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Wednesday, March 9, 2022

A Forgettable Demo of Kirby and the Forgotten Land

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I'm... just not a fan, I guess.

Just an upfront disclaimer: I don't like 3D platforming games. I never asked for the Kirby series to enter this genre. But I have written before that I'd like to try out a demo for Kirby and the Forgotten Land before I pass judgment on it from just its trailers (which made it clear that it's not an open-world game, unlike what some other websites were saying). Here's another trailer:



The call to action at the end of that overview trailer (omitting the... odd amiibo part) is to pre-order Kirby and the Forgotten Land and then try the demo. I figure I'd do the demo first. After all, the Kirby Star Allies demo, released four years ago, sold me on that game.

And I got to the end of this Kirby and the Forgotten Land demo and its call to action was...


Kirby and the Forgotten Land demo passwords passcodes
Buy the game and use these CLEARDEMO and NEWADVENTURE codes for something?


One of my biggest concerns for years regarding a 3D game was that Kirby's movement speed would be too sluggish for a 3D game. And... it's not as fast and snappy as I'd like, but I guess it's not agonising. It does feel like it takes longer to run and get to somewhere than it should. But they had to leave Kirby's speed slow enough that the Mouthful Mode transformations, especially car's, feel impactful and very different to control. But based on the two levels (not counting the boss fight), Mouthful Mode transformations dominate the level design. Maybe that's just an early game quirk...? That said, I don't think they are unwelcome gimmicks, but they're basically the same idea as the Kirby Star Allies Friend Actions... except sometimes optional.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land, at least in the demo, has two difficulty modes: Wild Mode and Spring-Breeze Mode (a reference to Kirby Super Star—be sure to check out KoopaTV's article yesterday that was all about that). Spring-Breeze Mode is super easy and apparently has an even larger health bar—I didn't actually play it but I played Wild Mode, which promised to be more challenging. It wasn't. Not sure why there are two difficulty modes and they're both practically unlosable. That's not that different than normal Kirby titles, though those also don't normally have multiple difficulty options.


Kirby and the Forgotten Land Buffahorn charges tree trunk meat
I guess I should mention two things I did like:
One, Buffahorn and its character design. Cute! (I just hope that meat on the trunk isn't... made from it...)
Two, you can use the direction pad (like in Super Smash Bros.) to make Kirby do one of four different taunts! That's a nice feature for photos! Kirby sitting is one of them.


But my biggest problems come as a direct result of the 3D design: For one, the movesets are cut down. (And there aren't pause menu explanations of what the abilities do anymore!) In 2D games, the left and right directions control movement while up and down can be used as inputs for moves. In 3D, up, left, right, and down all control movement, so there are no longer directional inputs. That means I can't do things like down-air with Sword Kirby anymore, but all I can really do is use the attack button for a swipe (and keep pressing it for a combo) or charge the attack button for a spin-attack. No more sliding or anti-aerial sword slash. The Kirby Super Star standard of expanded movesets doesn't apply.

Correction: The crouch button is shared with the guard button in Kirby and the Forgotten Land, unlike previous games where you guard with a shoulder button and crouch with the down direction. This lets you use the attack button to slide, like previous Kirby games, and some Copy Ability moves are locked to this. However, this wasn't written out unlike previous games, and the way slide works is also different and far less satisfying.

Also, let's say you swallow up something in Kirby's mouth. In a 2D game, you point Kirby left or right and maybe jump and spit it out to shoot a star. Here, Kirby's greater degree of movement means that aiming into the background is much more difficult... and quite frankly, I was unsuccessful in doing what I wanted. I don't fully blame myself but Kirby's unintuitive rotation motion and speed. Also, at least in the form the Copy Abilities took in the demo (though they can be evolved multiple times in the full game and once in the demo), having no ability was still better than having one, especially during the boss fight. The boss fight being in 3D certainly allowed for things you can't do in a 2D game, but are those things really a BETTER experience? I don't think so. Running in circles around the boss to swallow up a star on the correct foot it stomps on wasn't really fun, especially because Kirby felt too slow to actually reach it. Maybe that's a form of game balance because shooting stars does that much more damage than using Copy Abilities (which let you attack whenever you want).

I'd still recommend Kirby and the Forgotten Land over a game it's based on (Super Mario 3D Land) because at least the levels don't have any timers on them. You're meant to take your time with your relatively slow-moving Kirby and explore the place, accomplishing side objectives along the way, such as activating certain environmental features. These allow you to save even more Waddle Dees and get more currency, though the purpose of doing this (activities in Waddle Dee Town) wasn't available in the demo. But as someone who knows they dislike this genre... I think I should skip this one. I... didn't really have fun. It was frustrating to meh.

Oh, but I'll still keep myself informed about the game's events and characters and such. (Put another way, I'll spoil myself.) I want to know Clawroline's character arc! Oh, and I for sure want to acquaint myself with the game's soundtrack, although I didn't think the music from the demo was... really good.



Feel free to tell Ludwig about how he's stuck 30 years in the past or something. He's fine having only one game from this franchise on the Switch that he really likes. He knows his gaming preferences aren't that popular, but that makes for a more interesting discussion in the comments section.


Ludwig at least gave this the honour of a release date article.

6 comments :

  1. Spring-Breeze Mode? Might be perfect for my 5 year old daughter then.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your not-so-BABY daughter would probably be just fine on Wild Mode.

      If you're wondering why my health bar is low in the Buffahorn photo, it's not because the game is hard but because I kept letting Kirby get hit because I was experimenting on poses. >.>

      Delete
  2. I’m really not digging the title screen guitar theme, which is unfortunate because I can already tell that it’s going to be recurring. I’d bet 20 bucks that the composer of that song is one of the newer composers, or at least not the standard two. I also expect a lot of rearrangements of older soundtracks in the game, aqua star being one of them I think. The boss theme has some catchy parts, but pales massively in comparison to the last three. It could be so much more, but just doesn’t have that oomph!

    Either way I’m excited for this game. I’m not sure into 3D things, but I just can’t get enough Kirby.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYVQ1XSIBZc vs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QOiZgyv3_M

      I do like KSA's boss music substantially more and think it's awesome it's in Smash.

      Delete
  3. "No more sliding or anti-aerial sword slash. The Kirby Super Star standard of expanded movesets doesn't apply."

    There's a Crouch button. Press Jump while crouching to slide; with Sword, this becomes the sliding stab. Press Jump to cancel it into Upward Slash. Press Attack to combo that into the plummeting Sword Dive.

    I could write an entire article on just the reworks of the four Abilities in the demo. Maybe after the full release, if you're not going to buy it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ...Oh. You're...right. I should... correct the article. <.<
      But yes, I think it'd be cool if you did write a guest article on that!

      OKAY SO I WENT TO PLAY THE DEMO AGAIN.

      ...AND IT TURNS OUT THAT... THE CROUCH BUTTON is the same as the GUARD button?
      That's terrible and I hate it. You also can't slide off ledges. You just stop at the ledge like there is an invisible wall.

      I also think floating/puffing in the air feels terrible too.

      Just did the slide/jump/attack with Gigant Sword. (Cute that while guarding it has Kirby's shield.) But it feels really unintuitive to do.

      Just put in my card for Kirby Star Allies and sure enough, it feels much better to have a crouch input and a guard input be separate. (With Guard + down being a side-step and crouch + jump being slide... which can take you off a ledge. And the controls in the pause menu outright state Slide is a thing and it's not some easter egg input!)
      And it feels way better to Upward Slash with up + attack and then Sword Dive with down + attack after doing so, or Down Thrust whenever.

      Delete

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