Over on UWG’s Youtube channel, I have been covering Kirby’s Return to Dreamland for the Wii, a game I hadn’t played in probably a good five years. As with all Kirby games, this one is bright and cheery and all around adorable, and I had such a great time with it, in fact, that this game helped renew my waning love of the Kirby series. Nevertheless, I have to admit that the first few worlds aren’t particularly memorable, a sentiment I remember also feeling during my first playthrough of the game several years back. The problem stems from the fact that the earlier worlds represented locations that are seen in pretty much every platformer in existence. Green, forested world, check. Desert world, check. Water world and ice world, check and check. Fun? Of course. But inspired? Not really. And then along came world five, Nutty Noon.
If you’re like me, you’re now asking, what in the world is Nutty Noon? I don’t really understand the title, either, and at the time of my return to this game, having allowed several years to pass since I last played it, I, too, had no idea what to expect. Whatever Nutty Noon was had entirely slipped my mind, and if I wanted to find out, I had no choice but to begin the first stage.
Within mere moments of beginning stage 5-1, my breath was taken away.
It wasn’t just the scenery that made me fall in love with this stage, though it definitely helped. You see, Nutty Noon is, in fact, a cloud world, which is right at home in a Kirby game where our hero is a pink puffball who is as light and airy as the clouds themselves. What I really appreciate about this game is the fact that, in addition to bright and cheery colors, the scenery is also detailed and generally beautiful. So, even if the first few worlds are not super interesting in concept, they are still a pleasure to behold. But nothing could compete with that first stage of Nutty Noon, for this was no ordinary cloud level. Rather than merely emphasizing the clouds themselves, the first few stages of this world showcased the view. Far below, as Kirby hops and floats from cloud to cloud, you can see the planet of Pop Star far beneath you. There are fields and mountains and even an endless shore bordering an ocean, all slowly, gently rotating over that curving horizon. Absolutely stunning.
As beautiful as the scenery was, however, I don’t think this place would have been nearly as amazing if it wasn’t for the music. Sky Waltz is the perfect accompaniment to Kirby’s journey through the clouds. This game has more than its fair share of good songs, but this one has always really stood out to me above the rest. The music, in short, is absolutely beautiful, and it really helps me to appreciate Kirby’s (generally) peaceful and verdant world. At this time, you just feel so carefree in the clouds as you practically look down on the previous four worlds of the game. Like Kirby himself and the clouds around him, Sky Waltz is light and airy and features a tune as bouncy as our lovable hero, and you can listen to it below.
Video from Youtube User: GilvaSunner
Aside from its beauty, the other reason why this song, well, resonates with me is because it symbolized the first moment Kirby’s Return to Dreamland woke up from its initial slumber and the moment that I, too, began to appreciate this game and form an actual connection to it. It almost felt as if the first four worlds were merely the appetizer, the warm up, before the real game began. It was with world five that the real challenges began, as we readied ourselves to leave Pop Star behind and head to Magolor’s home of Halcandra, a barren place where the game’s true story is revealed and we finally realize that there is much more to the plot than simply helping an unfortunate space traveler rebuild his damaged ship.
There is more to the Kirby series than meets the eye. It is easy for people unfamiliar with the series to dismiss it as a bunch of cute, cuddly games for kids with no real substance. Yes, Kirby games are some of the easier ones out there, and they are definitely adorable, but they have enough charm for anyone to appreciate. The music is just one small part of a bigger package, and Sky Waltz reminded me of this.
Waltz with a Duck