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Kirby and the Forgotten Land’s Best Copy Abilities

One Hat To Rule Them All



Kirby And The Forgotten Land’s Best Copy Abilities

What is the best copy ability in Kirby and the Forgotten Land?

Kirby and the Forgotten Lands has inhaled our crusty old gamer hearts and transformed them into balls of joy. Its pink floating protagonist’s world is full of adorable wonders, not least of all are his nearly endless array of copy abilities (and their accompanying hats). But which of the copy abilities are the best of the bouncing bunch? Goomba Stomp is here to dig through the piles of smiles to uncover the too-cute truth.

Kirby And The Forgotten Land’s Best Copy Abilities
Image: Nintendo

Each little hat, from plucky Hammer Helmet to sophisticated Ice Crown, is what caps off a copy ability – an ability that Kirby generally first finds by sucking up a given enemy and assimilating it unto his eternal Kirby-ness. Once among his arsenal, Kirby can either inhale another matching foe, or visit the local weapons emporium and don his preferred chapeau, reveling in its accompanying suite of copy ability attacks. 

Each ability and requisite cap has the capacity to be evolved at least once, and most at least twice. Some of the changes are pretty slight, and some are downright bonkers. But for the sake of clarity and brevity, this list will consider and rank each primary copy ability in its totality across evolutions.

This ranking considers three extremely technical factors: strength, usefulness, and (arguably most importantly) how cute each copy ability hat looks on Kirby’s wonderful head. These three factors are intermingled and shaken up like a fine cocktail to come to what are inevitably completely definitive conclusions.

Kirby’s Copy Abilities, Ranked:

12. Sleep: 

“To sleep, perchance to dream…”


If cuteness were the only qualifier, Sleep would have a better chance at scoring higher even this far from Dreamland, as Kirby looks as adorable as a tuckered-out toddler as he gets all ready for beddy. 

Alas, the little stocking cap isn’t enough to elevate Kirby’s only defensive maneuver. When you sleep, you regain some health. Available only in two evolutions, Deep Sleep does up the game by removing the one-time use of sleep and dons an even cuter and more elaborate hat. 

But in a game that isn’t notorious for its difficulty, it’s hard to find a reliable use for this sweet little dream-maker.

11. Crash

“Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.”

– Pablo Picasso

Crash, like the first iteration of Sleep, is also a one-time-use ability, but for Crash this is true for both of its evolutions. 

Best Copy Abilities
Image: Nintendo

Crash and its older brother, Time Crash, release a field that destroys a big pile of enemies. With Time Crash unlocked, you really start to feel a kind of Kirby-Goes-Xmen vibe kick in, as clever gamers can string together this deadly ability for a good long while – it replenishes with each destroyed enemy, sweeping everybody up in a sepia-toned murder-bubble of wanton destruction.

It’s fun and effective, and the fact that it is one-time-use is downright necessary lest it be ridiculously overpowered. But one-time use is also too much of a limitation to make it worth the precious pink headspace.

Moreover, the hat in all of its sci-fi glory only qualifies as “pretty cute,” a condemnation worthy of eviction from Waddle Dee Town in itself.

10. Tornado

“I gotta go Julia, we got cows.”

-Melissa, Twister

And now the controversies kick-in, as the beloved and extremely effective Tornado spins into the inglorious tenth position.

Tornado lives up to its name, once donned you embody your greatest Tasmanian devil dreams and swirl about the land sucking up enemies and spitting them out. 

Its evolutions Fleur Tornado and Storm Tornado both grow directly on this basic power. In all swirling forms, you can suck up enemies and spit them out like errant cows on a Nebraska pasture, and Storm even adds some wind damage to further disrupt the lives of the Beast Pack.

You can also use your Tornado to traverse over some gaps and traps. But in the end, traversal is what makes Tornado a bit less fun, as its controls can feel as unpredictable as the weather it imitates.

Tornado does shine best in its final form, the menacing Storm, which is also the coolest hat of swirling dark clouds, but it’s just not enough to make it a must-wear.

9. Drill

“Can you dig it?”

-Youngblood Priest, Superfly

Drill is essentially a digging ability paired with a bit of a screw attack.

Drill is fun to use and it’s novel to be able to dig around the mysterious and beautiful Forgotten Land. And if you’ve got the inclination while you’re underground, you can encircle your enemy with an explosive trench of despair.

Digging is a good time, and many secrets are found through this interesting set of hats, but once again, control is a bit of an issue, particularly in a 3-d space. Its evolutions don’t add too much more than more power, and in its third iteration you can launch a kind of phantom drill missile, which is most welcome, but a pale shadow compared to many other projectile-focussed abilities.

