Kirby and the Forgotten Land is one of, if not the best, Kirby games ever made. It combines everything that makes modern Kirby games wonderful, fun, and charming and mixes them all together into a delicious dessert blend that you can’t help but love and want more of. While the game won’t take you too long to beat, there’s more than enough on offer to make Kirby and the Forgotten Land well worth replaying.
Cuteness to the Max
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a light-hearted, joyful romp through colorful worlds jam-packed full of secrets for you to uncover. Exploration is a blast with the aesthetic being one of bright, cheerful cuteness – as you’d expect from a Kirby game.
The animations for Kirby are a standout whether you’re inhaling a car using the game’s new Mouthful Mode feature or taking a quick nap at Kirby’s House with Elfilin in Waddle Dee Town. You can’t help but want to pick Kirby up and give him a big hug and a kiss on the forehead.
New character Elfilin is equally cute, tagging along with Kirby and cheering him on in mini games like Flash Fishing, while also offering an air of mystery to the game’s story. Who is Elfilin, and why are Waddle Dees being captured? These questions, among others, help propel you through the game in addition to things like the satisfaction you feel when you finish a stage with all of the missions completed the first time around. Of course, you can always go back and replay a stage. With some, replaying stages is required as missions can be tied to things like defeating bosses using specific Copy Abilities.
As you’re playing through the campaign, you’ll go back and forth between the main and side Treasure Road stages in each world and Waddle Dee Town, which you slowly rebuild as you rescue Waddle Dees.
Waddle Dee Town is a delight, especially with Kirby being able to wave to Waddle Dees by pressing up on the D-pad, and the mini games on offer like Tilt-and-Roll Kirby. Whenever you return to Waddle Dee Town, which you’ll primarily do to turn in weapon blueprints and upgrade Copy Abilities at Waddle Dee’s Weapons Shop, you feel like you’re returning home.
What helps add to this feeling is Kirby’s house where you can sleep to restore health by taking a nap, look through a book on past Kirby games, and customize the mantel above the fireplace by displaying up to three collectible figures there. With that being said, I do wish there were more customization options for Kirby’s house, perhaps even an addition to Waddle Dee Town where you can purchase customizations like posters to hang up.
Visually, Kirby and the Forgotten Land is one of the prettiest Nintendo games currently available on the Switch, with graphics that look especially eye-catching when played on the Switch OLED. It also sports some of the best cutscene animations I’ve ever seen on the Nintendo Switch – not just in terms of Kirby games, but Nintendo games as a whole.
Gameplay You Can Gobble Up
Kirby and the Forgotten Land has more gameplay on offer than any other Kirby game before it. Not only do you have the campaign, which consists of completing missions and searching for Hidden Waddle Dees across various stages, you also have side “Treasure Road” stages. Additionally, there are weapon blueprints for you to find in each stage as well as collectible figures.
Everything is fully incorporated into the game, with nothing feeling out of place or unnecessary. With the Treasure Road side stages, you get to test out Kirby’s various Copy Abilities as you unlock and upgrade them, while earning Rare Stones which are required for Copy Ability upgrades and power-ups.
Diving into the main stages, each world has a different theme with a standout for me being the amusement park themed Wondaria Remains as you get to race the Kirby car on a few different tracks, explore an interactive haunted house, and turn Kirby into a roller coaster ride.
While the stages aren’t as open as some may be hoping for, with each stage feeling fairly linear and straightforward in nature, there are enough side areas and secrets to keep you engaged. None of the stages are particularly long, though they’re not overly short either. It’s the Goldilocks “just right” effect where you can easily find yourself spending several hours going “just one more stage, then I’ll stop” except “one more stage” often turns into several, including a few Treasure Road side stages for good measure.
Combat is fluid and engaging, and is further complemented by the ability to tailor your approach based around your playstyle thanks to the variety of Copy Abilities on offer. Each one gives you something a little different not only in their base form, but as you upgrade them as well.
You aren’t limited to swapping Copy Abilities at Waddle Dee’s Weapons Shop, as there are numerous opportunities in each stage to inhale enemies and swap your Copy Ability, or pick a different one before heading into a boss battle.
Of the Copy Abilities on offer, standouts for me include Drill where you can burrow underground and pop up to attack enemies; Ice which lets Kirby skate around and freeze enemies in place; and Needle where you puff up into a spiky ball and can even collect enemies in your spikes to throw at other foes.
