Kirby and the Forgotten Land Review

Three things I like about this game, and one I don't

Kirby and the Forgotten Land

By Paul Hunter

The powerful and cute pink puffball, Kirby, has arrived on Nintendo Switch in his first full 3D mainline game. In Kirby and the Forgotten Land, you float off on an exciting quest to explore a mysterious world where nature has overtaken much of civilization. There you’ll discover curious abandoned attractions from the past like a shopping mall, a circus and even a gigantic amusement park.

I've been playing the game every night with my family since launch and have beat the main quest, and now I'm rapidly working towards 100% completion. With that in mind, let's fly on over to Dream Land to see what this game is all about, here are three things I liked about the game...and one I didn't.

Liked: New Mouthful Mode, Evolved Copy Abilities and Co-op Gameplay

Kirby's new headlining ability is Mouthful Mode, which he discovers at the beginning of the game after inhaling some enemies—and to his surprise, also a car. But instead of consuming the car, Kirby's body wraps around it and he's able to control it. There are a dozen other funny and useful Mouthful objects Kirby can transform into, like a cone, lightbulb, vending machine and water balloon. Each one helps Kirby overcome specific level challenges and often times holds the secret to finding hidden collectibles, like the 300 Waddle Dees sneakily tucked away in the game's 40 stages. Mouthful abilities are a great addition to the Kirby series as they introduce fun new gameplay mechanics, add variety to stages and just look hilarious in action.

Another excellent addition are Kirby's new Evolved Abilities that supercharge the 12 standard Copy Abilities in the game. Most abilities can be upraded two or three times to increase its power and attack rate, plus some upgrades can add useful new properties. As examples, Kirby's Bomb ability can be changed into a powerful homing bomb, while his Ice ability can produce snowmen that roll like projectiles to damage enemies. Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a pretty easy game to complete using just the base Copy Abilities but when you upgrade them expect to be a near unstoppable pink wrecking ball. Considering I play Kirby games to relax and have fun (and not for a challenge), I rather enjoyed mowing through enemies with all the new Evolved Abilities.

While on the topic of gameplay, I have to mention how incredibly fun it is to play Kirby and the Forgotten Land two-player co-op. The second player becomes Bandana Waddle Dee, a spear-wielding buddy that has a variety of spear thrusts, multispear attacks and a spear throw. If Bandana Waddle Dee strays too far from Kirby he'll automatically move to his position—making him a great choice for younger players. If your Waddle Dee buddy happens to lose all his health during a level, he'll respawn with a push of a button after a brief time out, another reason why he's perfect for newcomers. I discovered by accident, too, that if Kirby and Bandana Waddle Dee walk close together they'll high five each other and restore health. How cute is that?

Liked: The Absolutely Adorable Presentation

Kirby games are generally very colourful and nice to look at, but seeing his world come to life in full 3D takes the cuteness to a whole new level.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land feature six unique worlds that offer different colour palettes and themes, anywhere from lush green plains to a tropical water resort to a huge amusement park spanning several stages. Everything looks really good with vibrant hues, lots of subtle details and eye-catching animations. This is certainly the best-looking Kirby game I've seen yet and I can say from experience that kids will love all the visual variety.

There are lots of fun, notable levels too, like my favourite that includes a fast-paced rollercoaster ride where you have to shift Kirby's weight left or right to nab all the collectibles. There are also a few spooky ghost levels abundant in neon lights that offer nice eye candy, and levels with flying sequences for fun on-rails excitement. There are plenty of big boss fights that also visually impress, like Gorimondo the punkish-looking ape and the oversized sentient palm tree Tropic Woods that’s rooted in trouble. Overall, it's a great looking game and a welcome change of pace after recently playing through mature titles like Dying Light 2 and Elden Ring.

Liked: The Minigames and Collectibles

When you're not out inhaling enemies or bashing bosses, you can spend some down time in the lively Waddle Dee Town that's full of establishments and characters to chat with. Kirby even gets his own house that you can personalize with your collection of figurines, or read through a full book detailing many of Kirby's past adventures.

The town is also the location of several charming minigames like the two-player Help Wanted café game where your goal is serve a lineup of hungry Waddle Dees their favourite dish. It's super challenging on the hardest difficulty and reminds me of Overcooked. Atop the hill there's also a Colosseum where you can battle previously fought mid-bosses and end bosses to win Star Coins and other rewards. It's the only spot in the game where you face off against Meta Knight and a few other of the game's strongest foes.

There are plenty of other fun distractions in the town like a fishing pond where you try to nab the biggest Blipper fish, and a Gatcha Machine Alley where you can trade in Star Coins in hopes of getting new figurines. There's also a café to order food, an item shop to buy helpful buffs and a weapons shop where you can upgrade Kirby's Copy Abilities. There's so much to do in town and it's a great addition that extends the life of the game by several hours.

Didn't Like: The Tedious 100% Completion

While I thorougly enjoyed playing through the game and trying out all the minigames, getting 100% completion in the game can get a little tiring. For starters, each stage has three to five "clues" telling you where to find the hidden Waddle Dees, but only one clue unlocks per run of the level. There were many levels where I had to play through them upwards of five times to figure out where that last Waddle Dee was hiding, which felt a bit like unnecesarry repetition.

Then there's the gatcha figurines that are needed to get 100%, which forced me to reply levels over and over again to gather enough Star Coins. Using coins in the gatcha machines is hit or miss as often times you'll get a figurine double and will have wasted the coins. Whereas other Nintendo Switch games like Super Mario Odyssey were fun to 100%, Kirby and the Forgotten Land towards the end game feels a bit like a grind.

The Verdict

My family and I had a total blast playing this latest Kirby game and certainly I recommend it for Kirby and platforming fans alike. It's a joy to explore the 3D worlds and the new Mouthful abilities and Copy Ability upgrades are great additions to the series that I hope carry forward to future games. If you're looking for a fun, easy-breezy co-op experience for your next family games night, this is the one.

Final Score: 8.5/10 - Great

Kirby and the Forgotten Land details

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Publisher: Nintendo
Genre: Platformer
Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)

The game was purchased at retail.