Kirby and the Lost Land preview: our first impressions

Migliori videogiochi in uscita: Marzo 2022

Nintendo’s pink ball makes its post-apocalyptic 3D debut: here’s our preview of the demo of Kirby and the Lost Land

It was also time we could say in an ‘preview what we thought of Kirby and the Lost Land. The writer, following the “pink terror” for several years now, has urged the rounded hero of Nintendo to be more daring since the appointment seen on Wii. Still, the game design of the series is very… peculiar, so to speak. We have already seen the first seeds on Nintendo 3DS, where the formula (while reaching its peak with Planet Robobot) now seemed carved in marble. In the air we have such freedom of movement that a linear design for the levels is mandatory, and on the ground, instead, the various powers of the protagonist have evolved to “fighting” moveset.

Nonetheless, one seed in particular sprouted with the Kirby 3D Challenge minigame in Planet Robobot, and then blossomed on the eShop under the name of Blowout Blast. That the latter, then, was little more than a polygonal remake of the very first Dream Land with a Crash Bandicoot-style level design, is another matter. After having delegated to Battle Royale (also on 3DS) the task of testing the functioning of the skills in a 3D environment, HAL Laboratory it is finally ready to take the decisive step. The result is one big adventure in which the development team has put everything they have learned up to now with their experiments.

Po (yo) st-apocalyptic

The initial cutscene of the demo version of Kirby and the Lost Land has already provided us with the basis for a future review: already in the preview we can in fact see a welcome return from the past. Let’s start by saying that the introduction of each polygonal title of Kirby prefers not to provide too many details in the introductory scene. All we know is that our hero was sucked (as an irony) into a parallel dimension by one interdimensional gash. We will explain in a special special the lore that connects the various chapters of the series (come back this Saturday!).

We have already talked about Planet Robobot and this is where we take the opportunity to praise the “rounded” approach to post-apocalyptic settings. Not that the series is entirely new to the genre, as Shiver Star reminds us from The Crystal Shards for Nintendo 64. This, however, is the first time that the pink ball is struggling with settings similar (albeit vaguely) to The Last of Us. And while Planet Robobot showed Kirby’s world corrupted by an unnatural industrial revolution, here the opposite occurs: nature has recaptured ancient cities, providing us with a spectacular result.

Kirby and the Lost Land preview: our first impressions

How to reinvent the wheel (pink) – Kirby and the Lost Land preview

Before we can even talk about Elfilin and the kidnapping of the Waddle Dee (details that we would gladly leave to the plot section of a future review), let’s get to the heart of the preview with the gameplay of Kirby and the Lost Land. Because there are really, really many things to say. After an introduction with a decidedly familiar beach-bush passage (and mandatory, given the importance of the compromise inspired by the aforementioned Crash Bandicoot for level design), the tutorial instructs us on the basics. We can suck, spit, jump and float. However, this last skill is presented in a different way than in the past.

As happens in Challenge Kirby 3D and its evolution Blowout Blast, in fact, even here there is no way to fly in the way the protagonist has accustomed us for years. Not only that, there is also a limit to the heights we can reach. Despite this, the level design occasionally allows us to “skip” a few steps. The difficulty, in this regard, is decidedly less generous than what we have seen in the past. Already at the beginning of the game we are asked if we want to play in “breeze mode” or if we prefer a challenge rate higher with the newly created “storm mode”.

Kirby and the Lost Land preview: our first impressions

“No problems, no worries / like old folks looking at construction sites” – Preview Kirby and the Lost Land

What the game has dubbed “Urban plain” remains a joy to live and play, right from the start copy skills. On the latter, however, we must make a note: do you remember the “fighting moveset” to which we alluded before? In this case, the variety of moves available to us is somewhat dampened by the three-dimensional movement. However, HAL still wanted to reinterpret certain moves. In other words, we pass from a directional input to a more “contextual“. Here, then, is that Lama allows us to carry out combos as long as we are close to the enemy, while Spada allows a vertically rotating attack if we are in the air.