While most enemies are fairly easy to get rid of using Kirby’s powerful Copy Abilities, there are mini boss areas that offer up more of a challenge, plus a unique boss battle at the end of each world. The bosses are well-designed, and while some are noticeably easier than others, they all require you to change up your strategy and approach.
I appreciated this as it ensures none of these battles feel same-y, or like you can beat them simply by spamming the attack button as you could in Kirby games like Kirby Fighters 2 or Super Kirby Clash. Mouthful Mode is also a highlight in Kirby and the Forgotten Land. As the game’s new mechanic, Mouthful Mode lets Kirby transform into a variety of objects from a car to a vending machine to a cone and more.
It never feels like a gimmick as the game incorporates Mouthful Mode as something you’ll need to do in order to progress through certain stages, or uncover hidden secrets. Mouthful Mode is also used in a mini game sort of sense, where Kirby can turn into a roller coaster, fly around through rings using Arch Mouth, and, of course, the Kirby car can be used in races in worlds like Wondaria Remains.
Playing the game handheld and docked are both smooth experiences, with no noticeable bugs or glitches. The camera can act a little wonky as you try to look around for anything you might have missed in a stage, but it never becomes a real detriment or distraction.
Length wise, Kirby and the Forgotten Land won’t take you too long to beat, though it also gives you plenty to do if you want to put as much time as possible into it. Each stage is replayable and can be tackled in anywhere between 5 and 10 minutes on average, as can the boss battles at the end of each world. If you want to breeze your way through the game, you can complete it in as little as 8 hours, with an average completion time closer to 10 hours. Once you beat the main campaign, you’ll also unlock an optional New Game Plus mode that’ll give you even more to do if you find yourself reluctant to put the game down after the credits roll.
The Sweet Sounds of a Strange Story
The story is an unusual one, and one I can’t go into too much (or any) detail about without spoiling the entire thing. The build-up to the climactic reveal at the end of the game is somewhat slow after the opening where you meet Elfilin, but once it hits its stride, the story has no trouble captivating your attention, especially with the boss battles closer to the end of the game. This is when things really start to heat up. The story’s big reveal at the end wasn’t as surprising as I was hoping for, and I wish I could elaborate on this without giving the entire thing away, but suffice it to say, the story manages to stick the landing even if it does feel a bit familiar.
Complementing the story is a delightful soundtrack that’ll lift your spirits and motivate you as you navigate your way through the game. Of the songs in the game, I enjoyed the one that plays in Waddle Dee’s Weapons Shop the most, though, that could be because of the extensive amount of time I spent in there. Sound effects and sound design are also a highlight in Kirby and the Forgotten Land, with Kirby’s little “plop plop plop” of his feet as he walks around and childlike “hi” as he waves to Waddle Dees in Waddle Dee Town never failing to make me smile. The game really comes alive thanks to the attention to detail in its sound design.
Let's Explore Waddle Dee Town!
Kirby and the Forgotten Land gives you plenty to do, not just in the campaign itself, but in Waddle Dee Town as well. As you work to restore Waddle Dee Town by rescuing Waddle Dees, you’ll unlock mini games and side activities like Waddle Dee Cafe: Help Wanted!, Flash Fishing, Tilt-and-Roll Kirby, and the Colosseum to name just a few.
Out of these activities, Tilt-and-Roll Kirby and the Colosseum stand out the most, while some of the others like Waddle Dee Cafe: Help Wanted! and Flash Fishing feel a little half-baked.
For example, I wish there were more variety to the fish you catch while playing Flash Fishing in Kirby and the Forgotten Land in an Animal Crossing sort of way. Instead, all of the fish look the same with the exception of their size and a slight color difference in the rarest, largest fish that you can catch. And for the sake of replayability, I also wish there were more than three modes for Waddle Dee Cafe: Help Wanted!. With Tilt-and-Roll Kirby, once you beat the hardest of the three starter puzzles, you’re given three new “Extra Hard” boards with time challenges attached.
However, when you beat the hardest difficulty of Waddle Dee Cafe: Help Wanted!, that’s basically it. One idea I had was I wish there was an endless mode for Waddle Dee Cafe: Help Wanted! where I could challenge myself to see how many orders I can get correct before messing up.
The purpose of the mini games is to provide you with something extra to do, but also as a way to farm Star Coins for things like Copy Ability upgrades at Waddle Dee’s Weapons Shop. There are other places to spend your Star Coins in Waddle Dee Town as well. To complete your collection of figures for example, you can visit Gotcha Machine Alley and spend your Star Coins at four different machines, each representative of a different stage of the campaign.
