theuselessgod's Kirby's Epic Yarn (Wii) review

Cute, cuddly, and great for kids.

The Short

Pros

- Vibrant, charming adventure starring Kirby in Yarn World

- Simple 2D platformer across several varying worlds of adventure

- Kirby transforms into zany stuff at set intervals to mix up the gameplay

- Despite not having his trademark eating, still feels like a Kirby game

- Graphics and yarn aesthetic do a lot to sell the presentation

- Handful of secret levels to unlock and an apartment to furnish

- Music is pretty mellow and stuff

- Two-player co-op

- Excellent game for children

Cons

- Extremely easy; it is impossible to die

- Co-op suffers from the same issue as New Super Mario Bros Wii in that you can shove people off cliffs, pick them up and kill them on accident, etc.

- Despite being easy, it can get frustrating when you get hit and lose all your beats, especially in co-op

- Very, very short

- Kirby and Prince Fluff's voices are supposed to be cute, but they are more likely to make you want to put a cheese grater to your ears

- A bit too simple of a platformer; there's never any real dexterous challenge or build up to something harder

This is Kirby. And yes, he is made of yarn.

The Long

Kirby's Epic Yarn is pretty damn adorable. To quote Alex from GiantBomb,"It makes me angry how f***ing much I enjoy this game!" Everything else aside, Kirby's Epic Yarn has an art style that is unique, endearing, and just straight up clever. Yeah, you could argue they aped a bit from Little Big Planet's "scrapbook" look, but while that was kind of a weird mishmash, Kirby knows what it wants and is dedicated to it. Kirby is made of yarn. In yarn world. Where even the water is cloth. Yeah. It's nuts.

AND REALLY ADORABLE URGH WHY.

Anyway, um, there was supposed to be a review here, so let's get to it. I played this whole game with my wife co-op, by the way, so if you want to see her opinion on the game she reviewed it on her blog as well, so check it out.

Clothing it up with a yarn monkey

So there's a story I guess...Kirby is sucked into Yarn Land for a reason and he's tasked with finding magic yarn for other reasons. The story is narrated as a slow-as-a-snail pace for the kiddies by an overly exaggerated excited narrator, which meant I skipped all of it. So if there was some extreme plot twist where Prince Fluff ended up being Kirby's dad or something I missed it. Sorry. You'll have to play it yourself.

My version of the plot was: tear up every yarn thing, pull ever tab, and wreck everything until I got til the end with all the beads. Which worked out pretty good.

Since Kirby is made out of yarn and therefore is just a connected string, his trademark power to eat stuff and steal their abilities is oddly absent from this outing (making me wonder if this actually counts as a Kirby game). Instead you have the power to grab stuff and either kill it, or wrap it up and then lob it at other stuff. Pretty simple. 90% of enemies, regardless of size, can be grabbed, and if they can't than you can throw stuff at them or "butt-stomp" them to death easily enough.

Pull zippers to dramatically change the landscape in real time! Call of Duty's got nothin on this!

It's a pretty simple platformer. You have a parachute hover (which of course means one thing: air vents in future levels). You have a butt-slam. You can double tap to go faster. Each movement is accompanied by a little yarn transformation, which is a cute touch. In fact, 90% of what sells this game is the cute touches. As seen from screenshots, you pull tabs to remove fabric, pull zippers to change landscapes, "unwind" from time to time to fit in small gaps, etc. It's all still like "Baby's First Platformer" (at least until the harder levels), but I'm fine with that.

You also can turn into some pretty awesome stuff and spread ruination to your enemies (who many of which can't even hurt you; seriously, you can jump all over them and ram into them and they just hang out. Ok.). These include miners, dolphins, UFOs (my favorite, since you "abduct" hapless enemies), a car, a surfer, and a giant robot hell-bent on one goal: global nuclear meltdown.

Doom Robot Kirby ain't taking your bullcrap.

The "this is a kid's game" is only further accented by the fact you can't die. Like, at all. We tried, trust me. If you get hit all the beats you've accumulated come flying from you like fleas off a dog, and if you get hit when you don't have any beads Kirby just sort of slumps over depressed until the enemy gives you a pat on the back and everybody feels better. Seriously, that's it. Fall off a cliff and an angel will save you every time, get hit by fire and he'll turn black and burned but end up ok, etc. It is impossible to lose at this game. Which is actually a good idea, since the lives idea in games is total bullcrap anyway, and it just makes the player waste time they shouldn't. While this might be a step too far...it's for kids. So it works.

