Kirby and the Forgotten Land promises to be the most ambitious platforming adventure yet for the pink puffball hero. Bigger in size and scope, with new copy abilities, features, and free-roaming areas, Forgotten Land is a departure from the mainstay 2D side-scrolling formula to bring us a 3D world with more open stages. It's clear that Kirby is about to broaden its horizons, embarking on a bold new adventure in celebration of the series' 30th anniversary.
To say I'm excited would be an understatement, but my excitement doesn't just begin and end at the prospect of stepping into new territory for the series. It's evident that Forgotten Land remains, at its heart of hearts, a Kirby game, with all of the trademark elements of games past. As a longtime fan, there's nothing quite like seeing a new entry that both stays true to its roots, and also looks unlike anything we've experienced in the franchise so far.
A new world
Game Kirby and the Forgotten Land
Developer HAL Laboratory
Platforms Nintendo Switch
Release March 25, 2022
The latest trailer for Kirby and the Forgotten Land emphasizes a sense of scale in the upcoming adventure. Set in a world where "nature and a past civilization have fused", a variety of different areas were showcased, with Kirby freely roaming around a variety of locations. From sparkling blue seas (with our adorable protagonist swimming with a water ring) to snowy landscapes, and a colorful, neon fairground, there will be plenty of places for us to see and explore in this new setting.
While the series has always been full of creative and inventive stages, I've become so accustomed to navigating a less expansive hub world with more restrictive directional movement. Now, with the shift to a fully 3D adventure, Forgotten Land looks set to present you with a more open playground to explore and make use of Kirby's copy abilities. It's worth noting that Forgotten Land isn't a completely open-world, instead it will push us through a variety of different stages throughout the adventure, but we'll have more freedom of movement than ever before. There are definitely some parallels to be drawn to the setup of Mario Odyssey, and everything we've seen so far really does give off the impression that Forgotten Land is about to take the signature platforming of Kirby games to another level.
As exciting as it is to know we can roam freely through new platforming challenges, there's one place, in particular, that I can't wait to visit in Forgotten Land: Waddle Dee Town, a central hub base of sorts for Kirby. For the first time, we'll have an area we can develop and contribute to as we progress through the adventure. With a host of shops and side activities, the town is a space where we can take part in minigames and gain some helpful hints from the local Wise Waddle Dee. You'll be able to prepare orders at the town's cafe, go fishing, and even use a gacha machine to collect in-game capsule figures of Kirby characters.
Nintendo revealed that we'll be up against the Beast Pack in Forgotten Land, all in an effort to save kidnapped Waddle Dees. The number that needs rescuing appears to be tied to which shops we can open in the town, bringing an added incentive and motivation to complete stages and rescue the townsfolk. Developer HAL Laboratory is yet to detail how these new activities will sit between combat and platforming, but I'm keen to see what dimension it brings to the experience.
One of the greatest joys of playing a Kirby game is discovering all of the copy abilities. By vacuuming up different foes and taking their powers, I always get a kick out of seeing what creative designs and abilities the developer has come up with. Fresh additions to Kirby's repertoire are coming in Forgotten Land, which will no doubt deliver some damage against the Beast Pack in entertaining ways. The first power to debut in Forgotten Land, for example, is a mole-like Drill ability that will allow us to dig our way underground and take out enemies from below. Kirby can also become a Ranger who can fire projectile stars out of a little red pistol-shaped weapon. You won't want to mess with Ranger Kirby.
It's exciting to see Kirby venture in a new direction, with Forgotten Land promising to give the series a bit of a refresh. But as a long-time fan, nothing put a bigger smile on my face than the sight of the tree boss in the trailer. In every Kirby game, Wispy Wood is usually the first boss you encounter, and to see it reappear in a new form (with a goatee, no less), just hammered home that Kirby is well and truly back for another adventure. Only this time, it promises to be bigger and better than ever.
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