Everybody’s favorite pink puff has been really busy on the Switch, and as fun as every release has been, there aren’t very many that Nintendo fans would call an instant classic. That story might change with Kirby and the Forgotten Land.
What Is It?
At its core, Kirby and the Forgotten Land is the first “free roaming” Kirby game completely in 3D, done at a third person perspective similar to how Super Mario 3D World was designed except with abilities that culminated from the best aspects of the Kirby series.
The game’s story is simple kiddy Kirby stuff. On Planet Popstar, some strange vortex appears, sucking in everything in its path including the titular hero. Kirby then finds himself in the seemingly deserted “New World” and discovers that all the Waddle Dees from Popstar have been imprisoned throughout the new world, and it’s up to Kirby to save them while also discovering the world’s deeper and darker secrets.
Why Should I Care?
Again, the story is pedestrian, but the game actually does a solid job telling it, and it’s even more enjoyable thanks to various nuances in gameplay.
In addition to his usual “copy” powers, Kirby also now has the “swallow” ability that morphs him into inanimate objects, giving him more powerful abilities than what’s copied. An example of one of the coolest swallows is the car, which allows Kirby to ram through enemies and take part in little time attack race segments that’ll unlock Waddle Dees and other collectables.
As you go through each level saving Waddle Dees, you’ll slowly bring Popstar back to its original prominence, represented by the hub world you’re at in between each level. Here you can do things like shop for abilities, fish, or even take part in a gachapon game that’ll unlock other collectibles that are fun for players who enjoy finding and unlocking everything the game has to offer.
As stated, Kirby and the Forgotten Land is the first Kirby 3D platformer, and while the level design is very comparable to Super Mario 3D World, it isn’t nearly as difficult to clear them. The real challenge is in finding all the Waddle Dees hidden throughout these levels. Some will be out in the open, some will be hidden to a point where you’ll really have to search every nook and cranny, and some require you to solve puzzles that vary in simplicity–some are painfully obvious, and some will require tinkering with the various copy abilities you come across. The result is a well balanced game that really shows off some much needed depth that the Kirby series has really lacked up until now.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
While Kirby games have always been solid, I’ve traditionally had a tough time staying invested with most of the games because they were too easy–mostly because even more so than any other Nintendo IP, Kirby truly feels exclusively aimed at children. Now thanks to impeccable level design and gameplay that actually make players think, this was the first Kirby experience that actually kept me invested upon first picking it up since Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards. The game is an enjoyable time from beginning to end, and those that decide to invest more time in the collect-a-thon will find a decent challenge that’s actually fun to power through. This is a prime example of a game that really made me wish Nintendo had a trophy or achievement system, because this is one that I think even the most minimal gamer would want to 100%.