Kirby and the Forgotten Land - Game Infinite Review
Kirby and the Forgotten Lands delivers on its promise to finally bring Kirby, one of my favorite gaming characters to his first ever 3D adventure. The vast amount of abilities and range of play styles that the game affords players is decent, and worthy of Kirby’s copy ability. In many ways it reminds me of the implementation of Super Mario Odyssey’s Mario Hat, in that Kirby has the ability to have dozens of attack enemies and traverse his world. With Kirby being the first copier character before Mario ever got his magic hat, they also do a great job of expanding it to include more one time use special copies with the new “mouthful” mode. Kirby instead of fully absorbing a enemies, and getting a new “hat” and weapons, Kirby eats a larger game item and looks like an anaconda that is trying to eat something too big. For instance, when eating a “mouthful” of a car, Kirby becomes a car and can drive around. The mechanics of Kirby’s copying is really well done with these innovative game moments, the “mouthful mode” and the ability to evolve known powers.
Where the game struggles most is in its execution. The entire time I couldn’t help but feeling like I was playing a remaster of an old game, instead of a new one. The fixed camera angles felt restrictive and antiquated, like I was playing a remaster/remake of an old game. I just never could shake that "remake/remaster" feeling throughout. This game was of similar level of graphic requirements and world to something like Zelda BOTW or Odyssey, so I can’t think of a hardware requirement not to give players full control of the camera. It certainly would have helped to modernize the game and make it feel like a 2022 title. Speaking of, the game struggled graphically on the asthmatic Nintendo Switch, and really showed the consoles age. The switch just simply can’t keep up with modern gaming expectations. The game feels blurry and low resolution compared to not just 2022 titles, but even other Nintendo exclusive titles. I don’t know if it’s entirely the Switch’s limited hardware’s fault, or if the game simply needed more development or budget, because it felt lower resolution and quality to BOTW and Odyssey. When playing frequently on PC, PS5, and XSX, the Nintendo Switch continues to feel dated, and my modern perception may just be spoiled going back and forth between these two very different approaches to gaming. This is why I am shocked at Nintendo’s decision to release the OLED model with the same processor. The Switch is now 6 years old, and even 6 years ago is the weakest console available. This is a game I really wish had been ported to PC as well, even though I know that is something Nintendo never does, but it would have been beautiful in 4k, instead of the barely 720 I feel like it ran. This is a game compromised by occupying a time when I have far more beautiful games to choose from.
That being said, I didn’t want to take away too much from the game for its graphics, as I think budget and hardware are more to blame. The game itself is still fun, in mechanics and art style. This just doesn’t feel like a AAA effort from a AAA studio. If I focus on the gameplay and the charm of the world, I still had a great time getting to go on adventure with the pink cosmic monster. If this game had a 4k PC version, it could be a 9. I almost put the game at a 7, but It was more the fun of playing Kirby and the fun of the capture mechanics that really saves this game. If you are a gamer who can forgive a game "playing like a N64 remake" on a 6 old asthmatic console, and be one to just enjoy story, art style, and casual fun, then I recommend you pick up Kirby and the Forgotten Land when you get a chance. If you can't accept ahead of time what you are getting, there are more beautiful games to play.
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