‘Kirby and the Forgotten Land’ Review: ‘Kirby’ Series Discovers a New World | Arts

For the 30th anniversary of the “Kirby” franchise’s debut in 1992, series developer HAL Laboratory released “Kirby and the Forgotten Land”: the series’ first fully 3D mainline entry. Kirby could hardly ask for a better birthday present. “Forgotten Land” effortlessly takes Kirby into the third dimension and pushes the scope of the series’ traditional ideas, while retaining its core identity of accessibility and variety.

The game opens with Kirby taking a relaxing flight over his home planet, Planet Popstar, when a vortex suddenly appears in the sky, sucking in Kirby and the Popstar inhabitants known as the Waddle Dees. When Kirby wakes up, he finds himself in a post-apocalyptic world, lying on an unfamiliar beach surrounded only by birdsong, and here “Forgotten Land” differs from the games that came before it; the player takes control, and without ceremony or attention, Kirby runs around in 3D space.

Like previous mainline entries in the “Kirby” series, “Forgotten Land” is a platformer, where Kirby must run, jump, and fly through linear stages while inhaling enemies to copy their abilities to use in combat and puzzle solving. HAL Laboratory translates these basic mechanics so expertly and naturally into 3D space that players may forget they are moving along the z axis. Kirby controls with fluidity, and just running and jumping is satisfying.

While 2D franchises taking their first leap into 3D are prone to buggy, generic, and generally sub-par results, “Forgotten Land” avoids those pitfalls. In fact, the only indication that HAL Laboratory hasn’t been producing “Kirby” 3D rigs for years already is that the game features a below-average number of copy abilities for Kirby to acquire, and those that are available have tendency to have limited movements. .

This missing selection of Copy Abilities, however, is made up for by the inclusion of Evolution Abilities, a new mechanic in which Kirby can use blueprints he finds in stages to upgrade his Copy Abilities into more builds. strong with special properties. For example, he can evolve his fire ability into Dragon Fire, increasing the range of his fire breath and allowing him to hover in the air like a dragon.

Evolution abilities introduce variety to copy ability gameplay, allowing players to choose not only which copy ability they wish to use, but also which evolution of that ability would be best suited to the task. “Forgotten Land” also launches two entirely new copy abilities: Ranger, which allows Kirby to wield a blaster pistol, and Drill, which takes full advantage of 3D space by allowing Kirby to burrow underground.

The other main mechanic introduced in “Forgotten Land”, and the game’s signature innovation, is Mouthful mode. When an object is too large to fully inhale, Kirby can instead wrap his elastic body around it, granting it new abilities. For example, Car Mouth mode has Kirby zoom around like a very pink car, and Vending Mouth mode sees Kirby use the form of a vending machine to attack enemies with a barrage of canned drink projectiles. Mouthful Mode takes Kirby’s inspiration and copy abilities in a hilarious direction, and because Kirby can quickly switch in and out of Mouthful Mode, it synergizes and flows seamlessly with traditional “Kirby” gameplay, adding another layer of variety in combat and puzzle solving. .

These new mechanics help Kirby as he battles the Beast Pack, an organization of wild animals he encounters in the new world. The Beast Pack kidnaps the Waddle Dees who have been sucked into the vortex, and together with his new friend, Elfilin, Kirby embarks on an adventure to rescue them and find out what the beasts are trying to accomplish. Meanwhile, the city’s abandoned streets, empty amusement parks, and shopping malls overrun by Kirby lead the player to wonder what happened to civilization in this world.

As usual for Kirby, the plot of “Forgotten Land” remains largely in the background so as not to overpower the other elements of the game. However, players will still find a mid-game change in tone characteristic of the show’s identity, as well as a high-stakes, dramatic climax and some of the most compelling “Kirby” lore to date.

In this adventure to save his friends, the stages Kirby explores are filled with a constant stream of new ideas that each receive appropriate development, while mission objectives and collectibles – including captured Waddle Dees, miniatures and blueprints – provide opportunities for exploration and replayability. The player can also try out Treasure Road’s many short challenge stages that each push a specific Copy Ability or Bite Mode to their limit.

More content gradually becomes available in the Waddle Dee Town hub as well as after beating the game. Throughout playtime, difficulty selection options and two-player co-op make the game accessible to everyone and perfect for relaxing fun, while late game and post game will challenge even experienced players.

Stunning art and music direction only enhances the gameplay. “Forgotten Land” runs at a steady 30 FPS, and while distant models rendered at a lower frame rate can sometimes be distracting, the stellar art style easily outweighs the slight technical limitations, creating expressive characters and sights. cinematographic and pictorial.

The upbeat and diverse music also enhances the environments and complements the on-screen action. Deviating from tradition, the soundtrack features very few remixes of previous “Kirby” entries, emphasizing the alien setting while maintaining cohesion with 30 years of “Kirby” musical history through the frequent use of iconic “Kirby” leitmotifs and quoted phrases. “Forgotten Land” as a whole is full of charm, joy and attention to detail; the love HAL Laboratory has put into the game speaks for itself.

Just as Kirby finds himself in a new world, the “Kirby” series finds himself in a realm of new possibilities with “Forgotten Land”. However, it would be a mistake to assume that the game is a vortex jump outside of the series that precedes it. “Forgotten Land” is a “Kirby” title through and through, with its level design, mechanics, and philosophy of accessibility and variety skillfully adapted and developed from the 2D titles, so people who love Kirby 2D will enjoy Kirby 3D, and vice versa. poured.

Without a doubt, Kirby could hardly ask for a better birthday present. ‘Forgotten Land’ offers an unforgettable experience that will thrill ‘Kirby’ veterans with its innovations and will have a new generation of gamers falling in love with pink puffball and its franchise – and there’s no higher order for an entry. in a long-term series to achieve.

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