According to our own Jim Sterling, Kirby's Return to Dream Land belongs right up there among New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Donkey Kong Country Returns in the upper echelon of modern-day multi-player platformers. That's partly due to the game's visuals, which Jimothy described as "... damn beautiful, despite the standard definition. Character animations bubble with life, and environments are bright and gladdening."
I can't say I disagree, though I'm still left wondering, could the game somehow be more bright and gladdening? Under differing circumstances, could Kirby's Return to Dream Land have been... the gladdeningest? From the looks of this image gleaned from a recent Iwata Asks interview, it looks like the answer is "yes". At one point in the game's long development cycle, Nintendo employed a cel shaded visual style that is almost seizure-inducing in its levels of sugary sweetness. Everything looks so cute and colorful that I just want to eat that entire screenshot (which makes sense, given Kirby's own proclivity for gluttony).
There was also a time where the game was more of a 3D experience. I bet that version of the game got the axe shortly after New Super Mario Bros. Wii went on to sell more than double what Super Mario Galaxy sold. The people have spoken, and they want their Nintendo platformers in two dimensions (and with multi-player). Expect Nintendo to follow that trend for at least a little while longer.
So what do you think of these alternate versions on Kirby's latest Wii title? Do you mourn for what could have been, celebrate what we have, or both?