Preview: Kirby and the Forgotten Land for Nintendo Switch


The adorable, hungry, neon-pink puffball, who coincidentally shares the name of a North American vacuum cleaner manufacturer, Kirby, was the brains of Super Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai and late Nintendo President Satoru Iwata. Introduced to the world in 1992 with the Game Boy release of Kirby’s Dream Land, the mainline Kirby series has brought innovative 2D platforming gameplay to millions of Nintendo fans for nearly three decades. As 2022 marks the adorable Planet Popstar character’s 30th birthday, Kirby and the Forgotten Landdirected by Hal Laboratory’s Shinya Kumazaki, will take the franchise into the third dimension for the very first time.

After a beautifully rendered cutscene depicting innocent Waddle Dees being swept from their home into a vortex in the sky as Kirby chases after them on his iconic Warp Star, the game begins much the same as the original. Crash Bandicoot, revealing our main protagonist stranded on a tropical beach, as the layout beckons the player to travel in the opposite direction of the stationary camera. As you continue, finally taking on the feeling of controlling Kirby in 3D with his original guard, slide, jump and hover gameplay intact, you’ll enter a mysterious apocalyptic world, or as the saying goes. title, a forgotten land. You will find that the transported Waddle Dees have been locked in cages by a pack of beasts, and an unusual creature known as Elfilin will accompany you to rescue them. Elfilin can be described as Navi of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, but fortunately more passive, which makes them much less annoying. Once you’ve learned the ropes of gameplay and listened to a catchy opening theme song, the next-gen revolutionary Kirby adventure begins.

The game’s levels are accessed via a transparent world map and are unlocked one at a time, each one structured in a linear fashion, giving off vibes of Super Mario World 3D and the PlayStation exclusive Sackboy: A Big Adventure. While there’s still plenty of room for exploration and discovery, Kirby and the Forgotten Land doesn’t really fit into the collectathon genre popularized in the N64 era, instead offering a traditional Kirby gaming experience with the inclusion of a new axis, thus adding a whole new range of possibilities for fun and imaginative environments.

Stages are filled with enemies to defeat, star coins to collect, gashapon to find, food to fill your health bar, puzzles to solve, and platforming challenges to conquer. Consisting of multiple missions including clearing the stage and rescuing the hidden Waddle Dees, your objective is to rescue as many Waddle Dees as possible in each level which is done by completing said missions. A few secret missions are also available, but they will only be known when you accidentally encounter them while playing or after completing the stage, because then they will reveal themselves as an encouragement to play again and collect everything. Gathering enough Waddle Dees is required to unlock the boss battle you’ll face in the final to advance to the next world.

Seeming to be inspired by Super Mario Odyssey‘s capture mechanic, the all-new “Bit Mode” allows Kirby to hilariously transform into various inanimate objects such as a car, vending machine, or traffic cone. Instead of doing it through the act of possession like in Odyssey however, Kirby simply stuffs the object into his boundless mouth to take on its shape and attributes. Mouthful mode is limited to very specific items and is primarily used to solve platforming puzzles and introduce new mechanics. The car, for example, lets you boost endlessly, destroying everything in your path, while the vending machine can forcefully fire soda cans like projectiles. As for the aforementioned traffic cone, Kirby can use it to swoop down on cracked ground or broken water valves. Mouthful mode is entirely separate from Kirby’s signature copy abilities, which of course also remain a core aspect of gameplay. Luckily, activating Mouthful Mode doesn’t get rid of your copy ability, though it does make it unusable until you demorph.

Copy abilities work the same as usual. These are essentially power-ups, obtainable either by inhaling and swallowing the correct enemy in order, as the name suggests, to copy their ability, or by popping a capsule that contains an ability. The game’s first world, Natural Plains, sees the return of many fan-favorite copy abilities such as Sword, Cutter, Bomb, Fire, and Ice (granting Kirby attacks that are exactly as they sound), while introducing a whole new one, Ranger. This ability equips Kirby with a gun, but fear not, it’s not as morbid as it sounds. The bullets are colored stars that explode on impact, with the plastic-looking weapon that can be aimed using the left stick while you charge up the shot. Speaking of charging shots, holding down the attack button with one of the copy abilities equipped deals significantly more damage to your target. You can remove an ability at any time to swap it out for another or to revert to Kirby’s default inhale moveset. As for inhaling an enemy with no abilities, or even a random small object like an empty soda can or car tire, it will prompt Kirby to have the power to shoot them straight out of his mouth like a projectile, but you can also swallow anything. that you inhale. a void of nothingness with ZL or ZR if you wish.

Waddle Dee Town is an exciting new location present in Kirby and the Forgotten Land. It is a safe hub that you can visit anytime from the world map. As you continue to save up massive amounts of Waddle Dees during your playthrough, new buildings will be unlocked here which offer a wide variety of objectives, the most important of which is Waddle Dee’s Weapon Shop, where you can strengthen your copy capabilities. This is called evolution, which requires the proper blueprint, as well as the expenditure of Star Coins and Rare Stones. What is a rare stone, will you tell me? It is a form of currency that can only be obtained by completing “Treasure Road” levels, testing your use of different copy ability and Mouthful mode transformations, which are spread across the map of the world between the main stages. These are time trials that you must complete within a time limit, and they’re stylized very differently from the rest of the game, almost as if they’re taking place in another dimension.

Other services available and/or unlockable in Waddle Dee Town include: a “Gotcha” machine to collect in-game figures, a cinema to rewatch cutscenes, a house for Kirby to rest and regain health, postal service Waddle Dee – liveries where you can enter gift codes to unlock special items, “Wise Waddle Dee” who can give you tips and tricks, and a cafe to buy food that you can store in your inventory for later. “Help Wanted” is also available straight from the cafe, a short and sweet mini-game you can play to earn extra stars where Waddle Dees line up en masse when you select the food order shown above their heads on as quickly as possible. It’s simple, but it’s also a nice time-wasting distraction, and there are even three different difficulty options if you want to spice things up and aim for your personal best score.

It’s too early to say for sure, but Kirby and the Forgotten Land is shaping up to be the greatest Kirby game ever made. Although we only had the opportunity to play in the game’s first world, first impressions blew expectations away. The controls are precise and responsive, the art style is beyond adorable, and the classic gameplay Kirby is known for remains. There’s even an easily toggleable co-op mode so you can share the whole experience with a friend. This could very well be the smoothest transition from 2D to 3D a game series has seen since the groundbreaking release of Super Mario 64. We’ll have to wait and see if our praise holds up after playing a bit more, so brace yourself, as a full review will be shared before the game launches on March 25.

A copy of Kirby and the Forgotten Land for preview purposes was provided by Nintendo UK. A full review of the game will be posted in due course.


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