Nintendo’s insatiable pink mascot has its first full-featured 3D adventure alongside Kirby and the Forgotten Lands. After being sucked into a mysterious vortex (oh, how the tables have turned), he finds himself transported to an unknown post-apocalyptic world. By building on his bag of old tricks and adding successful new gimmicks like Mouthful Mode, Kirby makes a grand transition to the third dimension.
Kirby’s classic suite of abilities are all here and as fun to use as ever, only now he’s able to use them in 3D space. He can jump and swim as well as put enemies and objects in his mouth and fire them at targets. I rarely felt like I was not in control and am able to platform with precision when required. The core of the series’ copy abilities that let Kirby absorb enemy powers and use them as his own are, as always, the foundation of his arsenal. These copied powers range from giving Kirby a sword, making him a rolling ball of katamari-like needles, and massive screen-clearing explosions with crash abilities.
Abilities in Waddle de Town can be upgraded after finding the corresponding blueprints in the levels. These upgrades add new twists and variations to each style of attack. My favorite is Bomb Skill Evolution, which trades regular, rollable bombs for ones that are chained together, creating large explosions that are intertwined. And later, a further development allows for in-house explosives. These more powerful on capabilities are interchangeable with their older versions, but while there are probably use cases for each variation, I found no reason to look back after upgrading. When Kirby’s natural talents aren’t enough to get him through some of the obstacles, he can spread to a new realm of transformations in the Forgotten Lands.
Mouthful Mode is a new tool at Kirby’s disposal that allows him to vacuum large objects with strange shapes, dragging Kirby’s form around him to take control to solve the puzzle. With a handful of traffic cones, Kirby can slam the cone-tip into cracks in the ground to break the bottom. Or, after eating a car, he can speed around the level and cross obstacles with ease. These mouthful objects are found in almost every level, and are usually limited to a few areas used for a specific purpose, the game allowing these forms to take through the levels for more flexibility than I expected. Is. Almost every mouthful of form is great for taking out any Beast Pack minion in and around the area, and it’s an opportunity whenever it’s presented. Often, if a level doesn’t force Kirby to cough up one of these abilities when expected, there’s a reason for it, giving the opportunity to explore even further. Mouthful Mode is a lot of fun and does a great job of breaking down each level, and each change brings a different tempo and gameplay hook to the mess. Plus, whenever Kirby finds another funny and helpful gadget, it easily brings a smile to my face.
While I enjoy everything about Kirby’s moves, I do have a few minor complaints up in the air. An unfortunate side effect of moving to 3D is that Kirby sometimes has an arbitrary range of vertical movement, making his climb much shorter than expected. It’s not a big problem, but it’s frustrating when I can’t get over a surface that looks measurable, while other times, I easily make daring escapes from potholes. In addition, the overall pace of gameplay is much slower than other Nintendo platformers, making exploration sluggish. It’s made up a bit with fun exploration and abilities that can at times accelerate the pace at which Kirby moves through the various areas of the new world he’s stranded on.
Kirby finds himself in this land full of upscale malls, towns and theme parks; All the original inhabitants of these areas are long gone. The setting is quite different from the typical world Kirby toured, and despite the appearance of the Land of Society’s ruin, the game does not focus on the mystery of why everyone is missing. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t been addressed, but the game instead focuses on the urgency of rescuing the missing Waddle Deez and recovering their looted village from the people who kidnapped the residents.
Occupying the Forgotten Lands is now the Beast Pack, a formidable force of beasts led by tough demonic bosses who have kidnapped Wadle Dees and serve as tentpole bosses at the conclusion of each world . In contrast to the usually fixed camera angles present in the rest of the game, where the camera focuses on them, the bosses are given open fields to fight. This makes them feel like a big fight. At times, these bosses, like the agile Cheetah Chloroline or the goofy dancing armadillo Cilidillo, feature complicated escape moves and make the fight play out as enjoyable as a third-person action title rather than a platformer. I loved learning the patterns of these big bads and conquering them using whatever copy ability I had on hand.
Each level begins with a spectacular installation shot to set up the scene, often highlighting the beauty of the spaces it once lived in. Forgotten Lands looks great, often mixing up Kirby’s generally whimsical style while emphasizing more realistic areas. Hal’s use of textures, lighting, and depth of field make the game’s atmosphere and important cinematic shots dazzling.
Once loose on a platform, Kirby’s primary goal is to rescue the caged Waddle Dee found at the end of every somewhat linear, yet explorable, level. Additionally, there are a handful of secondary mystery objectives in each area, with even more waddles offered as rewards for completing them. I enjoyed exploring secret rooms, finding and tearing down wanted posters, or eating a certain number of donuts. It’s a natural way to step up my journey with each level, and I find myself finding every nook and cranny and returning to unfinished tasks to fully complete a level. The mainline levels aren’t that hard, leaning more on general exploration than platforming skills. That doesn’t mean there aren’t tough moments, but the difficulty I often longed for had to be found elsewhere in the world.
Along with the standard levels in each world are additional stages called Treasure Roads, which are challenges that I loved going out of my way to complete. These give Kirby a distinctive copy ability or mouthful form that is built around the level and serves the player to complete the stage in a given amount of time. Completing a level of Treasure Road supplies a precious rare stone, which can be redeemed for ability development, making these side missions worth playing. These helped me identify the nuances of many of Kirby’s abilities and were a lot of fun solving and completing tasks. Each Treasure Road level has an even tighter target time to hit, rewarding a few extra coins, which keeps me coming back to try to hit those more demanding times.
I enjoyed completing the main levels, completing the Treasure Road stages that open up, going back to Waddle de Town to see what new buildings were available, and hone my copy abilities with the rare stones and blueprints I found on my journey. to develop. It always feels like there’s something new to check out, which inspires us to dive into another level. Even the minigames that are unlocked in the city, such as Cook, Serve, Delicious or a simplistic food service game inspired by games like Fishing in the Fishing Hole, have fun twists. More challenging tasks like Boss Rush available in Colosseum rewards welcome items like blueprints, coins or other collectibles.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is great and not to be missed for Kirby and platforming fans alike. It’s not Pink Puff’s rendition of Super Mario 64, but it successfully brings the series into the 3D realm and there’s no need to rely solely on its latest entertaining gimmick. Kirby thankfully remains as charming as ever and this new adventure can easily provide hours of fun.