It’s not long until Kirby and the Forgotten Land hits Switch consoles. With the promotional screenshots and trailers, there’s anticipation to play the game. Fortunately, a demo has been released for players to have an early go. This free demo contains three stages, including a boss fight, to give you a taste of what Kirby’s latest adventure offers. If you’re thinking about getting the game, playing the demo will definitely give you a better idea of what to expect. While it’s not the full game, it contains everything you need to in a demo, giving you a fun Kirby package in three excellent levels. Let’s jump in and see what adventure awaits, and if it’s worth getting the full version on release day.
STORY – KIRBY TO THE RESCUE!
The premise is pretty simple. Kirby is sucked into a mysterious post-apocalyptic world called the Forgotten Land, where he discovers that creatures, namely Waddle Dees, are being captured by villainous creatures called the Beast Pack. Kirby must rescue the Waddle Dees and defeat the Beast Pack.
Since it’s a demo and not the full game, you don’t get the full story of why Kirby’s been transported to this new world, why these evil beings are kidnapping innocent creatures, or what this place really is, but you know enough to get the idea. At this stage, it’s the gameplay that’s more important. You don’t need to have the entire story dumped on you. Doing it this way probably makes you more intrigued to buy the full game to learn more about what you’ve just played in the demo.
GAMEPLAY – FUN AND ADDICTIVE
Kirby and the Forgotten Land follows the formula of past Kirby games. A platformer adventure game with enemies to defeat, Copy Abilities to learn and use to your advantage, objects to absorb, and puzzles to solve. There’s nothing wrong at all with using an old formula, especially if you take it and make it better than ever.
PLAY IN EASY OR HARD MODE
When you first load up the demo, you’re given two difficulty options. You can either play in Spring-Breeze Mode, an easier mode which gives you more health, and then there’s Wild Mode, which makes it more difficult but rewards you with more coins. It’s up to you how you want to play. If you want a challenge, then go for Wild Mode, but if you’re new and want to start off easy, there’s no penalty for playing Spring-Breeze Mode.
The demo caters towards veteran players of Kirby, but also keeps in consideration new curious players. In the first stage, the game helps you out with understanding the controls and ensures that you easily and quickly get to grips with the mechanics. Not only will you see how easy it is to navigate, but first-time players will fast learn about how Copy Abilities work, as well as Kirby’s absorbing ability, and you’ll soon be playing like a pro.
The demo is great at teaching you how the game works, the first stage even acting as a tutorial. It doesn’t proceed to spoon feed you though. It doesn’t confuse you by dumping a whole load of information on you on how every little single thing works. There’s some things that the game lets you figure out for yourself. You’ll soon learn that you can pick up coins from kicking stones or running through certain flowers. While it tells you how to use the Copy Ability feature, it’s up to you to find out exactly what happens after you absorb a particular object, but that’s not a bad thing because it makes you more curious to see what else you can do in the game. It encourages you to explore and check everything out. It lets you see for yourself rather than just telling you.
WATCH OUT FOR ENEMIES!
Even in Spring-Breeze Mode, you’ll encounter enemies throughout the stages. As you progress, you’ll meet new enemies, some of them who may be tougher than others and trickier to defeat. The demo isn’t shy in showing you the capabilities and dangers of enemies. If you get hit, your health meter will deplete. Fortunately, there’s nothing ridiculously difficult to overcome, nothing that will drain your health to zero too quickly. It’s easy to triumph over enemies, and there isn’t anything too daunting to confront. If you’re new to Kirby, it’s not immediately obvious what or who an enemy is until you get close and they start attacking you. You sometimes don’t know if they could be someone on your side, but you’ll quickly find out what the answer to that is, and the consequences for your curiosity isn’t too severe.
COPY ABILITIES AND MORE
There wouldn’t be a Kirby game without his trademark absorbing and Copy Abilities. It’s easy to suck in certain objects and spit them back out, using them to smash objects or defeat enemies. It’s not always obvious what you can and can’t absorb. It would be more helpful if there was some kind of indicator. For example, objects you can absorb could have a halo around them or a button prompt. Then again, this might have been a design choice for players to experiment and find out for themselves what they can and can’t do.
