Kirby and the Forgotten Land marks both the series’ first venture into 3D and my own into the series. It’s absolutely a memorable experience and I hope to explore why in this review of this long-overdue 3D Platformer.
Transported to a Forgotten Land
The story of Kirby and the Forgotten Land is fairly minimal. It’s primarily told through the gameplay rather than explicitly, but there are sections with dialogue at the start and end.
We find that Kirby has been sucked into a rift and washes up on a beach. After briefly exploring what appears to be an abandoned city, we come across animals capturing Waddle Dees – a species from Kirby’s home and Elfilin, a unique-looking blue creature. This sets up our task; we rescue Elfinlin and agree to rescue the captured Waddle Dees.
With the exception of something that happens near the middle of the game, this is all the explicitly told story we get until the end. At that point, it explains the reasons behind everything and wraps it up nicely.
It’s a serviceable story and much of it is told through your own actions and those in cut scenes, which should work well for younger players.
Save The Waddle Dees!
Kirby and the Forgotten Land comes with all the normal fun of 3D Platformers – a plethora of enemies, moving platforms, some light puzzles, pathways hidden by clever camera angles or gimmicks, and more. Reach the end of the level and you’ll unlock the next. The main difference is Kirby and their abilities.
Kirby can swallow enemies and most of them will grant an ability. There are tons of different abilities to be found, ranging from the more obvious ones like swinging a sword or spitting fire, to the more unique like turning into a giant ball of spikes or tornado. These abilities can be leveled up too, granting access to more powerful versions and charge attacks.
The sheer variety of abilities kept Kirby and the Forgotten Land consistently engaging. While some objectives may require a specific ability, it’s often that there are multiple abilities to grab nearby.
Occasionally found in levels are items that Kirby can swallow too. These activate mouthful mode, letting Kirby turn into a hang glider, car, vending machine, or more. These may come with their own mini-game sections or just work to shake things up. It certainly helped in keeping the fun going. Generally speaking, whether it’s an ability, mouthful mode, or even just a type of gameplay, each level had a variety of gimmicks to keep things from getting stale. This was one of the biggest positives of the game for me.
It’s worth mentioning that if you’re looking for a challenge, this isn’t where to find it. Whichever difficulty mode you choose, just completing levels has very little challenge until the final world or postgame.
When I started Kirby and the Forgotten Land, I expected a very short game. I saw some reviewers saying less than ten hours. It took me about twenty and that’s because there’s a ton to do beyond just completing each level.
In every level, you need to get to the end and rescue some Waddle Dees. Beyond that though, there are always several secret objectives. Finding Waddle Dees hidden throughout the level is almost always one. These may be out of sight, require a minigame, or need extra puzzles or gameplay segments to be completed.
Other objectives can vary wildly. It might be knocking down signs, collecting specific items, finding a secret area, or doing an activity without falling as a few examples. I really enjoyed that these were mostly found through exploring rather than being told about them – but it does let you know about one undiscovered one at the end of the level to make it easier.
These were rarely difficult but did add some challenge at times in figuring out what was needed and provided a reward for fully exploring. Finding some of the more difficult ones was particularly satisfying.
Waddle Dee Town
Beyond your own satisfaction at completing the optional objectives, there is a reward or two waiting for you. Each objective gives you rescued Waddle Dees, who inhabit a hub. The more you save, the more functions become unlocked.
Kirby can eventually use shops to buy items, upgrade abilities, receive parcels, use a capsule machine for collectibles, and more. There’s even a fishing minigame there!
Another optional portion of the game is the treasure challenges. These are challenges where you need to use a specific ability or mouthful mode to complete a challenge. In one example that I posted, it was using the mouthful mode to constantly roll as a pipe and jump over platforms without being able to stop.
🥊These are great for practice at using different mouthful modes and powers. Some are genuinely more challenging than the normal levels too pic.twitter.com/lLulDcY7B3
— NookGaming.com | JRPGs, Visual Novels and More💕 (@NookSite) April 1, 2022
Completing these not only earns you bragging rights but rare stones. These can be used to upgrade abilities, along with blueprints which can be found via exploring, optional objectives, or extra challenges. It felt quite rewarding to complete these and go from a simple fire skill to being able to breathe a flamethrower and fly around with dragon wings.
Aside from the treasure challenges, there is also a colosseum for a series of boss fights and a set of postgame stages that remix stages from the main game. These are both somewhat challenging, though still not too difficult.
Bright World. Powerful Music.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is bright and colorful. The graphics themselves are simple at times but generally look great. They help to paint this forgotten land and make it a place you want to explore. That said, it is worth noting that enemies or moving objects in the distance can look stilted at times, with a very low framerate. It does harm immersion slightly.
The music is amazing. The range is huge and fitting for all situations to create the right sense of wonder at exploring or whatever else is needed at the time. I particularly enjoyed how it approaches boss fights, with the music seamlessly changing on the approach and working to increase the tension.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a far more successful venture into 3D than I first expected. What it lacked in a challenge, it more than made up for in sheer fun and the enjoyment of exploration. I’m looking forward to seeing what they do in the future.
KIRBY AND THE FORGOTTEN LAND IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Many thanks go to Nintendo for a Nintendo Switch review code for this title.
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A gamer since the days of Amstrad and DOS and someone who has dabbled in a variety of professions. He enjoys a wide variety of genres, but has been focusing on visual novels and virtual reality in recent years. Head Editor of NookGaming. Follow him and the website on @NookSite.