hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Kirby's Epic Yarn

Review: Kirby's Epic Yarn

2:55 PM on 10.17.2010 // Jim Sterling

When Kirby's Epic Yarn was announced, many people thought Nintendo was stringing us along, that the game would be poorly stitched together or otherwise patchy. A 2D platformer with a cute gimmick runs the risk of being threadbare, but it would appear that developer Good Feel has it all sewn up.

You might worry that the bad yarn puns are a bit woolly, but I refuse to change my material.

Kirby's Epic Yarn (Wii)
Developer: Good Feel
Publisher: Nintendo
Released: October 17, 2010
MSRP: $49.99

Kirby's Epic Yarn reinvents everybody's favorite pink puffball by transforming him into everybody's favorite pink stringball. The tenuous setup is that an evil wizard has arrived from Patch Land, turned Kirby into a length of yarn, and trapped him inside a magical sock. He meets a little blue fellow called Prince Fluff, and together they work to save both Patch Land and Dream Land from the nefarious Yin Yarn. 

To be honest, the game could have done without the story and the repeating cutscene (complete with creepy uncle narrator) that appears at the end of every boss fight, but otherwise, you really don't need to worry about a narrative. Some stuff has happened, and now Kirby is made of string.  

Epic Yarn is a traditional 2D platformer through and through, unafraid to stick to the franchise's simple roots. No longer able to suck enemies up and take their abilities, Kirby instead uses his new string flesh to get about each stage. He can turn into a parachute to make careful landings, stomp on enemies as a weight, or turn into a car to zip along platforms fast. Most importantly, he can whip out a length of yarn to tangle up enemies and throw them around. It's all very intuitive, and all very simple.

In fact, simplicity is at the game's very core, since Kirby can't even die. Instead of suffering a grim death, Kirby loses points whenever he takes damage from traps, enemies or falls. Points are accumulated with gems, and the gems will fly out of Kirby, à la Sonic the Hedgehog's rings, whenever he's hit. The gems can be recollected, but taking a hit invariably means losing points and -- more importantly -- losing a chance to score a gold medal at the end of the stage.

As a hardcore gamer, you may think that the lack of traditional "challenge" would make the game boring. After all, if Kirby can't die, what's the point? Fortunately, the lack of dying does nothing to affect the game -- in fact, losing precious points and not getting a Gold Medal at the end of a level often makes the game even more engrossing. Rather than feeling protected by an energy bar, each hit represents a real failure. Sure, even if you take a fair few hits, it's usually still possible to obtain a Gold, but it becomes increasingly difficult, and somehow, failing to get that Medal seems even more punishing than seeing a Game Over screen.

In short, there is no way that you can not beat the game, but mastery is another matter entirely.

Even without the hoarding of precious gems as an incentive, Epic Yarn's decision to dispense with a traditional challenge has only enhanced the game. The focus is purely on fun and exploration, as opposed to trying desperately to survive. Each level of Kirby's Epic Yarn is unique and undeniably charming, full of special tricks and gimmicks that never get old. Whether you're riding on the back of a space roller coaster, swinging from trees, or sledding down a snowy slope, Kirby's Epic Yarn constantly surprises and pleases, with the focus squarely on player enjoyment at all times.

The fun factor is, of course, helped along by the patchwork conceit. Not only does each stage look fantastic with bright fabrics and enemies made out of string or buttons, but Kirby's ability to send out a whip of yarn to yank bits of the stage around, unzip the background, or otherwise manipulate his surroundings makes for some really clever moments.

Kirby himself can use his stringy body to transform into a variety of things, and it always feels like a treat whenever he does. Kirby can turn into a UFO, a dolphin, a racing buggy, and giant death tank, among other weird things. The only weak sections are those where Kirby turns into a train and requires some token Wiimote waving in order to get about. Fortunately, the train barely appears in the game, and for the most part, you'll be partaking in fantastic platform race sections, or shmup-style rocket blasting, or underwater dolphinism that puts Ecco to shame.

Then there are the bosses, which are all pattern-based, simplistic affairs, but somehow still manage to remain inventive and memorable. Fire-breathing dragons, pumpkin magicians, and evil octopuses are all in attendance, each one ready to rob you of a chance at getting the Gold Medal. In fact, boss stages go beyond Gold, each one requiring extra gems in order to unlock special optional levels. Good Feel did a great job of enhancing the challenge without ever relying on the concept of "death," something that ought to be commended.

As well as the main levels, there are little distractions peppered throughout the game to keep you interested. For instance, you can spend gems or find items in levels to decorate Kirby's apartment, and play minigames with the Patch Land residents. I would have personally liked to see much more of this aspect of the game, as the apartment appears rather pointless and the minigames are only fun for so long. Giving us more of a reason to hang out at Kirby's place and more things to spend gems on would not only have enhanced the game in general; it would have made the gems even more important, since there'd be a greater incentive to pimp his pad out.

