Right now, it seems like everyone is playing, or at least talking about, Elden Ring. FromSoftware’s massive open world is released to the kind of rave reviews that demand attention. Players all over the world are now experiencing the bleak world and its utterly brutal battles. It’s a demanding experience and can have players draining their energy at the end of the month.
Luckily, there’s a natural sequel in the works. Kirby and the Forgotten Land drops on March 25th and it’s the perfect kind Elden Ring chaser. It’s a simple, colorful platformer designed to make players smile. If the reaction to Kirby’s new Mouth Mode is any indication, it’ll be the fun fare many players need for a few more weeks.
I’ve been practicing the game, playing through its first world, and I can confirm that’s exactly what I want right now. Nintendo’s tried and true design philosophy shines through, presenting a pure fun adventure that just wants you to have a good time. Get ready to relax.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land Don’t waste a second of fun. After waking up on the beach and practicing basic controls, I was instantly hit with dopamine. Kirby finds an old, rusty car and proceeds to devour it whole in a hilarious (and amusingly grotesque) cutscene. Suddenly, I was driving around like a pink Kirbymobile, slamming through enemies, launching jumps and exploding through walls. That sequence culminates in a sunny intro title sequence backed by the game’s own peppy pop theme song.
I have never been completely engrossed in such a fast game.
Even though Bringing the series to 3D, the Switch game isn’t really that different from the 2D games. The levels still play out the same way, with strategically arranged replication possibilities scattered across mostly linear pathways. If you see a particular enemy hanging out suspiciously, there’s probably a good reason. For example, on one level Kirby can light lanterns that yield hidden coins if he has an active flame ability.
Each level contains a list of objectives, from freeing captured Waddle Dees to finding secret routes. It might take a replay or two to find everything on one level, like any classic Nintendo collection. In addition, there are Treasure Road levels that test the player’s ability to use certain copy powers for short periods of time, measuring time. In one, I needed to bomb downhill to reach the switch before time ran out.
The first world culminates in a startling boss battle. Armed with the sword ability, I faced a towering gorilla trying to hit me. I dodged its attacks by getting between its legs and slashing it (honestly, not too different from Elden Ring Fight). It’s an easy fight, even on the game’s “harder” wild difficulty, but if there’s one thing I don’t need right now, it’s another grueling boss encounter.
Don’t expect a Super Mario Odyssey– beautiful transformation of the entire Kirby franchise. This is a puzzle game like the one you’re used to, just with more space to run around. Everything is simple, no secrets or challenges get in the way of you and your little gaming fun.
It’s a mouth
The main difference is Mouthful Mode, a cool mechanical tool that allows me to crush a jalopy. Each level introduces a new ability or two, and each one makes me laugh out loud. In one level, I swallowed an entire staircase, which bounced back into my body before settling into place. As it subsided, Kirby waddled around like a malformed T-Rex. The only prompt I get says “fall down”. Sure enough, I hit B and Kirby smashed his face in front of some unsuspecting enemy. I squealed.
In the world’s first prominent level, an abandoned shopping mall, Kirby can devour a row of lockers that are fastened to the wall. By turning the joystick, he wobbles around until it loosens, revealing a map of the mall telling him where to go next. The level culminates when the ball swallows an even larger locker, and as he squirms, the camera comically zooms in as the entire wall collapses.
You get the feeling that the developer Hal Laboratory is credited with creating these. Every transformation is frenetic, with weird and wonderful animations that make each one a joy to explore. Kirby’s inhalation power has always been an underutilized humorous tool. It’s used as a fairly normal platforming mechanism in previous games, but this one finally acknowledges how absurd the concept is. “What else can Kirby eat?” he asked. and then try to make you laugh with each answer.
I’m curious to see how many transformations are in the full game. By far the most exciting thing has come from discovering the new Mouth Mode power. Considering that I’ve seen a good portion of the standard copy capabilities, I imagine that will remain true throughout the game. Jokes often become less funny the more you tell them, so I hope the adventure will eventually boost that momentum and give me a new reason to laugh in every world instead of repeating. repeat sentences.
What I love most so far is how comfortable the experience is. The world is vibrant, the puzzles are simple and cute at every turn. Sometimes you want to bury your head in a difficult game to get a sense of accomplishment. Sometimes you just want to see Kirby turning the dial on a big gashapon and saying “aw.”
To that end, Waddle Dee Town functions as a simple central world where the vibes are timeless. Players build new structures as they save more Waddle Dees, from movie theaters where they can watch cutscenes to cafes serving healing items. There are even mini-games popping up, like a simple food service game where Kirby has to quickly feed hungry Waddle Dees by choosing the right meal.
The most important store in town is owned by a blacksmith, who can upgrade Kirby’s copy abilities in exchange for stars. While there are only a handful of abilities in the game, this mechanic essentially doubles the number, which seems like it’s going to continue to put new tricks out of its hat in the long term. When I upgraded Kirby’s standard flamethrower, I was able to shoot fireballs at lightning speed instead. It doesn’t necessarily change the way I solve puzzles, but it does make me feel like there’s some progress to be found if I explore the levels thoroughly.
After playing the first world, my main hope is that things continue to expand. I want to see Waddle Dee Town grow even more. I want more fun Mouth Mode power. I’d like to see my copying grow to the end of the adventure. As long as the game can keep me satisfied level after level, I’ll be a happy camper. I’ve played two huge open world games, which require a lot of experience in the past month. I’m ready to curl up on the couch, my cat meowing in my lap, and watch Kirby trotting like hungry Charlie Chaplin.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land will be available for Nintendo Switch on March 25. The demo for the game is available in the eShop starting today.