As to the cuteness, Drill shines brightest in its second form, Pencil Drill, fulfilling every student’s dream of plopping a mechanical pencil on Kirby’s little head.

8. Bomb

“You da bomb!”

-The 90’s

It’s hard to see Bomb so low on the list, because Bomb truly is da bomb, particularly early on. 

Kirby And The Forgotten Land
Image: Nintendo

Bomb is one of the first copy abilities Kirby finds, and it’s just what you’d expect – you roll or throw a bomb as big as Kirby on into an enemy. As your first projectile, it’s very useful, and shines best when rolled, giving an early sense of some old-fashioned Kirby-bowling.

As Bomb evolves it adds Chain Bomb and Homing Bomb, both of which are entertaining twists, but neither of which sink in quite as easily as the simplicity of Bomb in its base form. Chains can be tricky to link up, and don’t deliver quite as much power as they deserve, and Homing Bomb, while wonderfully animated, is a bit unpredictable.

A special award goes to Bomb for hat design consistency across all evolutions. Bomb’s little wizard’s cap starts off like a delightful birthday hat gone wrong and graduates to slightly cooler, landing on the winning details of homing bomb, which steals hearts and coordinates with its accompanying satellite dish. 

7. Needle

“We thought today would be a good day for rolling.”

-The King, Katamari Damacy

With Needle, Kirby turns into a spiky ball, and like all great Katamari’s before it, sucks up enemies and spits them back out as projectiles.

Kirby And The Forgotten Land
Image: Nintendo

While they look very different, in practice Needle has a lot in common with Tornado, though ironically Needle helps more in the rare instances where there is wind resistance on the board. 

The basic Needle ability is undeniably fun, and in its final form, Crystal, it’s surprisingly powerful, adding some splash damage in the form of sharp little crystals of doom. But while it’s more forgiving than Tornado, accurate movement can still be a bit of a challenge.

The inherent similarities to Katamari are enough to win Needle a big ball of bonus points, but this is really leaned into with Needle’s finest design in its second evolution, Clutter Needle, where we see a disorganized mish-mash of oddments like a cactus and a spring stuck to Kirby’s delightful head.

6. Cutter

“Do not use a power saw that is too heavy for you to lift and control.”

Saw-blade Safety Manual

Cutter hands Kirby a deadly little slicing boomerang to throw and retrieve.

Image: Nintendo

Good for thwacking enemies from afar or grabbing items, Cutter gains a second projectile in its first evolution, and then gets thoroughly beefed up as a giant buzz saw in its third form.

Cutter can be tricky to control, but rewards practice with some interesting multi-directional maneuvers and the ability to freeze and re-direct the blade in its move-set. Moreover, it comes with a close-combat uppercut that both packs a punch and is fun to pull off. Cutter slices sharpest in its third form, as the powerful Buzz Saw really starts tearing cute sleeping dogs to shreds.

Buzz Saw form is also Cutter’s best of hats, as the designers have effectively plopped a brutal power tool on Kirby’s deserving noggin, leaving him ready for both hard slicing action and a hard day at the construction site.

5. Fire

“We didn’t start the fire. It was always burning since the world’s been turning.”

-Billy Joel
Image: Nintendo

With the Fire ability, Kirby effectively becomes a little flamethrower, burning up enemies and obstacles in his insatiable path of destruction. Each evolution also includes an effective jump attack that reigns still more fire upon its victims.

In its second evolution, Volcano Fire, Kirby gains the ability to launch effective flaming boulders, and in its third, Dragon Fire, Kirby’s basic flamethrower gains an intense reach and a lasting afterburner that can leave enemies taking fire damage long after you’ve connected. The air attack gains wings in its third form, but in general, can be a little difficult to control.

It should be noted that if this ranking were down to, “What’s Good to Use on Most Bosses,” Fire in its final form, Dragon Fire, is your pick of the pile. Light those lions and tigers up and get ready to win while they burn.

Fire is a dangerous and serious business, and the design of Kirby’s Fire crowns reflects as much. All three hats do the job well, but Volcano Fire captures the top spot with its magma-formed wreath inspiring a sense of burnination worthy of destroying countless thatched-roof cottages.

4. Ice

“Winter is coming.”

-George R.R. Martin/ Local Plow Operators

Two sides to one hard-to-hold coin, the Ice and Fire abilities have very similar feels, though where Fire burns, Ice, unsurprisingly enough, freezes.

Image: Nintendo

With Ice, Kirby breathes out a little frosty burst that freezes enemies, who, when properly transformed into popsicles, can then be skidded back at other enemies as deadly projectiles. As it evolves, it gains power, distance, and a charge attack, all of which are versatile and amusing.

