What’s Good About Kirby and The Forgotten Land
Kirby games are, weirdly enough, not a thing I talk about very often. I think this is because I think there’s not much to talk about despite being very well made. Normally I’d see what it’d have to offer, play it, and move on with my life. But Kirby and the Forgotten Land is different in a good way and I’m gonna tell you why that is.
The setup for The Forgotten Land is simple; it’s a normal day on Planet Popstar when suddenly, a giant interdimensional vortex opens up and sucks up all of the inhabitants. Kirby is also sucked in and is taken to a new, weirdly interesting post-apocalyptic world where he has to fin the Waddle Dees and bring them home. It’s a simple setup, but I like it because this is Kirby’s wheelhouse and it executes on it well. A huge chunk of this is given to the setting of the game as well. Going to the post-apocalyptic setting allows for a wide range of places to be seen.
These include abandoned malls, overgrown cities in various states of being reclaimed by nature, and tropical environments, all fitting in with the title of The Forgotten Land. And on top of that, they’re all gorgeous. I’m normally not one to gawk about how shiny my video games look, but this is one of the exceptions because it’s squeezing out as much graphical fidelity as it possibly can to showcase a wonderfully colorful art direction that sells the world. I’ll seriously never get over the know-how Nintendo has over the Switch, it’s frankly Impressive.
The main difference here is that this is the first real game in the entire series to use 3D space. That’s right, you got full 360 degrees of movement in the game world and this completely changes the way the game is played. This ranges from the obvious stuff like more vertical and in-depth levels and new methods of playing as Kirby. This leads to some big changes, chief among them being the way the titular pink bundle of eldritch nightmare slaying cuteness controls. You can do a full 360 degrees of aiming when it comes to hoovering up enemies and spitting them back out at other enemies, and even aiming your attacks. The way it controls feels perfect, to the point where it feels like Kirby was made for 3D spaces and you wonder why it didn’t make the jump sooner.
There’s also the main new feature, Mouthful Mode. I promise, what I’m about to describe is 100% a real, advertised feature: there are specific items in the world that Kirby can hoover up, but will prove to be too big for them to absorb. This leads to them just encompassing the giant item itself in a comical fashion. Cars, Staircases, Fan, Traffic Cones, Vending Machines, and more, these all give way to allow you and Kirby to interact with the game world in new and interesting ways. A good chunk of the levels are designed with this in mind to help uncover secrets and help rescue captured Waddle Dees. Another big change is in the trademark copy abilities.
For the uninitiated: Kirby can Hoover up stuff like a vacuum and specific enemies can grant new abilities. These range from elemental powers (fire, ice, and tornadoes), to weapons (boomerang cutters, guns, bombs, Hammers, swords with an adorable hand-knitted Link Cap.), to weird shit (covering yourself in spikes, drilling to dig underground, exploding to clear the screen, and sleeping to get health back). There are only these twelve powers I mentioned, but in a series first, they can be upgraded. This is wild because it increases the efficacy of these powers by a wide margin, which makes an easy game easier. But I’m cool with it because Kirby has been my decompression game the last few days and after Elden Ring, I need it. There are also some great bosses and challenge levels based on each power that can be done in a time attack manner for extra goodies and it’s great. These specific time attack levels are something that I would gladly play an entire game because they are all handcrafted around each of the twelve abilities in the game, This is great because it presents a bunch of neat challenges that you have to overcome in specific ways
Kirby and The Forgotten Land is my favorite kind of Nintendo game. The kind that takes an established character or series and takes a unique spin on it that it’s done so well, you’re shocked it wasn’t done sooner. Between the new setting, cool powers, and great take on the series gameplay, you’d be spoiled for choice to find something to like about it.