The hungry pink ball Kirby turns thirty this year, and maker HAL Laboratory and Nintendo are celebrating by modestly changing the format. Did you always look sideways at Kirby, in Kirby and the Forgotten Land you control the roguish eater in three dimensions. HAL takes full advantage of this new dimension by filling each charming level with secret rooms and hidden treats. That makes Kirby a very pleasant experience, in which you are urged to explore every area into the corners.
Kirby and his friends accidentally end up in another dimension. There, the cute Waddle Dees are immediately kidnapped. Kirby must, of course, find them and restore their village. In each level you search for Waddle Dees, who are sometimes hidden or can only be unlocked through challenges.
Kirby’s appetite remains as always his greatest weapon. If Kirby eats an enemy, he gains that enemy’s powers, such as spitting fire or hitting with a hammer. There is a nice variety in the offer, and you can also improve these powers. Puzzles often let you ‘eat’ an object, and then go for a walk with it. You can certainly be more creative, but even so Kirby’s appetite is already so wonderfully playful that you can keep it busy for hours.
A version of this article also appeared in NRC on the morning of April 1, 2022