Kirby’s Epic Yarn: review

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  • Format: Wii
  • Unleashed: Out Now
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Good-Feel, HAL Laboratory
  • Players: 1-2
  • Site: http://kirbykirbykirby.com/

  • What is it that Nintendo are good at? No! Not remaking hardware and selling it off over and over; well they are pretty good at that, but the real answer we were looking for was “cuteness”. Kirby’s Epic Yarn has so much cuteness stuffed inside of it, there’s hardly any room for the magic-laser-light that the Wii needs to read the disc – true fact that.

    You’ll begin your adventure in Kirby’s Epic Yarn with one of the most misleading intro levels ever found in recent game design, allow us to explain; Epic Yarn looks soft, it looks pretty. It lures you into such false security at the beginning that any hardened gamer who finds themselves playing it might stop at the early levels claiming it holds no challenge for them. Spend enough time with it though, and like a gremlin hurled into the ocean it’ll make you all stompy, screamy and maybe even a little bit crazy. Anyway, we’ll stop naming nightmarish dwarves and get on with the review…

    Epic Yarn is cute. From the soft pastel colour palette to the tinkly dinky goodnight baby mobile music, it oozes so much cuteness that it could make a Pokémon puke on his own shoes. Don’t let its warm fuzzy exterior fool you though, because what lies beneath is a quality platformer. By mixing a bunch of tried and tested 2D platform mechanics this will hold the attention of gamers young and old(er). Making a success of any level means you’ll need to get a good ‘bead count’. Beads are collected much like coins, and one touch of an enemy will send them all flying across the level Sonic rings style, making you scamper around re-collecting them to keep that all important end-of-level score. This is a double whammy mechanic because by collecting beads you’ll not only open the next level, but collect enough and you can open secret levels too. Bragging rights can also be claimed for good ‘streaks’ which involve never being touched throughout a level. So far so good, but where Epic Yarn really shines is in its level design. The whole game is made to look like it’s stitched together with different materials; and little buttons and threads sewn into the scenery can be grabbed, swung from or pulled to bunch the material up and reveal new parts of the level.

    Kirby has his ‘inhale’ power dropped this time around but still retains the ability to take on different powers. Dotted around the levels are little patches sewn into the sky that can be removed to reveal swirly wool vortexes that, when entered, give Kirby new forms. These can range from RC buggies, fire engines (with a working hose), choo-choo trains (where you draw the tracks with the Wiimote), massive (but soft and cuddly) battle tanks and even U.F.Os. Each new form presents a different way to play through sections of a level and serve as unexpected, fresh little slices of fun. Almost every level has that ‘one more go for perfection’ appeal, so they’ve included a handy ‘Restart Level’ button within the pause screen – so the instant you touch that same damn enemy you’ll be averted from punching your telly as a restart is seconds away.

    We will point this out in BIG BLACK LETTERS though; there are certain levels in this game that no small child will ever get through without help from (a fairly competent) adult. Make no mistake, there isn’t so much a learning curve in some levels but more of a learning fist that will repeatedly punch you in the soft regions for not having the fingers of a pro-gamer. This hidden evil is confined to only a few select levels though, so shouldn’t detract from the whole experience. On the flip side, it’s good to see they’ve put something in for the more skilled players; although it could be argued that those with the skill to ace these odd levels will never look in Kirby’s direction due to the sheer glare of cuteness it exudes. The last time we set eyes on a game this cute was back on the N64 in the form of Yoshi’s Story and very few ‘hardcore’ gamers went near it, to no one’s surprise.

    Kirby’s Epic Yarn should take a regular gamer just 3-4 hours to complete, but there is huge replay value here for those who crave perfection or want to see every level the game has to offer. Also worthy of mention are the challenge levels that will see you replaying parts either collecting a certain amount of beads against a time limit, carrying someone to a designated spot within a time limit, playing a game of hide-and-seek or defeating a certain number of enemies (you guess it) within a time limit. Knowledge of level structure and how best to deal with each kind of bad guy in these challenges are key here, and give the game a much longer lease of life.

    We’ll just mention also there was some confusion before Epic Yarn’s release over the fuzzy-felt stick-it-where-you-wanna screen shots. Well, these are ‘apartments’ for the challenge room hosts, who demand certain collectible furniture in their rooms before any challenge can be attempted (makes perfect sense to us!). If you’re a proud Wii owner who’s perfectly used to this level of cuteness, we’d happily advise you to purchase this game for it will offer challenge, fun and charm. This is an amalgamation of lots of successful game ideas all balled up into an adorably soft ball of fun – but be warned, there are needles in there and to get the most out of it you’ll need to learn to float like a thread-in-a-breeze and sting like a knitting needle!

     

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    Written by R.Furie

    Ross has been playing games since he can remember and has had games machines around him all his life. He’s what we now refer to as “Old Skool” because he grew up playing games with a hand carved wooden joystick on a TV forged from rope and stone. Nourished on a diet of Space Invaders, Donkey Kong, Joust, Gauntlet, Bomber Jack and other various wholesome arcades he has grown to become a versatile and open minded gamer. Favouring the style of open-world games he’s sure VR can’t be far away, and looks forward to attaching himself to a colostomy bag and slipping into a deep VR coma so he need never have to deal with real life again.

    2 comments

    1. MuzRat /

      You said take a peek & I did. Nice job dude! Love the way u think man, great insight.

    2. Best game on the Wii in a long time – or should I say only game I have been bothered to buy or the Wii in over a year (meaning I haven’t played any others…)?

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