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Review | Kirby’s Epic Yarn

Epic Fun

Format: Wii | Genre: Platformer | Publisher: Nintendo | Developer: Nintendo | Release Date: 25/02/2011 | Price: £39.99

She can’t knit but Jennifer Allen has plenty of fun with KIRBY’S EPIC YARN.

SOME GAMES offer a huge challenge, tormenting you with a vicious difficulty curve or a control system that needs hundreds of hours invested before you finally master it. It’s all well and good. There should be games for everyone and there’s certainly a market for the masochistic gamer. In recent years, Demon’s Souls and the Ninja Gaiden series have ably demonstrated this. For the Wii, Donkey Kong Country Returns reminded gamers just what an old school challenge could feel like. Kirby’s Epic Yarn is the antithesis of this offering hardly any hardship whatsoever. There’s no sign of the experience being degraded in any way though, instead Kirby’s Epic Yarn is as gleefully wondrous as Donkey Kong Country Returns. Even if it is a comparatively brief experience.

Poor Kirby has lost his abilities to inhale or swallow enemies thanks to being turned into yarn by the evil Yin-Yarn. Told via a kindly voiceover and a storybook, it’s immediately apparent that Kirby’s Epic Yarn is an ideal game to play alongside children. That’s not to say that it isn’t extremely entertaining for fans of 2D platformers of old though. There’s no sign of arguably gimmicky motion controls here with the Wii remote held sideways and functioning as a NES style controller. Older gamers will feel immediately in their element.

What a yarn

The main mechanics within the game focus on yarn and unravelling things. A tap of one button allows you to whip your foes thus unravelling them, or you can hold the button down turning the enemy into a ball of yarn ready to fling at anything you want. Otherwise you’ll mostly be jumping around, using your whip attack to grab onto things to swing across or to unleash new items to collect. The sheer ingenuity of Kirby’s Epic Yarn emerges when it comes to the various breaks between the conventional platforming action. At numerous points in the game, there’s the opportunity to transform into something entirely different. Sometimes you’ll be a UFO flying through the air, or a surfing penguin or a tank. It’s varied indeed and so is the action that you undertake in these roles. The tank is a simple matter of blowing up everything in your path, but then there’s the space ship that invokes a Kirby themed Space Invaders game and the racing sequence in which you have to outdrive your opponents. Some of these levels require the use of the motion controller such as to tilt a firehose from the fire truck to douse fire. It’s always understated though and now feels obtrusive to the traditional action throughout the rest of the game.

It’s all simple to figure out and as you’d expect from a Nintendo title, the level design is spot on, easing you in gently. It’s never a hard game by any means but Kirby’s Epic Yarn is clearly a game designed for those who haven’t really played a platformer before. For the more experienced player however, there’s more point to it than just completing the level. There’s a plethora of treasures and unlockables to attain, such as furniture and musical tracks for each stage. You can also gain gold medals for collecting plenty of beads (akin to Sonic’s rings) in each level. It’s a small bonus but when you’re busy smiling throughout the game, you’ll want to go back and perfect it all. The musical tracks are a particular delight to attain as the score throughout Kirby’s Epic Yarn is something special. Charming is an overused word but it’s the perfect word to describe this music.

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