You’re wandering around the wasteland of an abandoned city, dodging falling rubble and chemical spills. All of a sudden, a ferocious monster appears, and you have to fight for your life. You open your mouth and…suck! You eat up the monster, but suddenly there is a car there too! You have achieved your greatest feat yet: Mouthful Mode. A Nintendo Switch exclusive developed by HAL Laboratory and published by Nintendo, Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a surprising achievement.
Kirby, as adorable as ever, fights his way through a post-apocalyptic landscape. Having been sucked through a vortex from his home of Planet Popstar, Kirby must navigate his way through this new world in search of the Waddle Dees, who has been captured by some unknown baddies. Along the way, Kirby discovers a variety of powers, including some old favorites and some new powerful abilities in the form of Mouthful Mode. As the name implies, Kirby bites off a bit more than he can chew but doesn’t let it get in his way; in fact, these new Mouthful Mode powers might just be what saves the Waddle Dees.
The marriage of ruined civilization and the pop colors of Kirby and his cast of friends and enemies create an atmosphere that is unique and enthralling. I found myself trying to explore every inch of this new wonderland, an act the game diligently rewards. The level construction is a strength, with the combination of the environment, game mechanics, level goals, and combat leading to a challenging and engaging experience. In addition, the adorable town you build for the rescued Waddle Dees features minigames and a combat coliseum that help provide variety to this game.
Perhaps the cutest feature of this game is the figures. In full gachapon style, you collect figures from a variety of levels, minigames, and even gachapon machines in town, with over 200 figures to collect. These range from Kirby himself to enemies to the town’s citizens and more. And in one of the greatest things that a video game has ever given me, you can choose three of them to display in your house! Talk about marketing to me, specifically.
As you travel through the Forgotten Land, you will be sure to run into your favorite classic Kirby characters that will certainly bring a nice level of nostalgia. However, by moving the story to this new mysterious world, HAL Laboratory created a great starting point for newcomers to the Kirby franchise, with a gameplay feel that is reminiscent of previous tentpole titles on the Nintendo Switch-like Super Mario Odyssey. My only criticism of this game is that it feels just a bit too short, but the levels in the game are so meticulous and well designed that it is almost not a concern. Perhaps future DLC plans might expand the world further and provide additional hours of gameplay.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a serious contender in a year already full of major releases. Most gaming fans will find joy in this title, but if you are looking for a lighter-hearted game with brilliant colors and incredible landscapes, be sure to pick this game up today!