There have been quite a number of Kirby games and spin-offs over the years, ever since the pink puffball first wormed his way into gamer's hearts in the 1992 Game Boy title, Kirby's Dream Land, and its 1993 NES follow-up, Kirby's Adventure. But with Kirby and the Forgotten Land on the Nintendo Switch, he has finally gotten the true 3D treatment he deserves in what is arguably his most ambitious adventure yet.
The shift from a 2D to a 3D plane definitely brings the series closer to parity with recent entries from other Nintendo mascots like Mario, adding a new dimension to levels that was simply missing in those earlier games. The developers at Hal Laboratory have managed to retain all the core elements that define Kirby, like his various Copy Abilities, while introducing new mechanics like Mouthful Mode that make great use of all the wide, open areas he can now traverse through. So for anyone looking for more platforming goodness with a tinge of cuteness, here are a few other games worth checking out.
5 Super Mario 3D World
The Wii U might have been considered a disappointment sales-wise, but don't let that fool you into thinking it didn't have a killer library of first-party titles. One of its biggest standouts was Super Mario 3D World, a follow-up to Super Mario 3D Land on the Nintendo 3DS.
The game saw up to four players guiding Mario and friends across a number of themed levels as they sought to put an end to Bowser's invasion of the Sprixie Kingdom. The chaotic multiplayer aspects of the game were instrumental to its popularity at the time of its release. It was in fact the second best-selling on the Wii U, bested only by Mario Kart 8, and equally well-received for its inventive level design and good-looking visuals. It was later re-released on the Nintendo Switch in 2021 as Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury.
Released in 2017 for the PC, PS4, Xbox One, and eventually the Switch, Yooka-Laylee is a 3D platformer that was developed by Playtonic Games, a studio made up of some former employees of Rare. They'd set out to create a spiritual successor to Rare's Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie titles on the Nintendo 64.
As such, the game carries over several elements from those older games, like their focus on collecting various items in order to progress from level to level. It is often accused of being a little too reliant on such mechanics as a result though, especially by those old enough to see it as nothing more than nostalgia bait. A 2D side-scrolling spin-off called Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair was subsequently released in 2019, which was noted for being better received by critics and fans alike.
3 Astro's Playroom
After making his debut in the Playroom, followed by another star-making turn in its PlayStation VR follow-up, Astro Bot: Rescue Mission, the cute little robot known as Astro has finally reached mascot status through the PS5 launch title, Astro's Playroom.
The game, like the others before it, was developed by Japan Studio's Team Asobi, and the decision to make it a pack-in title for the PS5 shows Sony's commitment to delivering family-friendly games outside of their story-driven exclusives like God of War and The Last of US. And while the game effectively functions as a tech demo for the PlayStation 5 and its DualSense controllers, it still offers plenty of platforming greatness for those lucky enough to own the ninth-generation console.
2 Psychonauts 2
Psychonauts 2 is another game that should appeal to fans of Kirby and the Forgotten Land. It is a sequel to the 2005 game by Tim Shafer and his team at Double Fine Studios, which was released on the original Xbox.
This sequel was released on the PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PS4 in 2021, and it hearkens back to the heydays of 3D platformers, right down to quirks and mechanics many would consider archaic by today's standards. However, how it does so while delivering some of the most visually striking levels is a testament to the creativity at Double Fine. It is considered one of the best games of 2021, earning recognition at multiple award ceremonies and publications.
1 Super Mario Odyssey
The Nintendo Switch had one of the best first years of any modern-day console, with games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath and the Wild and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe gracing its library within its launch window. For many players though, the icing on the cake was Super Mario Odyssey, a new Mario adventure game that was built exclusively for the hybrid console.
The game finds Mario and his hat companion traveling across a bunch of themed kingdoms in an airship, on a mission to thwart Bowser's imposed wedding to Princess Peach. It refines those elements that made past Mario titles great (like their tight platforming and incredible level design) while serving as a celebration of the franchise as a whole. It is often considered one of the greatest platformers ever made and a must-own title for anyone putting together a library of Nintendo Switch games.
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