Hands-on: Kirby’s Epic Yarn is just pure fun

Whenever I go do a preview for Destructoid, I always record the audio so as not to forget anything later when writing up the preview. While listening back to my time with Kirby’s Epic Yarn, I realized that I haven’t had this much pure fun with a videogame in a very long time.

I’m not saying I don’t have fun with videogames in general. Rather, Kirby’s Epic Yarn left me with that feeling you got the very first time you discovered a videogame as a little kid. It invokes a sense of complete wonderment that I figured was all but gone from my life.

Kirby’s Epic Yarn
Developer(s): Good-Feel, HAL Laboratory
Publisher: Nintendo
To be released: October 17, 2010 (NA), October 14, 2010 (JP), Q1 2011 (EU)

As you’re well aware of by now, Kirby and the world you’re exploring — called Patch Land — are made up entirely of yarn. Kirby was forced into this yarn world by the evil sorcerer Yin-Yarn who is terrorizing Dream Land. Kirby, along with the help of Patch Land’s Prince Fluff, must put Patch Land back together and defeat Yin-Yarn before the sorcerer transforms all of Dream Land into yarn.

As Kirby is made of yarn now, his old tricks just won’t cut it anymore. He can’t suck in enemies or fly since the air he sucks in just goes straight through his body. Luckily for Kirby, he was was able to consume a magical Maxim Tomato from Yin-Yarn just before being transported away, allowing him to change into different forms. Among his new abilities, Kirby can transform into a car in place of dash, float in the air as a parachute, and turn into a submarine whenever he touches water.

Kirby’s main weapon is a yarn whip that he uses to literally unravel enemies to death or turn them into throwable yarn balls. The whip is also used for platforming bits and to unzip the environment in order to reveal hidden areas or create new paths.

On top of these abilities, Kirby also has “Super Transformations” which are initiated at specific sections in a level. These special transformations will see Kirby (and Prince Fluff if two people are playing) transform into a giant mech robot, fire truck, race car, train, and all sorts of other vehicles. Some of the Super Transformations will require players to tilt their Wiimote while others, like the digger machine, will simply use button controls.

The funnest Super Transformation I tried was easily the train. Kirby becomes a train and you’ll have to lay down tracks to create a path. You can lay down the track however you want, even forcing the Kirby train to chug along upside down, making for a hilarious sight.

All of this adorable action is done through some extremely beautiful visuals. As Chad Concelmo said when he saw it at E3, the fabric-based level design looks very realistic. The platforming bits do have that Kirby feel still but with the addition of some minor puzzles too.

Nintendo showed off two new worlds during my demo: Hot Land and Treat Land. Hot Land has a fiery theme to it while Treat Land is filled with delicious-looking treats. I played through the majority of Hot Land and got to the world’s boss, Firebird, a bird made of fire. Kirby needs to knock down Firebird to the ground where he is defenseless. Kirby will then use his yarn whip to smash Firebird against the side of the screen in the most violent way ever. I actually cringed as I was not expecting it the first time.

Anyone will be able to blast through the game and make it to the boss sections, but you won’t get to see everything unless you take your time to collect Beads. Getting enough Beads and other collectible items will be the only way to unlock all the levels within a given world, and these extra sections are designed to be more challenging for hardcore players. And yes, Kirby will do his little dances at the end of every level, traditional Kirby victory music and all.

For the most part, I was able to get through the levels with ease. There were a number of times that I was actually having some trouble though. Thankfully, there is no penalty for death. The only negative thing that happens to you is that you lose some of your Beads, but they can be picked right back up if you’re quick enough.

The collectible items you find will go into… wait for it… designing apartments in Patch Land. Kirby has a little pad that you can customize with the items found in levels. So you can apply wallpaper, put down chairs, and do other stuff that makes the whole thing feel like a little like Animal Crossing.

There actually is a purpose behind this apartment system. You can give Dom Woole, the landlord of the apartment complex, some Beads in order to expand the building so people can move in. Once the newly created rooms have been decorated, someone will move in and give you some kind of a mini-game to play.

Nintendo wasn’t ready to talk about King DeDeDe’s involvement, but we do know you’ll at least be fighting him. Same deal with Meta Knight, but his battleship is in the very opening sequence of the game, so there’s that at least

Kirby’s Epic Yarn basically boils down to this: Do you like fun? If so, then you’ll love Kirby’s Epic Yarn. This new game in the series is undoubtedly a blast, and if there is one complaint at all, it is that I do miss the consuming and stealing of your enemy’s abilities. Eating your enemies alive will always be more entertaining. 

You know, Kirby is a pretty demented series if you really think about it.

Hamza Aziz