Kirby's Epic Yarn
Kirby's Epic Yarn on Nintendo Wii is an adorable and addictive game with a cleverly designed arts and crafts theme
- Sinfully cute, unique level designs that stay true to fabric theme, hidden treasures and gems leave level of difficulty and time spent up to the player, same-screen co-op
- No feeling of progression, often too easy, reward system is limited, co-op is no different than single player
Kirby's latest adventure is an unabashedly adorable and addictive affair, even when suffering from a limited reward system and lacking difficulty.
When a dastardly villain decides to turn Kirby into yarn, he somehow pulls off the impossible: Kirby's latest nemesis makes the lovable, chubby hero even cuter.
Tasked with stitching Patch Land back together, Kirby and his equally adorable new friend Prince Fluff have to traverse various themed worlds in search of the magic yarn. While the story is no narrative feat, it gives you the opportunity to play the game co-operatively: one player as Kirby, the other as the near-identical Fluff. Unfortunately, there's no difference between the single player mode and co-op. Two players simply double the chances of getting hurt and losing your shared pool of hard-earned gems.
Like Kirby's new fabric figure, almost every part of Patch Land sticks to a cleverly designed arts and crafts theme in both an aesthetic and practical sense. His yarn-spun enemies can be unravelled, the walls unzipped, and portals unbuttoned, creating an ever-changing environment full of hidden treasures. Even the giant snowballs in one of the later worlds are simply large tufts of cotton. You can't help but be impressed, not only with the visuals but the unique level design of what could have otherwise been just another Kirby side-scroller.
As a simple yarn outline, Kirby can't inhale his enemies. But even without his traditional power, his ability to meld and adapt to the world around him still plays a large part. No longer limited to one specific power, Kirby can transform his flexible string body into a zooming car, floating parachute, underwater submarine and other useful forms throughout each stage. While it takes the fun out of inhaling new enemies and discovering different powers, Kirby's newfound versatility allows for a more fluid platformer and some interesting, level-specific transformations.
At certain points throughout the game, Kirby's little yarn self can take on a more unique form, like a water-spurting fire engine or a spaceship, complete with tractor beam. These transformations generally provide more difficult challenges, like an automatically scrolling screen or an angry anglerfish chase, requiring a little more thought and better reflexes.
But even with these special transformations, it's hard to feel as though the game ever advances. The enemies don't get harder, the platforming doesn't get tougher, and Kirby doesn't grow or earn any other permanent abilities. Beyond newly opened worlds, the only way to tell that you've progressed is by redecorating your pad with furniture hidden in each stage. Unfortunately, you can only stuff your apartment with 24 items, most of which you can't actually use. Kirby can sit on his newly discovered shell-themed sofa, but his chocolate bar will remain uneaten and his purple dino slide, along with every other toy, will stay untouched.
Although the reward system is limited, it won't stop you from wanting to collect every last gem and search for those elusive jellyfish lamps and mushroom beds. You can even visit Patch Land residents and play time-based mini-games. Ignoring these sorts of challenges will set the difficulty bar even lower and significantly cut the number of hours it takes to hightail it back to Dream Land.
Even if you challenge yourself, the game can still be too easy. But the absence of deadly obstacles and death-defying tricks makes Kirby's newest adventure almost calming while still being fun and, as always, ridiculously adorable.
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