Nintendo is working on an all-new Kirby game that’s unlike anything the pink puffball has ever done before. Instead of being limited to side-scrolling, Kirby navigates his way through a more dynamic 3D world with hidden secrets, new moves, and creative ways to solve puzzles with the hilarious Mouthful mode. Although the game features a fun single-player adventure, the controls and abilities for player two are complementary. They’re not exactly equal, but it gives a partner a lot of autonomy to do things their own way.
Prior to the game’s release on March 25, I was able to participate in a preview of the Kirby and the Forgotten Land demo, which allowed me to see the game’s two difficulty modes, the extent of co-op mode, and… other never-seen items. The demo, which is currently available on the eShop, is only a small part of the game, but seeing it play live and with commentary gave a better understanding of what this game is all about.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land manages to incorporate fun platforming mechanics into a modern adventure that’s equally fun for people of all ages, whether or not players are already familiar with Kirby lore.
Two difficulty modes for all skill levels
|Category||Kirby and the Forgotten Land|
|Title||Kirby and the Forgotten Land|
|Game size||6.2 GB|
|Players||1-2 on a switch|
The game begins with Kirby finding himself somehow transported from his home, Planet Popstar, to a land covered in ruins. It looks like a group known as the Beast Pack are wreaking havoc, capturing Waddle Dees (who were also teleported here from Planet Popstar) and posing a threat to all. It’s up to Kirby to save the Waddle Dees, undo the work of the Beast Pack, and figure out what brought him to this strange world.
Before starting any of the game’s missions, players can choose to play Wild Mode or Spring Breeze Mode. Wild mode makes enemies and bosses harder, but also offers better rewards, while Spring Breeze mode gives players more health and makes levels easier. These modes serve two purposes. They can make the game more enjoyable to play for people of any skill level, and they provide replayability since players can work up to the harder mode if they wish.
Co-op play also makes levels easier because the two of you face the same challenges and the same enemies together. However, it’s worth noting that two-player co-op and Bandana Waddle Dee aren’t available at first, but can only be accessed after Player 1 completes the opening tutorial.
Kirby’s excellent platforming and co-op after two Switch classics
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is very different from previous Kirby games. Looking at the demo, it really feels like Forgotten Land was inspired by Super Mario Odyssey as well as Luigi’s Mansion 3. The same way Super Mario Odyssey recalled Mario’s N64 3D golden platforming days while bringing new ideas to the table, this latest Kirby game feels like a natural progression for the series that’s been outdated for far too long.
It uses Kirby’s unique classic attacks from previous Kirby games while providing new elements for players to discover. Mouthful modes, while absolutely silly, give players new ways to solve puzzles and explore larger courses that are very similar to Mario Odyssey stages in many ways. Not to mention, the new mechanic that allows players to increase copy abilities allows players to customize their gameplay experience.
Plus, Forgotten Land shares something in common with one of my favorite games, Luigi’s Mansion 3: an amazing co-op main campaign. Player 1 controls Kirby while Player 2 will still control Bandana Waddle Dee. The movements of the two characters are very different, but complement each other. Although Player 2 has more limited abilities than Player 1, they can still collect items and defeat enemies in their own way without Kirby’s help.
The cooperative has other limits. Although the game connects to Nintendo Switch Online to display online leaderboards, the two-player campaign is only available locally on a Switch. The camera is focused on Kirby, so if Bandana Waddle Dee strays too far, he swings back at his pink friend. Additionally, Copy Abilities and Mouthful Modes are exclusive to Kirby, so Bandana Waddle Dee cannot switch powers. However, Bandana Waddle Dee has a spear he can use to smack nearby enemies, launch distant baddies for ranged attacks, or spin overhead to hover and perform aerial attacks alongside Kirby. In some Mouthful Mode situations, having Bandana Waddle Dee around makes both of them more powerful. For example, with Car Mouth, Kirby wraps around a car and can run over enemies while Bandana Waddle Dee hooks onto the back of the car and can throw spears at objects and enemies the two pass by. essentially turning the car into some sort of tank.
In some Mouthful Mode situations, having Bandana Waddle Dee around makes both of them more powerful.
This co-op setup allows players of any skill level to not just participate, but play a primary role, whether it’s two siblings, two friends, or a parent playing with their child. Player 1 takes the lead but Player 2 can still collect items and defeat enemies on their own. The two even have separate health bars, but they can share food to regain health by coming together and high-fiveing after either character picks up said food.
A level ends once players reach the golden cage at the end of the stage, but there are plenty of hidden places players might miss along the way. Once you reach the golden cage, a summary of your achievements is displayed showing you your score and the missions for the level you managed to complete. This way, if you missed something, you can replay the level and try to unlock everything.
Mouthful modes and copycat abilities provide new challenges and replay value
The town of Waddle Dee is improved and becomes more useful as players rescue Waddle Dees hidden on each level in Tulips and other secret locations. Players can also scan amiibo to obtain useful items for their quest. When I asked a Nintendo spokesperson what amiibo could be used, I was told, “Kirby-themed amiibo from the Kirby series or Super Smash Bros. series will yield even better items. ” That being the case, you might want to dust off your amiibo collection and get ready to use them.
One of the main reasons to upgrade the town of Waddle Dee is for Kirby’s most popular trait: his ability to swallow enemies and tackle their attack powers. These copy abilities have been around as long as the pink puffball itself, but they’re getting a new lick of paint in Forgotten Land since players can upgrade them in Waddle Dee’s weapon shop (as long as they have the correct in-game currencies such as Star Coins or Blueprints, which they find by browsing courses).
An upgrade changes the appearance of a Copy Ability, but can also cause a Copy Ability to hit harder, throw farther, or run faster. Additionally, players can customize which copy abilities they prefer to appear more often, allowing them to encounter their favorite bonuses more frequently. Many familiar copy abilities return here, but there are also two brand new ones: Ranger, which gives Kirby a star gun, and Drill, which allows Kirby to drill underneath and then attack opponents.
In the demo, players must choose between two copy ability bonuses before entering a mini-boss battle. The choice you make provides a different challenge and gives replay value since players can run through the level again to see what happens when they choose a different copy ability than before.
Kirby can only have one copy ability at a time. However, whenever Kirby enters Mouthful Mode, any Copy Ability he has already acquired remains in place but is inaccessible until he exits Mouthful Mode, making the Copy Ability ready to use. again. For example, if Kirby catches the Bomb Copy ability and then wraps around a vending machine in Vending Mouth mode, he will still have the Bomb hat but will only be able to use Vending Mouth abilities until he releases the vending machine and return to Bomb Abilities. As part of this, it looks like Kirby can switch between using a Mouthful mode whenever he wants as long as the necessary item is nearby for him to use.
Probably the best Kirby game yet
With the game taking after more robust 3D Nintendo Switch platforms and including a fun co-op campaign that puts player 2 in a lot of control, Kirby and the Forgotten Land looks set to become not just one of the best Nintendo Switch games, but one of the best Kirby games of all time. You can check it out with the eShop demo or wait for it to launch on Nintendo Switch on March 25, 2022.
Platform game for 2
Kirby and the Forgotten Land
Help Kirby discover mysterious ruins
Kirby and Bandana Waddle Dee find themselves transported to a strange world in ruins. It’s up to them to save the Waddle Dees from the pack of beasts and find out what brought them to this forgotten land.
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