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Game Review | Kirby and the Forgotten Land – a platformer that’s easy to swallow

05 May 2022 - 14:05 By Arielle Pieterse
The story and set-up of Kirby and the Forgotten Land is as goofy and simple as it gets.
The story and set-up of Kirby and the Forgotten Land is as goofy and simple as it gets.
Image: Supplied

This article was brought to you by NAG

Growing up, I remember always watching my friends living their best lives with their cool Nintendo devices and desperately wanting one myself. However, that never happened, and the result was me missing out on a whole childhood worth of Nintendo classics and having to make up for the lost time by playing them all now.

Kirby is one such classic that ultimately passed me by. Now don’t get me wrong, thanks to friends who played the games and access to the internet, I’ve always been aware of Kirby and all of the different games associated. I’ve just never actually played one myself until the launch of Kirby and the Forgotten Land. What makes this entry into the Kirby franchise stand out, other than it being the first one I played, is that it marks the evolution from the traditional 2D game structure to 3D.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land reviewed by Tom Marks on Nintendo Switch.

However, longtime fans of the series (read spoilt children who had all the cool Nintendo things) don‘t need to worry. Instead of the transition to 3D feeling like a departure from the games that have come before, it retained all things classically Kirby and just showcased them from a new perspective. Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a loving step into the future for the franchise that I have now played and promptly fallen in love with.

The story and set-up of Kirby and the Forgotten Land is as goofy and simple as it gets. After a wormhole opens up above Dream Land, Kirby finds themselves in the ruins of what appears to have been a previously human world. In and amongst these ruined remains are creatures called Waddle Dees, who have been eyeing this space as their new home. However, as soon as they decide to settle in this post-apocalyptic wasteland, they all seem to get kidnapped. As Kirby, it is now up to you to venture through this strange forgotten land to find and rescue the Waddle Dees and help them rebuild.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land relies very little on callbacks to prior love affairs and instead delivers a solid platforming game mixed with fun and goofy combat.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land relies very little on callbacks to prior love affairs and instead delivers a solid platforming game mixed with fun and goofy combat.
Image: Supplied

The above mission is achieved by exploring your way through multiple platforming levels, sucking up objects and enemies as you go and taking their powers as your own. Combat is constantly exciting thanks to the mechanic of taking on the enemy’s powers as your own, and Kirby’s new “Mouthful” ability is what sold me on the game. Sure sucking up a wizard and then being able to use his wand to blast fire is fun. Still, there is something ultra-special about trying to swallow a vending machine and becoming the machine instead that you don’t find in other games. If I told you how many hours I spent hopping around as a vending machine, shooting cans at anything and everything I could, just for the giggles, you would probably feel sorry for me, but honestly, it’s a type of fun that’s hard to explain.

The other excellent transformation is when you try to swallow a car and become the car and can then go through the level with super speed. Overall, I don’t feel like I missed out on only playing Kirby now because if there ever was a game to start on, it is, without a doubt, Kirby and the Forgotten Land.

BOTTOM LINE
As someone who didn't grow up playing Kirby games and has no lingering nostalgia for either the game or the character, I can tell you Kirby and the Forgotten Land relies very little on callbacks to prior love affairs and instead delivers a solid platforming game mixed with fun and goofy combat.

PROS
The levels are all short and sweet, making it the perfect game to pick and play if you don't have a lot of time
Eating other characters and objects with Kirby and watching the transformation is always amusing and entertaining
The best part of the game is its platforming. I often found myself not just going back to an area to find a secret I had missed but because I genuinely wanted to

CONS
Even though there is a co-op mode, it's best left unexplored. While my partner could jump into my game at any point, they were stuck with a character who couldn't use any abilities, and because the camera only follows Kirby, they spent more time falling off-screen than they did playing with me.

SCORE: 91

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