It seems that the main objective of Kirby and the Forgotten Land is to try new things with the franchise. This can be seen as soon as you look at the game, as it has moved from a 2D perspective to a 3D perspective for the first time. Gone are the usual sights of Planet Pop Star and the surrounding solar system, now replaced by the plant and animal infested ruins of Forgotten Earth. There are even fewer copy abilities than before Kirby games, but with new abilities like Mouthful mode replacing them. There are undoubtedly many new things to discover in this new approach Kirby.
The presentation of this new Kirby game has several new elements that will delight those who love Kirbyis aesthetically pleasing. Chief among them is Waddle Dee Town, a hub Kirby can return to between levels to rest and hang out with the Waddle Dees he’s rescued. There’s also a generally more cinematic approach to cutscenes and gameplay, thanks to the new 3D perspective. One of the most interesting new cosmetic touches, however, is something that happens right at the start of the game. Kirby and the Forgotten Land emulates an anime opening halfway through its first level, and the offshoots of that echo through the end.
How Kirby and the Forgotten Land opens
After the opening scene where Kirby and part of Dreamland are sucked into the Forgotten Land, players have time to navigate a tutorial level that introduces basic controls and several copy abilities. After some progress in a ruined city, Kirby and the player are introduced to Mouthful mode. A tutorial section plays out for Car Mouth, ending with the player knocking over a bridge to enter the rest of the city. The shock of this bridge revives an old radio, which then begins to play the Kirby the games’ first vocal song, “New World!”
Although this song is sung in the invented language of Forgotten Land, it still functions similarly to an anime opening theme. It’s a relaxed number that highlights just how much fun Kirby could have exploring this new world, and Kirby takes a moment to enjoy it before moving on. It takes a little over a minute to wrap up, but during that time the player is treated to Kirby stopping for a few ducks, being chased by the Beast Pack, and cruising along a highway alongside a flock of seagulls.
While less steeped in rock than some Shonen Jump anime openings, it definitely calls to mind them. The tone is set for an action-packed yet relaxing film, Kirby adventure, which fans have and have never seen before. What players won’t realize on their first playthrough, however, is how deliberately he channels this specific style.
The End Pays Off Kirby and the Forgotten Land Anime Parallels
Several hours later, Kirby comes across Lab Discovera, the location where Kirby’s friend Elfilin is being held. It turns out that Elfilin is the good half of the powerful psychic alien Fecto Forgo, who has been controlling the Beast Pack the entire time. After battling Leongar and the horrible G-Birkin-esque Fecto Forgo, Elfilin is absorbed and Forgo assumes his true form of Fecto Elfilis. Elfilis’ training and abilities bring dragonball‘s Cell in mind, and those comparisons are made even more relevant once Kirby brings Elfilin back out of Elfilis.
Like Perfect Cell’s reaction when he regurgitated Android 18, a tattered Elfilis fires one last shot to antagonize Kirby. He opens a massive portal to Pop Star and attempts to crash the planet into Forgotten Earth, destroying everything. This kind of immediate apocalyptic threat is a startling sight in a Kirby game, but Kirby and Elfilin are undeterred. Kirby uses Big-Rig Mouth with a sixteen-wheeler nearby, and Elfilin accelerates it enough to crash into Elfilis’ defenses and defeat him for good. The game ends with Elfilin sacrificing himself to close the gaping portal between the two worlds.
The plot isn’t quite over yet, but like the New World! start playing on the credits, Kirby and the Forgotten LandThe anime parallels come full circle The fact that the final sequence of the Quick Time event is accompanied by screams straight out of Dragon Ball Z is too accurate to be anything more than a shonen homage, and it works surprisingly well in Kirby. Ironically, the same method of ramming a delivery truck into an otherworldly being was also used during the heyday of Puella Magi Madoka Magicawhich seems appropriate for a Kirby Title. Either way, a shonen story aimed at a younger audience is a good fit for Kirbyand, if nothing else, another good reason for Nintendo to keep adding vocal songs to its games.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land is now available on Nintendo Switch.
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