If there’s any franchise that needs little to no explanation, it’s the Kirby series. Kirby has always been a symbol of fun times, and the pink puffball has never truthfully disappointed. This rings true for his most recent installment as well; what was being hailed as Kirby’s “Mario Odyssey”. While it might not necessarily be on the same level as Odyssey, Kirby and the Forgotten Land has its own charm, a vibrant world and incentives galore for completionists. This all wrapped up in one package is a recipe for success, and is guaranteed to give players a fun experience for longer than one might expect- if they’re looking for it.
Of course one of the main draws of Kirby and the Forgotten Land was the “Mouthful Mode” that shocked prospective players and gave others a laugh. While it seems a bit weird, Mouthful Mode presents a nice change of pace not only for the levels it’s presented in, but a fun way to solve puzzles not really seen before in Kirby games. This, paired with the change in jump height allows for more verticality to be present in levels, and offers more options for exploration that feel rewarding due to how necessary it is to interact with the environment using all the tools present. Finding secrets and Waddle Dees that are hidden in the levels is not only the most fun part of the game, but an organic way to progress Kirby and the Waddle Dee town. At the start of the game, Kirby’s planet Popstar is assailed by wormholes that thrust the residents into a different world, which is the world Kirby finds himself exploring in this game. On this foreign world, the Waddle Dees have been taken prisoner,and it’s up to Kirby to save them. This is the main goal of the campaign and the form of character/environmental progression in this game as well. Kirby freeing the Waddle Dees allows them to create new buildings and upgrades for Kirby’s abilities, which is a fun way to track personal progress through the game.
When it comes to gameplay, this game is s standard Kirby fare, with jumps and hovering to platform and copy abilities like in the older games. Kirby’s main ability is sucking things up and either spitting them out or absorbing them to gain their powers. The main difference in this game is Mouthful Mode, as mentioned before. Mouthful Mode allows Kirby to suck up larger objects than normal and use them almost like copy abilities to further interact with his environment. This includes things like the car, which goes very fast and can crash into buildings. Another one that’s very fun to use is the traffic cone, which can dig holes in the ground and smash into enemies with hard shells that other copy abilities wouldn’t be able to penetrate. The environmental interaction that these abilities allow enables Kirby to find hidden coin caches and collectibles. The collectibles are mostly present through secret areas, and they’re called “Gotcha Capsules”. These are little figurines of varying rarity that give descriptions of objects and enemies, much like the trophies in Super Smash Bros. Not only are these fun to collect, they provide lore about Kirby’s new enemies and abilities.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is an incredibly pleasant romp through a new world that deviates just enough from the traditional Kirby formula to be interesting in its own right. The gameplay is smooth and easy to get a handle on, the exploration is both fun and rewarding, and the new copy abilities and Mouthful mode are incredibly fun to experiment and play with. With the amount of collectibles and player incentives in this game, there’s a lot of fun to be had well past the campaign, and it’s not the type to feel tedious either. With many avenues for adventure, Kirby and the Forgotten Land is another great Kirby title, and lives up to the franchise standard.
Score: 9 out of 10
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch