“Kirby and the Forgotten Land” is a masterful jump into 3D


“Kirby and the Forgotten Land,” released March 25, marks the series’ leap into 3D, a grand foray into a new dimension. Traditionally 2D, the series is no stranger to experimentation, whether it be the rolling movement and drawing paths of “Canvas Curse” and “Rainbow Curse” or the whip mechanics of “Epic Yarn.” It isn’t the first time Kirby has entered 3D either, as 3DS’s “Kirby’s Blowout Blast” saw the pink hero enter a 3D space. However, it wasn’t truly a 3D platformer and was more akin to an action puzzle hybrid. “Kirby and the Forgotten Land” transitions the series into the third dimension with flying colors.

In the game, after a portal opens up above Dream Land, Kirby finds himself in the post-apocalyptic remains of a presumably human society. Across the lands are abandoned buildings that are covered in vibrant foliage and plant life. A group of the series staple “Waddle Dees” are captured by monsters, and it’s up to Kirby to save them.

It’s quite the graphical leap from the previous game, “Kirby Star Allies,” despite being on the same console. The fact that with a 3D space every environment you explore has far more depth allows for everything to feel like it pops out that much more. The lighting is quite pretty and character models are smooth. If there is one thing to nitpick, it would be that animations far in the distance can be choppy, but it’s not something often noticed during gameplay.

As for the controls, it masterfully transitions the 2D movement of the previous games into a 3D space. The copy abilities Kirby gains from consuming enemies may not be as robust with their moveset as they previously were, but in a 3D space, there’s less non-movement related control inputs to use. For the sake of accessibility, it’s a welcome change. Related to accessibility, it was recently found out that “Kirby and the Forgotten Land” does something rather innovative in order to ease players into a 3D environment. Even if your attack does not directly make contact with the enemy, if it looks like it made contact at the camera angle the game shows, it’ll register as if the attack landed. This does wonders for accessibility, as it’s harder to aim in a 3D space compared to a 2D one.

“Forgotten Land” has a rather packed level design as well, full of content and hardly gives the player a moment without anything to do. Each stage houses lost “Waddle Dees,” and completing certain objectives unique to each stage will save and recruit them to Waddle Dee Town. This helps give levels an extra layer of depth, as instead of just gunning it straight to the end, you’re encouraged to explore the extra space presented by a 3D space. 

Unique to “Forgotten Land” is also the Mouthful Mode gimmick, which allows Kirby to stretch himself over human objects in order to utilize them, whether it be cars, vending machines or even traffic cones. It’s mildly horrifying seeing his body stretch and contort, but the pink puffball doesn’t seem bothered by it himself. Mouthful Mode helps keep the gameplay fresh, as it changes up controls and means of attack, as well as aiding progression through the game’s levels.

The game is also filled with content as there are a surplus of optional “Treasure Road” challenge levels, as well as the series staple, “The Arena,” though it’s titled the “Colosseum” in this entry. The Colosseum sees you battling an extra boss, Meta Knight, as well as a boss rush where you tackle far harder versions of every previous boss fight. There are the aforementioned Waddle Dees to find, as well as side mini games such as fishing, serving food to the denizens of Waddle Dee Town and a ball-rolling maze.

“Kirby and the Forgotten Land” transitions the Kirby series into 3D with flying colors and has fun content on top of that as well. The game is aesthetically and graphically pleasing, and it has accessibility features to help ease players into a 3D space. It’s undoubtedly an experience every Switch owner should play.