“Kirby and the Forgotten Land:” An All-New Dimension of Gameplay to Explore


Courtesy of IGDB

“Kirby and the Forgotten Land” was released on March 25, 2022 and is available on the Nintendo Switch.

Grant Soedler, Herald Reporter

“Kirby and the Forgotten Land” is the newest entry in the “Kirby” series, developed by HAL Laboratory and published by Nintendo on the Nintendo Switch. This game sees Kirby on an adventure in an entirely new world after a portal appears in the sky above his home planet and begins sucking things in left and right. Though he tries to escape it, Kirby is pulled in, and he awakes in a mysterious new dimension filled with abandoned buildings, theme parks and power plants. However, Kirby soon comes across a group of animals known as the Beast Pack capturing everyone who was sent to this new dimension. Along with his new companion, Elfilin, Kirby sets off to stop them.
While not the pink puff’s first foray into a 3-dimensional setting, “Forgotten Land” marks its first use for a mainline series entry outside of racing or puzzle games. You would think that translating a style of gameplay from two dimensions to using the z-axis for the first time would leave a lot of rough patches, but “Forgotten Land” is able to take the “Kirby” formula in stride. In a plot reminiscent of “Super Mario 3D Land,” players work their way through a series of worlds, rescuing as many Waddle Dees along the way as they can while they run, jump, float and swim through the game’s many levels.
While “Kirby” games are known for being easy and “Forgotten Land” is no exception, there are parts of the game that were legitimately very challenging, such as completing every level’s side objectives or tackling this game’s boss rush mode. The 3D setting allows for some very fun gameplay, something best showcased in each of the boss fights. New additions to Kirby’s move set such as being able to dodge-roll and counterattack make each fight feel truly dynamic and challenging.
“Forgotten Land” still features copy abilities, a series staple where Kirby can inhale and swallow certain enemies to gain their powers (i.e. the ability to use a sword, throw bombs, or breathe fire). However, many of these feel considerably nerfed in comparison to previous “Kirby” games, something obviously done in order to make the functions more balanced for the 3D setting. While it is a bit disappointing that you can not do as many crazy things with individual abilities as you could in the past, “Forgotten Land” makes up for this by letting you upgrade each of them as you progress through the game, increasing their power and potential and enabling you to do some truly insane things.
In addition to the returning abilities, “Forgotten Land” also adds a new power to Kirby’s arsenal: Mouthful Mode. Due to traveling through the portal at the start of the game, Kirby can now stretch his body to extreme proportions, allowing him to swallow huge objects like a car, ring or staircase, stretch his body over them and take control. While this can look a bit… grotesque, all 13 mouthful modes are a ton of fun to use and add some good variety to the gameplay.
Probably the biggest issue with the game, though, is the story. While “Kirby” games aren’t really known for their strong stories (the plot of “Kirby: Squeak Squad” almost solely revolved around Kirby trying to get back a single slice of cake), “Forgotten Land” leaves the player with almost no information about the new world or characters until the very end of the game. This is especially disappointing when you compare it to the previous “Kirby: Planet Robobot,” which had both an interesting premise and recurring villains that kept it engaging. This is ultimately a nitpick, however. The bits of lore that are given at the end are so strange and interesting that they almost make up for their absence throughout the rest of the game.
“Kirby and the Forgotten Land” is available now for the Nintendo Switch and can be played in single-player or co-op.