Genre: Kids Developer: Publisher: Classification: G Release Date: 24th Feb 2011 Platforms:
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The first thing you will notice about Kirby's Epic Yarn is how cute it is. If you have never heard of Kirby, managed to ignore all of the box
artwork and put it in your Wii expecting a gritty hardboiled detective mystery, you are in for a couple of surprises. The first being that Kirby's Epic Yarn is, as mentioned, ridiculously cute. The second being - and maybe this isn't my place to tell you - you would probably lack the cognitive faculties required to finish a hardboiled detective mystery starring Kirby. (A note to Nintendo: please make this.)
Kirby’s Epic Yarn does begin with a mystery however, with Kirby attempting to eat a woolen ‘metamato’ (the tomatoes with the letter M on them, known sometimes as Maxim Tomatoes) and being confronted by the evil sorceror known as Yin Yarn. Kirby eats the metamato while Yin Yarn is trying to introduce himself, at which point Kirby is dragged into the sock hanging around Yin Yarn’s neck - into Patch Land, where the grass feels like trousers.
Kirby sees a blue wool guy being chased around by a monster and finds wind passes straight through his body when he goes to inhale the monster. Instead, he transforms into a little car and carries the blue wool boy away from the monster at speed. Once they have stopped, the boy introduces himself as Prince Fluff and he enlists Kirby’s help to retrieve the magic strands of yarn which stitch Patch Land together - removed by Yin Yarn.
The story is told almost entirely through narration, similar to a storybook being read aloud to children. In fact, while Kirby’s Epic Yarn is most definitely aimed primarily at children, it is thoroughly enjoyable for people of any age, with a variety of challenges which would prove difficult for a small child.
Everything in the game is designed as if made out of fabrics - a design which moves beyond simple aesthetics to influence gameplay. While Kirby can’t inhale enemies, he can lasso them with a strand of wool - pulling them into a ball he can then throw at enemies or obstacles.
He also uses his yarn lasso to grab onto buttons in the environment, which he can swing from, or pull for a variety of effects. If the button is attached to a patch, he will pull the patch off to reveal beads - the monetary system of patch land - or collectible items. Buttons attached to stitching can be pulled to move the environment - moving a platform to gain access to somewhere or tightening the top of a volcano to allow Kirby to move past it.
If Kirby finds a door shaped hole in a fabric tower, he can jump through to behind the fabric - you see him as a fabric bulge and he can jump higher and lower using stitching as platforms. Standing behind the fabric can be a good way to avoid enemies and obstacles too.
The most important yarn-based gameplay element is the aforementioned transformations however. Kirby can turn into an adorable car with a double tap in a direction, a parachute if 2 is held mid-air, an anvil if Down is held mid-air and a little submarine in water. In certain levels though, when Kirby finds special items he will transform into more elaborate forms.
These more elaborate forms change the gameplay a fair bit. Transformed into a dune buggy, the gameplay becomes more of a platform racer between Kirby and the levels enemies driving their own dune buggies. Transformed into a rocket ship, the game becomes a vertical shooter - albeit a simple one. Transformed into a train, the game becomes unbearably annoying and difficult, with the Kirby train deciding at random whether he wants to travel along the tracks you draw with your wiimote.
Fortunately Kirby can’t die no matter how frustrating any part gets. He will lose all of his beads if he is attacked or misses a platform though and beads are necessary for the game’s more challenging parts.
You can attain three rankings in every level - bronze, silver or gold - and you score higher depending on how many beads you finish the game with. Back at Prince Fluff’s castle, beads are used to purchase furniture and fabrics in game - and they are also used to add levels to Kirby’s apartment block - which will gain mini-game playing residents once level specific furniture is found.
Each level (except boss battles) has three collectible items hidden throughout - two pieces of decorative furniture and a music track. Collecting the items varies in difficulty throughout the game and while it’s certainly not necessary, it is, as mentioned, the only way to unlock the mini-games.
The mini-games grow substantially more difficult as they progress, but they are a fun diversion and quick challenge if you are looking for something a little bit different. Presented by some of the cutest characters in the game, they range from hide and seek through to races and bead collecting and provide you fabrics when you beat them.
The fabrics and furniture aren’t only used to unlock mini-games however, you can also use them to decorate Kirby’s own apartment - placing furniture and decorations and using the fabric as wallpaper or to reupholster an item. Once placed, the other tenants will come over to Kirby’s house to play, giving their own comments on the house.
I mentioned earlier the hidden music tracks throughout the game and they are important, because the music in Kirby’s Epic Yarn ranges from great to outstanding. All of the tunes complement their levels really well and do an excellent job of adding to the atmosphere of the game. Most levels have cheery upbeat music, which not only combines with the visuals to keep you smiling throughout, but add to the tension when you reach a boss level and the music becomes more serious.
The gameplay is fun and innovative, the level design is unique and the music is fantastic, but the best thing about Kirby by far is how cute it is. It doesn’t matter how tough you are, Kirby is like a sleeping baby hugging both a puppy and a kitten - it is so cute.
It goes beyond making you smile to that level of cuteness where your cheek muscles feel sore from the big smile which won’t leave your face and you feel a rush of energy like you just had a shot of hard liquor. If you have any interest in platforming games at all, get Kirby’s Epic Yarn. If you are still looking for that film noir detective mystery, at this point I’m confused you can actually read.