I can hold my hands up and admit that I've never played a Kirby game before but after just a few hours with Kirby and the Forgotten Land, I came to realise what I may have been missing out on.
The Nintendo Switch isn't short of fantastic platforming and adventure games but Kirby and the Forgotten Land took me completely by surprise and may be my favourite Switch game to date.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a weird mix of platformer and adventure game. It's a combination that works incredibly well and makes for a pleasurable playing experience with bitesize levels within each overarching world.
When I look at similar games such as Super Mario Odyssey, Kirby taking this lighter approach is what helped me play for longer and stay more focused throughout my time with the game. Open-worlds are so overdone right now that it's refreshing when a game takes a step back and breaks its gameplay up.
It's also a fantastic choice because it enables my young daughter to get some game time in and keeps her attention wonderfully whereas in Odyssey she often felt lost and frustrated.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land also offers two styles of play. Wild Mode which is the intended style that offers more rewards, and Spring-Breeze Mode. This alternative mode increases Kirby's health and overall takes the pressure off younger or more inexperienced players.
Throw in a seamless co-op mode and this truly is a great all-around experience that offered me and my family a nice break from me just winning at Mario Kart all the time.
Below the Surface
For anyone looking to be challenged by Kirby and the Forgotten Land, they may find themselves a little disappointed. There are bonus objectives to complete in each stage but none are too difficult and usually just require an extra playthrough to clean up.
You can also upgrade Kirby's copy abilities and look to get all of the collectables in the game but again, this is more of a grind than necessary to the core experience.
Collecting all the waddle-dees is fun and some are well hidden with a true feeling of achievement when you completely clear a level or world. The Treasure Road missions are also fun and it's not too grindy having to replay them in order to beat the target time. These are also the primary way of earning Rare Stones to upgrade your copy abilities.
Never judge a book
I'm not sure why, but I always felt like Kirby games looked a bit bland and unappealing. This is just another situation where I have egg on my face because Kirby and the Forgotten Land is absolutely stunning from a visual standpoint.
Not only does each area and world have its own unique elemental art style but from a performance perspective, the game runs incredibly smooth both in handheld and docked modes. Load times are almost non-existent which further aids Kirby's ability to be picked up and played in small bursts if you can't commit to hour+ sessions.
Kirby doesn't take the Nintendo Switch and revolutionize it in any way and I don't feel it needed to anyway. Yes, Odyssey felt like a game truly made to get the most out of every aspect of the console but we already know what the Switch itself is capable of. This game feels like it was made with nothing but pure love for the Kirby character and world, wanting to put the best product out there for long-time fans and newbies like myself.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is nothing short of a masterpiece. I can only lament the fact that it's my first Kirby game but am thankful that this was my entry point nonetheless.
If you're on the fence about Kirby and the Forgotten Land or perhaps unsure if your family would find it entertaining, it passes those tests with flying colours. Never condescending in its approach while being fresh and accessible, I can hold my hands up and say there's no game this year I recommend more than Kirby and the Forgotten Land.
RealSport Rating: 5 Stars (out of 5)
Our Kirby and the Forgotten Land review code was provided by Nintendo