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Kirby's Epic Yarn (Wii) Review

Review for Kirby

Good Feel is famous in some circles for its lead man being the chap behind the fantastic Legend of the Mystical Ninja adventures on the 16-bit Super Nintendo from Konami back in the 1990s. The company rose to fame when Nintendo offered the team the chance to resurrect Wario’s platform antics in the gorgeously animated 2D outing, Wario Land: The Shake Dimension, which had Production IG on-board for the cartoon sequences. Whilst a solid title, many believed it lacked the ultimate charm that had been present in the fourth entry on the Game Boy Advance, Wario Land 4. Then there was the failed DSiWare experiment that attempted to use the internal Nintendo DSi camera to create a 3D world, Looksley’s Line Up / Tales in a Box: Hidden Shapes in Perspective!, and now Good Feel has had its Wii project, Fluff’s Epic Yarn saved from possible dire circumstances by Nintendo and HAL Laboratory, slotting Kirby in as the main star at the same time. Was Team Nintendo able to avert a failed project in order to make Kirby’s Epic Yarn a worthy enough entry into the main Kirby series, though?

Kirby has gotten himself into somewhat of a pickle with his sucking shenanigans. The circular star is out and about, meandering in the peaceful, serene kingdom of Dream Land, despite the fact that there have been ominous rumours of a caped sorcerer lurking in the shadows, turning folk into yarn (string to most Europeans...). Spying one of his favourite foods, a bright red tomato, sat atop a bush, he uses his trademark suction technique to attempt to swallow it. However, upon doing so, the nefarious evil-doer appears to complain, yet Kirby ignores all warnings and still consumes the Metamato. The resultant effect is that the white sock dangling around the sorcerer’s neck begins to sway and wind starts swirling around, with Kirby eventually drawn into it! Waking up, Kirby finds that the grass below his feet feels funny...like trousers (yes, the UK version has been fully localised, complete with a mature British voice actor doing the narration, the letter ‘u’ being inserted into words like ‘favourite,’ and ‘trousers’ being substituted in for the term ‘pants’ - those with xenophobic tendancies will definitely be pleased to see such amendments!).

After the initial shock of the ground being made of fabric, Kirby spots a yarn monster chasing a blue yarn boy who is calling for assistance, but much to Kirby’s chagrin the usual enemy suck-and-swallow ability fails to work, with the air simply going straight through his body. However, suddenly he transforms into a car, driving away with the boy, leaving the monster for dust. It would appear that the Metamato gave Kirby the ability to turn into a car in this unusual Patch Land, as well as who knows what else. The game kicks off with King Fluff (the blue boy) introducing himself and helping with advice (and even coming in handy as a second player whenever a friend wants to join the adventure), offering to let Kirby enter Patch Castle to learn the basics of control. After all, how else is Kirby meant to defeat Yin-Yarn, the evil sorcerer with his dark knitting needles, who has split Patch Land into seven pieces? The aim of Kirby’s Epic Yarn is to sew everything back together by working through the various stages across Patch Land’s intriguing variety of areas, defeating seven main minions of Yin-Yarn along the way.

Screenshot for Kirby's Epic Yarn on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Right from the initial level in Kirby’s Epic Yarn it becomes apparent that collecting items is a strong theme throughout. Preceding each stage is a screen showing the number of treasures that can be found within, as well as showing the total ‘Beads’ gained and the ‘Streak’ achieved during the level. Control-wise, the Wii Remote is held on its side with the ‘2’ button used for jumping (with a second press turning Kirby into a parachute to help him gently float down from high platforms), the D-pad utilised for moving left and right (there is no filling Kirby with air to fly in Epic Yarn), whilst ‘1’ flicks out a piece of string with a star on the end to grab anything from the surroundings or incapacitate enemies. Additionally, in order to dash around a level, double-tapping the appropriate direction on the D-pad turns Kirby into a nippy little pink vehicle (complete with cute horn sound). Finally, jumping and pressing down on the directional cross leads to Kirby becoming a large weight and slamming to the floor. There are no major complications on the control-front, and for those that forget a particular move, tapping the 'minus' button brings up a 'Help' screen.

When working through one of the many magnificently decorated levels, complete with sumptuous musical score, there are times where patches can be ripped off walls using Kirby’s string to uncover new pathways, plus some stages have hidden platforms inside buildings, meaning keeping an eye out for new routes is imperative for those wanting to attain the highest possible score at the end of a stage. When the final roulette wheel is reached and Kirby has swung off it to stop the ticker at a random place for an end-of-level reward, the game gives the player a rating, with the aim being to get a Gold Medal. When finished, a ‘patch’ will be obtained that allows for a new area to be opened, and then it is back to the main overworld to move onwards.

This is where Kirby runs into various characters, such as Dom Woole, the manager of Quilty Court, who calls the pink protagonist ‘Lord Kirby’ and offers him a flat in thanks for his current mission of saving Patch Land. This abode is a place that can be furnished as you see fit by simply turning the Wii Remote to face forward at the TV/sensor bar and using the pointer to place things in different locations. Queue another part of the ‘collectathon’ adventure - watching out for items around stages that can be grabbed and placed wherever you desire in your temporary residence, thus incorporating a nice little aspect of the Animal Crossing series. You must also come to Dom Woole’s assistance later on by finding items to place in other flats he needs to sell to people (mini-games open up as a result of successfully helping Woole get new tenants, with Kirby able to ‘play with them’ on games such as 'Hide and Seek' or just grabbing as many beads before the timer runs out). To add to the customisation side of things, there are other shop owners to meet, such as Chaise Woole, who sells a variety of furniture, and Loomis Woole, who allows the player to procure all sorts of fabric for decorating.

Screenshot for Kirby's Epic Yarn on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Each stage is filled with plenty of diversity, with one example being Kirby turning into a large tank, using the Wii Remote to tilt the machine backwards and forwards, firing missiles at will. It becomes rather like a shmup at this time, blasting away at incoming flying enemies that try desperately to hit Kirby with rockets that do not inflict damage, but do cause him to lose the majority of jewels collected so far. This theme continues throughout with Kirby unable to die, instead parting with the precious gems collected so far and thus affecting the overall end-of-level score. As well as a tank, Kirby can transform into a Flying Saucer that sucks up enemies to build up charge that can then be released as a Thunder Spark to cause much devastation, or become a Spin Boarder to ride waves and use a Spin Attack to launch across treacherous gaps. The whole affair starts to take on the feel of Yoshi’s Island or Wario Land in places, with more than its fair share of character transformation helping to alleviate the chance of platform stagnation creeping in (turning into a remote control car, a mole machine and a fire engine are a few other early examples, along with the highly enjoyable train transformation where the Wii Remote must be held pointing towards the screen and tracks drawn for Kirby to follow, á la Kirby: Power Paintbrush).

In some stages there is the chance to use Kirby’s string weapon to swing on flowers to jump to higher locations, whilst some stems can be latched onto in order to release a seed that floats upwards in the wind, lifting Kirby to new heights. Throughout each level there are plenty of opportunities to seek out hidden extras, such as inconspicuous boxes set against the backdrop that when ripped off the background reveal an exclamation mark that must be followed as it floats along to reveal major secrets. Ride fabric waves, climb atop dinosaurs to traverse large bodies of water, navigate tight passages as Kirby turns into a long piece of string and wriggles through narrow gaps, leap from moving platform to moving platform whilst attempting to catch as many gems as you can all the while watching out for hidden items, extinguish roaring flames to allow Kirby to safely pass; there is so much going on in each level that players will constantly be amazed by the sheer amount of thought, care and attention that has been poured into Kirby’s Epic Yarn.

Screenshot for Kirby's Epic Yarn on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

However, the main drawback for some will be that Kirby’s Epic Yarn is not a tough enough adventure to complete. This is something that is always directed at Kirby outings, though, yet in this case, as with the Nintendo 64 game Yoshi’s Story, the lure to return lies in the overall charm of the design (even the way new stages open up on the main world map is delightfully inventive), how intricately crafted the numerous stages are (twisting, turning, and devilishly clever in construction), and how many secret elements there are to uncover upon repeated play-through attempts (all of which are carefully logged and easy to check on for those wanting to keep a close eye on progress made).

Given that Kirby cannot die at all, merely losing all of the gems and jewels collected along the way when hit (with the chance to regain some as they spill all over the place upon impact with an enemy or hazard), many will find flaw in the same way that they do with the more traditional Kirby adventures where players are given the opportunity to bypass most of a level by sucking in air and flying above everything to reach the end goal. However, clearly this defeats the purpose of spending hard-earned money on what is meant to be an enjoyable experience, and it is apparent that the developer, Good Feel (with a helping hand from Nintendo and HAL Laboratory), has aimed to ensure Kirby’s Epic Yarn is as accessible as possible for the masses, whilst still having sufficient depth to entertain those more au fait with the genre. Epic Yarn may not have originally started out as a Kirby project, yet Nintendo saw the potential in what would have otherwise been a massively overlooked platform release from a small, relatively unknown team, and transformed it into a thoroughly competent entry into the Kirby universe that makes gamers eager to find every strand of Magic Yarn from boss battles in order to stitch the fabric of Patch Land and this beauty of an adventure back together again.

Screenshot for Kirby's Epic Yarn on Wii- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

The development team has taken aspects from the likes of old school Mario platform adventures, as well as the inventive nature of games such as Yoshi’s Island and Wario Land, poured everything into the melting pot and then brought the skill of Nintendo and HAL on-board to tighten the whole end product as much as possible and mix in some of Kirby’s general traits, finally pouring the end result over some devilishly clever constructed levels to produce a superb piece of platform fun.

Graphics

One of the most beautiful games on Wii, taking the usual bright-and-breezy Kirby universe and transforming it into a gorgeous string/fabric-filled world full of delightful animation and fantastic characterisation that exudes charm from every pore and helps the game not only stand out on Wii, but in the field of 2D platform games in general.

Sound

Between the serene orchestra-led tunes, to subtle drums, lilting sitar music, upbeat piano ditties, plus much more, everything sounds very un-Kirby-like, yet is expertly tailored to suit the feel of Epic Yarn. Throw in some extremely cute Kirby grunts, great sound effects and a perfectly fitting British male voice actor to narrate the tale in an excellent story-book tone, and Kirby’s Epic Yarn can barely be faulted.

Value

The one aspect that lets the side down is the longevity of Kirby’s Epic Yarn. There are plenty of extras to collect along the way, with numerous hidden elements to uncover, as well as extra stages to unlock and mini-games to partake in (even with a friend tagging along for the duration). However, Kirby cannot die during levels and reaching the finale of the adventure will prove rather too simple for veteran platform fans.

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

About this score
Rated 9 out of 10

Kirby’s Epic Yarn starts off slow and may even lead to fans of traditional Kirby adventures giving it the cold shoulder. However, the sheer amount of thought, creativity and extra little touches poured into the adventure help to make this one journey that grows on the player considerably the further into proceedings they get. Good Feel, Nintendo and HAL Laboratory have teamed up to take what could merely have been a run-of-the-mill 2D platform title and transformed it into something quite magical that will eventually convert even the most die-hard follower of Kirby’s ‘usual’ outings.

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21.02.2011

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Developer

Good Fee

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (20 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?
Staff Member

Excellent review! I personally can't wait to play this next week. It's also going to be my first Kirby game ever, though I'm 99.99% sure that I'll love the game. I'll get into the traditional Kirby games later with the new Kirby title that has been announced a few weeks ago. Smilie

I just hope that they didn't get a German narrator, though I guess that's inevitable after what they've done to the title of the game already. The title has such an awesome pun in it after all. They kept Donkey Kong Country Returns the same, so why not this?



( Edited 22.02.2011 09:20 by SirLink )

 

Hey SirLink Its really a great game.. The first few levels are easy, but then they get much harder. I love the level of detail in this. It does sound like a kids story with the narration. The gameplay is great. very creative

Kinda late for a review isn't it guys? Still good game!

It is not wise to speak on subjects you do not know all facts about, nor is it smart to judge a game based on looks alone. PSN: Nintendo_Gamer 3DS: 4296-3029-7422
Staff Member

Vorash Kadan said:
Kinda late for a review isn't it guys? Still good game!

You missed the little fact that this game didn't come out in Europe yet. We get it in three days, making it like 5 months later than the US which is total BS.

Oh yeah, how I love living in Europe. Good times, good times...

 

Vorash Kadan said:
Kinda late for a review isn't it guys? Still good game!

UK site. Smilie

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Vorash Kadan said:
Kinda late for a review isn't it guys? Still good game!

I did have the pleasure of playing the Japanese release last year, then the US edition put me off because of the over-the-top Americanisms (sorry, bugs me, can't help it!), and now Nintendo has sent out the European edition for review...hence the 'delay' Smilie

Good to see you enjoyed the game, though. Hope the review did it justice Smilie

bruce1289 said:
Hey SirLink Its really a great game.. The first few levels are easy, but then they get much harder. I love the level of detail in this. It does sound like a kids story with the narration. The gameplay is great. very creative

Definitely agree. I refused to write anything after playing the preview version mid-way through last year purely because it just didn't grab me in the slightest. However, I'm so glad I've had time to play through the full game because it really grew on me and now I love it Smilie

Nintendo UK has a special launch event this Thursday for it, so I wonder if it will be the first Kirby game to get a proper push here...Given how well NSMB and DKCR have done, I would not be surprised at all if Nintendo pushes it to the 2D fan-base.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

What's different between the American version and the European version (besides minor translations)?

( Edited 22.02.2011 18:39 by PMD )

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

That's it, as far as I'm aware. Clearly the delay was not just for localisation purposes, but to fit the game into the European schedule at what NoE thought would be the ideal time.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

This is a very fun game. I've enjoyed it for a while now since, as SirLink said, it came out in the US a long time ago. Doesn't feel as a Kirby game at times but it's still a great way to use the franchise and mix and match elements. We MIGHT get a port of the Wii Kirby game that is set to release in Japan but you never know.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

EdEN said:
Doesn't feel as a Kirby game at times...

It is very obvious that this wasn't a Kirby game to begin with. For those that aren't aware, Good Feel had its own Wii game, Fluff's Epic Yarn, but was having trouble with its development. Nintendo saw the game and thought it looked promising, so lent a helping hand, along with HAL, and as the project progressed it became apparent Kirby could easily be slotted in.

The problem for me at first, though, was that despite loving the graphical style in the first screens/videos, three things put me off:

1.) Good Feel's Tales in a Box was a great idea, but was frustrating as hell in its execution,

2.) Whilst Wario Land: The Shake Dimension was fun and looked absolutely stunning, it seriously lacked that je ne sais quoi that Wario Land 1-4 had and proved to be a big let-down for me overall

3.) I'm a massive fan of traditional Kirby games, and the last time there was a deviation from the norm (Power Paintbrush/Canvas Curse), I seriously couldn't stand it...

For this, I tried to approach it as being one of the many Kirby spin-offs, like the fantastic Kirby Star Stacker, or the pinball and golf games.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

jesusraz said:
Whilst Wario Land: The Shake Dimension was fun and looked absolutely stunning, it seriously lacked that je ne sais quoi that Wario Land 1-4 had and proved to be a big let-down for me overall

Let's not forget Wario : Master of Disguise =) (which I need to buy soon, considering it can be found for a relatively cheap price and I'm a big fan of the original quadrilogy). Sorry this was a bit off topic but had to get it out of my system Smilie.

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

You mean Master of Disguise was also a let-down for you? Blame Suzak for that...yet, they also did one of the GBA F-Zero games that I liked (GP Legend).

BTW, for anyone that found DKCR too 'hardcore,' Kirby's Epic Yarn will be right up your street - testing in places, but not so demanding that frustration creeps in. DKCR can be an absolute nightmare at times. Definitely for veteran platform fans!

