Hands On: Kirby And The Forgotten Land: More ‘Super Mario 3D World’ Than ‘Mario Odyssey’
It’s been six months since we first saw Kirby’s upcoming 3D adventure, Kirby and the Forgotten Land, and the reaction to the initial Nintendo Direct teaser last September has certainly been positive. Here’s a game that gives the impression that it doesn’t rest on the series’ laurels, a charge often levied on the somewhat safe Kirby Star Allies, instead of marching Pink Puffball and his buddies in the fully 3D world for the first time. We were lucky enough to sit down and walk through the entire first region of Kirby’s last outing in the last week, and we can confirm that there’s definitely something to be excited about here. However, if you’re expecting a fully open-world or something like object occupation in Super Mario Odyssey – and there’s been a lot of speculation and comparison over the past few months – you might want to adjust your expectations a bit.
Yes, Kirby and the Forgotten Land could have the same look and feel as Mario’s latest epic outing; it has a brand new Mouthful Mode ability that is immediately reminiscent of Cappy’s antics from Odyssey, shares a familiar graphic style, and is all set to equally exhilarating and triumphant orchestral music, but the gameplay here is actually much more in line with that found in Super Mario 3D World. Not entirely bad, we’re sure you’ll agree.
After an entertaining pre-credits scene in which Kirby discovers his ability to swallow an entire car—among many other things—Kirby and the Forgotten Land takes us to the game’s very first zone, Natural Plains, a lush, overgrown environment made up of ruined city ruins. places that are slowly being restored by nature. He has a little Last of us about its aesthetic vibe, but luckily for everyone involved, Kirby won’t have to brutally beat up all the clickers here, instead, he’ll be tasked with rescuing his cute Waddle Dee buddies who have been trapped and hidden around the arenas. using its trademark copying abilities.
the gameplay here is actually much more in line with what is found in Super Mario 3D World. Not really bad, we’re sure you’ll agree
Did we just say stages? Yes, we did. This is absolutely not the free-roaming open-world experience that some hoped for, as each region of the game’s beautiful world map is a completely separate place with a different theme that has been divided into wonderful little 3D stages. Jump into one of these stages and references to Super Mario Odyssey become even weaker as the camera is completely fixed here, framing the action for you rather than giving you complete freedom to look in any direction you like. Yes, you can shuffle it a bit left and right or up and down to see a little more peripherals, but it’s much more in line with Super Mario 3D World’s action style, albeit with slightly larger stages to view. grind into.
Would we like to see a fully controllable camera here? Well, yes, but once you get comfortable with the game and start wandering around its gorgeous environments, it’s not something that will stay in your memory for long, as what’s here is an absolute pleasure to handle no matter what. . HAL Labs did a fantastic job bringing the look and feel of the classic Kirby, with all the copying abilities and moves we’ve come to know and love from the sassy little rascal, into 3D space. It’s a shift that gives you a lot more ways to use your powers to deal with the enemies and platforms around you, unlocking secrets, collecting stars of different colors, and rescuing Waddle Dee from captivity as you progress through five stages of the opening world. to a big, hairy, ape-like fight. We’ve already seen the brand new Mouthful Mode with a hilarious/shocking effect in the game’s trailers, where Kirby manages to stuff a car into his mouth, and it’s actually just as fun as it sounds, letting our hero race forward. stretches of highway by speeding through roadblocks and squashing enemies, as well as using the jump feature to deal with some vehicle-based platformers.
Along with the car, we also had to turn into a bunch of other pieces during our time in the first region of the game, where Kirby wrapped his gums (and his entire body) around traffic cones, stairs, lockers, and a vending machine. , all of which are used to solve a variety of environmental puzzles and beat up hapless baddies – we especially enjoyed viciously blasting juice cans at vending machine-shaped enemies.
we also have to turn into a bunch of other pieces in our time in the first region of the game, where Kirby wraps his gums (and his entire body) around traffic cones, stairs, lockers, and a vending machine.
Copy abilities, as expected, play a big role here too, and each level has several different types of enemies that you can soak into your face in a time-honored way by imbibing their skill set – as well as their sense of style – in order to distribute them. damage to anyone stupid enough to get in your way, and early on we saw us fight with swords, bombs, a spiked ability, and fire and ice forms. Combined with the various Mouthful Mode abilities on offer, there’s certainly a lot of flexibility and variety in how you choose to deal with your enemies and make your way through areas in search of hidden wonders.
On top of all this, Kirby’s abilities can now be upgraded, giving you access to cute new variations of his basic abilities. Yes, when you complete levels and rescue Waddle Dee, you get access to objects in the central village of the game, one of the most useful of which is the Waddle Dee weapon shop, where you can change your abilities and use the stars and rare stones that you have collected for their improvements. Let’s take our base-level Cutter ability as an example. Kirby’s standard sword swings and charged sword spin can be upgraded to a Chakram variant that sees him hurling metal discs and deal more damage than normal. We’ve also improved his basic fire form into a volcanic form that makes his attacks significantly more powerful.
Elsewhere in the village of Waddle Dee, and at this very early stage of the game, you can jump down to Gotcha Machine Alley to spend your stars on collectibles to fill up your figurine collection – these can also be found in and around stages of the game – visit the Kirby House, Waddle Dee Café, Waddle Dee liveries, and even take part in a fishing mini-game. The town center will continue to grow as you progress through the later districts and accumulate more Waddle Dees, and we can already see some unfinished mystery buildings under construction in ours. We can’t wait to find out what they are!
In short, there’s already plenty to do here, and all of these additions are backed up by the core gameplay that’s been a pleasure so far with intense 3D crawling, puzzles, and platforming mixed in with a bit of more traditional side-scrolling. segments to please fans of the old school. In the five stages that make up Natural Plains, we raced down a car-shaped highway, plugged holes and beat up giant turtles as a traffic cone, made a trip to an overgrown mall full of villains, and jumped into the game’s unlockable side missions. in which you take part in a variety of mini-games based on your various copy abilities in exchange for rare rewards.
Each level can be completed entirely in co-op mode, with the second player taking on the role of Bandana Waddle Dee, Kirby’s spear-wielding sidekick with a variety of attacks and complete freedom of movement. don’t worry about the second player playing a blurry role here. Each stage also has a variety of tasks to complete in order to get additional Waddle Dees. Your main goals are outlined when you start, but the rest will be revealed on the fly as you perform the movement associated with them. For example, pick up a fruit to replenish your health bar from the bench and you’ll be tasked with picking up four more. It’s a nice little extra layer that makes each stage a little more replayable.
Everything the game has to offer can also be played in one of two difficulty modes. We spent our time playing the standard “wild” mode, described as a harder and more challenging affair that rewards you with more star coins for your efforts. However, there’s also a Spring Breeze mode that gives you more health and makes things even easier so you can relax and just enjoy the ride.
A great big boss fight against a very angry gorilla rounds out our time with Kirby and the first Forgotten Land area, and we’re more than excited to see what else is in store for us as we continue our adventures through it. one. With the combination of 3D puzzles and side-scrolling puzzles, platforming, and fighting that looks great and works great both in stationary and handheld modes, tons of collectibles, and amazingly colorful and enthusiastic atmosphere in the whole thing, it seems like it’s a bit A much-needed rejuvenation for the Kirby franchise and a big, juicy adventure to dive into on March 25th.