Bottom line: Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a simple yet satisfying platformer that's fun for people of all ages and skill levels. Mouthful Modes are hilarious and upgrading Copy Abilities provides something fun to work towards whether you're playing alone or with a friend.
Fun abilities and puzzles
Two player co-op
Two difficulty modes
Post game content
Great use of amiibo
Doesn't take long to beat
Player 2 might feel limited
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Kirby games have had far more misses than hits, but Kirby and the Forgotten Land is an undeniable winner. Developer HAL Laboratory has taken the best parts of the iconic sidescrolling platformer and brought it into a more 3D experience. The characters are adorable, Kirby has some ridiculously fun new abilities, and while the co-op mode isn't perfect it provides a fun time for two players.
Now, the playstyle found in Kirby games isn't everyone's cup of tea. Instead of offering an extremely difficult challenge like most other platformers, Forgotten Land is relatively laid back. In many ways, it's the perfect game to introduce people to the platforming genre or to just unwind with after a long day. I was having a pretty rough week when I started playing Kirby and the Forgotten Lands, but this silly adventure helped lighten my mood.
Disclaimer: This review was made possible by a code provided by Nintendo. The company did not see the contents of the review before publishing.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land: What's good
Kirby is one of the most recognizable Nintendo characters but Kirby games are polarizing for one of the strangest reasons: Some people dislike how breezy they are. This pink puffball can float to better reach platforms he initially missed, can swallow most of the enemies he faces, and in Kirby and the Forgotten Land he gains new abilities that allow him to be even more cute and destructive than ever before. I'll admit, Kirby is so powerful that I often felt like I was playing in God Mode using cheats. However, that's also what makes Forgotten Land so charming.
|Category||Kirby and the Forgotten Land|
|Title||Kirby and the Forgotten Land|
|Play Time||8-10 hours|
There are two difficulty modes to choose from: Spring Breeze, which is the easy setting, or Wild Mode, which is the normal setting. I played in Wild Mode where enemies are more difficult to beat and Kirby has less health, but even that didn't feel all that challenging. This is easily one of those games that you can play while watching a show for a relaxing time, kind of like Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Kirby and the Waddle Dees are sucked into a strange vortex in the sky and brought to a world filled with ruins. Here our pink friend meets a blue flying creature named Elfilin and sets out to save the captured Waddle Dees from the Beast Pack's clutches. Along the way, Kirby will discover what brought him to this strange land and will learn to use brand new abilities.
Mouthful Modes and Copy Ability upgrades add more depth
When I first downloaded Forgotten Land, I wasn't in the best mood. Some things in my personal life weren't going all that well and I was stressed out. However, I perked up every time I saw another one of those ridiculous new Mouthful Modes that involve Kirby wrapping his mouth around an object to use it. The most notable example is Car Mouth, which allows Kirby to speed into enemies and obstacles while being, you guessed it, a car. There are even more Mouthful Modes than what Nintendo showed in its trailers. I won't spoil what they are, but I will say seeing new Mouthful Modes delighted me each time and I couldn't wait to see what new problem-solving options they opened up.
Puzzles were usually simple to solve and just required me to use whatever Copy Abilities or Mouthful Modes were around. However, if I lost a necessary Copy Ability by the time I reached a puzzle area I would have to replay the level in order to complete certain missions. There are also secrets hidden in just about every level, so the game offers replay value in that way. Levels usually only take about 5-10 minutes to complete, so it's easy to run through them again.
Several of Kirby's most famous Copy Abilities make a return including Cutter, Sword, Needle, Fire, and Ice. But what makes them fun is that you can upgrade them by spending items, Blueprints, and Rare Stones at the Weapon Shop in Waddle Dee Town. The Blueprints necessary for upgrades are hidden in various levels throughout the game while the Rare Stones are mostly acquired by completing Treasure challenges found on the map within a certain amount of time. Upgrading not only makes Copy Abilities more powerful but completely alters the look of Kirby's headgear.
