hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Kirby's Epic Yarn

Review: Kirby's Epic Yarn

2:55 PM on 10.17.2010 // Jim Sterling
  @JimSterling

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!



THE VERDICT

9.5

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 moderators, 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 *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Shinta avatarShinta
MGSV Pro Tip: Turn your brightness down to 0. It actually makes the view distance for the guards correct, and doesn't make nighttime the best option for you every single time. When guards shoot flares in the sky, the lighting looks like Dragon's Dogma.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Proof I listened to too much Weird Al growing up: I really do hear "Living in America" as "Living with a Hernia."
Nic Rowen avatarNic Rowen
I've been playing a shit ton of Heroes of the Storm recently. It's my first MOBA and I'm SHOCKED at how much fun I'm having. Anyone else into it? Would love to get some games in with Dtoiders.
Script avatarScript
I would wait for a chance to play the game by myself, but I just have to know. Is David Hayter in MGS V in any way? Please no spoilers.
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
Guys, serious question... How can I make D-Horse to poop?
gajknight avatargajknight
Goddammit @ FullmetalJ, you have poisoned my mind with...whatever the hell this is.[youtube]https://youtu.be/wv0iUKb80C8[/youtube] It's so, so catchy. Go suck a baguette. And thanks :3. Yes I have listened to all of it.
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
That time when Mr. Destructoid went to Vegas [img]http://i.imgur.com/hYEQG7z.jpg[/img]
SirDavies avatarSirDavies
As someone who hasn't played the MGS series at all, should I play it by release date or story order?
Vuster avatarVuster
Been watching a good friend play the Metal Gear game on twitch soon. I will say I can understand the appeal 100% and Kojima knows how to make a great piece of work. I think will hold off on a new pc and get this if this keeps up!
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
So I can plug any headphones I want into my PS4 controller. If said headphones have a mic, will it work in chat?
ScreamAid avatarScreamAid
Gee whilikers, guys. I might just explain where I've been and what I've been up to while I've been gone. That'd be a good topic for a c-blog getting me whipped back into shape, right? I'ma try to write more, so expect more of me in the future!
bloma avatarbloma
Just bought Fez for xbox 360. Playing it on my 58 inch plasma. What a beautiful game.
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
So there's a chance more MKX characters are being revealed today. Now, I'm not saying you *should* cross your fingers and say a prayer for me to get my waifu Sindel just, y'know, it would be monstrous of you to make me cry with your lack of love & support
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
Just so you know, I've been a Huge subscriber for a few years but I thought I had until the end of September to cancel it. So I've opened an inquiry for the refund, which is on tinypass' end of things by the way.
techsupport avatartechsupport
I once posted that Total Recall was the best movie ever made. I would like to make note that Starship Troopers is a close second. Carry on.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
I put too many peppers in my sausage and potatoes. My asshole is on fire. I want to cry when I wipe. But it was good.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
One glorious Japanese twitter user made a custom LBX of one of my favorite Kamen Riders: [img]http://i.imgur.com/yp1oraHm.jpg[/img] It's like getting peanut butter in chocolate but with small robots and spandex banana men!
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
I feel terrible for not reading most of you beautiful people's blogs. Let's just say my passion is writing, not reading :s
techsupport avatartechsupport
People can debate GOTY all they want, but the real question is: D-Horse or Roach?
Mr Knives avatarMr Knives
I'm dragging myself away from my PS4 long enough to say that MGS V is pretty darn awesome so far.
more quickposts


Contest!


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!



Seriously

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 -