|“||Can you finish this challenge stage before time runs out? Collect coins and points! Try for a perfect score! Defeat enemies to raise your score even higher!”|
|— Sword Challenge Guide • Kirby's Dream Collection Special Edition|
With the exception of the Item Challenge, all Challenges require the use of a specific ability. These abilities are given at the start of the challenge and cannot be discarded. (In the case of the Item Challenge, Kirby discards his ability and receives a key.)
All Challenges contain Score Coins, some of which are hidden.
Unlike the other sub-games found in the game, only one player may participate in a Challenge.
In Challenges, Kirby's basic goal is to reach the goal with the highest score possible. Points can be obtained in several ways:
- By collecting Score Coins
- By defeating enemies
- By receiving bonuses at the end of a stage (see the Bonuses section)
If Kirby is hit, he loses 500 points in Kirby's Return to Dream Land or 100 points in Kirby's Dream Collection.
Kirby is also faced with a time limit. The time limit is usually two minutes but can change depending on the challenge. If time runs out, Kirby won't complete the challenge. The player is notified when he/she has 1 minute/30 seconds left, and the last ten seconds are counted off.
After a stage, Kirby can earn bonuses depending on how well he did. He can receive:
- A clear bonus (always 3000 points)
- A time bonus (10 points for every 0.2 seconds remaining)
- 30-Seconds Left or 20-Seconds Left (1000 or 500 points, respectively)
- All Foes Defeated (1000 points)
- No Damage (1000 points)
- Down to the Wire (less than 10 seconds left, 100 points)
- Barely Conscious (health meter is in red zone, 100 points)
- Coins Complete (collect every Score Coin, 1000 points)
Medals and High Scores
After completing a stage, Kirby will receive a Medal for beating a target score. Target scores are given when the gate is opened the first time. Kirby may earn a Bronze Medal, Silver Medal, Gold Medal, or the "special" Platinum Medal. In Kirby's Return to Dream Land, Kirby will also receive in-game rewards depending on his medal (awarded when he exits the challenge): a red star for a Bronze Medal, a blue star for a Silver Medal, a 1UP for a Gold Medal, and three 1UPs for a Platinum Medal.
If a score is beaten, it will replace the score that was previously larger and move that score down one. This will not change the target scores, however.
Kirby's Dream Collection Special Edition introduces two more types of challenges: Combat Chambers and Magolor Races.
In a Combat Chamber, various enemies appear in waves. Beating all the enemies in a wave gives the player Score Coins and a path to the next wave area. Gold Waddle Dees appear here, giving the player 1,000 points if beaten. Also, every Combat Chamber contains at least one mid-boss, but there are no health bars.
In a Magolor Race, the player must choose an ability and race to the finish with Magolor. Along the way, Magolor will summon enemies and magical attacks to slow Kirby down. Score coins here count towards a Medal, but Magolor can collect coins too. If the player beats Magolor, he/she gets a 1,000 point bonus. If Kirby loses the race, he must try again from the beginning.
The player receives a record for every ability he/she uses, but the highest score is marked as the top score.
Challenges (Kirby's Return to Dream Land)
|Name||Difficulty||Energy Spheres required||Image||Extra Mode Image||Description|
|Sword Challenge||1||7||Can you reach the goal before time runs out? Go for the high score!|
|Whip Challenge||2||25||Lash the whip with just the right timing to pull distant Score Coins to you!|
|Hi-Jump Challenge||3||35||Your postjump maneuvering is critical. React quickly and shoot for the stars!|
|Bomb Challenge||4||50||Use your Bomb Throw quickly and accurately. Go for all direct hits!|
|Water Challenge||5||70||This challenge measures prudence. Keep a close eye on your health.|
|Wing Challenge||6||90||Can you master the Hover Flap? This is an airborne challenge with almost no land.|
|Item Challenge||7||120||The final stage is the Item Challenge! The time limit is 3:30 for this true test!|
Challenges (Kirby's Dream Collection Special Edition)
|Name||Copy Abilities||Level||How to Unlock||Image||Description|
|Sword Challenge||Sword||Happiness Hall||Unlocked at the start||Can you master the king of weapon-based Copy Abilities?|
|Parasol Challenge||Parasol||Happiness Hall||Complete the Sword Challenge||Block falling objects, fill your parasol with wind, and take to the sky!|
|Spark Challenge||Spark||Happiness Hall||Complete the Sword Challenge||Spark puts the power of electricity in your hands! Time for a Spark Barrier!|
|Magolor Race 1||Sword|
|Happiness Hall||Complete the Sword, Parasol, and Spark Challenges||Race against Magolor! Unleash all of your skills to claim victory.|
|Whip Challenge||Whip||Apricot Atrium||Complete Magolor Race 1||Crack your whip to grab foes and items or lash out with a Whip Tornado!|
|Fighter Combat Chamber||Fighter||Apricot Atrium||Complete Magolor Race 1||Test your skills as a Fighter and punch your way to victory!|
|Wing Challenge||Wing||Apricot Atrium||Complete Magolor Race 1||Flap your wings for a brief flight. Spread them wide and feel all right!|
|Magolor Race 2||Whip|
|Apricot Atrium||Complete the Whip and Wing Challenges, and the Fighter Combat Chamber||Can you beat Magolor a second time? This race will be tougher than the last one!|
|Smash Combat Chamber||Smash||Last Land||Complete Magolor Race 2||The ultimate challenge! Can you master Kirby's Smash moves?|
|Normal Challenge||None||Last Land||Complete Magolor Race 2||Kirby is powerful even in his Normal form, without a Copy Ability. Inhale, spit, and attack!|
|Magolor Race 3||Sword|
|Last Land||Complete the Normal Challenge and the Smash Combat Chamber||Magolor won't be fooling around this time. He wants to win! Be careful, Kirby!|
|Smash Combat Chamber EX||Smash||Last Land||Complete Magolor Race 3||The ultimate challenge of Smash skills continues in Smash Combat Chamber EX!|
|Magolor Race EX||Sword|
|Last Land||Complete Magolor Race 3||Magolor wants one more shot at victory. Can you beat him in an EX race?|
- An icon depicting the Fire ability exists in Kirby's Dream Collection Special Edition. This implies that a Fire Challenge was considered for the New Challenge Stages, but was ultimately unused.
- The Dedede's Drum Dash sub-game in Kirby: Triple Deluxe (as well as the downloadable Dedede's Drum Dash Deluxe) is largely inspired by the Challenge stages in Kirby's Return to Dream Land and Kirby's Dream Collection Special Edition.