A demo has let players give Kirby and the Forgotten Land a test run, and it has shown that the game’s co-op would work much better if it let both players control a Kirby. This latest game in the long-running series is the first to feature fully three dimensional gameplay, introducing a new era in a way that might make it the Kirby franchise’s Super Mario 64. Excitement for Forgotten Land only increased when it was revealed that the entire game was playable with another person, but it may end up being yet another Nintendo game with lackluster, tacked on multiplayer.
Kirby returns with his iconic ability – inhaling foes and stealing their powers. Kirby and the Forgotten Land has taken it to another level with Mouthful Mode, a new ability that lets Kirby partially consume inanimate objects like a car, traffic cone, or vending machine. The demo is an interesting, yet short romp through a few stages of the game, and has the added bonus of being playable in co-op. A second person jumps into the action as Bandana Waddle Dee, a classic Kirby foe who has long since morphed into a frequent ally.
Unfortunately, the second player as Bandana Waddle Dee is more or less just along for the ride. Kirby uses all of his new copy abilities, while Bandana Dee is limited to a small variety of attacks with a spear. While playing co-op, the Kirby and the Forgotten Land camera stays focused on Player 1’s location, and doesn’t let Player 2 wander too far before they’re teleported back to their partner’s side. This is bothersome while trying to split up in combat, and hinders players who attempt to explore economically. Although a second Kirby doesn’t make any sense narratively, it’s a feature that could have been implemented for the sake of better gameplay.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land repeats the co-op issues that many were vocal about when Animal Crossing: New Horizons released. Playing local multiplayer severely limits the capabilities of the second player, relegating them to a lesser role. Playable Bandana Dee in Forgotten Land co-op is a nice addition for those playing with someone younger or not well-versed in video games, but it won’t be a robust cooperative experience like other Nintendo games have had. Luigi’s Mansion 3 proves that two players can have separate abilities while still having an equal role, but is also an example of how a game needs to be designed around the concept.
The core gameplay of Kirby and the Forgotten Land revolves so heavily around the eponymous character’s abilities, that giving nothing more than combat skills to Player 2 effectively puts them into a passive role within the game. The levels, puzzles, and encounters were clearly designed around Kirby’s abilities, and without them, there’s not much engaging gameplay for Bandana Dee. The Kirby and the Forgotten Land demo is available for anyone wanting to give the co-op a try, and while it can be a fun little addition, it likely won’t be much more than that in the full release.
Next: Kirby & The Forgotten Land’s Mouthful Mode Turns Him Into Carby