Nintendo has a lot of famous franchises to juggle, so it's not surprising to see one of them wane in influence as others take greater prominence. Kirby has taken a bit of a backseat to other Nintendo content as of late, but that could be ending soon. In 2022, Nintendo will release Kirby and the Forgotten Land, which will offer fans the opportunity to explore the franchise through the lens of a 3D platformer, rather than a 2D sidescroller. That increased world size and the freedom that comes with it will hopefully result in a hearty Kirby game.
Ideally, Nintendo and HAL Laboratory will make the most of the 3D model. Kirby's signature copy abilities deserve to be reworked and upgraded in order to better suit the new environment and perspective. While 3D exploration in Kirby and the Forgotten Land's post-apocalyptic landscape seems compelling enough, HAL can't forget to work on the core aspects of the franchise too. Both new and old abilities deserve to get attention in the midst of HAL's new approach, as Kirby's multifarious powers form the backbone of Kirby gameplay throughout the franchise.
Refreshing Kirby's Copy Abilities
Many Kirby games are defined by their unique takes on Kirby's knack for inhaling enemies and gaining new powers. Keeping these copy abilities exciting is crucial to the franchise's success, so HAL Laboratory often tries to develop new takes on that core system. For instance, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards introduced Power Combos, in which Kirby combined two copy abilities to create something unique. Power Combos vastly diversified Kirby 64's combat and encouraged players to seek out new combinations that mix up their gameplay.
Hopefully Kirby and the Forgotten Land gets a similarly refreshing take on copy abilities that make the most of the 3D model. HAL would be wise to create some new abilities that let Kirby navigate and control Forgotten Land's landscapes. Some abilities might let Kirby lock enemies out of a certain part of the battlefield, whether that means creating obstacles that stand in their way or areas that deal persistent damage, letting him manage crowds. Other copy abilities might focus on movement options, enhancing Kirby's ability to swim or potentially letting him burrow through obstacles.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land needs to mind the place of old copy abilities too. The Forgotten Land reveal trailer shows off Kirby's Sword and Needle powers, and there's already some hope that they've been adjusted for a 3D world. While Kirby is using his Needle ability, for instance, he can be seen rolling around freely and pinning enemies, which seems more empowering than usual thanks to this being a 3D Kirby game. While Sword doesn't look like it has changed drastically, it wouldn't be surprising if HAL has come up with a few new moves that let Kirby attack in all directions. After all, his enemies could come from anyw direction.
Nintendo Franchises are Branching Out
It's great to see Kirby and the Forgotten Land trying a 3D angle because of how it continues a trend in bold, experimental Nintendo games. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild completely rewrote fundamental features of its franchise, meanwhile Super Mario Odyssey shook up 3D platforming with the introduction of Cappy. Kirby and the Forgotten Land has the opportunity to be just as exciting and influential, so long as Nintendo and HAL Laboratory deliver creative ideas that make the most of Kirby's shift into 3D. That means taking a close look at copy abilities before giving them clever new features that enhance the experience of exploring Kirby's newest environment.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land releases in spring 2022 for Nintendo Switch.
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