Kirby is one of Nintendo’s most iconic and beloved characters, but he has often been relegated to the sidelines in favour of more popular mascots like Mario and Zelda. His games have also, for the most part, been confined to the 2-Dimensional realm, with occasional experiments in different genres and gimmicks. However, for his 30th anniversary, Kirby finally gets to explore a whole new dimension in Kirby and the Forgotten Land, a 3D platforming adventure celebrating both his past and a bold step into his future.

The game begins with Kirby being sucked into a dark vortex, where he is transported to a mesmerising realm shrouded in enigma and seclusion, a forgotten locale left behind by an enigmatic past civilisation and known as the New World. It is here where he discovers how the Waddle Dees from Dream Land are being kidnapped by the native wildlife. Naturally, Kirby sets forth to help his Planet Popstar frenemies rebuild their lives in this strange new place.

In so doing, he becomes embroiled in a complex narrative providing a captivating adventure, where Kirby reunites with familiar adversaries, loyal allies, and cherished mementos from past exploits. Each new chapter evokes a rush of delightful memories and camaraderie, with copious twists and turns along the way to keep gamers committed to the cause. The enthralling allure lies not solely in the peculiar ambiance, but also in the unwavering essence of Kirby’s whimsical universe permeating every corner of these forgotten lands. The narrative does a fantastic job of providing an odyssey carefully expanding horizons and igniting emotions, as Kirby embarks on a journey where the essence of wonder intertwines with the remnants of a bygone era. Simply put, Kirby and the Forgotten Land promises a grand tapestry of exploration, bonding generations of fans and newcomers alike with an immersive appeal complemented by endearingly memorable characters.

Alongside the Topsy-Turvey narrative is the game’s backdrop, which captivates the imagination through presenting a stark juxtaposition to the typically vibrant and fanciful realms Kirby normally traverses. Here, dilapidated structures stand as a testament to forgotten times, entwined with overgrown vegetation claiming its hold on this abandoned domain. As players delve further into this mysterious land, a sense of eerie silence hangs in the air, beckoning exploration and discovery. Yet, despite the desolation surrounding Kirby, the game seamlessly and beautifully marries a tinge of nostalgia with the character’s well known charm, humour, and buoyant spirit; as he traverses through the narrative at hand.

Supplementing Kirby and the Forgotten Land‘s wonderfully unusual setting is the game’s core gameplay, which is simple yet satisfying. In order to assist the Waddle Dees, Kirby is bestowed with being able to float, inhale, spit out, and copy the abilities of any foe in his path. There are over 20 different abilities to choose from, each with their own moves and effects. Some are classic staples like Sword, Fire, and Ice, while others are new or revamped like Yo-Yo and Artist, and then there are those that are completely new, like Drill and Ranger. The abilities are not only useful for combat, but also for solving puzzles, accessing secrets, saving Waddle Dees and interacting with the environment.

For example, Kirby can use Ice to skate over lava, Sword to cut ropes, Artist to paint objects into existence, or even the Yo-Yo to surprise enemies with its versatile attacks. Additionally, the Ranger ability allows Kirby to shoot projectiles at foes from a distance, giving players a strategic advantage in battles.

With such a diverse range of abilities at the player’s disposal, the gameplay experience is filled with seemingly endless possibilities. Whether gamers prefer to utilise classic powers or experiment with the newly introduced ones – many of which breathe new life into this loveable character – Kirby and the Forgotten Land offers a captivating and exhilarating gaming experience for players of all ages and skill levels.

The game also introduces a new feature called ‘Mouthful Mode’, which brings a whole new dimension to Kirby’s abilities. With this feature, Kirby can now devour not just one, but multiple enemies or objects simultaneously, and of any size. This unique ability amplifies Kirby’s power, enabling him to take on a multitude of forms ranging from comical to utterly outlandish. Picture Kirby morphing into a fully functional car, complete with wheels and lights, or transforming into an armoured tank ready to unleash havoc on his unsuspecting foes. He can even become a UFO capable of soaring through the skies or a colossal Kirby statue, towering over everything in his path. The possibilities are endless and the entertainment value skyrockets as players discover the countless ways in which Kirby can utilise Mouthful Mode to overcome obstacles and defeat enemies – all with a dash of creativity and humour.