There are over 250 collectible figures in Kirby and the Forgotten land, and it’s a ton of fun to collect these. It's also a blast to have Kirby inspect them as Kirby stands behind a table making expressions of interest and awe. You can also display up to three of your favorite figures in Kirby’s house.
Aside from the points mentioned above, I also want to take a moment to emphasize how kid-friendly Kirby and the Forgotten Land is. The game can obviously be played by Kirby fans of all ages, but there’s an approachability to Kirby and the Forgotten Land that makes it a fantastic pick for a younger crowd as well. With the inclusion of an easy Spring Breeze Mode and co-op (Player 2 gets to play as Bandana Waddle Dee), you can play alongside your kids and guide them through the game by tackling the parts they may have less interest in or experience with, like combat.
Co-op is pretty generous in terms of helping you progress. Kirby and Bandana Waddle Dee can share food items to help them heal, and the game’s checkpoint system feels nice and balanced.
Bandana Waddle Dee doesn’t have the tactical range of Kirby with his various Copy Abilities and Mouthful Mode opportunities, but Bandana Waddle Dee can nevertheless hold his own with his spear. That said, it’d be nice if there was an option where Player 2 could play as Kirby as well, Copy Abilities and all, as it’d make it easier to get through boss battles with younger, less experienced players.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a triumphant achievement for HAL Laboratory as this is undoubtedly their best Kirby game yet. The amount of love and time that went into creating a beautiful, enchanting world shines throughout the entire game, with every aspect of Kirby and the Forgotten Land feeling perfectly incorporated to the point where nothing feels out of place.
Gameplay wise, Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a light-hearted blast that can be enjoyed by just about anyone, young or old. Visually, Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a feast for the eyes that’ll have you taking plenty of screenshots and video clips to share with your friends. With an endless supply of adorable moments to help put a smile on your face, Kirby and the Forgotten Land is also a great game to play if you’re looking to take a quick break from the stresses of the world and everyday life. If you’re a fan of Kirby, Kirby and the Forgotten Land is truly a must-play experience.
This review is based on a digital copy supplied by the publisher. Kirby and the Forgotten Land releases on March 25 for Nintendo Switch.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land
- The cutest Kirby has ever looked.
- Gorgeous graphics and a real standout on the OLED.
- Memorable characters and boss battles.
- Plenty of activities to keep you busy.
- Mouthful Mode is an absolute delight, as are all of the game's unique Copy Abilities.
- Early stages and missions can feel a bit too easy at times, even on Wild Mode.
- Some of the mini games feel a little half-baked.
Morgan Shaver posted a new article, Kirby and the Forgotten Land review: Mouthful of deliciousness
Nice looking forward to Mario Odyssey 1.5
This one is more like Super Kirby 3D Land, I had hoped for something more like Odyssey but oh well, the demo still felt pretty great
Hyped for this!!!
Yay, my son loved the demo. Looks like coop is pretty well implemented? Going to pick it up next month for his bday.
My soon to be 5 year old is hyped af for this
He wants it for his birthday and he’s beaten the demo like 100 times
Guarantee they're going to love it! And that's so adorable, my 4yo son is very much the same, he's played the demo hundreds of times too lol
I assume he’s played Star Allies too? My kids love that one also
Sweet!! Kids and I have been looking forward to this after the awesome demo.
Loved the demo, and preordered after reading some reviews. This'll be my first Kirby game!
The demo felt pretty light and uninteresting to me. I love 3D platformers but didn’t really find much challenge or anything here. Maybe I’m dead inside or just not seeing how it all comes together.
Well now I may have to buy this
So is this going to be like most other Kirby games in that it's way too easy?
Think that's the series thing yeah. Least all the ones I've played. Do wish there was a hard mode option.
It's pretty easy for sure, but if you play in Wild Mode, there's a decent amount of challenge to be had with bosses being able to take decent chunks out of Kirby's health. It's also not as overly simple as something like Kirby Fighters 2 which is really nice.
Yes, but there would be challenge in finding all the collectables etc
My kids all loved the demo. I may wait until they are out of school to pick it up though. Wish the 2 player stuff worked a little easier if they only have the Lite. They swiped my Switch so they could try it in table mode.
The game looks so good. Tempted to pick it up for myself.
Stevetendo is playing a Kirby game right now on twitch!