When you think of Kirby, what is the first thing that comes to mind? If you said Kirby’s Avalanche, me too. If you are a normal person, you probably think about the copy ability. This has been a staple concept since Kirby’s introduction in Kirby’s Adventure on the NES. While basic at the time, we have seen Kirby’s copy ability evolve over the years to see them pull off some devastating damage. We have even seen them go so far as to have a copy ability called Black Hole (in Japan). Without the various copy abilities at their disposal, I don’t think Kirby would have as much appeal outside their cozy inhale/exhale gameplay.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land continues this crazy experiment on what Kirby can and cannot copy. The new Mouthful Mode gave us plenty of nightmare fuel, but at the same time felt like watered-down copy abilities. At most, they felt like a gimmick only meant to be used to solve puzzles or traversal. The actual copy abilities themselves saw a better improvement from other games. I got Kirby 64 vibes when I saw that you could upgrade abilities to different forms. Not quite similar to 64’s mix and match abilities, but it was something different than having the same ability do the same thing without any variants. Seeing this mechanic excited me more than Kirby turning into a car and making DaBaby look like a poser.
Something still felt missing though. Every ability was fun to use, but I felt like some copy staples were missing. Where was the plasma ability? The beam ability was also missing due to the fact that the developers wanted to give Kirby a gun instead. I like the wheelie ability and understood why that was missing, but it would have been cool to have outside the car segments. Even the umbrella ability was missing, and you don’t take Kirby’s fucking parasol away from them! This got me to examine the available copy abilities and try to understand why certain abilities were chosen over others. My observation led to an interesting discovery.
All of Kirby’s abilities in Forgotten Land can be grouped into three categories: Attack, Traversal, and Sleep. Abilities like Sword, Hammer, and Gunner are mostly used for attacking and solving puzzles. These are the abilities that you will mostly stick with in fights unless you are working on a mission objective. Traversal abilities would include Tornado, Ice, Needle, and Drill. These abilities can be used in fights, but their overall design leads more toward progressing through stages quickly due to their forward momentum. Sleep is an unfair ability that restores Kirby’s health after a good night’s sleep (which we all wish we could have). The selection of abilities is diverse enough to encourage using whichever ability tickles your fancy, but that is not how Forgotten Land wants you to play the game.
Forgotten Land’s level design can be explained simply as “hand-holdy.” It likes to give you the illusion of choice, but the game constantly hints at you which ability you should be using and how long you will be using it for. This is done in several ways throughout each stage. If the game introduces a new mechanic with an ability, it is safe to guess that you will be relying on that ability for the rest of the stage. Even when you need to switch abilities to solve a simple puzzle, the game will “hint” at an ability you need by having it readily available or have an enemy constantly spawn so that you don’t miss out on secrets or puzzles that you need to solve. At least from my opinion from the other (limited) Kirby games that I’ve played, this game seems the most determined to make all the answers simple enough for the player to understand and solve.
I think back to other Kirby games that I’ve played. In Kirby 64, you have to find crystal shards throughout the level. Some would be easy to get, but some were stuck behind walls or other obstacles that would require one ability or the right combination to obtain. It required the player to understand the different combinations available in the level in order to complete the game and access the true final boss. Another example comes from The Great Cave Offensive in Super Star. For being a game about collecting treasure, you would expect some backtracking and puzzle solving. To get that 100% completion rating, you have to go out of your way and use the right abilities to find secrets that the game doesn’t point out in an obvious way. While that sense of challenge is still present in Forgotten Land, it is not as nearly as difficult to figure out when the game highlights it so clearly.
I haven’t mentioned Mouthful Mode abilities yet, but they also feel like a limited ability. They can also be divided into their own categories of Traversal, Puzzle Solving, or Dumb. I will give credit to some of the Mouthful puzzles since a small few of them require some fast thinking on what you need to do. The traversal modes (Car, Arch, Coaster) are fun since they change the gameplay up a bit and provide their own challenges. Car mode would have these time trials that made you observe the track and find hidden shortcuts that you might have missed the first go round. The roller coaster mode would have you dodging and collecting items, but also on the lookout for switches that would be easy or hard to see depending on the speed that you are going. While I appreciated some of those, Mouthful Mode was also scripted to be used for certain points. If the stage did not purposely prevent you from taking an ability with you to a new screen, then it was obvious that you would need it for another section. But what is worse than that is when you just use them for a small section and nothing else. I’m talking about the Light Bulb, Roller, and Dome. These are just used for quick situational moments that could be ignored if you were allowed to. They don’t add any gameplay variety or fun minigames to go along with them. Overall, I would have just preferred old or new, unique copy abilities that I could use outside of the given situation.
