Kirby fans finally get to feast. Yesterday, Nintendo announced Kirby and the Forgotten Land, a 3D adventure platformer set in a post-apocalyptic world whose ruin may or may not have been caused by a certain insatiable pink gelatinous mass. I’m optimistic — cautiously optimistic, but optimistic nonetheless. I haven’t been pumped for a Kirby game in [does maths] oh no…
As so often happens with these things, the game leaked a bit before the official unveiling, showing up as Kirby Discovery on Nintendo’s Japan site. When a Kirby game featuring bombed-out skyscrapers popped up during yesterday’s Nintendo Direct, many observers already knew it was coming. They probably just didn’t predict the name. (It is and forever will be a tragedy that this game isn’t called The Last of Puffs.)
The exact nature of the gameplay might’ve come as a surprise, too: fully 3D, apparently open-world platformer adventuring with creative powers and fast-paced combat.
I’ll be honest: I’m not the biggest Kirby fan. The only game in the series I’ve loved — like, burn-entire-weekends-playing loved — was Kirby Air Ride, the 2004 GameCube racing game and a genuine masterpiece. The rest, however, have fallen flat for me. And the deluge of annual releases, while a draw for some fans, is kind of A Lot. I mean, seriously, it’s the sort of release cadence that leads to games like Kirby Fighters 2, the street faire version of Smash Bros.
But Kirby and the Forgotten Land looks promising. Some of the combat tricks, like Kirby freezing one enemy and kicking it into another, seem a whole lot more creative than “swing sword and swing it again.” And that giant fight against a primate that’s clearly grown to preposterous sizes because of radiation exposure pretty much seems like Death’s Door: Kirby Edition. Sign me up.
The exploration has me piqued, as well. From this initial look, I even got vibes of Bowser’s Fury — the tremendously enjoyable bite-sized take on open-world Mario that launched earlier this year — except on a grander scale. I’m keen to see how Nintendo applies the Kirby touch to an open-world structure. (Fingers crossed for Warp Star races, perhaps preceded by 10-minute segments in which you travel around a multi-biome landscape collecting stat upgrades and occasionally jumping ship to different types of Warp Stars.)
And sure, post-apocalyptic settings have been done to death, but applying Kirby’s contagious effervescence to one is just the sort of shot in the arm the genre needs. Massive cataclysmic event? Death on a civilisation-wide scale? In Kirby’s irrepressibly cheery realm of clouds and rainbows? I am burning with a desire to know how that happened.
Plus, Nintendo’s flagship pedigree in the Switch era has been nothing if not stellar. (See: Super Mario Odyssey, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Metroid Dread, which, yeah, isn’t technically out yet but c’mon.) It stands to reason that Kirby and the Forgotten Land could follow in greatness. And if it’s a total bust, well, hey, there’s always Kirby Air Ride.
Wait, I still can’t play Air Ride on Switch? They’re doing N64 games instead!? Ffffff….