Swallow Time

Kirby's new Mouthful Mode is a bold reinvention of the series' mechanics

'Kirby and the Forgotten Land' looks to be the most complex Kirby game yet.

Toward the middle of Wednesday’s 40-minute Nintendo Direct, an impeccably animated Kirby ran out of a dilapidated building and into a world overgrown and abandoned. Another trailer for Kirby and the Forgotten Land — the first full 3D entry in the main Kirby series.

This trailer is, to our delight, much more focused on the much-anticipated game’s updated mechanics. The story here is relatively simple: Waddle Dees are being kidnapped by The Beast Pack, and it’s up to our small-but-mighty pink friend to save them all. All in a post-apocalyptic world known as “The Forgotten Land.”

Much of the gameplay here will feel familiar to fans of the main Kirby series: run, jump, and slide through each level, all while swallowing enemies and copying their abilities. Some of the mechanics in this latest trailer are, er, somewhat less traditional, though.

Please welcome to the stage “Mouthful Mode.” Kirby can now apparently swallow (embody?) non-living objects like cars and thereby control them. And just like that Kirby evolved into a bold, uncanny hero.

That’s quite a mouthful — We’ll have to wait for Mouthful Mode to make its debut on March 25 before we can give the feature our full seal of approval, but holy hell does this look fun. All you have to do, it seems, is activate Kirby’s classic swallowing ability and simply aim toward an object instead.

Kirby is then able to take over said object completely. In the case of a car, for example, Kirby slides over the top like a car cover and can immediately zoom around and smash into enemies. Swallow a vending machine and shoot canned beverages at will. Swallow a traffic cone and pierce objects to solve puzzles. (We didn’t know traffic cones could even do that.)

Here are a few other Mouthful Mode wonders the trailer has revealed: Scissor-Lift Mouth, Ring Mouth, Light Bulb Mouth, Arch Mouth, and Water-Balloon Mouth. They’ll present themselves at certain moments throughout the game.

Level up everything — Mouthful Mode is certainly the most shocking new Kirby ability revealed in recent memory. That’s not all HAL is switching up for Forgotten Land, though. Another new twist will allow Kirby to actually “evolve” some copy abilities as the game progresses, expanding attacks and making Kirby more powerful.

There are still plenty of details waiting to be revealed here. We still don’t know much about the mysterious enemy group that’s stealing all these Waddle-Dees. We don’t even know why this land seems to have been hit by some sort of apocalypse.

We’ll have to wait another month or so to play the game and find out. For now, though, we have Mouthful Mode. And that’s enough.