I’ll be completely honest here, I’m not sure I even played any other games that were actually released in 2022…but even if I had, there’s still a very good chance that Kirby and the Forgotten Land would still be my top pick for game of the year! Prior to the release of this beauty, I didn’t really buy Kirby games anymore because they all felt so similar to each other. Most of them are either your typical 2D platformer or a spin-off game that I’m not terribly interested in. And then The Forgotten Land was announced, and it was like a dream come true.
I remember hearing people talk about how cool it would be if the pink puffball finally got a 3D adventure, but I had always dismissed it as nothing more than a fantasy. After all, the Kirby formula had remained relatively the same since Kirby’s debut in 1992. Kirby runs and floats around in a bunch of cute and colorful side-scrolling stages. He copies enemies’ abilities. He fights King Dedede or Meta Knight or Dark Matter again and again. Yeah, yeah, what else is new? They had stubbornly refused to update the franchise in three decades, so why would they do it now?
Well, they did, and it’s here, and I love it! Kirby and the Forgotten Land expands on this beloved franchise in every possible way. Sure, Kirby can move around in a 3D space now, which would have been enough on its own. But he also gets the option to upgrade his copy abilities for some truly formidable attacks AND we have been introduced to Mouthful Mode, where Kirby can utilize larger objects that he can’t actually eat, like a car or a vending machine!
There’s also a new copy ability where Kirby gets a gun. To shoot people. He can even upgrade it to the Noble Ranger ability, which now allows him to shoot enemies with two pistols! And he even gets a cute, feathery hat! Aww!
There’s even a Waddle Dee town where you can buy healing items, play minigames, or waste your hard-earned money on collectible figurines! And since this game takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, it becomes even more obvious for all the world to see that the Kirby games are no longer even trying to hide the darker side of their lore! Remember how Shiver Star in Kirby 64 looked like a frozen Earth? Well, at this point, it’s more than likely that this wasn’t simply a chilling (pun intended) Easter egg. But rather, it’s safe to assume that human beings have indeed been wiped from existence in Kirby’s universe.
But look at how cute Kirby looks in his little Space Ranger helmet! Aww!
And look at how Kirby can upgrade his fire ability to one that makes him breathe fire like a dragon! He could roast us all without a care in the world! Aww!
Seriously, though, Kirby and the Forgotten Land was a great time and a treat to any long-time Kirby fan such as myself who had grown bored with how stale the franchise had become. I don’t need some massive game with 100+ hours of gameplay and photo-realistic graphics to be happy. No sirree, just give me a cute pink puffball with a fun and varied moveset, running around in a 3D space with bright and colorful scenery, and I’ll be pleased as punch! Thanks, Kirby, for making my 2022 just a bit more cheery, and I can only hope another 3D Kirby is on its way! I need more of my adorable platformer mixed in with some unsettling lore, please!