Kirby’s Epic Yarn Review

Video games with sprawling worlds, hundreds of collectibles, and demanding gameplay are abundant these days. Because of this, games can become more of a chore than a cathartic experience. When this happens, I stop playing. For example, I find it difficult to finish a game like Metroid Prime, try as I may, because its scope intimidates me. Kirby’s Epic Yarn, however, is never a chore. In fact, it encompasses so much of what I love about video games.

The premise is simple – transport Kirby into a realm where everything is made of yarn. Unlike other Kirby games, the traditional moves are gone entirely. Instead, this “yarnified puffball” can now morph into a block, a car, or a parachute on command, because he is made of…well, yarn. Touching enemies doesn’t even hurt Kirby. If the same principles were applied to the world of Mario, Goombas would be the least-threatening enemies ever created (as if they weren’t neutered enough).

As with many Nintendo platformers, this game is easy to finish because the challenge is optional. There are three hidden items in every level. You are also awarded a medal (wood, bronze, silver, or gold), depending on how many gems you collect. If you manage to get hurt, Kirby’s jewels will scatter a la Sonic. Collecting everything is satisfying, but rarely too demanding.

Epic Yarn is easy, but you should play it because it’s a total joy ride. Every stage is engaging and unique; finding hidden items is rewarding (unlike Donkey Kong Country Returns’ puzzle pieces), because you never have to look too hard for them. Kirby’s special abilities are varied and generally well designed. Most importantly, the game’s intentions are so innocent that it emits a warmth and accessibility that is impossible to deny.

Quick-tidbits:

– The game is relatively short. I beat every level in about 8 hours.
– I never played the co-op mode, partly because my Wii struggles to sync more than one controller, but also because I have no friends.
– Every level has four challenge stages and they’re all repetitive and uninspired. Bleh.
– Please excuse my DK rage (but seriously, putting puzzle pieces behind scenery isn’t clever or fun)

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1 Comment

  1. Billyshappy

     /  January 21, 2012

    As someone who has played co-op, I can say this is a perfect game to share with a girlfriend (or sibling, child, etc.) who has no video game experience. It is adorable, creative, and (importantly) easy.

    Co-op is in no way particularly different or interesting from single-player. However, it does make it even easier to reach certain places or items as one character can actually launch the other to a spot one could not easily reach alone. Like “bubbling” in New Super Mario Bros Wii, you can use a sort of “yarn angel” at any time to become temporarily invulnerable and float on over to your other partner’s location.

    Reply

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