By the end of the game, my attacks were incredibly powerful and most enemies were no match for me. Speaking of which, another thing that brought a smile to my lips was coming into an area only to discover some baddies doing something silly, like taking a lunch break at the mall and eating cake. You'll want to keep your eye out for these charming little elements as you run through the story.
Two-player co-op fun and limitations
I also played with my husband in two-player co-op. We traded controllers at each new level so we could experience the differences between playing as Kirby or Bandana Waddle Dee. On the whole, I felt like both characters were easy to control, but as you'd expect playing as Kirby is more fun.
Unlike his pink friend, Bandana Waddle Dee cannot use Copy Abilities or Mouthful Modes. However, he does have a spear that he can throw for ranged attacks, jab close enemies in melee, or float around and rain down spears of light on enemies below. Whenever Kirby upgrades his Copy Abilities, Bandana Waddle Dee gets stronger as well. During some Mouthful Modes, Bandana Waddle Dee will even hold onto Kirby and can toss spears at passing obstacles and enemies making the two very powerful together. When one of them eats food, they can even come together to do an adorable high five and share that health.
The frustating thing for Player 2 is that the camera follows Kirby, so if Bandana Waddle Dee gets too far away, he'll be forced into a bubble and brought back to Kirby's side. I often bubbled as Bandana Waddle Dee when I didn't think I was that far away. I also couldn't solve any Mouthful Mode puzzles and had to wait for Kirby while he got to do all of the fun. However, Bandana Waddle Dee can run through doorways to bring us to new locations, collect any items, or save any Waddle Dees he found first (as long as he's in range).
Despite these limitations, or even because of them, this is the perfect game to share with a small child or anybody just getting into gaming. They likely won't get too frustrated with the levels and you can assist them when necessary. Otherwise, it's just a fun time people can have while playing on the same couch and using the same Switch.
The amiibo perks are actually worth it
Usually when a Switch game offers amiibo functionality, scanning the compatible figures just gives you some simple in-game rewards. However, in Kirby and the Forgotten Land scanning the most useful Kirby amiibo feels like entering cheat codes to make the game even easier for both players.
Scanning a Kirby NFC figure unlocks a Life Up item, which doubles players' health bars. Meanwhile, a Meta Knight amiibo unlocks an item that inceases both players speed for a short time, and a King Dedede amiibo unlocks a short-termed attack boost. The Waddle Dee figurine simply gives you a potion. However, I can scan up to five amiibo in a row and can even rescan an amiibo as many times as I want in a day as long as I've cleared a stage between scannings. With all of these boosts in play, Kirby goes from being a powerful force to being almost unstoppable.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land: What's not good
While I thoroughly enjoyed Kirby and the Forgotten Land, it did find it surprising that I beat the game within just eight hours. If I go back and 100% complete all of the challenges or collect all of the in-game figurines it could add a few more hours to that total. There is also some post-game content that can keep you busy after you beat the final boss.
I don't think people should equate play time length to the price of any game, but I can see how it could be hard for some people to justify paying $60 for a shorter one. Something to keep in mind with Forgotten Land is that it has lots of replay value since you can go back and take on baddies using different attacks or look for previously missed secrets hidden throughout the levels. So if you're the kind of person who likes to replay your games it will be a good fit for you.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land: Should you play it?
If you've never really cared for Kirby's relaxed platforming, that's not likely to change with Forgotten Land. However, it's a great game for existing fans or people who want entertainment they can relax with. Forgotten Land takes the best mechanics from Kirby games and brings them to the next level. The two-player co-op also allows for a fun multiplayer experience to share with a buddy. Just be aware that it doesn't take that long to complete the main story.
The silliness of the Mouthful Modes and all of the options made available to you through upgrading Kirby's Copy Abilities really make this stand out as the best Kirby game yet. If you're interested, I highly recommend you check it out.
Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.