As I watch the famous little puffball run through an abandoned shopping mall in the trailer for Kirby and the Forgotten Land, the reality of what I’m seeing truly starts to sink in. All of the familiar trademarks of classic Kirby games are here, with platforming, copying abilities, and that distinctive colorful charm, only now the world Kirby’s venturing through is entirely 3D, and the platforming is far more open than we’ve ever historically seen it in the series. Kirby and the Forgotten Land looks set to take us into a new era of Kirby games, and it’s one I cannot wait to experience.
Through the years, we’ve seen Kirby go on many different platforming adventures, with the series delivering a lot of fun and creative iterations on the classic side-scrolling action that was introduced in Kirby’s Dreamland on the original Game Boy. Kirby’s Star Allies was the most recent game to feature the loveable pink hero, and while it did have the makings of an enjoyable co-op game with an updated take on side-scrolling platforming, it didn’t really tread new ground.
Remnants of the past
The same can’t be said about Kirby and the Forgotten Land. From the moment Kirby washes ashore and runs down an empty street, it’s made clear that this new world setting is quite unlike anything we’ve seen from the series before. The abandoned buildings are steadily being reclaimed by the natural world, as greenery grows over the window panes of a rundown skyscraper. We then see Kirby jump across a dilapidated road that’s clearly been out of service for a long time, inviting us to wonder what happened to this place. The structures and locations show off traces and remnants of a past civilization, and it is very Earth-like – a post-apocalyptic setting that looks and feels decidedly different, a space I’m eager to explore.
Our first look at Forgotten Land hints that we’ll be able to do just that. Nintendo has confirmed (opens in new tab) you can move freely around 3D stages, meaning you’ll be able to explore the areas and not be restricted to moving from side to side. The fact that Forgotten Land is entirely in 3D also makes it feel so much grander in scale and impresses on you this idea that Kirby is a small puffball in a much larger world. The freedom of movement really will open up the adventure and revitalize the platforming formula that the Kirby games have relied on for a long time. My imagination is already running wild at the prospect of uncovering secrets tucked away in the stages and learning more about this setting.
It’s still early days yet, with Kirby and the Forgotten Land scheduled for release in Spring 2022, but this upcoming Nintendo Switch game already looks like it has the potential to be something very special indeed. The first gameplay tease gives off the impression that Forgotten Land will retain the classic platforming DNA and hack-and-slashing fighting that makes a Kirby game, well, a Kirby game and bring it into the modern era. There are plenty of familiar copying abilities on display in the trailer, with Kirby taking on the powers of his enemies to take out foes and progress through the stages. Ultimately, just how well it is able to deliver its trademark approach to combat in a larger 3D world with more freedom of movement remains to be seen. But for now, I’m just excited to have the opportunity to explore.
I’ve always loved how creative and inventive Kirby titles can be, with everything from Kirby: Planet Robobot on the 3DS bringing mecha action to the platforming formula, to the more stylized iterations like Kirby’s Epic Yarn and Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush. But nothing has wowed me quite as much as Kirby and the Forgotten Land. I can hardly wait to find out just what’s in store and how this new and more open setting will shape the future of Kirby games to come.
Look ahead to all of the games on the horizon with our list of upcoming Switch games.