In a week piled high with Friday releases, Kirby and the Forgotten Land appeared to dominate the collective online consciousness over the weekend.
Kirby, the good boy, he who is shaped like a friend, returned in his first true 3D solo outing. Most players remarking on the game via social were taken with how unbelievably cute the game is. No one was more taken with it, though, than Kotaku Australia‘s chief Kirby correspondent Ruby Innes. I don’t know if you could tell but she’s been very excited to play this game.
The Innes Report
In fact, here’s Ruby now to tell you more about why she likes Kirby and the Forgotten Land:
As somebody that has never played a video game before and didn’t know what a video game was until I started at Kotaku Australia, I had a great time getting repeatedly punched in the head until I blacked out while playing Elden Ring. However, sometimes we as people need a break from being brutally beaten to a bloody pulp. That’s where Kirby and the Forgotten Land comes in. The newest Kirby game ticks all the platformer boxes for me. It looks beautiful, it’s a lot of fun, it’s very wholesome, and the new additions to the regular Kirby format have made it a refreshing take on the franchise. The upgraded abilities make Kirby’s true god-like power feel all the more realised, the Treasure Road challenges are sometimes a real pain in the arse (in a good way), and Mouthful Mode fucking rocks. Kirby is my best friend and I love him.
To go by reviews appearing on social media, it might have seemed like there was a split in critical consensus. When looking at the game’s Metacritic reviews, however, this doesn’t bear out. The game currently sits at an 85 critic score, which is mainly positive. Of the 80 catalogued reviews (at the time of writing), 77 of them are positive. The remaining three are mixed, and the game currently has no negative reviews at all.
What did the critics think?
Unfortunately, Kotaku Australia does not receive early access to Nintendo titles, though we do receive review codes on launch day. This means we always look to our friends and colleagues in the Australian games media sphere who did get early code for their takes as we dive in ourselves. Among the Australian outlets appearing on Metacritic, Player2’s Jess Zammit gave the game an A rating, which is considered a 10 on Metacritic’s scale. Zammit found the game to be pure comfort food and was very aware of who its core audience is. Local Nintendo outlet VOOKS gave it four-and-a-half stars, with reviewer Oliver Brandt calling it “the best Kirby game I’ve ever played.” Kieron Verbrugge at Well Played gave it a 9 out of 10, wondering “What could Kirby possibly eat next now that he’s thoroughly consumed my heart?”
Press Start Australia’s Shannon Grixti gave it an 8.5, saying “Whilst it’s not the full step forward that I was hoping for, it’s still super enjoyable and excites me for what could be next in the Kirby series.” Checkpoint Gaming’s Charlie Kelly echoed this with an 8.5 score, saying “Enter Kirby and the Forgotten Lands with reasonable expectations and you’ll soon see one of the best refinements of a long-standing Nintendo formula yet.” At GamesHub, Leah Williams gave the game four stars, stating “It doesn’t quite tread new ground, but its slick gameplay and sense of oddness makes it a fascinating and engaging platformer that makes you wonder why it took so long for Kirby to journey through the 3D realm.” Stevivor’s Ben Salter gave it an 8, remarking “The rare blend of linear levels following 2D guidelines, played in 3D, suits Kirby as well, if not better than, the Mario games that will draw comparisons.”
The sole mixed review from Australia came from Steve Farrelly at AusGamers, who gave it a 6.5, saying “(W)hat’s here is fun and it’s Nintendo and there’s co-op for families or friends, but it’s all just so incredibly lite-on.”
What do the players think?
The players also seem to like it a lot! The game currently holds a 9.0 user score on Metacritic from (at the time of writing) 208 reviews. Again, the positive reviews massively outnumber those with mixed or negative scores. The 188 positive reviews are overwhelmingly so, with the hardcore Kirby faithful getting around their man. Almost all of the mixed and negative reviews complain bitterly about the game’s short length and lack of challenge.
A note about difficulty
AusGamers’ review echoes a repeated critique was that the game is too easy. While everything Steve says is perfectly true and valuable reading for older players — the game is very simple — I also think what Checkpoint’s Charlie Kelly says is valuable too: Kirby‘s simplicity shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise. The series is and always has been for very young players. It only needs to achieve a level of complexity great enough to challenge young kids. Naturally, this means adults will breeze through it. This means recalibrating your expectations if you’re going into this as an older player. If you’re expecting a challenge comparable to Super Mario Odyssey, then you’re already setting the bar too high.
But this is Community Review, we want to hear your take! Did you jump into Kirby and the Forgotten Land over the weekend? Too easy? Just right? Did your kids go bananas for it? Should Nintendo release a Kirby game every year just for Ruby? Give us your rundown in the comments below!