Kirby has been around for ages, properly since 1992, and Kirby and the Forgotten Land is the next grand title in the pink puffball’s lineup. This time, however, it is not the standard affair, as Kirby jumps into the 3D realm for the first time! Not only is this the first 3D adventure for the adorable Kirby, but HAL Laboratory even introduced “Mouthful Mode” which gives Kirby the ability to inhale bigger things like cars and vending machines, among other things.
Well, that is great and all, but is Kirby and the Forgotten Land a good Kirby game? How about a good video game? There’s only one way to find out, so let’s do this!
The story of Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a rather simple one: there is a tear in the sky that sucks in all of the inhabitants of Kirby’s homeworld, and in the new world, all of Kirby’s friends are being hunted down, as well as a new friend (Elfilin) and their community! That only means one thing: KIRBY TO THE RESCUE!
There is a lot of cute stuff that happens along the way, but all in all, the story is a simple set piece to give Kirby purpose throughout the game. However, there is one thing to note down, and that is the intro (And outro!). After a couple minutes of tutorial play time, you arrive at a bridge where the title’s splash screen happens, and wow! The song accompanied by everything happening on screen, particularly Kirby driving himself around this dilapidated city, is absolutely astounding. Way too much cuteness balled up into a roughly 3-minute opening, and I need more of that in my life!
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is essentially a Kirby game when it comes to its storytelling and world-building, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We have the occasional cutscene with dialog, but the majority of the time the story carries based on the action happening on screen and the fantastic expressions applied to the faces of the various characters. This is where Kirby games excel, in telling a story with little-to-no words, and it just works.
One thing totally new to the series that borrows from recent Super Mario games is the open map area where you can fly around on your star freely to look around. These interactive world maps are excellent, and Kirby and the Forgotten Land is no different. As you progress naturally in the game saving Waddle Dees, not only does more of the map become accessible (New stages, Treasure Roads, and more), but the Waddle Dees will begin repairing the newly established Waddle Dee Town. These are excellent incentives to have you replay stages to save all the Waddle Dees for a fuller experience.
Each normal stage presents Kirby with a list of to-dos, most notably to save the Waddle Dees. However, there are also hidden secrets to figure out, like finding secret passageways, collecting a certain amount of items, or silly things like eating foods on top of tree stumps. This is a really fun system that adds to the replay value, as some stages are trickier than others when it comes to figuring everything out. This is still a Kirby game, though, so it is not the most complicated. However, even veterans may be surprised by how well the levels are designed and how hidden certain secrets are, especially in latter areas.
Another new entry to the series is the Waddle Dee Weapon Shop, which is located in Waddle Dee Town and is unlocked after beating the first boss. Here you can upgrade copy abilities using coins and rare stars found in the game, and this gives each of the copy abilities a solid boost in performance. This is a great addition that breathes new life into some abilities that have been exactly the same since their inception. For me, the sword ability is not a very exciting one, but I found using the upgraded versions in Kirby and the Forgotten Land to be a ton of fun! Each of the abilities feel similarly, too, which is great.
The last major new addition to Kirby and the Forgotten Land is none other than Mouthful Mode. Holy cow, does this change the whole formula, because Kirby with just this ability transforms their arsenal 10-fold. Before it was just simple cloning, but now with Mouthful Mode, Kirby can inhale big objects and use this to their advantage. Kirby can inhale a car to drive around, a vending machine to shoot cans at enemies, an arch to serve as a glider to fly around, a roller-coaster cart to mimic a coaster experience, and so much more. It is insane the amount they fit into the game, and each new encounter is simply fantastic.
One area that shocked me is the sheer size of the game. Not only are there numerous worlds to tackle with 5 normal stages, lots of Treasure Roads, and a boss stage each, but Waddle Dee Town [eventually] has a Coliseum that allows Kirby to fight enemies, including a very popular one. One more note in regards to content is the end-game material, and all I will say is that there is a surprising amount to do after the credits roll. The main story takes roughly 9 hours, but if you want to tackle everything (And I mean everything), Kirby and the Forgotten Land will take up about 20 hours of your time, if not way more.
One of my favorite things in Kirby and the Forgotten Land are the large and eccentric bosses. From the giant gorilla in the first area to the ending sequence, the main story just flows with such excitement for each new boss encounter. Not only that, but the Coliseum has its own special boss, and there are even more baddies to deal with after beating the game. This is seriously a beefy title that offers massive bang for your buck, and the nice thing is that the game offers two ways to play, making it more accessible as well. So if you want the full experience (Wild Mode), play it as is, but if you want to have a more chill and laid-back experience, the game has you covered with “Spring-Breeze Mode”.
The transition from 2D to 3D has done wonders for Kirby, as this is exactly the shot in the arm that the series needed. The visuals are stunning, and even though it sticks to the cute styles that the series is known for, the amount of details poured into every little crevice is incredible. The only design issue I can even bring up is the use of invisible walls, as the game has many points that block you off completely and other points that allow you to traverse a direction that goes nowhere, but that is honestly nitpicky, as it really isn’t a problem more than an observation.
Waddle Dee Town is simply a magical hub that offers so much! As you progress in the game and save Waddle Dees, the town gets bigger and bigger, with more things to do. There is a cafe, a weapon shop, Gotcha machines, fishing, mini-games, a coliseum, and more! You could spend lots of time here just checking everything out, and another area that can take up a ton of your time is collecting all of the figurines from casual play or buying them from the Gotcha machines. The figures are awesome, and you can even display some in Kirby’s house!
Now, I already mentioned that the intro song is a banger, but the truth is that Kirby and the Fogotten Land has an amazing soundtrack! Honestly one of the best since Super Mario Odyssey, which is saying a lot. Every stage offers a great mix, from the epic boss battle tunes to the relaxing melodies of Waddle Dee Town. After all the time I spent in the game, I cannot even think of one moment that I did not enjoy what was being thrown at me.
I honestly do not know what else to say. Kirby and the Forgotten Land is an absolute blast and truly one of the best games on the Nintendo Switch! I cannot recall a time I enjoyed a Kirby game this much, but everything HAL Laboratory put into this one is a home run. The transition to 3D, the wide variety of areas and enemies, the gorgeous visuals, Mouthful Mode, the excellent bosses, Waddle Dee Town, and so much more have made this a legit perfect platforming experience.
That is why this deserves more than just simple praise. This new Kirby, arguably the best Kirby game ever, has smashed our review score and has received the coveted 100/100. If you haven’t already, please pick up Kirby and the Forgotten Land. You will absolutely not regret it. I mean, it even has couch co-op for crying out loud. How much more do you want out of your games?!
Kirby and the Forgotten Land Review provided by Nintendo Link
Review also found on OpenCritic
Developers: HAL Laboratory
Release Date: March 10th, 2022
Price: $59.99, £49.99, €59,99
Game Size: 6.2 GB
Excellent transition to 3D
Tons and tons of gameplay
Beautiful graphics and visual style
The wonderfully challenging series of bosses
It eventually ends, and I want more!
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My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.