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REVIEW: Kirby's Epic Yarn (Wii)

Kirby's Epic Yarn is probably the most surprising game on the Nintendo Wii. It’s a 2D classic platformer developed by HAL Laboratory and Good Feel and it features the iconic pink mascot. For his entire existence, Kirby platformers have been about the little guy running around levels sucking up enemies and stealing their abilities in a very childish and cute yet, incredibly great manner. This time, the formula makes a sudden and weird change and transforms everything into yarn to create a game that is truly artistic and completely beautiful.

In Epic Yarn, our hero will lose his key ability to suck up enemies and instead is gonna use his body made of yarn to transform into different objects like a car, fish, rocket, UFO, etc to go around the levels. His most common ability now is to launch a yarn thread to roll enemies into a ball of yarn and use it to throw it around. So as you can see, Kirby will keep using the enemies and environments to his advantage but now in a totally different way. 

Everything starts with Kirby walking around the fields of Dream Land feeling hungry like usual. He sees a tomato (his favorite food) and decides to suck it up. But it belonged to a Magician named Yin-Yarn who has the power to transform everything into that cloth. By using a magic sock, Yin-Yarn sucks Kirby up and he ends up in a weird land called Patch Land. In there, Kirby will meet a prince named Fluff and together they will try to restore order to that land and defeat Yin-Yarn.

The game is simply beautiful, a work of art in the gaming industry. It doesn't feature any 3D environments or high-definition graphics like the games on the PS3 and Xbox 360 but the developers managed to create something visually spectacular using only the Wii's power. Every level has a different theme represented with thousands of objects made of yarn and cloths, example: Grass Land will be full of stages featuring plants, flowers, wind and things with nature, Treat Land is filled with stages with toys moving around, cakes and other sweet foods and vehicles that Kirby needs to use to move around, while Space Land has a lot of stages with futuristic buildings made of yarn and space-like things like ships, meteor rains and stars decorating them.

Every object in the game is made of yarn or other cloths like cotton and silk and you can interact in some way with most them. Kirby can go through a door in a wall and travel behind the yarn, unzip a piece of a wall or pull an object to reveal hidden platforms or change something using one or more of his transformations. The simple gameplay mechanics allow the player to do several things with the levels with simple button presses.

One of the most incredible aspects in the game is the music and sound effects. The soundtrack is very childish, like something you would listen to in a baby cartoon or toy but since this is a Kirby game, it fits perfectly and even for hardcore gamers used to deep music like the ones in Halo and Final Fantasy, the OST in Epic Yarn is even kind of magical. All the songs represent perfectly the kind of stage you're playing in so it will never feel awkward or out of place.

The sound effects are also great; they're really childish like the rest of the game and even sound very funny like Kirby's voice and the enemies like the common Waddle-Dees being rolled into a yarn ball. The sound of every object in the game gives a lot of life to the stages which is incredibly important given the visual style the developers used for the game. The characters don't have any voice acting but there's a good narrator telling the story between every level like the ones who tell child stories in TV programs. This felt very good because though it is very kiddy it feels perfectly and it’s beautiful.

            In terms of gameplay the game it's very simple; you play by using the Wiimote in horizontal position like in Metroid: Other M. You move Kirby with the D-pad, jump with  button #2 and attack enemies with a yarn thread by pressing button #1 in any direction. Besides this, Kirby has several transformations to go around sections of different stages, the instructions to control them are always given to you before starting the stage but they're usually no different than controlling the normal Kirby.

The game itself is built around different levels, each with around seven stages and a boss fight. Every time you play a stage you can collect some crystals called "beads" which have different values and can be used as currency in the game to buy objects to decorate your room in a town. The number of beads you collect at the end of the stage earns you bronze, silver and gold medals and this brings us to one of the criticized aspects of the game, if you fall to the abyss or are hit by an enemy all you do is lose some of your beads, no matter what, Kirby can't die which makes finishing the stages way too easy, even the bosses can't kill Kirby. But the game can be tricky because to unlock treasures and extra levels you are required to finish the stages with high-rank number of beads so that means that in most of them you have to travel around getting every crystal without getting hit at all.

Regarding the replay-value, Kirby's Epic Yarn is a very easy and fun game which can be played more than one time with no problems, it allows cooperative play in which one player controls Kirby and the other one plays as Prince Fluff, there's no difference between the characters but the mode can be really fun especially if you're aiming to unlock everything in the game. There are also several minigames you can play solo or in co-op like hide-and-seek in which you go to a stage and have to find some characters in some given time, and others which require you to kill a certain number of enemies or make a speed-run of a stage. All these minigames can be cool material for world-records in YouTube and most of them are very fun though not very challenging.

Kirby's Epic Yarn is a great addition to the 2D platformer collection available on the Wii and it's another proof that Nintendo does not need to create funny peripherals and avatars to sell good games. While the game shares the same genre with Donkey Kong Country Returns, it's very different because they're aimed at extremely different kinds of gamers. The game is really beautiful both visually and musically and the simple and easy gameplay can be perfectly enjoyed by any kind of gamer, even if they're used to the most common kinds of titles available in the consoles now days.

-          Excellent visual and musical presentation
-          Simple and accessible, yet, extremely fun gameplay
-          Cool boss fights

-          The difficulty is not challenging
-          Some of the extras are not worth unlocking

Graphics and Visuals…………9
Music and Sound Effects……..10
Replay Value………………....8
Overall Score…………….…..9/10

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