I think that is my biggest complaint about this game. Outside of boss fights where I can choose which ability I want to use (as long as it’s not tied to a mission), the game is too busy trying to get me to play the way it wants me to play. There’s hardly any desire to experiment with things unless you want to go out of your way to do it. In more recent 3D platformers (that I’ve played), it seems that the developers openly welcome experimentation with abilities that they give the player. In Forgotten Land’s case, it felt like the developers were too afraid to give players complete freedom in fear of missing out on something. That is not a bad thing, but it does restrict my enjoyment when I’m not allowed to play things the way I want to play them.
Does this make Kirby and the Forgotten Land a bad game? It depends on the player. I still had a good time playing through the game. Some of the later challenges were fun to do and the overall presentation of the game is charming from start to finish. I won’t spoil the final boss, but if you have ever played a Kirby game it is very much a Kirby final boss. What holds me back from saying that it is one of the best in the series are the items mentioned above. All I’m saying is that if you take the parasol away from Kirby then you have not only nerfed them but the game as well.
Hello all. I wasn’t planning on skipping a month from the blog, but April proved to be more of a beast than I was anticipating. Up until the final week, I didn’t have a day to myself where something wasn’t on my calendar of responsibilities and obligations. I haven’t been able to play much, but I have been able to write some things down here and there. My plan is to go over all the ramblings that I wrote and flesh them out to proper post. Hopefully those won’t take long to edit and I can start trying to post more regularly again.
One thing that is going to help me with that is to finally tackle some of the issues that I’ve been having. They are not easy to talk about since I’m still trying to figure it out as well. Long story short, I will be taking sessions soon to start tackling some of the anxiety and depression that I have. If you’ve noticed that I haven’t said anything about my 50/50 challenge lately, this is one of the reasons. One of my goals was to lose fifty pounds by August, but instead of losing weight I’ve been gaining even more. There is definitely a mental component to it all, so this is my first step to finally do something about it. If all goes well, I may still have time to reach my goal before the deadline. The “finishing games” component will definitely not get done due to the black hole that is Elden Ring.
In other news, I’ve started the painstaking task of taking inventory of all of my consoles and video game reference books. I’ve been meaning to do my consoles for a while ever since my brother got robbed last year. I had never thought about recording all of my other stuff, but having something like that happen makes you think twice about having a record of it all (plus it is just nice to have). I should have started my reference book list a long time ago before my collection exploded, but there is a certain joy of having a lot of stuff to catalog at once (I am a nerd for this kind of stuff so just leave me alone). My goal one day would be to get rid of the old excel sheets and have an online catalog where I could keep track of things a bit better. I recently discovered this one mobile app called Gameye and it has been great to use so far. The inclusion of a barcode scanner makes inventorying so much easier. It is hit and miss since it does go off what is stored in its database which is growing. What makes me like it even more is that I can include my own notes as well as a tracker if I’ve finished a game or how much I have finished it. The icing on the cake however is that you are able to export your data to a txt file or a .cvs file. The exports can be hit or miss since instead of leaving empty variables empty, it fills it with random text just to keep each cell full. Overall I am impressed with it. The designer is still constantly updating the app with the hopes one day launching a website where users can create an account and access their account on multiple devices. Not a paid ad, but I like it so far and wanted to spread the word.
Another fun thing that happened just last week was my friend Ben’s wedding. He is a silent third member of my group of friends who’s only gaming device was a Xbox 360. So to surprise him on his wedding, me and my other friend got him a PS4 to celebrate the occasion. He really liked playing Soul Calibur with us, so I’m practicing my character creation skills again to create even more questionable characters (maybe a sequel to one of my old post). I’m just happy that we get to include him in some of our gaming sessions online versus on occasion when we meet up. One of these days we will build him a PC.
Finished This Month
Xenoblade Chronicles 2
The big game that I finished this last month. I am surprised like all of you that it only took me 3 weeks to finish this game. Miracles can happen if you believe hard enough. Overall, I enjoyed the game minus the beginning parts. I won’t say that this was better than the first game, because that would be a lie and I don’t want to tell a lie. I will say that I wish I had the motivation to play this a second time via New Game+ and explore different routes with team composition that I didn’t think of. If you want to know my full thoughts on the game (plus a little lesson on tone), you can read the post I made about it a few weeks ago.
Trivia Pursuit Live! 2
Um. I don’t have much for this one. Kat and I enjoy playing the first Trivia Pursuit Live!, so getting a new one with updated questions and modes seemed like a good idea. While I do like having updated questions, I don’t particularly like this version of Trivia Pursuit. It somehow looks worse than the first game, and in some areas it feels cheaper. Outside of a new Twitch mode, this is the same game with new questions. There are new cosmetic options for your avatar and their primary color is not tied to your title anymore. Other than that, it doesn’t impress me. I won the first game we played so I count that as a win for finishing the game. On a side note, I am terrible at geography (I couldn’t tell you where to find anything on a globe…).
Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel
After thinking on it for a while, I think I am going to put this game in the finish pile. Originally I wanted to reach the highest ranking before calling it quits, but I’ve lost the motivation to do that. There’s just so much going on in the game now and I feel like I need to create specific decks to compete with the current meta. It’s not my favorite way to play the game, but I can appreciate how engaging it can be. I just hate that I keep running into the same decks and the lack of original playstyles that I’ve come across. It could just be the matches I get into, but it gets repetitive after a while. I will still pick this up and play it from time to time, but I have no interest in becoming the King of Games in this game.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land
Coming in at the end of the month is Kirby and the Forgotten Land. I don’t normally gravitate to Kirby games, but if one looks fun then I will give it a go. The game felt like HAL Labs looked at Super Mario Odyssey and said they could do the same thing with Kirby. It definitely has that Switch era, Nintendo first-party atmosphere to it where it is a familiar game with a fresh take to it. Everyone thought that this was going to be an open-world Kirby game like Mario and Zelda on the Switch, but it is a cozy linear-ish 3D Kirby game. I personally like that direction since it is what make Kirby games work in my opinion. Besides, if HAL Labs is going to make a open-world 3D Kirby game, it better be Kirby Air Ride 2. Overall, this was a fun and pleasant game to play as a secondary to Elden Ring.
*This is a combination of games I got in both March and April
Beetle Adventure Racing
So why in the year 2022 did I purchase a game about racing Volkswagen Beetles? The one and only reason I can think of is nostalgia is one hell of a drug. This was a game that me and my older brother would frequently rent from our local video store from some strange reason. I remember us really liking this game for the arcade racing feeling that the game has. When I mentioned to my brother that I had found a copy, his face lit up and he got excited. That reaction must mean we had a good time playing it. Once I’m done being lazy about hooking up the N64, I will let those memories come rushing towards me like a 1998 Volkswagen Beetle with 2-wheel driving and other features like anti-theft alarm, four beverage holders, and a bud base on the dash (whatever that means).
Speaking of racing games, F-Zero X was recently added to the Nintendo Switch Online Service. That’s neat, but I don’t have the updated version of NSO. I used my money wisely to buy a rather cheap copy for the N64. I know I’m missing out on online multiplayer with the NSO version, but knowing how the system handles online I think I’m good. I remember playing this game a lot at one of my cousin’s house. The fast pace action was a change of pace from Mario Kart. As I write this, I can vividly smell his house and the weird musk of three boys sharing one room. Nostalgia is a weird drug…
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice
To be honest, I completely forgot that I bought this game in March. If you forgot, the 3DS eshop is closing this year, so now is the time to purchase any last minute games (and DLC) off of it. Something that makes buying these games easier are all of the sales that are happening right now. Capcom and Atlus have been selling some of their best games on the 3DS for less than $10, so now is the best time to pick these games up before the physical versions skyrocket in price. What makes the Phoenix Wright games special on the 3DS is the fact that they are only available in digital format. So once purchasing has been disabled on the eShop, those games will be unavailable forever (until they get ported to current devices). Why pay for a premium now when when I could buy it now for only $5?
Star Fox Zero / Star Fox Guard
I knew I would have to get this game sooner or later. With the shop shutting down soon, now would be the best time before prices start to inflate. I don’t this game would have had a problem though, since I bought this at a second hand shop brand new (unopened) for only $16 USD. They even had it behind the counter with all the other expensive games. If that is a testament to how bad this game was received, then I don’t know what will. Star Fox 64 is one of my favorite games of all time, and I know Zero is just a glorified remake of that game. I consider myself a patient gamer, so getting used to the game’s unique controls will grow on me eventually (hopefully). Star Fox Guard was a nice extra bonus and from what I can tell is the better game out of the two. I hate bad mouthing games that I have not played yet, but with the reputation that this game has, it has clouded my judgement a bit.
Trivia Pursuit Live! 2
I already talked about this game. Go back up four paragraphs in case you somehow skipped it. Or maybe you skipped it initially because you did not care about the game or what I finished this month. That’s okay. We all have things that we like to read in posts like this and ignore certain sections. I am not one to judge since I like to skim through some articles that I read. Read what makes you happy and don’t feel obligated to reading every single word in this post. …Okay where was I? I seem to have lose what direction I was going with this bit…
Kirby and the Forgotten Land
It’s Kirby again. I’ll talk more about it when I write a Backlog Tale on it.
Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
This is my favorite Kirby game that I’ve never owned. Back in the glory days when you could rent games, my brother and I would always rent this game and play through it before we had to return it. To me, this has a lot of replay value thanks to being able to mix and match copy abilities. Mix fire and bombs and now Kirby is a firecracker! You thought Kirby becoming a vending machine was original in Forgotten Land? Wrong! He was doing that before in Kirby 64! I can’t wait to find the time to go through this game and get the true ending that I never got since I was a dumb kid.
Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology
I played and finished the original Radiant Historia on the original DS. I thought the game was fun on its own, but could have used its time travel mechanic a little bit better. I originally wasn’t interested in the 3DS remake, but for around $10 I am more than willing to revisit this remake.
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker
I completely forgot that I bought this along with Radiant Historia. Another game where I have played the original, only that I completely screwed myself towards the end and never went back to finish it. I mostly bought this to complete the collection of having all of the Shin Megami Tensei games for the 3DS. Once I “borrow” my brother’s copy of Soul Hackers, I will have them all.
This month should have been called the month of getting all the games I used to rent as a kid. Castlevania 64 earns the reward of the game I rented once or twice and never got far into it (since I didn’t have a controller pack to save). There was definitely a learning curve that my child brain could not understand, but that didn’t stop me from trying it. I also played the other Castlevania game for the N64, but obtaining a copy of that game is way out of my budget right now. I have played the first stage in this game, and I feel compelled to stream this one day…
Last weekend I went out of town to be a part of a friend’s wedding. Before I left the area, I found a really cool game store that was packed with games, collectables, arcade cabinets, and tables for card games. I talked with some of the guys who ran it, and I had a good time talking about games. The owner (I think) hooked me up with a copy of the Final Fantasy V Advance strategy guide that normally is sold for up towards $50 for only $30. If I lived in the area, I would probably frequent this store on a biweekly basis.
Oh yeah. As a souvenir I bought a copy of Dark Cloud since Kat owns the second game, but not the first. It was also my way of supporting their business for being real cool guys.
Snowboard Kids 2
The final game in my nostalgia filled ride. Snowboard Kids 2 is one of the best N64 games that not many people played. If we ever saw this game available to rent from the store, we would always get it. It is that good. If this game ever appears on the Nintendo Switch Online service, I will upgrade immediately and play this online with my friends. This game is just a snowboard game similar to Mario Kart, but this is way better in my opinion. Seeing how this was developed by Atlus, that may also be an indicator of why I like it. I will definitely write about this game soon, but for now I need to pay off the small loan that it took to buy this game.
Elden Ring continues to consume my life. I’m over 100 hours in and getting close to the end. I have just been taking my time having a panic attack if something new is going to kill me or not (more than likely I panic for no reason). With my friend’s help and guidance, I have created a pretty good build for myself. I hope I can finish this game soon, but a part of me doesn’t want the adventure to end just yet. I know I can carry everything over into New Game Plus, but I’m the type of person who tries to get the most done in a single go (especially if I really like the game). At the time of writing this, I have bested Malenia and Rykard and have claimed their Great Runes. Only Shardbearer Mohg is left and then I can cross the Shardbearers off my list. In the main story, I have reached Lyndell and have defeated the skin quintuplets. Before I defeat the “final” boss, I want to get some last minute sight seeing done. If I stay this diligent, I should have the game done next month. After that, I can no longer use it as an excuse for not finishing other games.
As much as I am enjoying Elden Ring, I do need to focus on games that I can finish this decade. I am somewhere in the middle of Final Fantasy V. If I’m being honest, it is kinda hard for me to stay motivated with it. If I had one big complaint with the game currently is that it is easy to get lost. I’m bringing up my bad luck with geography for the third time again, but the game likes to tell you where to go, but not how to get there. I’ve had to use a guide multiple times in order for me to figure out the next area I was supposed to go to, and that is something I don’t really like doing on a first playthrough. It could be a me issue, but when I send time in a cave convincing myself that there is a secret path somewhere when there isn’t, then I blame the game for not communicating that well. Everything else is fine. The job system makes me wish I was playing Bravely Default instead.
Even though I finished Kirby and the Forgotten Land, there are still Waddle Dee for me to save and the post game to do. I figured that it is a short and fun game that I should go the extra step to 100% complete the game. It’s not going to be my top priority, but a good palate cleanser if I need something cozy to play.
Blog Plans for This Month
Small goal will be to publish at least one of the things that I’ve been working on. A bigger accomplishment will be getting both things I have been working on out this month. I just want to keep my expectations low just in case I don’t get anything out. I do miss blogging and I miss talking with people online about things. With summer slowly approaching, I should have the time and mental stability to be more of myself. There are a ton of games that I need to write about along with some more stories from my gaming past. I also have these ideas that I’ve had that I need to sit and work through. I’m the type of guy who has lots of ideas, but needs to figure out what is realistic or not. I need to get the ball rolling on finishing more games so I can say that I finished half of my challenge.
Okay. That’s all the time I have for rambling. I need to go back to playing Elden Ring on my Nintendo 3DS. Until next time (soon, it will be much sooner)!