I’ve been having a great time with Kirby and the Forgotten Land. The pink puffball’s saccharine-sweet, post-apocalyptic journey is the perfect palate cleanser after exploring the massive Elden Ring. But one thing in Forgotten Land bothers me more than any horror that could spring from the minds of Hidetaka Miyazaki and George R. R. Martin: Kirby doesn’t smooch his buddies anymore.
In previous games with co-op, Kirby and his partners briefly embraced to share health-restoring items. Kirby and the Forgotten Land, however, does away with this by having the eponymous hero and Bandana Waddle Dee (a spear-wielding fighter automatically assigned to player two) high-five instead. Like all things Kirby-related, it’s adorable as heck, but not quite the interaction I hoped to see.
The series’ food-sharing mechanic originated in 1996’s Kirby Super Star, the SNES mega-compilation that many consider to be the franchise’s most iconic installment. A quick peek at the game’s North American instruction manual shows this move referred to as “lend[ing] a helping hand,” but come on. Look at them. That’s a dang kiss.
While the technique subsequently appeared under different names like “Face-to-Face” and “Item Share,” the Kirby Fighters spin-off series solidified what we all knew to be true by adding a large “SMOOCH” graphic above the characters’ heads whenever they, well, smooched. And it’s not like these are old games either; Kirby Fighters 2 just released on Switch in 2020.
It’s here that I could get all worked up and point out how, I don’t know, gun violence was deemed okay for Forgotten Land while a sweet embrace between two friends somehow crossed the line at Nintendo. But the truth is, I’m just a little weirdo who wants to see Kirby and Bandana Waddle Dee snuggle. Is there something inherently sexual about buddies exchanging a quick peck to heal up during an intense battle?
I don’t think so. Let them kiss, Nintendo.