Kirby and the Forgotten Land Review
The powerful pink puff brings a new bag of tricks to a fully 3D realm that offers fun for the whole family, my thoughts on his latest adventure.
Kirby has been around for a long time, making his debut on the Game Boy back in 1992. Since then, the pink puffball has become one of Nintendo's most popular characters, starring in over 20 games across multiple platforms. Kirby's latest adventure on the Nintendo Switch pulls him out of the 2D realm for a fully realized 3D adventure. This makes the game look more modern while still keeping the classic Kirby feel. The new perspective also provides more fluid gameplay as it allows for more creative level design and puzzles. The best part about this change in perspective is that it brings Kirby's classic transformative traits into a fresh experience. Let's explore the Forgotten Land and explore all Kirby has to offer!
Kirby and the Forgotten Land Details
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Developer(s): HAL Laboratory
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)
A Whole New Chapter
The game follows Kirby as he explores a forgotten land that is slowly being taken over by a dark force. The setting for the series is a lot different from where Kirby has ventured before. The game begins in a mysterious abandoned urban setting with derelict streets, empty malls and factories.
"The setting for the series is a lot different from where Kirby has ventured before."
As you progress through the game, players are treated to a variety of environments. There are seven unique worlds with different themes, like grass, water, snow and desert.
The story itself is very formulaic but it serves as a device to move through the forgotten land. You must save kidnapped Waddle Dees from the ferocious Beast Pack who has more nefarious leaders at the helm. The journey provides a lot of thrills especially when it comes to experimenting with Kirby's new powers and abilities.
"The journey provides a lot of thrills especially when it comes to experimenting with Kirby's new powers and abilities."
As you progress through each stage there are extra challenges to complete that unlock more Waddle Dees. Not only do you get the satisfaction of saving the cute little critters but they unlock more options in Waddle Dee Town. This town opens more and more shops as you unlock challenges and save more trapped creatures. It's fun to go back to and adds replayabilty to the game.
Graphics and Performance
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a gorgeous game. The colours are vibrant, the animations are smooth and the overall look is very polished. It's clear that a lot of care went into making this game look as good as it does. Even with all the trappings of a post apocalyptic backdrop, it still bursts with bright hues and cute characters. The different elements in the game should clash, but as you see more of the environments it all comes together nicely. The level design is top-notch, with each environment feeling unique and carefully crafted.
The game runs fairly smoothly on the Switch, but I did notice a few frame rate drops and performance issues in some scenarios. This tends to occur most with plenty of enemies on-screen but doesn't detract from the overall experience. The loading times are also very brief, so you can get into the action quickly. Overall, Kirby and the Forgotten Land is beautiful looking game that runs well on the Switch both docked and in handheld mode.
Audio and Sound Design
The sound design is also great, with classic Kirby tunes remixed for a new generation. The sound effects are also spot-on, with each enemy making a distinct noise. This also carries over to Kirby and his new abilities, everything has its own sound that matches the ability. The one area that would be ideal to hear more added to is the background tracks. They were fairly repetitive and I would liked a few more songs to go along with the action It's a small complaint in an otherwise great sounding game.
Fun, Addictive Gameplay
Now let's get into the real meat of the review, the gameplay. Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a platformer at its core, but it's so much more than that. The game features traditional elements of the genre like jumping, climbing and swimming. However, it also introduces some new mechanics that help keep things fresh. The biggest addition is Kirby's new transformations. By consuming enemies, Kirby can take on their abilities and use them to his advantage. For example, eating a fire-based enemy will allow him to spit fireballs or inhale water to shoot out a powerful stream of water.
A Dozen Abilities You Can Evolve
You can absorb 12 different abilities from "drill," that allows you to burrow in the ground to "tornado" that uses high power winds to toss enemies around. Abilities also open new areas to explore, for example the "sword" power lets you cut vines to access new objects and parts of the level. The "fire" power is also new and allows Kirby to light up dark areas and solve puzzles. You'll need to use these abilities to progress through the game as some areas are only accessible with specific powers.
The game also introduces "Kirby 64-style" transformations, where Kirby can transform into vehicles like the aforementioned car, a vending machine, pylon and more. These transformation sections are some of the most enjoyable moments in the game. The levels are designed around vehicle sections, with wide open areas to speed around in and plenty of secrets to discover. Check out the gallery below for some of Kirby's big transformations:
It's a Mouthful!
One of my favorite aspects of the game is the way that it uses Kirby's abilities to create interesting puzzles and platforming challenges. For example, early in the game Kirby devours an entire car and gains the ability drive around levels and bash through walls. This allows him to reach previously inaccessible spots in the level. This ability can also be used to solve puzzles opening up new areas to discover.
Two Can Play at This Game!
Kirby and the Forgotten Land also features a co-operative multiplayer mode for up to four players. In this mode, players take control of Kirby's pal Bandana Waddle Dee as they try to save the day. The game is still fun in single player, but it really comes alive with another player. It's a great couch co-op game for families with young children.
"The game is still fun in single player, but it really comes alive with another player."
I was swapping the Joy-Cons back and forth with my son and we had a blast! There are drawback to playing as Waddle Dee as he has a far more limited move set. He can float and has multiple spear attacks at his disposal, but lacks the charm and fun while playing as Kirby. Although he lacks the ability to inhale foes, acquire copy abilities, or utilize "Mouthful Mode" like Kirby, he still is effective, but a very streamlined character.
A Return to Form
This latest Kirby adventure is a return to form for the series. It's a fun platformer with tight controls, creative level design and puzzles, and gorgeous visuals. The 3D perspective provides a fresh take on the classic Kirby formula while still keeping the charm and feel of previous games.
The game is also one of the most visually impressive games on the Nintendo Switch, with beautiful level design and colorful graphics. Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a must-have for fans of the series, and a great entry point for newcomers.
"Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a must-have for fans of the series, and a great entry point for newcomers."
The addition of co-operative multiplayer makes it an even better value and will keep everyone happy because there is no arguing over sharing the controller.
The colorful visuals and simple gameplay make it perfect for young children, while the more challenging sections will keep older players engaged. The game is also packed with content, offering dozens of hours of gameplay. There are plenty of secrets to discover and collectibles to find. If you're looking for a fun-filled adventure, Kirby and the Forgotten Land is the game for you.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land PROS
+Open 3D platforming is a blast
+The art design is beautiful from start to finish
+Growing the "Waddle Dee Town" adds incentives to complete extra objectives
+Plenty of Extra Mini Games and reasons to go back and explore levels
Kirby and the Forgotten Land CONS
-Local co-op is unbalanced in terms of player 2's limited abilities
-Boss fights can feel repetitive
Overall Rating: 33/40 (83%)
A copy of the game was provided by Nintendo for the purpose of this review.