We’ve seen Kirby in 3D for years now, ever since the N64 days, and yet his games have always restrained him to a strictly 2D plane. While all his contemporaries like Mario and Link have been enjoying fully 3D adventures for years, it wasn’t until Kirby and the Forgotten Land that our cute little pink puffball was finally able to stretch his wings and explore a fully realized world in every direction. The result is a game that is just as charming and addicting as his previous outings, but with the added benefit of way more ways to explore, interact, and admire this new land Kirby has found himself thrust into.
Being a 3D game, Kirby’s options and abilities have been expanded more than ever before. Yes, he’s still sucking up and stealing abilities for the most part, but how you do that, and how you utilize those powers, have major changes with the switch to 3D. On top of that, Kirby and the Forgotten Land also adds on a ton of new features and mechanics that make this the biggest adventure Kirby has ever undertaken. There’s no need to swallow us whole because we’ll let you copy all the things we’ve learned for getting started in Kirby and the Forgotten Land.
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Kirby has never been a series that punishes players for experimenting. The entire premise of the character is to play around and discover what new powers you can get and places you can discover. However, prior to Kirby and the Forgotten Land, secrets were a bit harder to hide in the environments due to the 2D nature of exploration. Now with fully 3D spaces to play around in, there are way more secrets and mysteries begging to be uncovered.
From secret missions to hidden Waddle Dees, there’s a ton packed away in every stage you go to. You can run straight through them if you want, but doing so would mean missing out on a ton of optional stuff that can benefit you later. Investigate everything, like any bit of the environment that doesn’t seem like it belongs or if it looks like there’s a pathway hidden between some buildings. More often than not, you’ll find something there worth your time. Some secrets might also require a specific ability to interact with, but if that’s the case, then that ability will never be too far away.
Speaking of hidden Waddle Dees, your primary objective in Kirby and the Forgotten Land is to rescue all the fuzzy little blobs and return them home to Waddle Dee town. Aside from being the right thing to do, this will also help improve and upgrade various buildings you can interact with in your town hub level. But you shouldn’t go out of your way to try and get every single Waddle Dee you can from each stage on your first run through them.
Waddle Dees are rewarded for doing a bunch of things beyond just completing the stage. There’s the previously mentioned hidden Waddle Dees that you need to seek out in secret spots in the levels, which can get rather tricky, but every stage has three more optional objectives. These secret objectives are just as well hidden, if not more so, than anything else in Kirby and the Forgotten Land. But, being secret, you won’t know what they all are right away. Once you beat a stage for the first time, the game will reveal the name of the secret objectives. These names can usually tip you off enough to go back in and find what you need to do, but trying to do them blind will just make the game a slog.
Play naturally and enjoy your first run through each stage before going back to hunt down all the extra-secret Waddle Dees. At the same time, when you do decide to backtrack for secrets, keep in mind that any doorway you go through in a level is a one-way trip. If you missed something in a previous area of a stage, you may have to restart the entire thing to go back for it.
Our last secret-related tip is to apply all those curiosity tips not just to the stages but also to the overworld. This overworld, like many other Nintendo games, isn’t just a glorified stage select screen. There are a bunch of details in the environment that are there more than just for show. Go around and investigate everything that looks interesting. If there is something there, you’ll get a prompt to search it, which could reward you with coins and a Treasure Road level, too.
A new mechanic in Kirby and the Forgotten Land is that Kirby doesn’t automatically recover from any damage he took after beating a level. Whatever health you finished one stage with is how much you’ll start the next one with if you don’t recover it. That can be a little annoying but is easily fixed with a quick trip back to Waddle Dee town. One of the first buildings you will get there is a cozy little house for Kirby, complete with a big, fluffy bed to take a well-deserved nap in, recovering your HP. It might feel like an annoying detour, but visiting Waddle Dee town between every stage or two is worth it to rest up, see how the town is growing, maybe do some mini-games, and more.
If nothing else, after your nap, you should certainly make a pit stop by the item shop in Waddle Dee town as soon as you unlock it. They sell very strong buffs to your attack, defense, and speed. If you’ve got the coins, you can even stack these abilities up to five times and hold a sixth in reserve for good measure. Each boost lasts for 200 seconds, which should be plenty of time to get through a stage or take on a challenging boss.
If you would rather have a healing option in your back pocket, keeping a signature Maximum Tomato in your inventory instead of a spare stat buff might be the way to go. You can grab one of these full health items for a steal of just 100 coins at the Waddle Dee Cafe.
There are a ton of copy abilities this time around in Kirby and the Forgotten Land, and it won’t take long before you find one that just clicks for you. While the game absolutely encourages experimentation, there’s no reason you shouldn’t prioritize upgrading the abilities you like the most first since you will only have so many resources to do so at a time. Upgrading them makes them stronger but also changes how they make you look and even alters how they function in some ways. Since boss fights let you roll in with a copy ability of your choice, at least from the ones offered, having one that you’re both comfortable with and like, plus having it upgraded, can make the fights go much smoother. You only get the one ability per boss fight, but don’t stress if you lose it. Base-form Kirby can still hold his own against any opponent.
On the flip side, while playing through stages, try and grab every ability you can. You might not like them all, but you need to get and use them at least once to have them show up in the Waddle Dee Weapon Shop to upgrade them. Plus, again, any puzzles in a level will use a nearby ability, so trying to run through an entire stage holding onto one ability will mean missing out on finding any secrets. Besides, you never know when you might try one you end up really liking.
One final tip regarding copy abilities is to take advantage of their charge-up attacks. These do far and away the most damage of any other attack, but at the risk of you taking a hit while winding it up. The more leveled up an ability is, the more damage charged attacks do, but they can also cause additional status effects for enemies you hit depending on the ability.
Treasure Roads are the more difficult parts of Kirby and the Forgotten Land. They’re not super hard, exactly, but these time-trial stages are something like the levels in Super Mario Sunshine where you don’t have the Flood. These levels appear as you beat the main story stages — or again can be found by searching the overworld for secrets — and they reward you with Rare Stones just for beating them, but not necessarily for breaking the Target Time presented. Each one is a unique challenge that gives you either a single copy ability or Mouthful Mode and times you as you try to complete a level as fast as you can.
Because of how valuable Rare Stones are, they are needed to upgrade your copy abilities, and because the Treasure Road levels themselves are just fun to do, we highly encourage you to do them all as they appear before moving on to the next stage or world.
While it’s great that you don’t have to beat the Target Time for any Treasure Road level to get the Rare Stone, the reward for doing so is a little disappointing. These times are pretty tight and can take a few attempts at least to master the run to beat them. In the end, though, you only get 50 coins for your trouble. Unless you enjoy setting records for your own satisfaction, it’s not worth grinding these levels for a perfect time.
Kirby doesn’t have to face this new and dangerous land all by himself. Kirby and the Forgotten Land offers a full co-op mode where a second player can control Bandana Waddle Dee. Whether you’re a seasoned gamer who could blow through this title without ever taking a hit or you’re brand new to gaming, Kirby and the Forgotten Land is always more fun when you have a friend to share the experience with. Bandana Waddle Dee have their own moves as well and use a spear, so it can be a great way to experience the game a second time after mastering it as Kirby.
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