Kirby’s Epic Yarn is the first real Kirby game since the N64 title, Kirby64: The Crystal Shards. Developed by Good-feel and Hal Laboratory and released by Nintendo for the Wii in November, 2010, Kirby has made a grandiose reappearance that reminds gamers why they fell in love with the little pink puffball in the first place. To put it simply, the game is very, very easy, but the overall journey is cute, fun to play, and has some truly amazing vista’s to behold.
Off to Patch Land
The first thing to get out of the way is the story. Kirby games aren’t known for deep story’s and this is no exception, but it is at least cute and does the job of setting up the gameplay. Kirby is drawn into a Patch Land, a world made of yarn and different patches, where he finds himself made of yarn. There, he meets a blue clone of himself named Prince Fluff. Kirby was trapped by a yarn sorcerer, who has split Patch Land into pieces and now the two must stitch them back together.
It is simplistic and told in a manner meant for children, but the quirky nature and silly presentation is worth a few smirks from gamers of all ages. The narrator, the only person who speaks in the whole game, is a bit deadpan, but does give it a feeling that the story is being related to the player and makes for some cute moments. The story is not what players come for, but it is at least cute and doesn’t get in the way of the story.
Kirby Loses His Appetite.
The gameplay in this game is tweaked from previous titles. Kirby cannot jump infinitely and does not eat his enemies. Naturally, this means he also does not copy their powers. This would destroy the basic fun of a Kirby game normally, however, Epic Yarn manages to make it work.
Kirby instead transforms, being made of yarn, and can do a number of things with his yarn body, from unzipping parts of the scenery, pulling of patches to reveal secret areas, or just unwinding the yarn bodies of Kirby’s enemies. Along the way, he can transform into a robot, a flying saucer, a firetruck, and almost ten more unique transformations that give a real sense of variety to the gameplay. At its core, Epic Yarn is a platformer with a lot of depth and variety, thanks to Kirby’s transformations.
Kirby has always been known for trying to include co-op gameplay, but never before has it been done so thoroughly. Every level of the game can be played as either Kirby or Prince Fluff, who play identically, but this makes the game very interesting. Players can work together to achieve a high score, try and beat each other in a competition for beads, which amount to money and points, or just mess around with the patchwork world. The entire game can be played cooperatively, or only a single level. Every time a level starts, it gives players the option for co-op.
Kirby cannot die in this game. If players get hit, they will only lose beads, which count towards a high score at the end and money Kirby can use to buy furniture for his apartment. Thus Kirby is very easy. It is nigh on impossible to lose going straight through, but the desire to get medals, find hidden items, and beat previous scores make the game very replayable.
Also, mini games are unlocked as players progress, allowing Kirby to fight, race, collect beads, etc. Epic Yarn’s most vestigial feature is his apartment, which he can decorate and explore. It’s pretty pointless, but there are tons of furniture for Kirby to find and decorate it with. It indicates a more relaxed style of gameplay where gamers can just sit back and enjoy instead of striving for perfection.
World of Yarn
Kirby’s graphics don’t really push the Wii’s processing power, but the quirky aesthetic of the world is more than enough to warrant a look. Everything in the world is focused around a cloth theme. The enemies are made of yarn and buttons, the buildings look like felt or patched up pieces of fabric and the entire game has a delightful charm to it, indicating a more friendly, relaxed environment.
The game does have some surprising moments of graphical wonder. After players beat a level, they use a patch to have something happen which permanently changes the world of yarn and opens up new areas. These moments are wondrous as they can be as simple as rain causing a flower to grow and create a new platform or a genie coming out and punching the whole map to reveal new levels.
The soundtrack is a mixed bag. There are a number of recognizable and fun tunes from previous games and new music as well. While some tunes are forgettable, the music is typically quite soothing or in certain boss fights, exhilarating. It matches the levels well. On top of that, there are also hidden soundtracks as part of the game’s collectibles, making the music and finding it part of gameplay as a whole.
Kirby Epic Yarn is easy, but surprisingly, still quite challenging. Finding all the secret items and getting a high score adds a level of challenge to some levels that the boss fights lack and the surrealistic worlds that Kirby explores are just glorious to behold, with tons of small touches to make the game very inviting. Gameplay offers a lot of variety and feature’s completely integrated cooperative play. To put it simply, Kirby is back. The fun aesthetic, varied transformations, and relaxed feel of the game make it very hard not to recommend, as it perfectly complements the goofiness of Kirby, while still being accessible to both kids and adults.
Anyone who has a Wii should get Kirby Epic Yarn as they will undoubtedly enjoy it. The only people who might not like the game are those not fond of cute and uniquely crafted worlds or those turned off by a relative lack of challenge.
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