Short Wave Gamin #5: Kirby’s Epic Yarn

500x_500x_kirbyOh Kirby, who knew you could be even cuter then you already were. It’s been almost 7 years since the last Kirby game came out, Kirby’s Air Ride, and the droves of Kirby fans have been patiently waiting for another game. You don’t really hear too much outcry when a new Kirby game isn’t introduced, not like when it’s been years without a Zelda game, but for all of us who love Nintendo’s puffy pink powerful protagonist Epic Yarn is the game we’ve been waiting for (cause we’re not getting anything else).

Kirby is no longer the enemy sucking, blowfish floating, sword wielding crazy ass moaf that he used to be, or that he was in Smash Bros, and now has been transformed into a circle of yarn. Not a ball mind you, just a circle because that’s all that really needs to be done. Kirby is in now in Patch Land, after eating a false tomato, and has joined up with Prince Fluff to help save Patch Land and Dream Land from the nefarious Yin-Yarn.

Kirby as yarn is quite the interesting spectacle, but there isn’t a character in the Nintendo catalog that is better suited than Kirby in this wild world. Kirby is already a cute and simple character that he can be easily ported over to so many styles. Unlike Mario and Luigi, Link or Samus, Kirby has stood tall as an androgynous character that could be easily enjoyed by anyone. He was cute and cuddly looking but packed a huge punch if you touched him the wrong way. Weird? Yeah a bit.

If you’re wondering, “does this whole yarn thing really work?” Well yes, it really fucking does. The worlds are brilliant, with the backgrounds being some of the most breathtaking, futuristic and delicious levels in recent memory on any game console. The game play is simple (except for the annoying train levels) utilizing the Wii-mote held sideways for a classic NES controller feeling. Kirby can transform into different object, such as a parachute to help slow the fall and help plan the trajectory better, a car to dash around, a submarine if under water, a sled if dashing on ice and a few others. The previously mentioned transformations are all basic, there are certain objects, like the giant Kirby head tank, that can only be acquired in certain sections when the game play calls for it. Other examples are the Kirby train, a Kirby spaceship reminiscent of top scrolling space shooters, a Kirby spaceship reminiscent of side scrolling space shooters, a dolphin and a few others. These big time transformations add to the fun of the game play immensely, but are they were never in the forefront of my mind, I was never playing a level in hopes that one of those big changes would come but they were (almost) always a welcome addition.

You cannot die in Epic Yarn, no matter what something will come and save you and you will lose a lot of beads (they’re like coins in this game) but the game play never stops, or restarts always keeping the action moving forward. Does this make the game really easy? Yeah it does, but this isn’t exactly a hardcore game. This is a game that you can very easily introduce to someone who is not a gamer and they will almost immediately pick it up and fall in love. Or this is a game you can play with your young daughter or son to start them on a road to gaming nerdom, if you want to push them down that path already.

The multiplayer is quite fun, unlike the Galaxy series, the second player has a very prominent role in this game by playing Fluff when the first player is Kirby. You both have pretty much the same powers and you go through the levels together, making it a fun time to be had by all. Kathryn and I were playing this weekend, as I forced this game on her but she did seem to be enjoying it a lot. This is a pick up and play game, there’s never a question of to what to do next because it’s so linear and layed out, but that doesn’t mean that just finishing the game will net you 100% completed. After defeating the final boss Yin-Yarn (who was cake compared to puppet Dedede) I was only 60% complete with plenty more stages to unlock, time trials to race, challenges to accept and collectibles to collect.

If you’re on the fence, you should definitely check it out. The Wii rarely received such high quality games any more. There does seem to be a minor resurgence, but who knows how long it will last for. So pick it up, play it, finish it, then play it again because it’s just that good.