Leaking just hours before the announcement at the Nintendo Direct in September 2021, Kirby and the Forgotten Land is officially the next installment in the long line of games starring this adorable round, pink puffball. Kirby’s last adventure also came to Switch in 2018 in the form of Kirby: Star Allies, which was an amazing package for casual and hardcore gamers alike. There was also the fighting game spinoff Kirby Fighters 2, but now Kirby is making his triumphant return in his traditional platforming genre, although with a major twist.
Kirby has always been a lighthearted, more casual experience on the surface. He’s a cute character that stars in games where it’s either very difficult (or sometimes impossible) to actually die. His primary mechanic of sucking up enemies to either launch as projectiles or steal their powers is addicting and makes his gameplay always evolving. At the same time, there’s a clear undercurrent of maturity in some games and optional challenges that can push back on the player’s skills. While we won’t know for sure how this installment will shake out until we get our hands on it, here’s everything we do know about Kirby and the Forgotten Land.
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Nintendo announced in January 2022 that we will be playing Kirby and the Forgotten Land in just a few short months when it launches on March 25, 2022.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is coming exclusively to the Nintendo Switch. This should come as no surprise, as Kirby has always been one of Nintendo’s exclusive series, despite developer HAL Laboratory technically not being owned by Nintendo. Kirby is just as closely tied to Nintendo as Mario and Zelda are at this point, so any fans of his games would already know they would need to pick up a Switch to play his latest game.
The announcement trailer for Kirby and the Forgotten Land doesn’t exactly have the tone you might expect from a Kirby game. It opens on a ruined city that nature has begun to reclaim. We see abandoned malls, streets, and buildings before finding Kirby waking up on a beach, apparently confused about his whereabouts before venturing into this abandoned metropolis. He encounters a few creatures as he runs and jumps through the environment, traversing broken-down roads, construction sites, and even a rusting amusement park.
The beach environment is also explored, as well as what looks like a funhouse interior, plus a snowy location. Iconic characters also show up, such as Waddle Dees, enemies like Kabu, and a host of transformations and powers.
In terms of an actual plot, almost nothing was said, but we doubt it will be the main focus of the game. According to the official description, “In this new unforgettable 3D platforming adventure, Kirby explores a mysterious world full of abandoned structures from a past civilization. What surprises await the pink puffball?” Even in the newest Direct, the narration still shrouds the goals of the villains in complete mystery.
A final trailer gives a bit more context, explaining that Kirby was randomly sucked into a portal to this ruined, mysterious world that is overtaken by nature. His quest is to stop a group called The Beast Pack from capturing the Waddle Dees.
This is the most exciting aspect of Kirby and the Forgotten Land. Nearly all Kirby games, especially the mainline titles, have been 2D adventures. Now, we get a 3D Kirby game where we can thoroughly explore this fully realized city. Many are comparing it to a Mario Odyssey; however, we think that may be going a bit too far. The trailer shows us multiple ways we can expect the game to control, from the aforementioned fully 3D perspective to a more isometric camera setting, and even 2D segments as well.
In terms of actual gameplay, Kirby does exactly what you’d want him to. He can run, jump, and do his iconic float in the air, but sucking up enemies is still his bread and butter. We get a great look at Kirby inhaling one foe and launching it at another, including him sucking up a massive bull-looking enemy and sending it barreling through multiple objects. Of course, there are also the enemies you’d rather absorb than launch.
Of Kirby’s transformations, we see the return of his sword, fire, ice, and boomerang powers, but we expect plenty more to be included. We see Kirby using these powers for combat, but also as utility and puzzle-solving tools. The boomerang was seen being used to grab some form of collectible and flames to light a torch in the environment. We see plenty of coins and stars to collect, which leads us to believe it is going to be a collectathon at heart. The Waddle Dees we saw were also locked in a golden cage until freed by Kirby, perhaps suggesting we will need to find and free more of them across the map.
Other copy abilities the new trailer showed off include one where he drills into the ground like a mole and a Ranger ability that gives Kirby a pop-gun to shoot enemies from range. In a segment of Nintendo’s February Direct, we also saw that Kirby will have the ability to eat inanimate objects around the environment, not just enemies, such as a car. Just like when absorbing foes, objects will also grant Kirby new powers, with the car allowing the pink puffball to travel much faster and smash through objects. This mechanic is called Mouthful Mode and looks like it will take Kirby’s copy ability to new levels, such as vending machines, traffic cones, and even just water to gain new ways to interact with the world.
You will also collect hidden blueprints that you can use to upgrade your copy abilities at the Waddle Dee weapon shop in town. These upgrades can improve the damage, range, and number of attacks for that copy ability, as well as the visual appearance.
There will also be at least one hub area, the one we see being Waddle Dee Town, where you can partake in some side activities like getting gatcha figures, fishing, and cooking up some tasty dishes that all have unique mini-games. The more Waddle Dees you save, the more shops and activities will open up in Waddle Dee Town. We also see that different buildings will undergo some visual upgrades as the game progresses.
At one point, we follow Kirby riding a star that whisks him through the city. In the second trailer, we also see him appear to use it to travel across what looks to be an overworld where he could drop into different zones. Kirby’s ride of choice has always been stars, so perhaps in Kirby and the Forgotten Land, they function something like a fast travel system. One such shop allows Kirby to upgrade different copy abilities to make them more powerful, but also how they and Kirby look visually.
We also get a good look at a giant ape boss fight to close out the trailer, implying there could be more large cinematic encounters. In total, this trailer looks like Kirby and the Forgotten Land is exactly what fans of Kirby would want from a 3D version of this series. At the end of the second trailer, we also see that Meta Knight has returned and will no doubt be a boss fight as well.
Speaking of boss fights, there is also a coliseum in Waddle Dee town where you seem to be able to challenge all the game’s bosses and perhaps even a secret boss or two in a rematch.
Since the goal of the main game is, at least in part, to rescue captured Waddle Dees, it makes sense that a second player could hop in as Bandana Waddle Dee to help Kirby on his quest. It appears like the entire game can be played co-op but looks to keep players limited to staying on the same screen together since this will be a local-only co-op experience.
Many of the town mini-games will also have multiplayer modes as well.
DLC is going to be hard to predict. On one hand, this game doesn’t look like it would have any DLC at the moment, but we’ve only seen a very small, heavily edited, glimpse at it so far. For all we know, there could be plenty of space to add in new zones or environments. Also, Kirby: Star Allies notoriously got a ton of free support and DLC post-launch, including new Dream Friends and secret areas. Again, this is a completely new type of Kirby game, so the post-launch support, or lack thereof, could be completely different. So this one has us fully stumped, and we’ll just have to wait and see.
Pre-orders are up as of now for Kirby and the Forgotten Land since the release date of March 25, 2022, was confirmed. You can pre-order via Nintendo’s official site or any major retailer of your choice for the standard $60.
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