The 'Shroom:Issue XLIV/Non-Marioverse Review
This month (apologies for my absence), we will be reviewing the new Wii game, Kirby’s Epic Yarn.
Kirby fans are almost always given the short end of the stick. Half a decade ago we were promised a new Kirby game for the GameCube at E3. With the release of the Wii not long after, everyone expected HAL’s delay of information to simply mean they were busy transferring the game over to the new system. Yet we waited years and years for this information to come, and it never did. Until E3 2010, when Reggie stepped on stage building up to a grand announcement – Kirby’s Epic Yarn. Significantly different from the 3‐dimensional game fans saw 5 years ago (in a manner similar to what happened with The Wind Waker), the game featured characters made of yarn traveling in textile‐based landscapes, unraveling doorways sealed with zippers and collecting beads. It elicited both extreme joy and disappointment in the Kirby fandom, but the general consensus now is that Epic Yarn is not only one of the finest Kirby games in years, but a landmark for the Wii.
The Kirby series has always been a triumphant piece of proof that sometimes, simple is best. It’s a relatively straightforward platformer; although this time Kirby cannot inhale/copy enemy abilities, he is given a yarn whip, with which he can tangle up his enemies into a mass of string and buttons and launch it as a projectile. If a second player is present, co‐op mode with a new character, “Prince Fluff”, is possible, not unlike New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Of course, having multiple players isn’t vital and the main game can be completed with only one, but it’s so much more fun to share the experience. It might be a bit off‐putting to some hardcore fans that it is impossible to die in the game, though falling in pits/getting struck by enemies will cause you to lose beads. It’s not as easy as it sounds.
The look of this game – the design scheme and color palette – are dazzling, to say the least. Lush music set to rolling green hills and intricate (though never too busy) patterns overlaying objects creates a feeling not unfamiliar to Kirby veterans, but still brand new. The smallest of details are what make up its beauty. For instance, when Kirby goes through a hole and ends up on the other side, he creates a bump under the fabric. The floor dips. So many nice touches – it’s a game that could be replayed again and again – to catch all the details if anything. The score is in the Kirby spirit, but uses the Wii hardware capabilities to orchestrate songs, adding in a little piano and trumpet. It’s Mario Galaxy quality, just not on such a grand scale. And it needn’t be – this is Kirby we’re talking about!
The boss fights are some of the most unique and varied I’ve seen in a Kirby game. While still not as diverse as Mario’s, some are pure genius. (Key example: Squashini the magician.) Another great thing about Epic Yarn is that it’s less linear than most Kirby games. There’s more to do. A hub world where you can furnish rooms, make expansions, play missions with the people that move in, etc. And like Kirby 64, there are nice cinematics with a narrator at certain points in the game.
Kirby’s Epic Yarn is one of those few games that manages to be fun throughout. But like all too many, it’s too short! (This reviewer’s little brother beat in on the second day of owning it.) It might be best that it’s kept short, however, to avoid repetition. Overall, Epic Yarn is so open‐ended, fun and well‐designed it should put worrying fans to rest. It manages to blur the line between casual and hardcore gaming and creates something that’s laid‐back but presents enough challenge and originality for long‐time Nintendo fans as well. It’s just the game we’ve all been waiting for. 9.6/10