Okay. It’s finally here. In honor of 30 years (!) of 2D and 2.5D adventures – with a bit 3D added to be sure – the first Kirby right The fully 3D mainline adventure has now arrived, and if you know exactly what to expect from the little pink puffer coat, it’s an absolute delight. Kirby and the Forgotten Land is 100% aimed at young players; it’s not particularly difficult, it won’t leave you scratching your head over puzzles or pulling your hair out over tricky bosses, but what’s here is still extremely cute and highly replayable, even for those of us who might a little older (and this writer is a little older) than the target audience.
In our hands-on preview of the game’s first world, we already discussed how Kirby and the Forgotten Land eschews the wide-open 3D environments of Super Mario Odyssey in favor of carefully designed small game boxes in the vein of Super Mario 3D World. There is no fully controllable open world camera, the paths through the levels are framed and shown that way, and this is a design decision that Kirby and the Forgotten World has strongly adhered to throughout its existence, offering delightful little play areas that allow you a reasonable amount of freedom in its limits while perfectly pairing light fresh combat with exciting secret hunting and a handful of hilarious new tricks to keep things from getting old. It’s not the big 3D open world game that some might expect, and that’s totally fine.
HAL Labs has successfully ported everything we know and love from the classic Kirby games to this new game, with our little pink hero’s exhaustive set of copiable abilities (supported here by several new variants) and, of course, Mouthful Mode. It’s the part everyone talks about before release, and as it turns out, Mouthful Mode is just as fun, goofy, and adorable as the game’s trailers show Kirby transforming into all sorts of outlandish forms to solve puzzles. , the best villains and save as many Waddle Dees as possible.
Oh yes, Waddle Dis. Kirby’s little buddies have been captured by the villain from this installment – the villain whose name will remain unnamed here – and locked up in cages hidden throughout the Forgotten Land, a land that you must now jump, slide, powerboat, ride rollercoasters and t… uh… yes, whatever he does with that vending machineto save each and every one of your endangered buddies, while at the same time pulling off a real royal feat to the extensive roster of bosses.
But it’s not all beating baddies. In fact, the bulk of the action here is all about exploration – finding every nook and cranny of your surroundings in order to hunt down as many Waddle Dees as possible. You will even need a certain number of them to unlock the last stage of each world and advance to the next area. Each level includes a set of five missions for that matter, and each completed mission earns you an extra Waddle Dee or two to crack that final big boss lock. It’s pretty simple – clearing the stage, saving all Waddle Dees, eating a certain amount of donuts, defeating a boss with a certain type of weapon, destroying sand sculptures of animals, and so on – but it’s these missions that provide Kirby and the Forgotten Land with its real-world challenges during missions. campaign and a fair amount of replay value to boot.
There are also more challenges in the side missions of the game; additional areas that open up in each themed world as you progress, little rips in the fabric of space/time that suck you into all sorts of mini-games to test your mettle and upgrade materials and coins. You’ll find yourself throwing bombs down moving platforms to hit switches, using spinning chakras to collect coins from spike traps, skating on moving platforms, and more. It is in these side missions that players willing to think a little more will find themselves most satisfied, as achieving and/or breaking time records for each course is actually quite a challenge here. You don’t have to hit a set time to complete a mission or anything (it’s still a Kirby game, after all), but the platforming is there, and at times it’s not easy for those who choose to embrace it.
As for the battle in the game, he also did not stand aside. There are many types of enemies to fight in different worlds, and each level gives you the opportunity to use any and all of your copy abilities, giving it all a nice free experimental feel. Copy abilities can now also be upgraded using power stones you get in these side missions, a nifty touch that sees your basic fire and sword abilities, for example, boosted through several levels that come from your standard swamp blade or fire attack. to blasting hot dragon lava flows and wielding giant sword variants that can make short work of the biggest bad guys. It’s classic over the top Kirby, and it’s reflected in the campaign, which starts off with the usual forests, deserts, and snowy fields, and then delectably escalates into far more outlandish dishes that we’re not going to spoil here.
In between missions, you’ll return to Waddle Dee Town, a busy little game center that’s gradually being rebuilt with all sorts of amenities and entertainment as you rescue Waddle Dee from danger. You’ll start with a simple cinema to watch cutscenes from previously played levels, but as things progress you’ll add that all-important weapon upgrade shop, Kirby’s own home, an item shop where you can get health and energy. supplies, tons of mini-games – Flash Fishing is our current favorite game – and even a huge fucking Colosseum where you can let off steam as you fight off waves of the game’s bosses to earn special prizes.
In general, a well-thought-out main game loop works here; jump around to complete story missions, vacuum Waddle Dee and find upgrade blueprints, complete a few side missions, then head back to town to sharpen your tools, spend coins on Gatcha Alley, and smash some skulls in the Colosseum. It’s a very pleasant time around.
It’s also a credit to this game that we can’t remember a single level throughout its entire campaign that really bothers us in any way. Usually in this type of 3D platformer, there is some area or specific game mechanic (yes, we’re talking about you, Flipswitch Galaxy) that we see and think about. “oh no no thanks”but that’s not the case here – which is actually a feat given how much Kirby and the Forgotten Land manages to throw into the mix.
It will take you approximately seven hours to complete the main game right here (twice as long if you’re a finisher, then add another hour for post-game surprises), fight an impressive array of mini-bosses, and known villains at the end of the level. You will ride roller coasters, drive boats, race cars, swim, glide through the sky, burrow underground, swing in a body filled to the brim with water, swallow a vending machine, become a light bulb and part of a theater sign, and more. Kirby and the Forgotten Land combines all of these different aspects – copy features, Mouthful Mode tricks, puzzles, exploration, platforming and combat – into an adventure that will appeal to young children and adults alike. All of those mismatched weird elements are mixed together here with flair and a seeming lightness reminiscent of Super Mario Odyssey. And remember, all of this can be played in a smooth in and out co-op mode, making for a great time if you’re looking for something to sit down and play with your kids or less experienced players.
Yes, there are a few weak points here and there, most notably in regards to the game’s tendency to roll out the same handful of mini-bosses ad nauseam, and at some levels it does feel like they’re repeating the same tricks too many times, but gradually great what works here and it works well. It’s also a nice looking thing, absolutely jam-packed with environmental details and lovely little animations that, apart from a couple of very slight the frame rate fluctuates, manages to play and work almost perfectly in both stationary and portable modes.
Each of the worlds you pass through here looks and sounds like an absolute business, from the lush, overgrown ruins of Natural Plains to the crystal-clear waters of the Everbay coastline and beyond, it’s truly great looking stuff that is propelled forward by a delightfully triumphant orchestral score. We also love the range of expressions Kirby displays in this adventure, his personality really shines through the sidelong glances, grimaces, panicked looks and the wonderfully caring little smiles he gives to Waddle Dees when he saves them. The little details here almost made us feel bad about some of our expressive enemies at times, especially the game’s dogs, who don’t seem to know if they’re supposed to be the bad guys half the time. You’ll find them sleeping and blowing bubbles on the bench before they come to life and sum up by saying “Oh oh yes, I must be the bad guy, that’s right!” This is amazing.
After the somewhat frustratingly safe Kirby Star Allies, this latest adventure feels like a real treat for Kirby, an epic 30th anniversary party packed to the brim with hilarious moments, an epic – and accordingly OTT – main campaign, tons of side activities, mini-games , collectibles, seamless co-op play, and more. Kirby and the Forgotten Land is the best thing the franchise has seen since Kirby: Planet Robobot, and if you know how much we love Robobot, you’ll know this is a real recommendation.