If you don't want to hog all the fun, Epic Yarn supports local co-op play, with another player taking on the role of Prince Fluff. Although it doesn't change the game significantly, there are some cool co-op moments, such as having the movement and the cannon of the death tank controlled by separate players. For the most part, co-op is somewhat more chaotic than a single-player game, but it's definitely enjoyable.

Like all Kirby titles, Epic Yarn won't take too long to beat, especially if you just carelessly blast through without worrying about points. However, the levels are so full of character and innocent entertainment that it's highly unlikely you'll only want to play them once. Plus, with the extra things to do and Medals to be earned for completionists, there's more than enough merriment to justify the price tag. Provided you like simple, clean fun, that is.

Kirby's Epic Yarn is an absolute delight. Oozing cuteness at every turn, from the wonderful animation to the gorgeous music, this is a game that should have pride of place in any game collection. It's a simple little title, free of high-tech gimmickry and gritty realism. It's a good old-fashioned platformer that manages to be endlessly rewarding and only disappoints in that more incentive to succeed would have truly perfected the title. Even without that, the fun is its own reward, and Kirby's Epic Yarn stands as one of the very best Wii games of the year.

Also, Kirby is made of Goddamn string!



Kirby's Epic Yarn - Reviewed by Jim Sterling
Entrancing - It's like magic, guys. Time disappears when this game and I are together, and I never want it to end. I'm not sure if this is a love that will last forever, but if it is, you'll get no complaints from me.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure JimSterling Tips
Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
Dear Playboy: Love your video game coverage, but how about you start making some topless unboxing videos? Seeing someone unwrap a copy of Call of Duty is boring. Seeing a topless Playmate unwrap a copy of anything is awesome!
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
In happier news, Level-5 is already talking Yo-Kai Watch 2's Western release, and better/worse yet, they're considering amiibo support for the series! And hey, if they can't get Jibanyan into Smash, that'd be one way to get the West's attention.
gajknight avatargajknight
I drank a glass of Ovaltine for the first time in years today. It was nice. Like drinking a glass of my childhood, complete with ignorance, embarrassing angst, tears (so many tears) and night terrors. Ah, the good 'ol days.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
[img][/img] This is just depressing. Digital classics on consoles are such a great idea, but it's like not a single company wants to really go through with it.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
My heart will always be yours, Papyrus #2spoopy4me
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
I recently beat Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow again, but this time I played on Hard mode from scratch. Outside of dying a few times due to me being an idiot, and enemies hitting harder, it was actually easy. Like really easy.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Today I replated bacteria that I made take up a plamid hopefully stitched onto the genes generatlight. Taken from other dead bacteria and put into a non glowing species, to make it glow. Fucking microbiology is the best.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
It seems fairy farts are a fragrance, a soap, incense, a vaping liquid and a kind of nail polish. I'm clearly in the wrong line of work and need to eat more chili.
Cannibal Steven avatarCannibal Steven
"You gave the Lost Soul a big smile, like you remember she likes to do... For some reason she sort of wants to smile back..." I'm not crying. Not one bit.
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Just tried 'The Last Of Us' on PSNow Trial, only to be told... 'Something went wrong. Try again.' Game-appropriate error message or quickie plot-summary?
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
I hate when people say crap like "I admit that [thing] in games is problematic, but I still enjoy it" because it's an underhanded way of contradicting your own views while convincing yourself that you aren't a hypocrite.
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Well shit. I knew I was more than likely going to enjoy Star Wars Battlefront (cause you know, giant Star Wars nerd and all) but holy cow, the beta is fucking great! I need the full game like, now.
SpielerDad avatarSpielerDad
Anyone here going to NYC Comic Con? Always wanted to go and lived so close, but alas, it wasn't meant to be.
Mark Plechaty avatarMark Plechaty
Well I haven't seen any levels like this on mario maker so maybe it's unique the I'd is 55BD000000961CBA GIVE IT A GO and let me know what you think
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Hey Stranger ... wadda you buying ? Want some crack ? Here ya go... [youtube][/youtube]
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
My brother caught me this Pokémon in our room yesterday. How should I name it? [img][/img]
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Yay, I got off of work early and may have Friday off! I have a sinking feeling I'm going to work 10 hours on Saturday as a result, though :/ We ran out of stuff to make stuff with so they must ship us stuff so we can ship stuff.
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Yo yo I'm Marie and I got dat gangsta flow. High scores ain't no trip, cuz I whip that shit like Sonic quick. I-I mean no! I didn't say anything! Stupidrecordbreakingcombodolt. [img][/img]
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
I'm watching you.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:
Kirby's Epic Yarn

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -