Kirby’s Epic Yarn at 90%: Cute as a Button

Known around the world as the cute little cream puff that sucks up all that stuff, Kirby has appeared on every Nintendo platform.  Being able to suck up and copy enemies is to Kirby as throwing a fireball is to Mario.  What if for some reason he couldn’t?  What if he were forced to embody something else?  What if it were yarn?  Would it be worth playing?  Would it even be a Kirby game?

Game:                            Kirby’s Epic Yarn

Platform                          Nintendo Wii

Difficulty Played:             N/A

Kirby is just roaming Dreamland enjoying the sunshine, feeling hungry he sucks up what looks to be a regular tomato.  Suddenly, some weird yarn wizard shows up and transports Kirby to a mystical land made of fabric and string.  Kirby’s finally bitten off more than he can chew for it is in this new land where his old tricks won’t work and he’ll have to depend on new abilities to save the day.

Everything in this game from the characters to the environments is made of yarn and cloth and fabric.  Zippers and buttons hold things together.  Kirby cannot even inhale enemies because he is now just a yarn outline.  Kirby is able to unravel and then roll up enemies and items instead of inhaling and from a gameplay perspective there really isn’t much difference.  What changes is the lack of copying.  Instead Kirby is able to transform into different vehicles, animals, and objects.

Instead of inhaling air and floating, Kirby can only transform into a parachute and float down to widen his jumps.  Instead of running, beep beep he’s a car.  The game presents many forced transformations as well from a mole to a dolphin to a fire truck to a giant rolling Kirby shaped tank.  It is these transformations that make the gameplay more like Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island than a Kirby game.

There is one transformation however, that nearly drove your humble reviewer to give up on the game.  The train oh, Metaknight the train it haunts me so.  You are required to point the WiiMote at the screen and draw track for a Kirby that chugs happily along in one direction until told otherwise.  DeDeDe help you if you do not have a steady hand every bit of shake gets reflected in your track causing Kirby to jump and stutter.  Kirby also has problems climbing onto the track and it can be frustrating to draw out a long line of track and have him chug right past it instead of on it.  Add the fact that the track disappears and it can all equal a very aggravating time.  Luckily these levels are far and few in-between

A myriad of beads is peppered throughout the levels and it is the main task of the player to collect them and maintain this collection throughout the level.  This brings to mind the fantastic Lego games just beads instead of studs.  It is here where everything in the experience splits depending on what type of player you are.  If you only care about the story you can breeze through with little difficulty and your hours played will barely reach double digits.  If however, you are the type of gamer who must see everything then there is double the amount of challenge, levels, hours, and cute to see.

As you collect beads, a bar at the top of the screen begins to fill.  Gathering enough beads gains you medals.  Just like the Olympics going for the gold is the goal.  Not to tell anyone how to play, it is this reviewer’s humble opinion that reaching for the gold is half the fun.  The game gets infinitely tenser.  Protecting your beads throughout the levels is a test of platforming dexterity.  Acquiring enough beads to get the gold medal adds puzzle solving and some brain play into the mix.  Although there is no death in this game, getting hit by enemies, or falling down a pit results in a huge hit to the bead count and hurts more than losing a life ever could.

Hoping you gather them all back up again, hoping your medal is still assured.  If not do you restart?  Do you continue on hoping there is enough left in the level to recoup the loss?  Believe it or not these decisions almost become nerve wracking.  The whole experience reduces to a tense expletive filled journey capped off with shuddering waves of relief at levels’ end.  Once a cute and cuddly game filled with charming characters becomes a tense edge of your seat gauntlet.  Of course it all depends on your play style.

Throughout the levels there are treasures to find as well and just like in Yoshi’s Island they can be tricky to find and involve a little brain work to get.  These can be used to decorate apartments for Kirby and other characters.  Each new tenant, five in all, comes with their own mini-game and there are one hundred in all.  Whether it is a race or hide and seek, each one proves a worthy distraction from the core game.  Completing each one successfully gives you carpet and wallpaper for your house.  The whole thing is very Animal Crossing with the mini-games replacing tree shaking.  They are completely optional and are there to be enjoyed by the type of player who must collect and grab everything.

Cold icy hearts will melt before this game’s glowing cuteness. The difficulty and depth are there.  It all depends on what type of person you are, what type of gamer you are.  This game can prove to be the best Kirby ever.  Even if you have no love for the pink little puff this game is worth a try because it is also the most different Kirby ever.

 

The Good: Charming environments and challenging gameplay

The Bad: The transformations can be frustrating

The Ugly: THE TRAIN

What the…? A whole world literally held together with string

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