The last console Kirby title was Kirby Air Ride released back in 2003, and it wasn’t exactly what fans wanted. When you’re thinking Kirby, racing isn’t really what comes to mind. What comes to mind are the multiple Game Boy, NES and SNES platformers that we all grew to love. With that said, the last platforming Kirby title released for a Nintendo console goes even further back. It was the year 2000, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards was released, and since then fans have been starving for another for over 10 years. Nixed GameCube and Wii titles left us with little hope if one would ever be released again. However, the streak of disappointment has finally been broken. Kirby’s Epic Yarn has arrived, and although it isn’t exactly the same game we remember, it shines just as bright.
As you may already know, throughout the game Kirby is made out of yarn. The one responsible for all of this is a caped sorcerer who has transformed Kirby, and has taken him to Patch Land. There, everything is made of yarn, fabric, buttons and zippers. The artistic direction they took with this game is something to enjoy. It’s refreshing to see a game that looks radically different from anything we’ve seen before. The colors and creativity is enough to have even non-gamers watching with intent as the game is being played. The story is told through cutscenes and told like a children’s book. I have to say that the narrator who reads the story out loud is absolutely fantastic at what he does. His voice was made for storytelling.
The beginning of the story explains why Kirby isn’t performing any of his patented air-sucking tactics throughout the game. Basically, since he’s made out of yarn, air passes right through his body. So don’t expect any swallowing of enemies or fluttering. Kirby’s Epic Yarn may not look or play exactly as some of the older platforming Kirby titles, it still has all the essentials that have made Kirby games great for all these years. There is still the ability to snatch up enemies, use of power-ups, familiar faces, recognizable tunes, and pink cuteness! Kirby can snatch up enemies using his yarn body parts, and you can toss them to break certain objects or into other enemies. Almost every stage has a sequence where Kirby turns and twists into different shapes to use a different power. Kirby turns into a firetruck to hose down fires, a dolphin to cut through the water, and those are just two to name a couple. There is plenty of variety when it comes to power-ups that keep the game fresh. However, I am sad to say that power-ups are only specific to certain parts of the game. Simply put, you can’t run around as whatever you turn into forever. Bummer.
On the plus side, you can run around with a buddy. The game features two-player co-op, and everything I mentioned can be done with two players. The only big difference (besides there being two players) is that some power-ups have both players combine into one. One example is when Kirby and King Fluff (controlled by player 2) combine into a giant tank. One player controls the missiles, and the other controls the rocket fists. There are a couple of other instances this happens, but usually both players turn into their own separate entities.
The stages themselves are also kept very fresh. Most stages are unique enough where it separates itself far enough from other stages to not seem repetitious, a curse seen in so many other platformers. Most stages also have their own distinct music, some of which can be pretty catchy. Familiar music is also thrown in there for the long-time fans, such as the Gourmet Race theme. All-time favorite characters also make appearances, but I’ll let you find those out for yourself.
The downside to Kirby’s Epic Yarn is its difficulty. Since it is clearly targeted towards a younger audience, the game has almost no difficulty. There are no lives or game overs. Getting hurt or falling off the stage merely results in the loss of gems you have collect throughout a stage. That’s not to say there are no challenges, though. Stages can all eventually be cleared, but how many beads and treasure you finish with is a different story. Those looking for a good challenge will want to finish every stage with a gold medal by collecting a great amount of beads. Hidden throughout every stage are three hidden treasures. These treasures usually consist of two items for your customizable apartment and a music soundtrack to listen to later. The customizable apartment is a nice little thing to mess around with when taking a break from the game and photos of your best creations can be taken and shared through the console’s message board. There are also extra hide-and-seek challenges that can be completed, but they’re not necessary to finish the game.
Kirby’s Epic Yarn can be beat in a short 6 hours, but you’re going to want to play for longer than that. The game is too charming to pass up one or two more replays of the story, and discovering everything the game has to offer can take a while. Although it has taken the series into a different direction, fans should not be disappointed in what is a fundamentally solid platformer with an out-of-this-world art style. No one would be left disappointed picking this one up.
- Title: Kirby’s Epic Yarn
- Platform Reviewed: Wii
- Developer: Good-Feel, HAL Laboratory
- Publisher: Nintendo
- MSRP: $49.99
- Release Date: Available Now
- Review Copy Info: A copy of this game was provided to DualShockers Inc, by the publisher for purposes of this review.