The bosses look awesome and yarn...ish.

There's a fair number of worlds, with the final one (a yarned-up Dream Land from other Kirby games) easily being the standout, but they cover all their basics. You have your starting green fields, a fire/egyption one, a "Treat Land" which I pointed out over and over only has one level devoted to food (and no yodeling bass chef. Point for the food level goes to Rayman Origins), one in ice because a fire and ice level are mandatory for platformers, a space level, and a water level (again, mandatory). It's your basic stuff, and while they don't really mix up the gameplay by any serious amount between levels, it's easy and the levels are quick enough that you don't care.

The game also has co-op, which is fun...to a point. My wife can attest that on both this and New Super Mario Bros Wii we kind of have marital problems because I'm a lot better at platformers than her, and when that happens in games where 1. You can shove people of cliffs on accident and 2. You often grab the wrong people on accident and 3. You share point (meaning if I get a bunch of points and my wife gets hit, all my beads go flying) this becomes a problem. It wasn't a problem in Rayman Origins (yes, I sing that game's praises every 2D platformer review now. Maybe because it's really good; shut up) because everybody collected their own crap, but being able to accidentally shove people, pick them up and throw them (which happens a lot on accident) and more makes co-op arguably more difficult than single player. Nintendo still doesn't know how to do co-op in their 2d platformers, which is too bad, but whatever; it's a kid's game. If you aren't such a bead-hording, score-seeking a-hole like me you'll probably get over it and have a lot of fun co-op.

Throw your partner into the pit of flame. Just like you did to your Companion Cube. You Monster.

So it's a simple, 2D platformer with co-op and a cloth aesthetic. Is there anything else? Well...sort of? After you beat a stage boss if you did well enough on said boss you'll unlock three bonus stages for each level, which gives replayability. After each world you are scored based on the amount of beads you have, with the goal being Gold, so if you are OCD that's another reason to go back. You can also find tons of secret furniture to adorn your yarny apartment (though once you get the Brontosaurus Slide in the dino worlds you don't need any other piece of furniture...ever) and you can cash in your points for new cloth, furniture, and play crappy minigames with other people in your apartment.

This sounds like a lot of content, but to be honest you'll probably burn through this whole game in 6-7 hours tops, adding maybe another to it if you want to clean up and find every object and get gold on every stage. It's a short experience, at least with two adults, though kids might get stuck on the harder levels and add some more playtime value. Either way you cut it, though, it's more about the ride than the length, so just don't expect it to be super long and you'll be ok.

This game really looks good.

Despite not being in HD, Kirby's Epic Yarn looks amazing. It doesn't need to push pixel density or hefty graphics to fit its cute and cuddly fabric theme, and it's just so gosh darned cute you'll be willing to forgive just about any technical shortcoming. My only complaint is I wish they took it further at times. Zippers show up a lot at the beginning and disappear later, with a lot of levels just being regular platforming levels set on a fabric backdrop but not utilizing their unique setting. Still, it looks cute, and thus we will take it.

Music is all extremely slow, mellow, with a very heavy emphasis on piano. None of the tracks are memorable, to be honest, but the "chill" feel fits well with the game. The only exception are the Dream Land stages, where they take regular Kirby themes and apply this mellow feel to them. Green Greens, aka the best Kirby song, just sounds awesome. It's weird, considering how insanely frantic the original GB song is, how this version still works.

It sounds especially good starting at 0:39

Sound effects are...there. Kirby and Prince Fluff's constant obnoxious, high-pitched squeals are great for kids but for a jaded twenty-something I wanted to find a way to turn them off. But hey, it all depends on your "Japan cuteness" tolerance, so if it's high than you are set.

Cloth dinosaurs. Game of the Year.

I'll say this pretty frankly: if you have kids and a Wii, you should own Kirby's Epic Yarn. Yeah, it might not be the hardest platformer or the longest one, but that's because you are an adult. They made other games for you (called Super Meat Boy or Rayman...I won't bring it up again, you know what I'm getting at), but rarely does anybody create a game so obviously tailored directly towards children. It's a charming, inoffensive romp that's both cute and accessible, and the co-op makes it great for kids to either play together or with a parent.

All that being said, the fact that it's short and I want to strangle Prince Fluff everytime he makes a sounds has me suggest you pick up this game when it's $25 or below. Which I'm pretty sure it is right now, so you are set.

Four out of five stars.

UFO KIRBY WILL ABDUCT YOU MWHAHAHA

More at http://nathanvsvideogames.blogspot.com

0 Comments

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