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Kirby's Epic Yarn Review - Wii

7
Gameplay: 8 stars 8
Graphics: 8 stars 8
Audio: 5 stars 5
Multiplayer: 7 stars 7
Innovation: 6 stars 6
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Introduction

Kirby is weird. Putting aside the fact that he’s an amorphous pink blog that inhales enemies and absorbs their abilities, Kirby is often Nintendo’s go-to franchise when they want to experiment with a weird gameplay idea. Draw lines to direct spherical Kirby in Canvas Curse. Press A to brake in a constantly accelerating racing game, Kirby Air Ride.  Steer a herd of mini Kirbys in Mass Attack. And now, he’s made of wool in Kirby’s Epic Yarn.

Gameplay

To be fair, Epic Yarn is not a radical departure from previous gameplay. It’s still a side-scrolling platformer, albeit one where Kirby cannot absorb enemies’ powers. Kirby, as a result of shenanigans involving a tomato, a sock, and the evil Yin-Yarn, finds himself in Patch Land and made of wool. That means he can’t inhale anything because it goes right through him, and he can’t fly either. Instead, he now uses a whip-like ability to grab and unravel enemies, with the resulting fabric able to be thrown as a weapon.

It also means that as wool he can be rearranged into different things, such as a dolphin (for swimming underwater), a car (for moving quickly), a UFO (hovering), and he can even just unspool completely into a long strand to fit through narrow gaps. Plus, the world is patchwork too – you will pull at buttons to scrunch the fabric together and make a jump easier, or slip behind a layer to avoid obstacles. The team at HAL Laboratory makes the most of the concept, with many different explorations of the possibilities. Kirby’s many transformations underline the major appeal of Kirby’s Epic Yarn: variety. There’s always something new around the corner.

It must be said that this is a game aimed at kids. The storybook opening, with narration and subtitles, is unambivalently childish. The game is never difficult, and in terms of exploration rarely offers more that a question of how to reach a higher platform with a chest. Hell, for the first half of the game you can walk into an enemy with no penalty whatsoever. You can stand on their head and bump them over and not suffer a single loss. You have no health, but will lose beads and jewels you’ve amassed if damaged or fail to make a jump. Then you’re just picked up and put back where you fell. There is incentive to do well – you’ll be graded on how many jewels you finish with, but that’s it.

While on the surface this may seem like it would detract from the experience, in a kind of counter-intuitive way it just makes it more pleasant. It’s nice to be able to play a game where for once mistakes aren’t permanent or devastating, and easy to ... (continued next page)


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