Nevertheless, absorbing and Copy Abilities is one of the best parts of this game’s demo. When Kirby absorbs certain objects, he’ll gain unique abilities. For example, when he absorbs a vending machine, he can spit out snacks. He can even absorb a whole car and use it to drive around the level! It’s seriously great fun. Another thing Kirby can do is absorb enemies. Not only do you defeat them (and you can even spit them out at other enemies to defeat them), but you can learn their abilities, depending on who they are. You can take an enemy’s sword and use it to swing at other enemies. Absorbing gets really creative in Kirby and the Forgotten Land. The best part about absorbing is that you can keep your new object or ability as long as you like, so long as you don’t get hit by an enemy. You can also easily drop your ability or object and re-absorb them.
SEARCH AND RESCUE
One of the main goals of Kirby is to rescue not just creatures called Waddle Dees, but also other captured creatures. These poor creatures are kept captive in cages. There’s usually at least one creature to rescue in each stage, but you can find and rescue additional ones by exploring. It’s pretty easy to rescue these creatures. You simply progress through the level, defeating enemies and getting past obstacles, and then approach the cage. Sometimes there’s a fun scene where Kirby and his newly free friend (or friends, in some cases) perform a victory dance, if you didn’t already feel triumphant enough.
A PLENTIFUL AND FUN DEMO
The demo generously gives you three stages to play, each with different settings and scenarios. They’re not overly long, but they’re not too short either. Even though the demo is free, you feel like you’re getting your time’s worth. It’s enough to give you a feel for the game while making you want to get the full version. You even get the chance to defeat a boss, a huge gorilla-like monster. It’s not impossible to defeat, presenting a satisfying challenge. The boss appears at the end of the third stage, where by then, you’ve learned how to play the game and can figure out what you need to do to beat the monster.
The demo gives you a good indicator of what you might expect in the full game. During one stage, you can find five tulips throughout the level. Finding all of these gives you a reward. It’s a nice little touch to a demo that already gives you plenty to be doing.
The only thing you have to watch out for when playing the demo is making sure you don’t accidentally warp to the next section too early. When you play, you’ll see a big floating yellow star. The game doesn’t tell you what it is, and undoubtedly curious, you might find yourself walking up to it, only to find yourself being transported to the next part, unable to return. You might find this happening if you haven’t yet explored the whole section, so you might accidentally miss some parts of a stage. It’s just something to be aware of when you try out the demo, and when you play the full version of the game.
You’ll probably get through the whole demo within an hour easily, but there’s never a dull moment. The game keeps you compelled to play through all three stages until the end. When Kirby first washes up on the beach, you want to investigate. When Kirby is confronted by a pack of enemies, you want to overcome them. When Kirby learns a new Copy Ability, you want to try it out. There’s always something that keeps you wanting to play on.
GRAPHICS AND AUDIO – BRIGHT AND CHEERY
Kirby is a family-friendly platforming adventure game, and to go with the gameplay and story, it needs matching graphics, music, and sound. Fortunately, Kirby and the Forgotten Land doesn’t fail in these departments. The graphics, as you’ve probably already seen from the trailers and screenshots, are bright and pop out, very cartoonish and fun. Because this is 2022 and being released on the Nintendo Switch, a current-gen console, the graphics need to be sleek and seamless. The good news is, they are. There’s nothing pixelated or blocky about the graphics. It’s all very smooth, with no rough edges. It’s bright, bold, and cartoonish, and looks very good for a modern-day game. You can’t say it’s not up to the standards of today’s games.
What about the music and sound? These are up to par too. The music mirrors the graphics: uplifting, bold, and not at all obnoxious. The music is cleverly designed to match whatever moment you’re in and sets the mood. When you first get a good look at the Forgotten Land, the music swells dramatically, adding to the awe of the scenery. When you encounter the gorilla boss in the later stage, the music pounds and booms fiercely, keeping you on your toes and ready for a showdown. Not at any point does the music get annoying or repetitive. It certainly won’t be one of those unfortunate scenarios where you have to resort to muting the music. As for the sound, it’s crisp and clear, not overshadowing the music but loud enough for you to hear. There’s neat subtle sounds, like Kirby whenever he jumps and runs along, and satisfying noisier sounds, such as whenever you smash through a wall or break boxes.
This game was reviewed on the Nintendo Switch.