The video game industry is a very sequel driven. It seems that every week there’s a new Call of Duty, or Guitar Herogame being announced. With all of these sequels, one has to ask – where’s the creativity?
Kirby’s Epic Yarn is none of that. Not only is it one of the most imaginative and creative titles we’ve seen in years; it’s also damn fun. Featuring an irresistible sense of style and a world that’s genuinely fun to explore, Kirby’s return to consoles is one that you won’t want to miss.
Undoubtedly, the first thing you’ll notice about Epic Yarn is the game’s unique visual style. Characters and objects are seemingly constructed of yarn, while the environments themselves seem like they’re made of cloth. While it may not seem like much, the combination of the two makes for a fantastically vibrant world that’s stuck somewhere in between 2D and 3D. The game’s story is presented as if it were a children’s book, chronicling Kirby’s adventures in Patch land. Yes, it’s cute – but don’t let your hardcore gamer bravado get in the way, there’s also a ton of substance to back it up.
The gameplay of Epic Yarn is a perfect mix for the game’s visuals. All of Kirby’s abilities you’ve come to expect are here, only this time they’re handled a lot more contextual. Take for instance when Kirby is trying to traverse a rather wide gap – -like a fat kid, the odds are against Kirby, but hitting the number two button will make our hero turn into a parachute, letting you float safely to the next platform. There are roughly 50 levels in Epic Yarn, and each one offers new and unique challenges.
While Kirby’s transforming powers are great fun, they can also be incredibly frustrating. Many of these changes are performed with a quick press of the D-Pad in a specific direction, which happened accidentally on numerous occasions throughout the game. It gets even more frustrating when you accidentally transform into something you don’t want in an area that’s very hard to traverse, leading to having to restart the section. There are portions of the game where you’ll play the entire section in a different form, which changes the gameplay entirely. Some of these changes are ho-hum, like the train transformation, but others are spectacularly fun, like the UFO transformation.
Save for a few spots where the controls get in the way, Kirby’s Epic Yarn ‘s main story gameplay is absurdly easy. See, you really can’t die, and a lot of the puzzles are pretty easy to solve.Even the game’s bosses are easy to telegraph and don’t offer much of a challenge. You’ll find yourself focusing on trying to collect enough beads to get a high enough ranking to unlock the game’s secret levels than stressing about beating the bosses themselves.
That same easy gameplay though does not carry over to the game’s mini game collection. There’s around 100 mini games, broken up into five categories; hide and seek, bash the baddie, carry your friend, collect the beads and race. Each one pits you against an unforgiving clock and is chock full of the tension and challenge that’s not found in the main game. There’s a few prizes you can earn, and you can use those prizes to decorate an apartment, but you’re likely to skip this aspect during much of your time with Epic Yarn – the real allure of these mini games is finding ways to beat them all.
Kirby’s Epic Yarn also allows for the entire game to be completed cooperatively. Unlike most cooperative experiences on the Wii (yes, I’m looking at you New Super Mario Bros), the co-op gameplay in Epic Yarn is fantastic and allows for two gamers to play together without getting in each other’s way too much. Many of the levels feel like they were designed for single player gaming, but playing with a friend controlling Prince Fluff (a purple, slimmer version of Kirby wearing a crown) offers up new challenges and new ways to clear most stages.
The Blast Factor: If there were more sequels and franchises that took risks like Kirby’s Epic Yarn, the video game industry would be a far more interesting one. Kirby’s latest adventure is a cute, fun filled romp that no one should ignore. Sure, it’s a bit easy at times and there’s a few control issues to be found, but that’s all excusable when you’re talking about one of the most fun games of the year.