After all these years, heaps of gamers still have a weak spot in their hearts for Kirby. From hardcore FPS players to grizzled MMO freaks, Nintendo’s little pink cream puff has successfully choked our arteries. That’s why Nintendo’s announcement of Kirby’s Epic Yarn for the Wii has hordes of gamers smiling with childlike expectation. Two-player co-op, lightheaded gam eplay, and a texturized aesthetic are just a couple of reasons this game has Wii owners excited to revisit their old friend.
Kirby’s Epic Yarn boasts a hand-crafted veneer not unlike LittleBigPlanet. Everything in the colorful world is composed of cloth, zippers, buttons, yarn, and other items you’d find in your grandmother’s knitting basket. The needlework presentation doesn’t merely serve as a visual gimmick, however, as many items react like they would in real life. Unzipping two pieces of cloth causes one piece of fabric to realistically flutter downward, revealing secret passages behind. Buttons are even used as anchor points for Kirby s yarn whip. The best-looking Wii games often accept the Wii’s graphical limitations, resulting in creative marvels such as this.
Epic Yarn’s striking visuals are sure to motivate nearby friends to seize the Wii Remote, but with 2-player drop-in/drop-out co-op you don’t have to worry about passing the controller. With the press of a button of Kirby’s pal, Prince Fluff, can pop into the game to help whip foes into shape and make platforming easier. Both characters have access to the same moves. While lassoing baddies, swinging from the yarn whip, and throwing one another onto tricky platforms takes center stage, other classic Kirby transformations return. Each character can transform into a destructive brick, speeding car, submersible submarine or floating parachute. In one section the duo combine like cuddly Power Rangers, morphing into a screen-filling tank armed with swarming missiles and a rocket-powered boxing glove.
If you’re fretting a motion-controlled mess, stop right there. Kirby’s Epic Yarn is controlled NES-style, with the Wii Remote turned sideways. Old platforming skills spark to life right away, as the game’s intuitive controls are easily mastered. With this simple control scheme in place, developers Good-Feel (Wario Land: Shake It) and HAL Laboratory (Super Smash Bros.), are free to incorporate motion game play in interesting ways like steering the fist of the giant Kirby mech.
Unlike other oldschool platformers, the Kirby series has been known less for its blistering difficulty and more for its approachable fun.
Epic Yarn is no different. Kirby and Prince Fluff collect loads of colorful gems throughout the game. Each time they take damage the shiny collectibles shake loose, lowering their end of level scores. This more forgiving penalty replaces death, so less-experienced gamers can keep on trucking even if they take a wallop.
While the padded difficulty is guaranteed to polarize Kirby fans, Epic Yarn’s gonzo boss fights are sure to entrance everyone. A giant yarn-crafted dragon is the first massive threat Kirby and Prince Fluff must defeat. The fire-breather spews out flaming buttons, which must be lassoed and return-fired by the player. Hefty damage causes the beast’s button-tipped tongue to loll from its mouth, begging to be whipped. After wrangling the dragon’s tongue, players pull back and let ‘er rip. Watching a hulking, mythological beast get taken down by two adorable puffs is ever-satisfying, and moments like this are sure to have co-op buddies cheering in tandem.
Kirby’s Epic Yarn is shaping up to be the Wii game you didn’t know you wanted. The winning combination of rock-solid gameplay, enchanting visuals, and slick co-op make this one title a sure winner!