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Staff Member

jesusraz said:
You mean Master of Disguise was also a let-down for you? Blame Suzak for that...yet, they also did one of the GBA F-Zero games that I liked (GP Legend).

BTW, for anyone that found DKCR too 'hardcore,' Kirby's Epic Yarn will be right up your street - testing in places, but not so demanding that frustration creeps in. DKCR can be an absolute nightmare at times. Definitely for veteran platform fans!


Yeah, I just recently completed DKCR with all the secret levels, golden temple and all puzzle pieces. That alone was a heck of a ride already. An insane rollercoaster is nothing compared to that. Smilie

It's great to see that they offer something for both camps here. Luckily, I'm able to deal with the madness that is DKCR and I really don't mind playing a rather easy game if it's still a lot of fun, so I get the best out of both worlds. My nerves are certainly going to appreciate that too.Smilie

 

I might get it mainly for the coop, DKCR was a great game but it was so demanding at time's it put my friends off it.
Shame because I had enjoyed NSMB Wii multiplayer quite alot and thought DK would provide a similar experience but I ended up playing 90% it in single player.

( Edited 23.02.2011 22:08 by Jimmy2000 )

The fact it doesn't feel like a Kirby game is what's good about it.

It's original.

hoi- (guest) 01.03.2011 18:58#16

SmilieSmilie

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

SirLink said:
Yeah, I just recently completed DKCR with all the secret levels, golden temple and all puzzle pieces. That alone was a heck of a ride already. An insane rollercoaster is nothing compared to that. Smilie

It's great to see that they offer something for both camps here. Luckily, I'm able to deal with the madness that is DKCR and I really don't mind playing a rather easy game if it's still a lot of fun, so I get the best out of both worlds. My nerves are certainly going to appreciate that too.Smilie


It'll be interesting to see whether or not Kirby picks up here in the UK this week. It started slow last week, but there have apparently been quite a few ads, so maybe it'll appeal to the DKCR/NSMB crowd looking for more 2D platform fun.

Jimmy2000 said:
I might get it mainly for the coop, DKCR was a great game but it was so demanding at time's it put my friends off it.
Shame because I had enjoyed NSMB Wii multiplayer quite alot and thought DK would provide a similar experience but I ended up playing 90% it in single player.

Let us know if you end up picking the game up. From what I saw during demos, people were loving the co-op play. Not too tough AT ALL. In the DKCR demo last year, I died SO often in two-player that it just got really frustrating.

Marzy said:
The fact it doesn't feel like a Kirby game is what's good about it. It's original.

Really? Are you not a massive fan of Kirby in general? I wish they'd do another Kirby Pinball Land, or even resurrect Kirby's Tilt 'N Tumble!

hoi- (guest) said:
SmilieSmilie

My sentiments exactly Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
whataboutki (guest) 14.03.2011 08:17#18

When does this game come out in NZ or anywhere on PAL?

I love this game only complaint, is when im doing co-op it's annoying that i keep hitting my partner and messes up jumps, and always picking him up instead of an item or other wanted action.

Completed it the other day and it was absolutely amazing. Easily my GOTY for 2011 and one that will remain as one of my favourite games of all-time.

If I could fault it in anyway, it'd be the controls. Because some of the buttons are programmed to do two actions, sometimes Kirby would perform the one I didn't want him to do. Even then though, it really is a tiny complaint and didn't really affect the gameplay enjoyment at all.

It's really special to me, just like Super Mario Galaxy.

I was looking back at some old news posts related to Kirby's Epic Yarn and I have to say I was horrified to see such negative comments about it from some members. Do people like the same old Kirby?, doesn't anyone want anything creative and new?

I get really tired of people like this, it drags down creativity and it's no wonder we see the same old rubbish pumped out every year and selling in millions. People need to be supporting just utterly amazing games like this. If you own a Wii, I urge you to buy this game.

10/10

( Edited 24.01.2012 23:24 by Marzy )

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