Ice gets bonus points in even its earliest form for adding Kirby’s delightful little ice-skating ability whenever it’s equipped, which is a joy to use, speeds you up, and is extremely handy for traversing over lava. This frosty ability also features a particularly potent block that can stand up against some very fierce attacks.

Ice also sports what is arguably the most adorable of all copy ability evolutions in its second form, Frosty Ice. Kirby embraces his destiny and dons a wooly knitted walrus cap that confusingly enough, melts your heart. On top of that, in this form, he spits out deadly snowmen, which is arguably too charming to exist.

3. Hammer

“I wanna be your sledgehammer. Why don’t you call my name?”

-Peter Gabriel

It is once again Hammer time for Kirby, and Kirby really knows how to bludgeon and pound with both precision and rage.

With Hammer, Kirby swings a hammer and whacks enemies, and it works great. Feeling at times more like a baseball bat than a hammer, it includes a beefy charge and a satisfying air attack, all of which get more powerful as Hammer evolves.

Of note, its third evolution, Wild Hammer, sacrifices some speed for power. Hammer is also one of only two abilities to feature a fourth evolution, the menacing and extremely destructive dual-wielding Masked Hammer.

Hammer is a powerful attack from the get-go. While it forces some close combat, from even its second evolution,Toy Hammer, it’s a solid choice for pounding down bad guys and feels fun as heck to use and connect with.

Big star-shaped cuteness bonus points for its second evolution, the aforementioned and deservedly- coveted Toy Hammer. Toy Hammer shines not only due to the fun bouncy-squishy nature of the hammer itself, but to Kirby’s accompanying little safety helmet that is almost too precious to witness. 

2. Ranger

“It’s easy to take a gun and annihilate your opposition, but what is really exciting to me is to see people with differing views come together and finally respect each other.”

– Fred Rogers 

Kirby, like all right-thinking video game blobs, finally has a proper gun.

Kirby And The Forgotten Land’s Best Copy Abilities
Image: Nintendo

With Ranger, Kirby can shoot stuff from afar. Initially, he shoots a single giant, chargeable star-bullet, but then graduates to the riotously excellent double-fisted blunderbuss, earning HAL Labs a lot of goodwill for simply eliciting a reason to type the word “blunderbuss”. 

Each Ranger form has a charge, an aim, and a shooting jump attack, and from very early on, Ranger is an excellent choice for crowd control from afar. And in its final form, Space Ranger, its charge attack unleashes a hefty and rather mind-bending vortex, although its power, too, sacrifices some of Ranger’s speed and mobility.

Ranger, like Bomb before it,  is distinctive for remaining exceptionally cute in all of its forms, from little miner’s cap to the swash-buckling Noble Ranger on into the glory that is the Space Ranger helmet. Kirby always looks good with a gun.

1. Sword

“I’ll take ’swords’ for $400, Alex.”

– Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery, SNL 

The only thing better than Kirby with a sword is Kirby with a giant sword.

Kirby And The Forgotten Land’s Best Copy Abilities
Image: Nintendo

Kirby’s Sword ability feels, in many ways, like his most natural form outside of just vacuuming stuff up. With Sword Kirby can slice and jab at enemies, charge for a spin, or do a slicing jump combo. As sword evolves it unleashes a slam and slide attack, gets bigger, and even more powerful. Sword is also the only other ability to have a fourth evolution, the extremely deadly and deadly satisfying ‘post-game’ Morpho Knight.

Between its useful block and bounty of combos, Kirby’s Sword copy ability is gratifying and practical across all of its evolutions. It’s easy to pick up, but rewards close combat mastery, encouraging dodging and rewarding practice. While all of Kirby’s abilities are entertaining to learn and get better with, Sword feels like it has the most depth.

Image: Nintendo

As to cuteness, it is hard to top the purity of the classic Link-conjuring green cap and white wooly pom of Sword’s first form. But Sword also features Kirby in his ultimate ‘tough-cute’ forms as well, shining particularly with the rugged warrior of Gigant as paired perfectly with his absurdly oversized blade.


Hats Off to HAL

Image: Nintendo

By the end of Kirby and the Forgotten Land, the amorphous titular puff ball’s greatest ability is making players smile. Even the least interesting or practical of copy abilities are still fun to use and try, and HAL Lab’s latest Kirby delivers endless delights in this wonderful, aggressively adorable adventure.


All photos were taken from the author’s aging Switch.

Marty Allen is an artist, writer, and creative producer who lives in Brooklyn. Marty loves to write about video games, pop culture, and all sorts of things. He's written a pile of books and made a bunch of art and songs, but mostly he just plays Animal Crossing and eats watermelon.