Cuter than your children.
It's hard to remember a game that made me smile with a delight that wasn't being brought on by some extreme explosion or sick move. Sure, time spent with Comic Jumper made me laugh out loud, but I never wanted to sit down and give Captain Smiley a big ole hug. Enter a pink marshmallow named Kirby who unwittingly, while just trying to eat a delicious tomato (vegetables!), gets sucked into a sock and transformed into yarn, and all I want to do is snuggle on that little thread.
That tomato was really a 'metamato', whatever the heck that is, and it was owned by a wizard named Yin-Yarn. Before Kirby so rudely interrupted, he was trying to usurp the throne of Dream Land from King Dedede and of course, turn everything into yarn. Kirby's sock prison actually contains a new world called Patch Land, which Yin-Yarn has already ripped apart into several pieces (read: worlds), each with a conveniently different theme. You'll soon rescue a blue fellow named Fluff who acts as your co-op partner in 2p mode, and he lets Kirby know that Patch Land needs to get literally stitched back together with magic thread before he can return to Dream Land. Dawww!
Everything in Patch Land is made out of something you'd find in your mom's sewing kit. Whether it be the canvas backdrops, felt shapes, button enemies, or Kirby himself, this is one motif that encompasses truly everything. Even the freakin' rain is made out of yarn. The fabric aesthetic is truly one of the more unique ones around and adds to the already high charm rating by creating plenty of "aww shucks" moments. Bubbles, butterflies, and smoke are all done with thin yarn and if you don't smile when Kirby falls into "water" and shapes himself into a mini-submarine, you're likely incapable of joy.
Speaking of metamorphosis, Kirby's yarny form means his trademark suction ability is rendered useless. Instead of gaining abilities from his adversaries, you'll transform as the environment allows. A double tap to the left or right throws Kirby into a car form on land, or sled on snow; while airborne, a second press of the jump button creates a parachute or a downward press will create a "heavy" weight to smash objects. Further and more grandiose shape-shifting occurs by ripping certain patches off the canvas, resulting in some of the game's hallmark moments as well as some of the weaker ones. Becoming a giant tank of "destruction" is quite satisfying, but when taking a train form, badly implemented motion controls terribly hamper a potentially cool sequence and stuck out like a sore thumb after I finished the story.
Don't worry much about motion controls though, they're generally a very light touch as the majority of the game is played with the Wiimote held sideways in classic NES form. Also, don't worry about dying as you simply cannot die. Success is measured by collecting a myriad of colorful beads scattered throughout the levels which can result in a gold silver or bronze medal, as well as picking up each level's three treasures. Any damage you take makes you drop beads which must be scooped up quickly before they disappear for good, and if you fall off the screen, your beads will just melt away from the tally as they too find their way off the screen. Honestly though, even with this penalty, I finished the majority of the game with gold medals and all three treasures collected. Epic Yarn is by all accounts, a very easy game.
Treasures found in each level aren't just for completion purposes, they're also made available to your in-game apartment for decoration. This creates a lightweight Animal Crossing mode and is completely optional for those not interested. There's no online mode to show it off in real-time, but you can take a photo anywhere in the game and send it to any of your Wii friends through the Wii message board. Your abode is actually just part of an entire fabric apartment complex which you can deck out to attract new friends, each of which want to play mini-games with you. Hide and Seek anyone? Stop being so freakin' cute you Kirby game, you.
The largest draw of Kirby's Epic Yarn is its adorable presentation and feel-good nature. There's nearly no challenge and a fairly non-nonsensical story, but those concerns melt away after Kirby transforms into a dolphin and plays basketball with his bottlenose. While not the biggest game around, it's a lovely, endearing game that's worth the trip to save Dream Land from Yin-Yarn's terrible pseudo-evil plans. Also, the ground feels like pants.
- Has more charm than hours in the day.
- Completionists have a bunch of fun collecting ahead of them.
- Tight platforming and the light touch motion controls are implemented very well.
- There's really very little challenge here.
- Some of the mid-late game levels are less inspired than the initial onslaught.
- Comparatively? Puppies.
Originally posted on Evil Avatar.