A little spoiler for anyone who hasn’t tried the demo yet. By completing the three levels at your disposal, you will unlock the ability to replay them with enhanced variants skills. The demo in this sense has really done its utmost to make available whatever was present in the trailers seen so far. Again, we’re not so much talking about settings as we are talking about gameplay elements. Trying this appetizer firsthand only gave us more appetite for the full version, thanks to a transition from side scrolling games almost imperceptible in its total fluidity.

Kirby and the Lost Land preview: our first impressions

“He wants to put me under this lord / who prides himself on the saint attached to the dashboard” – Preview Kirby and the Lost Land

Since we talked about the presence of the strong points of the trailers, we also analyze what, for better or for worse, will be the “gimmick” (“gimmick”) of the game: the Boccomorphosis. Contrary to what we would have expected, this gameplay element will be much more present than expected … if the trial version is reliable in that sense, mind you. We say “for better or for worse” because in the best hypothesis we still have an extra distinctive trait to distinguish this game from its predecessors; however, it is also true that (similarly to Pokémon) this is a cyclical trend for the series (who has ever reviewed Super Skills, Hypernova or Robobot Armor?).

We also appreciate the limitations that the game tries to put to the player, extending them both to the movement (Morfoauto is only the first mutation without flight) and to the moves (the Morphodistributor shows that there are also transformations with a limited number of ammunition). One thing that the trailers didn’t show is Kirby’s ability to suck in an element for the Boccorphosis (with a command, again, contextual) without losing the copy ability: it is not a single aesthetic factor, but it represents the choice not to penalize the progress made exclusive to this novelty.

Kirby and the Lost Land preview: our first impressions

The Chamber of Secrets – Kirby and the Lost Land preview

Let’s go back for a second to what was said about the choice of difficulty. Do not misunderstand: the whole franchise was born when, thanks to the fewer buttons of the Game Boy compared to the then newborn Super Nintendo, Masahiro Sakurai wanted to create something simultaneously accessible and openly easy. In that sense, the level design dichotomy the series is known for consists of easy levels and more challenging bosses. This high accessibility has given way, more recently, to the inclusion of secrets as a real added challenge. We saw it in Star Allies (and other Nintendo IPs, see Yoshi’s Crafted World); here it is the same (more or less).

Completing optional objectives within a level can reward us in two different ways. The first, needless to say, is precisely an achievement system, which as required by the current Big N strategy remains within the game itself. Beyond the optional “feats” summarized in the end-of-level report (or in the pause menu), however, the objects to be collected stand out. After the Triple Deluxe keychains, the Planet Robobot stickers and the Star Allies puzzle pieces, we have some statuette which reward completists with the return of Super Smash Bros. trophies in all but name. After the farewell of the “museum” descriptions in Ultimate … will you give us a tear?

Kirby and the Lost Land preview: our first impressions

Conclusions… cooperatives?

We covered pretty much everything else in our preview of Kirby and the Lost Land, but we forgot to mention the cooperative mode also included in the demo. Predictably, the second player can “only” take the place of one Waddle Dee Adjutant, which however, as per tradition, is equipped with the Lancia ability. Our ally can therefore enjoy a quick combo on the ground and, possibly, also a charged attack with which to make a generous glide. The controls are accessible to all, but by experimenting it is also possible to parry, dodge and lower (which is why the automatic swallowing can be deactivated) to make the classic slide.

Co-op, as we are happy to see, is in nature drop-in/drop-out, thus allowing us to choose at any time whether to play alone or in company. In short, this “full-fledged” debut of the pink ball in the world of three dimensions only made us want to see firsthand the quality of the complete product than we already had. For the game’s release, however, we will have to wait a little longer. The title will be released on 25 marchbut something tells us that the two weeks that separate us from him have just gotten significantly longer.

Kirby and the Lost Land preview: our first impressions

Now it’s up to you to tell us yours: what do you think of the demo, if you’ve tried it? Let us know below, and as always don’t forget to stay on for all the most important news for gamers and more. For your purely gaming needs, you can instead find the best discounts in digital format on Instant Gaming.