Kirby and the Forgotten Land Parent Review: From Dreamland to Nightmare Fuel

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Kirby and the Forgotten Land is finally out and it’s a lot of fun. Despite the switch to 3D gameplay and the strange, apocalyptic landscape, this is a Kirby game through and through.

The game starts off with Kirby flying around and just having a good time when holes in the sky open and everything suddenly gets pulled in. What could be a tense moment had my kids laughing thanks to Kirby’s over-the-top reactions and a sort of magic feel to it.

From there, Kirby enters a land that more closely looks like a destroyed version of our world than Kirby’s normal environments. Rusted cars sit outside abandoned storefronts. Fallen signage liters an abandoned mall. But Kirby and his enemies’ bright colors and expressive features take all the spookiness out of it. Even during times when the land around you is incredibly destroyed, it still feels very Kirby.

For example, normally a scene in which a character is driving a rusted-out car through desolate land watching the people of their home being kidnapped would seem fairly dire but something about putting that Kirby “veneer” on it is like sugar in medicine.

The game makes itself very friendly and accessible for all gamers. The difficulty, even on its “hard mode” is not very tough. The health meter is deep right out the gate meaning you can screw up a lot and not suffer for it. Checkpoints are frequent. Lives are infinite. So you don’t have to worry about your kid getting frustrated as they’re thrown out a stage they’re struggling with.

The powers also add a fun variety to the game. Each power Kirby can take on allows for different types of gameplay. A fire-type ability allows you to fly with dragon wings briefly and fire a thing stream of purple flame. There’s a pencil sharpener with a pencil you can wear on your head that can make the pencil spin rapidly allowing you to burrow underground. There’s even one where Kirby just falls asleep for a couple of seconds and has his health refill. I was surprised they added a straight-up “gun” ability, especially as a parent who, personally, doesn’t really like their kids playing around with those things in games, but even that is done in a comical sense that makes them seem more like magic star cannons than anything.

There is also a co-op ability that I really enjoy. At any point, you can hope into the game and play Bandana Waddle Dee, a little Kirby-sized guy with a spear that’s capable of a lot of varied attacks. There are enough moves where it doesn’t feel boring for the player, but it’s not powerful enough to take away from Player 1. You’re there to assist and I appreciated that because, admittedly, sometimes when I’m playing with my kids I kind of start going hard and this reminds me my place pretty well. Even later in the game when you start to evolve Kirby’s powers, Bandana Waddle Dee’s spear will also get an upgrade at the same time.

I do have one problem with the game though from a parenting standpoint. There’s some stuff in this game that gets fairly scary and I’m genuinely worried about my two kids (6 and 8) getting to it.

Some of it just comes from the fact that goofy characters, while fun in 2D, are absolutely horrifying when translated to a 3D game. For example, if you heard the name Sillydillo and know it’s just a silly armadillo that collects stuffed animals you’d just expect something cute but…look.

I’m sorry but you’re going to be seeing that when you close your eyes for a while now.

The genuine terror, however, comes from the game’s main story’s final moments.


When you get to the end of the game, things have taken a turn. King Dedede has woken up from whatever spell he’s under and just sacrificed himself to save a Waddle Dee, the creature Kirby befriended has been kidnapped, and you’re making your way into a mysterious laboratory. As you step onto an elevator the lab powers up and it begins to speak.

Not in the normal text boxes mind you. Audibly. In English. Something that does not happen in a Kirby game outside of Kirby’s noise that vaguely sounds like “HI!”.

This is a recording that, as the elevator slowly rises, tells you about a mysterious creature that had appeared on this planet and threatened the wildlife but humans captured it and tested on it, interested in its ability to traverse dimensions. It’s almost as if you’re walking the path that used to be a tour to see this creature. Except the thing powering the lab is hundred of treadmills with Waddle Dees inside them forced to constantly run.

When you get to the end you find a horrifying-looking creature that’s a mix between your buddy and a massive grotesque alien fetus. And the fetus is guarded by the leader of The Beast Pack who explains that the creature behind him took all the humans of this world and sent them to a realm of eternal dreaming (unpack that as you see fit) and that the animals became jealous of not being able to go to this new realm themselves and captured the creature in the hopes of forcing it to send them there as well. He then attacks you.

As you near the end of the fight, its eyes start to glow, flames come off it, and it starts acting differently. What you don’t realize until after the fight is that you had beaten it but the fetus took control of the lion’s body and was attacking you through him. It then physically wakes up, breaks out and all hell breaks loose.

Tendrils shoot forth from it, snatching the various animals around it and it absorbs them all turning into a light blue slime ball with various screaming animal heads sticking out at various angles and it’s terrifying looking.

It chases you down a narrow corridor where it fills the hallway until it eventually absorbs the buddy you just recently saved. Upon doing this it becomes a “perfect being” which looks like a horrifying biblical seraphim that immediately wants to kill Kirby and destroy everything.

Luckily, after the final battle it tries to use all it’s powers to summon Kirby’s planet and try crashing it into the world you’re currently on but Kirby absorbs a big rig with trailer and drives full speed through the creature, seemingly destroying it and saving the day.

But not before Kirby’s newly saved buddy seemingly sacrifices itself to close the bleed between the two dimensions. (It finds a way back but the moment has characters crying)

Anyways, here’s a video with a couple random scenes of those moments so you can see for yourself. I know Kirby has a long history of final bosses being terrifying nightmare creatures out of Bayonetta but this is a whole new level of insane.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a really fun game that allows kids a well-polished experience with puzzles that are simple yet gratifying to solve. It offers a wide variety of game play experiences with a huge variety of stages. And though the ending is the stuff of nightmares, the journey there is a family-friendly, super fun experience.