Kirby and the Forgotten Land: How Ability Upgrades Work

As a general rule in Kirby games, Copy Abilities aren't something that the player has to worry about hanging onto forever. Even if Kirby loses his current ability, a new enemy will eventually come along and give Kirby some new moves. Kirby and the Forgotten Land doesn't seem intent on changing that; on the contrary, based on the implied scale of its 3D levels, Kirby players might have even more opportunities to pick up Copy Abilities than usual. However, Kirby and the Forgotten Land does plan on giving players a unique reason to preserve a favorite ability: Copy Ability upgrades.

Kirby games don't usually bother with RPG-style permanent upgrades to Kirby's abilities, but Kirby and the Forgotten Land apparently intends to try it. According to the latest trailer for Kirby and the Forgotten Land, players can unlock variants and upgrades for Copy Abilities by spending resources gathered from Forgotten Land's levels. The trailer doesn't reveal all the potential upgrades, but the variants that Nintendo did reveal suggest that Kirby's upgrades can be pretty dramatic. Some Copy Abilities will function completely differently with the help of upgrades, should players take the time to invest in them.

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Kirby's Copy Ability Upgrades

In order to upgrade Kirby's Copy Abilities, players need to visit Waddle Dee's Weapon Shop, one of the unlockable amenities found in Waddle Dee Town. Here, players can see the various Copy Abilities that they've found on their adventures and ask the local Waddle Dee to "evolve" the abilities into a new form. For instance, Kirby's famous Cutter ability has an upgraded variant called the Chakram Cutter, which causes Kirby to throw converging volleys of razor-sharp disks, rather than just a bladed boomerang. The trailers suggest that players will have to spend coins and another star-shaped resource to purchase these evolved abilities.

Kirby fans definitely shouldn't ignore Waddle Dee's Weapon Shop, based on the glimpses Nintendo offered in Forgotten Land's new trailer. Some upgrades look like they'll make some of Kirby's most famous abilities even more fun and powerful than normal. Kirby's Fire Copy Ability has a Dragon Fire upgrade which lets players breathe streams of fire and glide through enemies, while the Ice Ability has a Frosty Ice upgrade that can generate snowmen as handy obstacles for Kirby's enemies. Each Copy Ability apparently has two upgraded forms, each of which can be empowered further. Forgotten Land players don't have to devote themselves to one of the upgrades either; it seems players can switch a Copy Ability's evolution freely at the Weapon Shop.

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Expanding on Copy Abilities

This isn't the first time that Kirby has experimented with upgrades for Kirby's Copy Abilities. One core selling point for Kirby's Return to Dream Land was Super Abilities, empowered versions of classic Copy Abilities that could obliterate environmental obstacles and enemies alike. Even further back, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards allowed players to mix and match two of its eight core Copy Abilities in order to generate a unique new ability. Kirby and the Forgotten Land's Weapon Shop is just the latest step in a long series of mechanics that test the limits of Copy Abilities.

Nevertheless, Kirby and the Forgotten Land's Copy Ability evolutions are compelling. If players can choose a favorite variant of each Copy Ability, then finding that Ability in a level will be even more exciting than usual. The mechanic also makes Waddle Dee Town seem vastly more valuable. Waddle Dee Town's minigames look like good fun, but permanent upgrades to Kirby's skills are extremely impactful on the core gameplay. Kirby and the Forgotten Land definitely distinguishes itself well so far, thanks in no small part to the opportunity to upgrade Copy Abilities. It'll be interesting to see what other ability evolutions HAL has in mind.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land releases March 25, 2022 for Nintendo Switch.

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