The Pink Puffball has Returned!
Release Date: March 25, 2022
Rating: E 10+
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Platform I Played On: Switch
Platform(s) Available On: Switch
Difficultly I Played On: Wild Mode
Taken from Official Site
Kirby™ and the Forgotten Land for the Nintendo Switch™ system – Official Site
Join Kirby on an unforgettable journey
Float off on an all-new adventure as the powerful puffball, Kirby. Explore 3D stages as you discover a mysterious world, save the kidnapped Waddle Dees, and defeat the ferocious Beast Pack. Hope you’re hungry for an unforgettable adventure!
My Personal Highlights
>> Playing as Kirby
>> Fun and simple [good escape from the world game]
>> 3D Platformer
>> Classic and new characters
>> Just a vibrant and cute game
- It’s Kirby! Need I say more?
- Cute and enjoyable platformer
- New and old powers
- Fun mini games
- Vibrant colors and world
- 3D platformer
- 2-player compatible
- No Waddle Doos
- No beam power
- Less variety in moves
First Impressions & General Thoughts
I have played a few of the staple Kirby games with the two most frequent being Kirby’s Epic Yarn for the Wii and Kirby Triple Deluxe for the 3DS. For the Switch releases I wasn’t as interested in the Kirby game offerings until I heard of Kirby and the Forgotten Land. Seeing the trailer, I knew immediately that when the game released I simply needed to get it. It looked reminiscent of the Kirby games I previously enjoyed in combination with a fresh new modern look designed for the Switch. Before the game released I played the demo version (more than a few times) and loved what I was seeing.
From the get-go there is a nostalgic draw for virtually anybody who has played any of the major installments from the Kirby series. It has bright colors, filled to the brim with cuteness, and both new and old suck-able powers. It has the quintessential classic story set up where something bad happens and Kirby sets off on his grand adventure to save the day! Some of the friends and family I’ve played the game with say that this game brings back the nostalgia of the cuteness overload that is Kirby.
The game starts off with Kirby’s newest problem and adventure in a new world in which Waddle Dees are being kidnapped. We meet a new friend who needs Kirby’s help and joins Kirby on his quest to save the Waddle Dees from this newfound enemy and henchmen. This Kirby game is different in that we are actively working with the Waddle Dees instead of them being the core enemy of the game. In fact, in the two player mode the second player gets to play as Bandana Waddle Dee.
As the story progresses, we get to go through various lands and levels that depict an abandoned world with nature slowly taking over. Like many platformers (or any game with different locations) we get a variety of biomes or themes. So of course, we have the staple elemental inspired areas such as water, fire, and snow. What’s unique about this game is that they incorporated areas such as abandoned shopping malls, subway stations, and industrial areas into the mix. To have such a cute game opposed to an apocalyptic backdrop hosting these areas was an interesting concept. For every level and new area introduced I was always excited to see how and what they would bring visually.
At first, I was surprised at the lower number of levels present in the game. I honestly was surprised that we didn’t have a few more biomes included. Granted we have the staple biomes such as a desert or water world there were a few “biomes” in this game that were unique, both visually and thematically. I won’t spoil the unique “biomes” because I personally was surprised when I first encountered them. All in all, I wish there would have at least been one more unique biome that wasn’t the typical desert or water theme because the ones we got was really neat to experience.
The subtle animations, particularly the eye movements, made our favorite cute little pink ball come to life. I enjoyed all of Kirby’s facial expressions before a battle or during the story cutscenes. It was these subtleties that were the icing on the cake. In fact, during your down time you can greet various Waddle Dees that prompt adorable reactions, and while this to some may be a pointless detail, it is one that is extremely necessary. If you are into the kawaii scene, Kirby and his friends simply embody them to the fullest extent!
Mini Games and Activities
In this game we get some additional activities and mini games. I love when there are games within a game and some of these games were a perfect addition to an already great game. There four additional mini games that unlock as you progress through the game.
The first and most obvious one is the coliseum. This area is where you can put your combat skills to the test by battling various bosses and mini bosses. There are options for both single and 2-player scenarios. It behooves anyone to win the colosseum because you get an evolution of a copy ability via the colosseum.
The second mini game involved Kirby assisting the café owner in providing orders to hungry Waddle Dees. This is a basic game where you have to click the right order for the demanding Waddle Dees within a certain timeframe. There are three levels that progressively lessen the time and add more food options for the Waddles Dees. The last difficulty can be quite hard and many a time I had unsatisfied Waddle Dees 😂 There is a single and 2-player for this mini game.
There is a fishing game where you have to click a sequence of buttons quickly and they determine what size fish you can catch. It isn’t a hard game, but it is fun to try to catch an obscenely large fish. This also has a single and 2-player option.
The last mini game is the marble maze. This is a classic game where you have to get the marble from point A to B without it falling into random holes. As you beat this mini game more levels are offered. It’s probably my least favorite mini game but I’m glad the developers took the time to add it in for the sake of variety (and cuter Waddle Dees). This is the only game that is single player only.
As the game progresses other than the games there are a few activities and stored Kirby can do. Throughout the game there are hidden gatcha capsules in the game that are little collectable statues. In total there are a grand total of four gatcha series each containing various statues. If you weren’t able to grab all of them while playing the levels game, there are gatcha machines in the Waddle Dee town you can interact with. I personally love little collectables like these that are not essential to the gameplay but simply a fun side task. I appreciate how we can choose a total of three statues to put in our little house as decoration.
