Kirby and the Forgotten Land Review
Nintendo has published a new Kirby game almost every year since the launch of Kirby’s Dream Land for the Game Boy in 1992. These games have experimented with different genres, but the main games of Kirby has been a side-scroller – until now. Kirby and the Forgotten Land is the first 3D platformer Kirby game, and it proves that there is much about the Kirby franchise that translates perfectly into the 3D space. Kirby and the Forgotten Land takes advantage of its new 3D environment, showcasing impressive set-pieces and using clever cinematic camera shots to give the world a sense of scale not seen in previous Kirby games. After Kirby and the residents of Dream Land are transported to a new world, Kirby washes up on a beach in a manner not unlike Crash Bandicoot, and then players are let loose to see what Kirby’s new encounter is all about. Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a 3D platformer, but it maintains a strictly linear structure. Players aren’t exploring huge open environments like Super Mario 64, but the levels themselves are full of secrets and hidden paths for players to discover. It’s a little disappointing that HAL Laboratory and Nintendo didn’t go all-out on the jump to 3D, but what’s here is still very impressive and feels like a huge step forward for the franchise. In the move to 3D, Kirby retains all the usual tricks fans have become accustomed to in his other adventures, including his ability to float and consume enemies to gain their powers. Kirby and the Forgotten Land’s levels are often filled with a good selection of different enemies for Kirby to absorb, so players can switch between different copying abilities on a regular basis. Of course, there are levels designed with specific copying abilities in mind, though usually players have a lot of freedom when it comes to what powers they use. Kirby’s rogues gallery looks great in Kirby and the Forgotten Land, where the developers give everyone more animations and personality. The new enemy designs are fun and clever, especially the boss battles, which are a highlight of the experience. Each world is covered with a boss fight against a member of the Beast Pack, the antagonist group that Kirby has to fight in Kirby and the Forgotten Land, and while there are some riffs on previous Kirby bosses, there’s still a lot that’s unique. . designs too. HAL Laboratory went the extra mile with Kirby and the art design of the Forgotten Land. A lot of care was taken not only in the creation of the characters, but also in the levels, with many creative stages that go beyond the generic stages of fire, water, forest, etc. platformer. Kirby and the Forgotten Land takes these clichés and mixes them with post-apocalyptic settings to create its own interesting vibe, with players exploring overgrown malls, abandoned places of industry, and more. There’s never a bad level in Kirby and the Forgotten Land. Each stage gives players something new to do, with HAL Laboratory getting even more creative when incorporating the new Mouthful Mode into levels. Kirby and the Forgotten Land’s Mouthful Mode is one of the more interesting new gameplay features, as it allows Kirby to not only consume his enemies, but also large, inanimate objects, to take their shape in the process. Kirby is able to take the form of a vending machine, an “airplane,” a car, and more throughout the course of the adventure, but each time an ability returns, players do something a little different. here. For example, one level might have players use Kirby’s car form to simply blast through enemies and breakable walls, while another level might have Kirby’s car racing on an actual track, trying to beat a high score to save a Waddle Dee. The main goal in Kirby and the Forgotten Land is to rescue all the Waddle Dees captured by the Beast Pack. Players can save a lot of Waddle Dees in Kirby and the Forgotten Lands by simply progressing through the stage as normal, but there are also plenty of hidden ones to find. Some of these hidden Waddle Dees are literally hidden in the game world, but others can only be obtained by completing bonus objectives. Kirby and the Forgotten Land players need to save a certain number of Waddle Dees to unlock the boss level in each stage, but there’s another reason to save them as well. Saving Waddle Dees expands Waddle Dee Town, which serves as Kirby’s headquarters between stages. Here, players can unlock all kinds of things to do, such as a cooking mini-game, a battle arena, a cinema to re-watch cutscenes (cutscenes are fun might actually be tempted to do it for a change), and more. Kirby can even go fishing in Waddle Dee Town when players progress enough. One of the most useful buildings in Waddle Dee Town is the Weapons Shop, which players can visit to evolve their copying abilities, giving them new, stronger forms and increasing their damage output in the process. This gives the many coins that Kirby collects in the levels a greater purpose, not to mention that it’s fun to see what the new form of each copying ability is. The Weapons Shop in Kirby and the Forgotten Land requires blueprints and a special currency in addition to the standard coins, with players unlocking this currency by taking the Treasure bonus stages in every world. As Kirby saves Waddle Dees, expands Waddle Dee Town, and battles the Beast Pack, he can bring a friend along for the ride. Kirby and the Forgotten Land has a co-op mode for up to two players, with the second player controlling Bandana Waddle Dee. Bandana Waddle Dee doesn’t have Kirby’s copy abilities, but he’s still playable enough thanks to his relatively powerful spear attack. Solo or co-op, Kirby fans will have fun with Kirby and the Forgotten Land, but it does have some downsides. For one, the game can be completed relatively quickly, with most players likely finishing the main story in less than eight hours. Getting to 100% will probably only take another five to eight hours depending on skill level, so players will be able to beat the game in such a short amount of time that it’s hard to say if its $60 price tag is justified. It doesn’t help that Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a very easy game. Unless players go out of their way to do this, there’s a good chance they won’t die for an hour from start to finish. Now, being too easy is not inherently a bad thing; sometimes it’s nice to have a more relaxed gameplay experience compared to so many nail-biting platformers out there. However, Kirby and the Forgotten Land includes difficulty options, with a “Wild Mode” that is supposed to give players a greater challenge. Wild Mode doesn’t really do what it sets out to do, so it makes one wonder why the difficulty options were given in the first place. Not to mention that players can make the game easier by carrying stock healing items and playing in co-op, so the game doesn’t really have any stakes. Kirby and the Forgotten Land being a very easy game is to be expected since the low difficulty is definitely one of the hallmarks of the Kirby franchise, but that, along with how short it is, may leave some fans a little unsatisfied. Still, Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a consistently entertaining, adorable, and clever little 3D platformer while it lasts, and it even has some surprising Kirby lore revelations thrown in for good measure. Despite its short length, Kirby and the Forgotten Land marks another must-play Switch exclusive, especially for fans of the franchise. Kirby and the Forgotten Land is out now, exclusively for Nintendo Switch.