Kirby drills a mole in Kirby and the Forgotten Land.
“Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a charming platformer filled with intuitive puzzles, a genuinely intriguing world, and hysterical transformations that always made me smile.”

There are pros and cons.

  • Hilarious Mouthful Mode
  • Mysterious world
  • Neat ability upgrades
  • Waddle Dee Town is quaint


  • Runs out of ideas
  • Co-op play is limited

Kirby is the most joyful video game series. I broke out in a smile after I kicked Kirby and the Forgotten Land up for the first time. I was happy to watch the pink puffball pitter-patter around colorful landscapes after a month of exploring post- apocalyptic wastelands.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a post- apocalyptic game. A world filled with decaying shopping malls and abandoned amusement parks is what Kirby is sucked into. It's world is not too far away from the one in the movie "Horizon Forbidden West". The setting doesn't stop Kirby from treating it like his own personal playground and buffet.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land is an adorable game that is cut from the same cloth as Nintendo's finest. Hal Laboratory gets more playful and comical with the series because of the game's absurd Mouthful Mode. When it runs out of ideas, it loses steam, but its story and levels never fail to impress me.

All you can eat

Kirby and the Forgotten Land is the first 3D Kirby game since the Nintendo 64 game Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, but it is not a radical reinvention of the series. It still feels like a traditional Kirby game, that's a good thing. Kirby has always been a secret weapon in Nintendo's first-party arsenal, providing smooth puzzle-platforming that is easy on the brain. The game shares more similarities to Super Mario 3D World than to Super Mario Odyssey.

The game is built around Kirby's appetite. He can suck up enemies to gain new powers, like fire breath, bombs, or the ability to take a long nap. Those can be used to solve puzzles that require using the right ability. Do you see something in the vine? You can chop it down with a sword or cutter. There are many micro-puzzles like that in each level. They are always satisfying to execute and never hard to figure out.

Kirby shoots an enemy in Kirby and the Forgotten Land.

Kirby can suck up huge objects with the help of Mouthful Mode. If Kirby sucks up a vending machine, he can shoot soda cans out of his mouth. I laughed at them all.

It's not just a hysterical visual, it's also a practical mechanic. It allows the game to create puzzles that aren't just built around using a single ability. I need to get to a canon in time, but I have to light a fuse in one room. The staircase on the rope extinguishes the flame. I need to light it, become a staircase, and make my way around the fuse as it burns down. I need to get the staircase into a position that will allow me to climb up to the canon in time. It is a song and dance that tests my ability to juggle two abilities at the same time.

The main story is a hit of classic Nintendo fun that checks all the right boxes.

Kirby needs a system like this. When I played Kirby Star Allies, I felt like I had done all of its puzzles before, even with its added focus. The simplest lighting feels fresh and funnier.

The main story is a hit of classic Nintendo fun that checks all the right boxes. The core package contains solid bosses, well-hidden secrets, and tons of collectibles to make it feel like a Nintendo game. It doesn't have to be fancy.

Lost in the supermarket

The world of Kirby and the Forgotten Land is what makes it stand out. Levels in a 2D Mario game can feel random. It rarely feels like you are walking around a cohesive world because they are built around a game. The Forgotten Land feels like it has its own secret history.

It is not just a random collection of cold, linear paths when I enter the ice world. I am walking through abandoned city streets and fighting bosses on a frozen suspension bridge. This city used to be. There is a continuity to the world that makes me want to know more about it.

The art direction is happy even with the old buildings.

The game allows me to stay curious, even though I get little bits and pieces of that story. There are gachapon toys that give small snippets of flavor text, teasing the apocalypse that took place. One figurine of a billboard tells me about an energy mega power that split up, leading to heated corporate battles.

I don't get that answer completely. Kirby and the Forgotten Land reminds me of Hayao Miyazaki's film. Ponyo has an apocalyptic event happening in the background, but it is treated like a B-plot. The film spends most of its time watching its heroes eat ham. When I see Kirby doing his little dance every time he clears a level, I feel like there is room for peace.

Kirby explores a desert in Kirby and the Forgotten Land.

The art direction is happy even with the old buildings. The colors are pleasant and I don't care if the Switch can run 4K visuals. When Kirby swallows a car, the animation plays out with a kind of slapstick charm that takes me back to the days of watching cartoons. The sound design, like the plastic scuttling of Kirby's red shoes, gets a rise out of me.

Kirby is the pink stress ball I need in a high anxiety time where the forgotten land could become a preview of our own world.

The escalation challenge

There is a surprising amount of content in the package. The main sin of the game is that it runs out of ideas halfway through the story. I saw almost every Mouthful Mode by world four. I found myself playing the same bosses and puzzles until the end.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land has a problem. When writing a comedy sketch, you need to keep the gag going until the end. You can't tell your best joke in the first few minutes, but that's what happens here. New powers, bosses, and laughs are what makes the game great. It looks like a stand-up comedian who just got asked to fill another 20 minutes, because it runs out of those eventually.

Kirby and Waddle Dee fight enemies in Kirby and the Forgotten Land.

There are a few ways to get around the content stall in the game. The power upgrade system allows Kirby to improve his copy abilities. They become entirely new tools when they get stronger. Kirby can use his breath to build snowmen when the ice breath ability is changed. Kirby's drilling ability allows him to burrow underground and turn into a giant pencil. The system triples the number of powers in the game and adds a sense of progression when things start to slow down.

Waddle Dee Town, the game's hub world that expands as Kirby saves more Waddle Dee, adds some needed variety. It is small and contains a few simple mini games to cut through repetition. Kirby can fish, play a ball-rolling game that uses the Switch's gyroscopic controls, and more. Most of the side activities can be completed in a few minutes, but it is a nice excuse to relax in a quaint space and listen to some tunes.

I saw almost every Mouthful Mode by world four.

It's a missed opportunity, but there is a Multiplayer option too. Player two is a typical player here. Waddle Dee is Kirby's co-op partner and he has a few unique attacks. The camera is shared between both and only tracks Kirby, so it is a sidekick role. It is only something that will benefit parents and their kids.

I enjoyed every second of Kirby and the Forgotten Land. In the game, Kirby swallows a car and rides down a highway as a pop tune plays. He was cruising against the clear blue sky when some seagulls flew by his window. I felt like I was head empty, soaking in the sunshine, not a care in the world.

Our take

Kirby and the Forgotten Land adds more dimensions to the basic Kirby formula. It's a hysterical mechanic that deepens the puzzle potential, and that's what Mouthful Mode is. The art direction is the star of the show, turning basic platforming motifs into a creative world that always had me curious to see what was in the next level. Features like Waddle Dee Town and ability upgrading give the game some extra oomph during repetitive moments, as the game stalls out once it stops presenting absurd new transformations. It is a warm spring breeze for Switch owners.

Is there a better alternative?

There is a similar mechanic in Super Mario Odyssey. Kirby and the Forgotten Land is an improvement over Kirby Star Allies.

How long will it last?

The main story can take up to 10 hours to complete. There is a lot of side activities that will double the time. After 15 hours, I'm at 80% completion.

Should you buy it?

Yes. This is the best Kirby game since the Nintendo 3DS, and a wonderful game for kids.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land was played on a Nintendo Switch in handheld mode and on a TCL 6-Series R635 when docked.

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