Kirby And The Forgotten Land Review – A Decent Step Forward

I’ve always enjoyed playing Kirby games, but it’s easy to feel that they’ve become stagnant in recent times, with HAL relying on gimmicks that incorporate one or two new mechanics to change things up whilst still relying on the classic Kirby copy functions.

It was very clear since its reveal that Kirby and the Forgotten Land would attempt to push the series to new heights, and I’d say that it’s mostly succeeded in this mission. Firstly, I’d say that it’s done well to really retain the core mechanics of what makes a Kirby game great with great copy abilities that don’t feel gimmicky and all have a good amount of uniqueness where none overshadow the next.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land

I’d also say for the most part, the 3D nature of the gameplay as well as the fact that levels are much more open, really allows for Kirby to shine, given he has great reach both vertically and horizontally, and the levels not only make for great platforming and action, but also the amount of puzzles that are hidden within each level, without ever feeling cheap.

In my preview of the game, I likened Kirby to that of Super Mario 3D World in the sense that it does break away from the traditional 2D gameplay, whilst still retaining the core Mario platforming mechanics, but without going full blown into Super Mario 64 or Super Mario Odyssey territory, and I’d say that my thoughts remained the same throughout.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land

But for me it always felt a little bit below the likes of Super Mario 3D World, and I can’t quite put my finger on why it didn’t come together quite as well. Maybe it’s the fact that Kirby’s gameplay has a lot more variety thanks to the fact that the gameplay relies on a huge variety of abilities, without Kirby having any core ones himself. There’s a lot more variety at play, which works well, but also leaves more room for things not to hit as well as other certain mechanics do, and that was definitely my experience here.

One of the biggest parts of the game’s marketing has relied on Mouthful Mode, the new mechanic that allows Kirby to swallow everyday items such as cars, and this is a big part of the game. For the most part, these moments in levels are linked to puzzles or needing to take out larger enemies, and I thought it did a really great job to provide variety in gameplay, but then also bordered into gimmicky territory. For instance, the car starts out as a way to break through certain areas, but during the middle of the game is used in time trial races in the middle of levels, and it was hard to feel that it didn’t break the flow at times.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land

I think it’s to be commended though how many different abilities both in regular enemy copy attacks and Mouthful mode. If that wasn’t enough, each copy abilities can also be upgraded at the Waddle Dee Shop to have even more power than it did before. This was easily one of my favourite parts of the game, and some of the newer attacks were to be likened to the most insane Ratchet and Clank weapons. These are upgraded by collecting special stars that are unlocked in Treasure Road levels, which are essentially time trials that challenge you to use a recently acquired ability.

Whilst the majority of the game is just going from one level to the next before a boss battle, similar to that of 3D World, you’ll need to find a certain number of Waddle Dees in each level before you can proceed to the boss, and this was also something I really appreciated. The fact that these challenges really entice you to explore levels, and go back and accomplish the most random quests in these levels, rather than just burn straight through them. These challenges aside, I found the game to be extremely easy, even when there’s a normal difficulty and an easy mode, I just never felt challenged in normal mode to the point that I actually can’t remember dying at all.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land

What’s extremely clear is how much love has been put into this game, with the team wanting to pack as much as humanly possible. Back at Waddle Dee Town, there’s so many different areas that you unlock such as Cinemas, a Gotcha Machine, a Cafe where you can buy items to use in levels, Kirby’s house, a Colosseum that acts as a boss rush mode including the likes of Meta Knight and even mini games such as Waddle Dee Cafe: Help Wanted which is essentially an Overcooked clone. Whilst these at often feel a little bit separated from the main gameplay experience, they do provide pause in the level-to-level gameplay that could become repetitive without these areas to visit.

Honestly though, all-in-all, Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a lot of fun and coming off some extremely involved open world games, it’s come at the perfect time and is a great breath of fresh air.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land takes the Kirby franchise to new heights in new and interesting ways. Whilst it's not the full step forward that I was hoping for, it's still super enjoyable and excites me for what could be next in the Kirby series.
3D Gameplay Changes Up Gameplay Nicely
Abilities And Their Evolution Are Super Fun
Lots To Do Outside Of The Main Game
Mouthful Mode Is Never Not Fun
Extremely Easy
Some Bits Feel Gimmicky And Disjointed
The Cheapest Copy