Kirby and the Forgotten Land – The Etownian

“Kirby and the Forgotten Land” is the foray into true 3D gameplay the series has been deserving of since 2001! The Kirby franchise never went ankle deep in the metaphorical pool of 3D gameplay with experimentation back when the GameCube was brand new, so seeing these ideas come to fruition brings special joy to the hearts of Kirby fans everywhere. This game is a brilliant take on the modern Kirby formula transformed into a 3D environment.

The game’s most impressive feat comes from the high graphical quality it manages to achieve, especially for the series’ first step into 3D gameplay. Gloriously detailed cutscenes appear throughout the game, and the game’s graphics also show a high level of graphical fidelity. Plus, the fact that gameplay can so easily transition to 3D with little to no sacrifice in presentation quality is nothing short of astounding.

However, the oddly slow framerate takes away from the graphical prowess. Cutscenes and some parts of the gameplay run at 60 frames per second (FPS), while the rest of the gameplay runs at 30 FPS. The difference between 60 FPS and 30 FPS is barely noticeable, but it stands out to those with an eye for it as a curiosity of game programming. Kirby games on Switch, as “Kirby Star Allies” suffered from a similar issue.

As for gameplay, it transitions seamlessly with the modern 2D formula of previous games, with minimal sacrifice. It stands out how the gameplay is similar to modern Kirby games, but just placed in a 3D environment. The one thing that doesn’t come easily into a 3D environment is Kirby’s copying abilities. They don’t have the diverse move sets they had in games like “Star Allies”, and I don’t understand why. Even though the transition from 2D to 3D prevents developers from using controller inputs used in previous games, they could simply attribute those missing movements to precise inputs, like pressing buttons in a specific order.

Thankfully, copy abilities are enhanced along with several other gameplay elements that fit nicely into the modern Kirby formula instead of clashing with it. Copy Abilities can be upgraded throughout the game, allowing for greater diversity in the somewhat limited initial moves available to the player. Additionally, “Kirby and the Forgotten Land” also hides collectibles everywhere. As a veteran of the Kirby series myself, I’m usually on the ball when it comes to hidden collectibles, but even I had trouble finding some!

The game also introduces Mouthful Mode, a way for Kirby to use certain items to his advantage. Unlike previous unique gadgets introduced in the Kirby series that distract from Kirby’s gameplay, Mouthful Mode enhances gameplay rather than taking it away. The player has much more freedom to do whatever they want with Mouthful Mode as opposed to other gadgets in the Kirby series, as the items that Kirby can use in Mouthful Mode have great movement capabilities and will not disappear immediately if the player decides to leave said object behind for a bit.

Overall, I give “Kirby and the Forgotten Land” a 9/10!

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