“Kirby and the Forgotten Lands”; A modern interpretation of a timeless classic

The Kirby franchise returns with a vengeance


Jace Bracelin

“Kirby and the Forgotten Lands” is the newest series installment in the Kirby Franchise and brings a much-needed modernization to the classic old-school Kirby brand. The era of black and white 8-bit side scrollers has been firmly replaced with an era of graphical detail and novel gameplay. The game marks Kirby’s first full adventure in all three dimensions and Nintendo has handled the transition with impressive grace. For fans of the franchise interested in nostalgia, the spirit of the original games has been captured near perfectly in all aspects from gameplay to sound design.

That said, Kirby and the Forgotten Lands has definitely introduced some new deviations from the original Kirby formula, some that hit and some that miss. Most Kirby games have some specific gimmick that sets them apart from others. In Kirby and The Forgotten Land, one of the most controversial of these is the mouthful mode system, which has been received as vapid and unengaging. 

Despite the wholesome and child-friendly branding of the Kirby franchise, the developers have never shied from dark or intimidating themes. Kirby and the Forgotten Lands is the unchallenged leader in these regards, being the first Kirby game to receive a 10+ age rating from the ESRB for fear. The game takes place in a post-apocalyptic world with many parallels to our own. Monuments and advanced technology of this precursor society scatter the landscape but no evidence of continued human life can be located. 

The graphics of the game are quite remarkable for a Kirby game and stretch the Nintendo Switch near to its limits. The Switch is not particularly known for its graphical capacities which are frequently laid bare with heavily capped render distances and stuttering frames in elaborate settings. 

“Kirby and the Forgotten Land” is a capstone piece of the Nintendo Switch’s library. The game has reimagined a classic franchise in a manner that feels distinctly modern. At that moment, Nintendo’s future looks quite bright.