How Kirby and the Forgotten Land's Co-Op Works

One of the most beloved Nintendo mascots is finally getting the 3D treatment. After 30 years of side-scrolling platformers, brawlers, and mini-game collections, Kirby is finally being given a big, sprawling 3D world to explore. Though fans have been speculating on this for years, Nintendo finally confirmed its existence during the September 2021 Nintendo Direct, where it showcased the bright and beautiful world of Kirby and the Forgotten Land.

A brand-new trailer for the game just dropped, detailing some of Kirby's new Copy Abilities through a decent slice of gameplay and providing a release date. Along with this new information, co-op gameplay was shown off, though Kirby and the Forgotten Land's co-op is a little different to other games in the series.

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How Kirby and the Forgotten Land's Co-Op Works

With the series going fully 3D, and seemingly a little open-world, it only makes sense that The Forgotten Land features a co-op system that is fairly new to the series. Unlike previous Switch games in the franchise, Kirby and the Forgotten Land's co-op is strictly 2-player, and seems to be couch co-op only.

While player one controls the titular pink ball, the second player takes control of Bandana Waddle Dee, a character that first appeared in Kirby Super Star, acting as the stage boss for "Megaton Punch." In series lore, Bandana Waddle Dee was once one of King Dedede's most loyal supporters, but has since turned coat and is frequently seen by Kirby's side as he battles the King.

The brief glimpse of co-op gameplay that the trailer showcased seemed to show off some of Bandana Waddle Dee's abilities. The second player will seemingly be able to throw Bandana Waddle Dee's trusty spear, along with an AoE attack that has spears raining down on the enemy. The second player may also be able to use Bandana Waddle Dee's Waddle Copter as a form of traversal and attack.

While the trailer does show the second player being present in both the hub area and during combat encounters, it's still currently unknown just how extensive this co-op mode will be. The best case scenario is that a friend will be able to tag along for the whole adventure, during combat, boss fights, and even being able to participate in mini-games. When it comes to puzzles, it is yet to be seen whether The Forgotten Land will have co-op puzzles or whether the second player will just have to assist Kirby in finding the solution.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land's co-op has already drawn a great deal of comparison with the relatively recent Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury and its co-op system. Bowser's Fury decided to strip back the 4-player co-op of the main 3D World title, and make restrict it to 2-player co-op. The first player took control of Mario, with all of his classic 3D abilities, while the second player took control of Bowser Jr., who could use his Junior Clown Car to hover over obstacles and hazards, and use his large paintbrush to hit enemies.

At first glance, it seems as though these comparisons aren't unfounded, as Bandana Waddle Dee is shown to use a range of alternate moves to Kirby. Hopefully, this variation between the two playable characters leads to unique combat or puzzle situations just like it did in Bowser's Fury, where Bowser Jr. could uncover secret hidden caches of mushrooms with his paintbrush or could lend a truly beneficial hand in combat.

Regardless of how it eventually turns out in the final release, Kirby and the Forgotten Land's co-op has a lot of potential, and is almost sure to be one of the highlights of the game for those who love couch co-op. Fans looking to know more about the game's co-op should keep a close eye on Nintendo's website and social media accounts during the months before release.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land launches on March 25 for Nintendo Switch.

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