Games

Kirby and the Forgotten Land Review – Almost a complete gulp

i am not one kirby Fan. That’s not a diss on the pink puff – I just hadn’t played a single Kirby game before star allies on the switch, and I played most of it with my son now and then. I never understood what the appeal was to be honest. A blob that can eat things and fly around incredibly slowly. Of course, I had yet to experience Kirby properly. I’m totally into it now, with an absolute mouthful of Kirby goodness Kirby and the forgotten land on switch. Kirby has finally become a fully 3D platformer, and Nintendo has delivered a pretty tasty treat.

As has been the norm in Kirby games since before you were born (if you’re under 30), Kirby is a pink blob who eats things to “copy” his abilities. Eat/suck up an enemy with a sword and you will be Sword Kirby; consume a snowman and you become Ice Kirby; Defeat a Fire Enemy and you become… yes, Fire Kirby. It’s a simple mechanic, but it works and gives you plenty of options for spinning or easy puzzles to solve where you have to use the right copy ability to reach a hidden item or area.

Well, Kirby fans (Kirbians?), you can do all of this in full 3D – not 2.5D side-scrolling with 3D backgrounds or isometric grid-like areas to explore, but full 3D levels. This isn’t a sprawling adventure with huge areas like Mario Odyssey, as I first thought from the reveal trailer, but rather large 3D platforming levels more akin to the stages in Super Mario 3D World. Each has several things to find off the beaten path, several collectibles, and a checklist of tasks to complete – some of which are kept secret at first.

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Kirby can fly around (slowly, as mentioned), but the core gameplay here is combat and platforming. Spray fire on an enemy, sniff around to avoid lava, freeze some burning blocks to break them, jump over some platforms. There’s nothing revolutionary about this, but it’s tied to such a charming character and world that you won’t mind. There are lots of nice touches, areas to stumble upon, and a brand new game mechanic that always makes you smile: Mouthful mode.

Kirby has a big gob like we’ve seen in the last 30 years, but in Forgotten Land he’s pushing this further than we’ve seen before. Here he is able to envelop large objects and acquire special abilities. Get those lips (does Kirby have lips?) around a car and boom – you’re driving a car around, speeding through obstacles and jumping over holes. Feast on a traffic cone and you can slam down the pointed end to smash through breakable ground or take out enemies. Slurp down a few levels and become… a way to reach higher levels.

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There’s more, such as a ring that propels a boat via blasts of air (this one is weak, I agree), an archway that becomes a glider, and a massive tube that rolls through the level and clears everything what stands in his way. Plus the hookah, from which you eat less than you drink. Fill Kirby with water and he becomes a wobbly water balloon that can spray water to clear a path and finish off enemies immune to other attacks. These gulp moments start out signposted, but as time goes on there are many that you could pass by if you’re not careful.

Collecting Waddle Dees (Kirby’s friends who are caged and housed in random unreachable locations) from each level increases the total number of Waddle Dees overall, which then unlocks new areas of Waddle Dee Town. These areas house shops, a fishing mini-game, a boss fight mode, a movie viewer, and a copy skill upgrade station – plus more in the late game. Upgrades, like transforming your mallet into a larger, more powerful stone ax-like monstrosity, cost coins (easily earned) and special stars earned through Treasure Roads.

These Treasure Roads are special stages scattered across the game’s world map, and each one tests your ability to use a specific copy ability (or mouthful item) to reach the end, ideally within a certain amount of time. These all share the same stripped-down presentation and can generally be completed in under two minutes, and they’re essential if you want to play the game with anything other than the usual copy skills.

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Forgotten Land is not a particularly difficult game. It wasn’t until near the end that I actually failed a level and had to start it all over again – and if you’re having trouble at any point, the game does suggest turning the difficulty down, but there are other options if you don’t want that. An unlockable shop sells items that increase your speed, maximum health, or attack power. On a boss I fought towards the end, I bought a health doubler and then blew through the fight with an erected hammer.

I want to make it clear that I really enjoyed Kirby and the Lost Land, but there are parts of it that I kind of missed – progressing through the levels just to complete them rather than taking it all in. There’s a real mix of designs on offer and I definitely preferred the look and feel of some of the early stages to the later worlds, the tone shifting from pure joy to emo-grunge, and not for the better. These stages still have a lot to do, but I feel the same about them as I did for Mario Odyssey’s Luncheon Kingdom – so I’m sure some people will enjoy them, but I don’t agree with them at all.

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Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a little safe in a few places to make it a proper all-timer, but I’m not sure that was ever the intention. It’s a game that’s easy to like, can be played by anyone, and sits nicely alongside other Nintendo Switch exclusives. When Kirby becomes a car, everything you want in life is good for you and welcome to your new favorite game of all time. For me, Kirby stays just below A-Tier, which is still a great spot. The tastiest snacks are often found here.

https://www.vg247.com/kirby-and-the-forgotten-land-review-switch Kirby and the Forgotten Land Review – Almost a complete gulp

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