Did I say house? Yes, Kirby eventually gets his little dome-shaped home where you can sleep to gain health, look at pictures (or gatcha statue) decorations, or look at an album that showcases some of the previous Kirby games. It’s these small details that are present throughout this game that simply bring a smile to one’s face.
Other than the mini game stations there are a few other interactive storefronts Kirby can go to. You can actually eat at a café, get packages from the post-office, buy temporary battle enhancements from a stand, go to the workshop where you can upgrade or test out your abilities, listen to the soundtracks of the game via a Waddle Dee concert, or even go to the movie theater to watch any of the cutscenes from the game. All of these locations are located in the Waddle Dee Town and are unlocked as you progress through the levels. These small extras are enjoyable and simply add even more charm to the game.
The game play is similar yet different to the past Kirby games I’ve played. The core mechanics are typical for many platformers in that you traverse various stages and defeat enemies along the way. This is the first time we are seeing a Kirby game done in the 3D platformer style which doesn’t seem out of place, it was a seamless transition.
The main gameplay is Kirby’s ability to suck up different powers that are officially titled copy abilities. You can usually choose powers that are either your personal favorite or ones that aide a puzzle or task in the level. For each copy ability there are three evolutions that you can obtain once you find blueprints hidden within the various levels.
In order to upgrade the copy abilities via these blueprints, you need to obtain a star shaped gem currencies via Treasure Road challenges. These are available via various rifts that appear throughout the maps. These Treasure Road challenges have various trials that focus on one copy ability or mouthful mode. Once you complete the timed challenge you gain a star gem that enables you to upgrade any copy ability.
There are some classic abilities and two brand new abilities. The two new abilities are the ranger and drill ability. The drill ability enables you to drill underground and bypass obstacles and catch enemies off-guard. The ranger ability uses projectiles (in some form of a gun) to hit objects at a distance or specific target.
Sadly, in this new game there were a few moves and abilities that are completely absent from the game. The ability that is clearly missing is the beam ability. This was a rather iconic ability that I believe could’ve been present in this game but sadly was dropped. Perhaps this is due to the clear absence of Waddle Doos (Waddle Dees with one eye) who used to give Kirby the beam ability.
The combat moves are simplified in that we don’t have as many combination attacks that were present in previous games. For example, the left joystick doesn’t affect many outcomes of moves so there are minimal options. ←B →B ↓B do not exist as combinations with ↑B being the exception with certain abilities. Virtually all you need to do is click B and run around, I miss the variety of options that were in previous games. This could be because it is no longer a 2D platformer and they are still working out the combat for 3D platformers.
Other than the basic combat moves there is the ability to guard or dodge via certain button and button combinations. I am one of those people that forgets the guard mode exists until enemies start being difficult. The dodge feature was very handy especially during boss battles. It was nice having a quick move because Kirby isn’t exactly the fastest creature with those stubby legs (??) 🤣
This game features new abilities called mouthfuls. This is with specific in-game objects such as cars or vending machines. When Kirby swallows these objects, he takes on the object’s forms and it usually aides in a puzzle specific to the level. There are quite a few objects that allowed for variety throughout each level. This new power was ultimately a creative addition and was simply fun.
I have tested the co-op mode which allows for a second player. The second player plays as Bandana Waddle Dee with the primary weapon as a spear. The Waddle Dee player cannot gain any powers like Kirby but has similar movements and button combinations. The only thing that was hard for the second player in my experience is that the camera is perpetually focused on the first player which is Kirby. I think given that this is a Kirby game the camera focus is appropriate but it can be a bit confusing for the second player. What is interesting is that even when in co-op mode you can play the main story. It is not a separate feature so you can continue the main story in or out of co-op mode.
Would I Recommend?
This game is a great addition to the Kirby franchise. With a combination of nostalgia, bright colors, and a classic world and level design it is a wonderful addition to any person’s Switch library. I loved how the developers stuck to Kirby’s innate charm and made something that both new and old fans could appreciate.
Despite some of my criticisms such as the clear absence of copy abilities, simplification of combat combinations, and wishing there were a few more interesting “biomes” the game was ultimately a fun game to play. Everything that is present in the game came together perfectly and gave Kirby a fresh new world and new abilities such as mouthfuls.
This game as many small details and activities the player can interact with that I partially accredit to that classic Japanese attention to detail. I love it when game give these added details that add some minor variety in places, things, and creatures you can interact with. This was balanced way to entertain people while taking a break from playing the core game.
I wouldn’t recommend this game if you don’t like platformers or anything that is cute and has vibrant colors. I personally don’t like many platformer games all too well and can understand if someone has apprehension about playing this game. If you are not a fan of cute things this game is extremely cute. If you don’t want to play as a large pink puffball, I’d say this game may not be as enjoyable.
I would recommend this game if you have played any Kirby game in the past and enjoyed it. This game combines the old and the new making it an enjoyable Kirby experience. The different level designs are extremely creative and everything is visually stimulating. This is a fun escapism game that is simply cute and lighthearted. If you want to take a break from the world and enjoy playing as our favorite pink puffball Kirby you should go out and buy this game immediately~