvious.
The entire game can be played in drop-in, drop-out co-operative multiplayer, too, which allows people (up to four of them) to come and go as they please. The mode is extremely well executed, with the different characters providing always-on versions of a few of the (many) powerups that Kirby can otherwise collect. While this means that Kirby's pals can't collect powerups, they won't lose their special abilities when they get hit.
This makes Kirby a great utility character but arguably less powerful in certain situations (especially bosses). The skill-split is remarkably well executed, ensuring that each character feels strong and worthwhile - but don't worry, you can all play as Kirby, if you want.
There are heaps and heaps of powerups to collect, which are either just hanging around in the sky or obtained by sucking in an enemy and pushing "down" on the d-pad to consume them. If they've got a powerup, you'll get it to use for yourself.
Alternatively, you can fire the sucked-in enemies back at other enemies - giving you loads of strategy as to how you approach each situation.
The powerups themselves are all fun - some downright funny, like the one that just makes you sleep - and while there's definitely some overlap in their function, they each have their own feel to them. If you're hoping for a machine gun, however, you should know in advance that they're all rather fanciful and family-friendly in execution.
Control is fairly simple. The Wii-remote is held sideways, with only the d-pad and buttons 1 & 2 called into play. There are occasional shake-related shenanigans but they're fairly infrequent and make sense (either to free yourself or power-up a move).
There's loads of extra content, too, including some remarkably fun mini-games and seriously difficult challenging stages. The mini-games in particular are so strong they'd stand up on their own, with games like the ninja star tossing game that you unlock first being a particular treat.
Visually, it's clear that the Nintendo teams are very much in their stride in terms of effectively leveraging the Wii. It looks, quite simply, stunning. The characters and environments are alive with animated, brightly-coloured detail. Enemies and paths are distinct and clear, with little to no explanations needed (or offered) which ensures that things flow instinctively. At no point do you find yourself thinking "shame this isn't in HD".
The sound is a similar treat, with a chirpy tune and sound effects that are simultaneously punchy and inspired by 8-bit retro classics. If you've no idea what an 8-bit is, you needn't worry - you'll still love it. But if you have been playing games since the 90's, you'll get an extra level of satisfaction from the audio.
If you've been hoping for a hardcore, mega-challenging, controller-tosser, this probably isn't for you. But if you like the idea of exploring an incredibly well realised world, with loads of variety and gameplay that won't rule out the very young (or very old...), Kirby's latest adventure is a rare treat - doubly so if you've got friends or family to enjoy it with. Highly recommended.