Kirby’s Epic Yarn Review: A Game That Doesn’t “Suck!”

At E3 2010, Nintendo’s press conference included a slew of long-awaited titles for the Wii, including the likes of Donkey Kong Country Returns and Epic Mickey. Kirby’s Epic Yarn joined that list, and with its release, it is clear that Nintendo carefully stitched together a modern-day masterful performance. Side-scrolling gameplay is back, and Kirby is here to prove it!

Platforms: Wii
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Good-Feel
Genre: Puffy Platformer
Release Date: October 17, 2010
ESRB Rating: Everyone

Nintendo, Good-Feel, and HAL Laboratories have successfully found a way to weave a new Kirby style of play into Epic Yarn, incorporating a multi-tool of sorts, visually similar to Samus’ Grapple Beam or Link’s Hookshot. The tool’s main functions include grabbing enemies, hanging and swinging from “grapple points”, pulling pieces of the level apart, grabbing prizes and items, and the ability to throw almost anything in the game – including your co-op buddy. Considering the player’s ability to do all of this with one button (and smoothly too, I might add) the developers had a good idea in mind, despite the decision to remove Kirby’s well-known power of inhaling things. Though Kirby does not have the power to take the form of any enemies in Epic Yarn, players can throw them into walls, exploding boxes, or bigger baddies. Epic Yarn’s main focus steers away from the hoards of Waddle-Dees and Gordos in order to hone in on the interactive maps and power-up-based play.

Bright, colorful backgrounds carefully mixed with the interesting notion of fabrics and sewing materials really stand out in Epic Yarn, making it slightly reminiscent of LittleBigPlanet’s use of various textures. The power-ups remain exciting and interesting throughout the game, offering a much wider variety of play styles. Rarely did it feel that power-up-based sections dominated the levels, which allowed the game to breathe evenly, incorporating its own play style with an occasional change of scenery. Notable power-ups include: a UFO, an ATV, a Mole Digger, and a giant Kirby Tank, replete with exploding missiles.

I’ll say this now: Driving around a giant Kirby tank firing missiles at your enemies is much, MUCH more fun than eating them for lunch.

Other gameplay variants are available as well. As Kirby completes levels and collects the items in each stage, they can be used to furnish apartments in the “central hub” world. Doing so will allow a new character to move into each apartment. Per Kirby’s arrival at each apartment, the apartment dwellers will ask Kirby to “play” with them. Depending on the character Kirby talks to, each will entail a time attack mode, a hide-and-seek mode, a gem-collecting mode, and others. This adds great replay value, but in this case, each level isn’t always as fun as the first time through.

The music and sound in Epic Yarn remain fairly thin, but light and fluffy, similar to the pink puff himself. Many interactive pieces of the worlds in Epic Yarn produce sound effects when touched, nicely filling in any gaps in the environmental music. Players can also obtain full completion on levels to unlock the music track from each, allowing die-hard fans to listen at any time.

The visuals presented in Epic Yarn accurately prove the Wii’s graphical capabilities, allowing a 480p picture to be broadcast on an HDTV with little to no discernment of the console’s standard-definition setback. Basically, graphical limitations which stood out on other Wii titles seem nonexistent with Kirby’s Epic Yarn, fooling the player into thinking that the game may actually be displayed in an HD format.

Most importantly, the playability of Epic Yarn remains tasteful and thoroughly well-crafted, offering as much fun as Nintendo’s other recent platformer releases. Despite its childish, cutesy appearance, Epic Yarn delivers, and delivers hard. At this rate, if Nintendo continues to realize and re-invent their once-successful franchises, the possibility of dominating the next generation of platform games is entirely feasible. For now though, I highly recommend picking up (or at least checking out) Kirby’s Epic Yarn.

Kirby’s Epic Yarn is a necessary addition to your collection of Wii titles. It may not outshine all other releases for the Wii, but it makes for a fun playthrough; it is especially fun if you’re playing with a second player. The levels are creative, the music is well-suited for the environments, and the controls are solid. The “% complete” factor will keep you coming back for more, to collect every single soundtrack, fabric, and piece of furniture available.

Review Disclosure: A retail copy of Kirby’s Epic Yarn was purchased by Warp Zoned for the purposes of this review.

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