Developer: HAL Laboratory
Kirby and the Forgotten Land landed in my lap at a strange time. I had just started my journey through Elden Ring and, despite my experience with FromSoftware titles, I’ve run into many challenges. But when I loaded up Kirby, I immediately found myself laughing at the whimsy. It’s a cute game with an adorable main character, while the gameplay is simple and fun — it’s the opposite of Elden Ring in every way.
Kirby’s trademark abilities are still here. You can inhale and swallow enemies into the hero’s stomach void, absorbing their powers when you do so. Kirby has been up to these shenanigans for quite some time now, but Forgotten Land introduces a new power that expands the traditional Kirby gameplay we’ve all grown to love over the years.
In this Kirby and the Forgotten Land review, I’ll break down everything about the pink puffball’s latest adventure and why I think it's close to becoming one of the best Switch games, especially for kids and casual gamers.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land: Price and availability
Kirby and the Forgotten Land released on March 25 for the Nintendo Switch and costs $60. That’s a steep price for a game that might take 10-15 hours to get through, but trust me when I say there’s a lot of replayability. And the co-op mode is loads of fun.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land review: Gameplay
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a treat. After games with in-depth stat systems, complex gameplay mechanics, and challenging combat encounters, the latest Kirby game’s simplicity delighted me from start to finish. There’s hardly any difficulty to be had here, even on the Wild Mode setting. Still, the jump to 3D has breathed new life into the Kirby franchise.
Forgotten Land is a platformer in the vein of modern Mario games, reminding me of Odyssey right out of the gate. You go through various stages, collecting items, finding secrets, and earning star coins. You’ll solve some light puzzles along the way, too. Stages have several secrets to find and will often require you to replay the level to find them all. The game showers you in feelings of satisfaction when you find a hidden path. Outside of those you’ll find the optional Treasure Road trials, which test your skills with Kirby’s various abilities in timed modes.
Kirby games often experiment with new features. Forgotten Land introduces the Mouthful abilities, where Kirby comically tries to inhale large objects like cars, vending machines, and stairs. These allow our hero to perform new tasks, like smash through walls and break tough enemy armor.
Of course, Kirby and the Forgotten Land has many fan favorite abilities like Sword, Fire, and Cutter. I particularly like Ranger, which lets Kirby shoot a gun to hit far off enemies and targets. As you progress through the game, you’ll unlock the opportunity to upgrade these abilities to much more powerful versions.
Forgotten Land also permits couch co-op with Bandana Waddle Dee, allowing the second player to use the character’s spear to help Kirby through the Forgotten Land.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land review: Story and setting
Kirby and the Forgotten Land starts off with the eponymous character teleporting to another world. A portal in the sky sucks him in (fittingly enough, given Kirby’s trademark power), where he wakes up on a beach. This new land has seen better days, the heyday of its civilization long gone.
The scenery in the first zone evokes memories of Nier: Automata’s city where nature has reclaimed what mankind built. You and Kirby will explore a mall, construction zone, a beach and more. Things can start to feel samey, but the core of the game is strong enough to keep you playing even when it starts to feel a little repetitive.
This forgotten land isn’t friendly. The enemies, violent animals called the Beast Pack, have captured all of the Waddle Dees that got teleported to this world with you. No one wants to see the cute guys locked up, so it’s up to you to save them.
Kirby games aren’t renowned for their stories, but they often do have something interesting to say — Nightmare in Dream Land comes to mind. But Forgotten Land is a strangely frivolous tale given the post-apocalyptic surroundings. The ruined remnants of a lost civilization evoked a strange sense of melancholy, even with the game’s lighthearted tone.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land review: Sound and visuals
Kirby and the Forgotten Land looks pretty good with bright colors, no frame drops, and a whimsical sound. Kirby looks as good here as he does in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, as do all of his abilities. The bosses also look cartoonishly awesome.
The soundtrack is pretty forgettable, but it fades nicely into the background. There is no spoken dialogue, just text bubbles. Kirby’s ability sound effects all sound great, too. From shooting the Ranger gun to spewing Fire’s upgraded magma, I liked what I heard on my Switch’s speakers.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land review: Verdict
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a short and sweet adventure, complete with all kinds of antics and fun abilities. Each stage has some nice variety and plenty of hidden things — such as captured Waddle Dees and challenges — to find. The optional Treasure Road stages offer you a chance to test your skills with Kirby’s powers.
I got about 10 hours out of Forgotten Land and I’d happily put in more. Whether to find the rest of the stages’ items or play it through with my wife in co-op (letting her have Kirby, of course), this game has some great replay value. I think $60 is pushing it on how much Forgotten Land should cost, but I strongly believe that you’ll get plenty of fun out of it, Kirby veteran or not.