Digital Foundry examines Kirby and the Forgotten Land

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The reviews are finally live for Kirby and the Forgotten Land and our reviewer NintendoJam really loved Kirby’s first 3D adventure. Now the tech focused team at Digital Foundry have published their impressions and they are also in love with the game stating that “It’s such a polished, complete game with a lot of heart that I think it deserves a shot if you’re into this type of experience.” John Linneman from Digital Foundry outlined the resolution for Kirby and the Forgotten Land, which when played in docked mode, scales up to 1080p, but it can dip as low as 810p. Handheld mode is of course targeting 720p and it holds that resolution for the vast majority of the time. However, he mainly had issues with the targeted 30fps frame rate, which is lower than both Super Mario Odyssey and Bowser’s Fury for Switch, which both targeted 60ps. Nearing the article’s conclusion John said that he was ultimately disappointed by the game’s performance saying “it’s not difficult to be slightly disappointed by the performance in this game. While I’m rather pleased with the presentation overall, this is one of the games that suggests we need a more powerful switch as it deserves a higher frame-rate.” Here’s some choice quotes:

“This is a not a game pushing technical boundaries, but I do feel that the development team has crafted a beautiful overall experience with just a few caveats worth mentioning. So, firstly, image quality – this game features dynamic resolution scaling and in docked mode, it scales all the way up to full 1080p while lower bounds seem to hit around 810p or possibly lower in the worst case. Portable mode also scales dynamically but I find that it holds its 720p target more regularly with super sharp image quality – it looks superb on the Switch OLED in particular.”

“But it’s how the game looks in motion that is one of its greatest strengths – the animation work is simply superb. Kirby squashes and stretches with a vast array of animations; Enemies move and react nicely and even incidental animations perfectly capture the spirit of the original games. The only issue is that animation frame rate is determined by the distance from the camera, meaning lower update rates further into the distance. This can become rather distracting when large objects are moving around in the distance and is a minor problem on an otherwise lovely game.”

“Ultimately, there’s little in the way of new, cutting-edge tech here but it’s a great example of how art design and a strong use of existing techniques can deliver a coherent, beautiful game. However, the density of the visuals does have an impact on performance. Nintendo’s signature 60fps gameplay isn’t in effect here, it’s a capped 30fps instead and I’ll be honest, when you look at what was achieved in Super Mario Odyssey, Bowser’s Fury and Metroid Dread, it’s not difficult to be slightly disappointed by the performance in this game. While I’m rather pleased with the presentation overall, this is one of the games that suggests we need a more powerful switch as it deserves a higher frame-rate.”

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