Kirby Finally Gets the Platformer He Deserves

A Mario-style adventure worthy of Nintendo’s other gaming icon

Key Takeaways

  • After almost five years of silence, we’re finally getting a new mainline entry in the Kirby video game franchise.
  • Kirby is arguably one of the most charming characters the Nintendo universe has ever birthed.
  • While past entries in the series have usually been side scrollers, Kirby and the Forgotten Land looks to take some cues from past Mario games when it comes to camera angle and exploration.
An image from 'Kirby and the Forgotten Land.'

Nintendo

Nintendo has announced the latest game in the Kirby franchise, Kirby and the Forgotten Land, and I’m ecstatic about the return of gaming’s favorite pink blob.

Despite being around since the early '90s, Nintendo’s Kirby has yet to make the jump to full 3D platforming. The last Kirby game came in the form of a cooperative Switch release back in 2018 with Kirby Star Allies, which still followed the same side-scrolling platformer design of the original titles.

Now, though, it looks like Nintendo is finally ready to pull back the curtain on the latest Kirby adventure.

Unlike past entries of the Kirby series, Kirby and the Forgotten Land looks to take some more cues from everyone’s favorite plumber regarding level design and camera angle. Like Mario Odyssey, Kirby and the Forgotten Land transports the little pink blob hero to a world that looks eerily similar to ours. Based on the small snippet we’ve seen, I can’t wait for spring 2022 to arrive, so I can jump right in and start exploring this strange new world that Nintendo has created.

Kirby Reloaded

Over the years, Kirby’s pink blob-like appearance has helped him become one of the most iconic Nintendo characters around. However, this is the first time Kirby is being given the Mario treatment and having his world transported into the realm of 3D platformers. This is notable for a few different reasons.

First, the last Kirby game on the Nintendo Switch, Kirby Star Allies, still followed the original side-scrolling platformer design of the past entries in the series. Now, players finally will get a chance to explore Kirby’s world like they would in a Mario game.

It’s a huge step forward that should allow for more immersive gameplay and will add an extra level of challenge to how Kirby’s abilities work.

While Kirby’s base appearance might be that of a small pink blob with hands and feet, his real strength comes in his ability to suck up enemies and turn into them.

That’s something that returns here, and based on what Nintendo debuted in the trailer, we might even get to suck up some new enemies the franchise hasn’t seen just yet. Of course, with such a storied past of video game titles, it’s hard to tell which enemies have appeared before and which ones are completely new.

The Future of Kirby Is 3D

While Kirby has technically been 3D for a while, this is the first time we’re getting a full 3D platformer and moving around on what game developers refer to as the Z-axis (X and Y axis are vertical and horizontal).

If Nintendo manages to make Kirby and the Forgotten Land a success on the Switch, it could mean a complete shift towards more open gameplay like we’ve seen with recent entries in the Mario franchise.

A screenshot from the 'Kirby and the Forgotten Land' game.

Nintendo

This could open the door for much larger and expansive entries, as well as more depth and story than we’ve seen in past titles. It also could open the door for bigger, badder enemies, which would also up the challenge for long-time fans who have come accustomed to Kirby’s abilities.

Ultimately, it could mean completely rescaling how Kirby’s abilities work by giving players a much bigger world to explore.

It’s a little crazy to think about how compact Kirby games used to feel, especially compared to how open things look in the trailers for Forgotten Land.

While I initially fell in love with the side-scrolling combat of the original games, being able to finally explore the world as gaming’s most charming little blob is something I can’t wait to do. 

Kirby and the Forgotten Land is expected to arrive sometime next spring, but I’m already counting down the days until I can load up my Nintendo Switch and jump in headfirst.

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