Complementing gameplay is the incredible level design, offering an almost perfect balance between linearity and exploration. Each level has a main path leading to the goal, but also several branching paths hiding collectibles, secrets, and optional challenges (all adding to the game’s charm). In addition, the levels are themed around different locations from the abandoned world, providing a diverse and captivating overall experience. These locations include a shopping mall, amusement park, factory, and museum; each with its own unique atmosphere and challenges. Moreover, the levels are meticulously crafted with attention to detail, creating a sense of wondrous immersion and bringing the game world to life. With an abundance of references and intricate designs, the levels truly make players feel like explorers in what can only be described as a dynamic and engrossing universe.

Going hand-in-hand with the gameplay are the stunning graphics on display, which beautifully demonstrate how talented developers can still make the Ninendo Switch’s aging hardware sing (a far cry from those on display in Pokemon Legends: Arceus). The game effortlessly runs at a buttery-smooth 60 frames per second in both docked and handheld modes, providing an impeccable level of fluidity and responsiveness. Moreover, the visuals are adorned with a mesmerising array of vibrant colors, breathing life into every pixel, complemented by dynamic lighting and shadows adding an extra layer of realism. The textures are rendered with astonishing detail too, making every surface feel aesthetically relevant to the art style. Last, but certainly not least, are the impressive particle effects enhancing the overall visual spectacle. Kirby and the Forgotten Land is, without a doubt, a clear showcase title for the Switch.

In addition to the remarkable graphics, the game features a fantastic soundtrack. It seamlessly blends remixed versions of classic Kirby tunes with original compositions, all expertly matching the mood and atmosphere of each level. The music harmoniously accompanies the journey through the narrative too, immersing gamers even further into the captivating world of the game. Both the visuals and the audio of Kirby and the Forgotten Land are some of the best available on Nintendo’s portable, creating an unforgettable and highly memorable experience.

The game’s difficulty may be considered low to moderate, as it is designed to be accessible and enjoyable for players of all ages and skill levels. In this way, Kirby and the Forgotten Land is generous with health items and checkpoints, and even offers hints and tips for those who need them. Rather interestingly is how the title also has a co-op mode, allowing an extra player to join the game as one of Kirby’s friends; namely Bandana Waddle Dee. The co-op mode adds more chaos and fun to the gameplay, as players can combine their abilities or compete for collectibles. In a way, this title may serve as a great addition for parents who might like to have their children play along with them, or vice versa.

Completing Kirby and the Forgotten Land will take about 10 to 15 hours for the main story mode. However, there is plenty of replay value and content to unlock after the credits roll. For a start, there are two endings for the game, one of which is locked behind one hundred percent completion. There are loads of collectibles to obtain too, including puzzle pieces unlocking artwork galleries; star coins unlocking ability upgrades; Waddle Dees to populate the game’s central hub town (for better items and mini-games); and extra stages offering more challenges and rewards.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a brilliant 3D platformer, proving how the loveable pink vacuum can shine in any dimension. The game is simple but fun; charming yet nostalgic; linear but explorative; easy but rewarding. It is a masterclass in game design that respects Kirby’s legacy while pushing his potential forward. It is a puff of fresh air for the Kirby series and the platforming genre. It is, in my opinion, the best Kirby game yet.

With its innovative gameplay mechanics and wonderful visuals, Kirby and the Forgotten Land captivates players from start to finish. Every level is meticulously crafted, presenting new challenges and surprises at every turn. The vast and immersive environments encourage exploration, rewarding players with hidden secrets and collectibles, whilst Kirby’s adorable charm is on full display, making the entire narrative experience delightful and endearing. The game strikes a wonderful balance between accessibility and depth too, making it suitable for both casual and hardcore gamers. Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a testament to the enduring appeal of the franchise, setting a new standard for platformers in terms of creativity and enjoyment, and serves as a refreshing puff of air for the adoring pink mascot.



Incredible visualsDifficulty might be wanting for some
Wonderfully charming and nostalgicMouthful modes can be somewhat repetitive
Adorable and memorable characters
Abilities keep gameplay fresh

Title reviewed on Nintendo Switch Lite with code supplied by Rockstar Games.

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Owner, founder and editor-in-chief at Vamers, Hans has a vested interest in geek culture and the interactive entertainment industry. With a Masters degree in Communications and Ludology, he is well read and versed in matters relating to video games and communication media, among many other topics of interest.