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Kirby and the Forgotten Land's Copy Ability Upgrades Should've Been Equals

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  • Posted on 08th Apr, 2022 14:37 PM
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Kirby and the Forgotten Land has plenty of creative Copy Ability upgrades, but their power levels mean that each ability isn’t made equal.

p>Kirby and the Forgotten Land has quite a few different collectibles. Players can seek out hidden Waddle Dees that'll help the game's hub grow, and they can gather figurines that represent the game's characters and settings, but the blueprints for Copy Ability upgrades certainly feel like the most significant. With these blueprints, Kirby and the Forgotten Land can unlock new specializations for some of Kirby's most iconic abilities. HAL Laboratory has thought of a variety of creative takes on core Copy Abilities that give Kirby a variety of fun new looks, while diversifying the combat of Kirby and the Forgotten Land.

While the Copy Ability evolutions are great in concept, they sometimes leave something to be desired in terms of game balance. While HAL Laboratory never indicated that each version of a Copy Ability was meant as an upgrade to the previous one, that's the way they've shaken out. Copy Ability evolutions have a bad habit of outclassing whatever version came before them. It would've been better if each of Kirby and the Forgotten Land's upgrades was about equivalency to each other, so that players would have better reason to appreciate the range of variations that HAL came up with, rather than sticking to the strongest ones.

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Copy Ability Upgrade Balance

Not every Copy Ability evolution makes previous versions of that ability obsolete, but this does happen in quite a few key cases. For instance, once players get the Meta Knight Sword upgrade, there's little reason to use the Gigant Sword that players can unlock before it. The Meta Knight Sword may have slightly lower base damage, but its high speed and range make it altogether superior to the Gigant Sword. Similarly, the Masked Hammer upgrade overshadows both previous upgrades. Since it has near-maximum speed and damage before further upgrades, the Masked Hammer combines the benefits of both other Hammer evolutions.

It's a shame that certain Copy Ability evolutions outperform their predecessors to such a great extent. Kirby and the Forgotten Land has creative designs that deserve to be appreciated; the Gigant Sword's spiked shield and heavy swings serve as a great change of pace from the usual quick Sword. HAL Laboratory suggested that this new Kirby mechanic would provide players with options, but the options feel far less significant when so many evolutions are strict improvements rather than different takes on a playstyle. As players get late-game Copy Ability evolutions, the early evolutions are quickly forgotten in spite of their creativity.

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Kirby's Relationship with Difficulty

The increasing strength of Copy Ability evolutions is also significant because of Kirby's longstanding struggle to challenge players. The Kirby games are generally pretty easy, which is intentional, but it tends to be a point of dissatisfaction among players. Kirby and the Forgotten Land has some similar issues. As Kirby gets stronger through Copy Ability upgrades, the enemies stay the same, meaning that his increasing power throws a wrench in Kirby and the Forgotten Land's attempts at difficulty. Wild Mode might have felt more significant if Copy Abilities were balanced around being variations on a theme, rather than upgrades on one another.

Some Copy Ability types certainly manage to emphasize variety over power. The Noble Ranger and the Space Ranger emphasize speed and power respectively, meaning fans have good reason to weigh the two options. On the whole, though, the system is definitely flawed. Forgotten Land has many good ideas that deserve to be celebrated, even if it doesn't execute on all of them perfectly. Copy Ability evolutions land on that list. Hopefully HAL Laboratory brings the idea back in a future Kirby game and approaches balance differently so that collecting every evolution feels more meaningful in the long run.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land is available now for Nintendo Switch.

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