Kirby and the Forgotten Land on Nintendo Switch
I’ve been a big Kirby fan for a while now; he’s always been my main in Smash (down b brick spam 4-life), and previous games have always been simple yet enjoyable. Despite also being pretty easy itself, Kirby and the Forgotten Land is the first time I’ve truly been addicted to a title in the franchise.
Like most stories surrounding everyone’s favorite pink circular vacuum, Kirby and the Forgotten Land starts out with a mysterious event that our titular protagonist is tasked with solving. This time around, instead of taking place on Popstar, his home Planet, Kirby is pulled through a mysterious vortex to a new world that gives him a unique and mysterious power, known as Mouthful.
Mouthful expands Kirby’s ability to suck in and use the power of objects, now allowing him to essentially morph into larger objects like cars, hang-gliders, and vending machines. This small but effective addition to the copy mechanic the series has always been known for is a blast, and opens up gameplay and puzzle mechanics considerably.
Minigames like racing, time trials, and much more are available in fun new ways thanks to Mouthful, not to mention how amusing it is to see Kirby take the form of something like a cone. It’s honestly really impressive just how much variety they were able to get out of the mechanic, and is very reminiscent of the Cappy mechanic in Super Mario Odyssey.
Now, if you go into Kirby and the Forgotten Land thinking that it’s going to be the Kirby version of Super Mario Odyssey, there’s a good chance you’re going to be sorely disappointed. Though this 3D experience is far more open than previous games in the series, it’s still a pretty linear experience.
The flow of Kirby and the Forgotten Land is far more akin to Super Mario 3D world, with each level advancing from point A to B with a concrete end to the level. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but there’s also no denying how much potential a 3D Kirby game with big worlds like that of Super Mario Odyssey has.
Every level has a handful of Waddle Dees that need to be saved, either through completing mission-specific tasks or simply finding them. Unlocking more Waddle Dees not only progresses the main story but also opens up more helpful things in Waddle Dee Town, the game’s main hub area. This is where Kirby can upgrade his powers, heal, and even play a fun cafe side mission for some extra income.
The currency that is earned here and in side missions can in turn be used to make Kirby’s powers even more powerful and chaotic, as long its upgrade blueprint is unlocked. Similar to Waddle Dees, these can be found scattered throughout the game.
This really helps incentivize exploration, as putting in that extra time to find a blueprint for something like the Chain Bomb is well worth it for things like boss battles and extra hard time-trial minigames, as the extra power and rapid-fire abilities can make all the differences.
Unlocking Waddle Dee Town following the first level also opens up the multiplayer portion of the game, which includes the option to play 2-player campaign co-op and 4-player minigames. Both of these options are fun for all ages, though the ease of combat makes it something that is really special to experience with someone younger that’s into gaming.
I can’t tell you how much I enjoy being able to play through an entire game with my six-year-old nieces and nephews and seeing them enjoying themselves as much as I am. My only complaint is that I always ended up playing as Bandana Waddle Dee.
Unlike Kirby, Bandana Waddle Dee’s abilities are a lot more straightforward, as the character wields a spear that has a few different abilities, but none that compare to the plethora of attacks Kirby can copy. The camera also focuses on the main player, so if he wanders too far away, Bandana Waddle Dee is placed into a bubble that must be popped in order to continue.
That’s just a minor gripe, though, as I was able to get through the entire game in both co-op and single-player, beating it twice. Kirby and the Forgotten Land also has a fair amount of post-game content to explore too, including harder levels and bosses via Isolated Isles: Forgo Dreams and the Colosseum.
While definitely more difficult, these areas aren’t too hard either, though, especially when you upgrade your abilities all the way. What is cool is that you can actually compete against other players and friends to see who can get the best time, adding another layer to the game’s already great multiplayer options.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is an important step forward for the franchise, even if it may still be a bit too linear. The Mouthful ability and the full transition to 3D are two features that should be here to stay, as they open up the gameplay possibilities considerably.
If you’re looking for a cute, fun game or need a palate cleanser from difficult titles like Sifu and Elden Ring, then Kirby and the Forgotten Land came at the perfect time.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land
Reviewer: Andrew McMahon | Award: Editor’s Choice | Copy provided by Publisher.
- Mouthful opens up gameplay considerably.
- Loads of minigames.
- Exploring the worlds to find Waddle Dees is a blast.
- Co-op is fun for all ages.
- The experience is still pretty linear.
- Co-op can be a bit limited, especially for the second player.
March 25, 2022