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Kirby's Epic Yarn super review

Excellent
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AT A GLANCE
  • Classic Nintendo gameplay
  • Impossibly adorable graphics and world
  • Pleasing, soothing soundtrack
  • The no dying thing will turn off some
  • Maybe too cute?
  • Should have came in a pink case!

Countless games promise the world and then inevitably fail to deliver the goods. We’re constantly told some game will have the “biggest open world” or “hundreds of hours of gameplay,” but how often do you feel like your expectations were fully met? A delightful exception, Epic Yarn comes through on every claim it’s made over the past few months, offering a memorable 2D platforming experience that ranks right up there with the greatest Nintendo titles of the past. Obviously Epic Yarn’s aspirations are lower than the next big FPS or MMO, but that doesn’t change the fact developer Good Feel gave us precisely what it advertised, plus laid on the charm so thick it’s forced a smile on every GamesRadar editor’s face during the review process. Epic Yarn is the happy-faced antidote to the M-rated, gun-toting glut we’re currently drowning in.


Above: Adorabacalypse

Kirby’s always been Nintendo’s cutest character, but in a focus-tested, manufactured kind of way. His rotund puffball stature was designed for maximum effect - Epic Yarn, on the other hand, is aesthetically inspired and works for every single “d’awww” it gets. Any given moment of the game is laced with convincing storybook-like fabrics that both look amazing and function as an interactive part of the level. Pieces will flap in the breeze, unzip and tumble to the ground, or, in a particularly cool effect, crinkle up as you yank chunks of the world around with your stringy whip weapon. And would you believe each of these themed levels (which come in lava, ice, tropical and techno-space flavors) all look and behave differently? How amazing is it that a game in which you learn no additional moves can remain fresh, vibrant and compelling the entire time you play? You just run, jump, swing and lasso stuff from beginning to end and it’s effing magical the whole time.


Above: Kirby doesn’t consume enemies and steal powers this time - he morphs along with the world, changing shape nearly every time he engages in a different action

The unique properties don’t stop there - would you believe it’s impossible to die in Epic Yarn? It’s true, there are no lives and there is no way to actually see a Game Over screen. Now before the hardcore maniacs (that would include us, btw) raise their hands in protest, understand what the game is trying to do. The goal of each level is to make it to the end with as many beads (think Mario coins) as possible, plus the three hidden treasures tucked away in various crannies. If you’re hit, you lose some beads. Fall in a pit, you’re gonna lose a crapload of beads. But you’ll never die, never have to re-start the level or dread having to play some specific part again. You simply move on and keep enjoying the visual splendor at work.

Player two can hop in at any point on the world map and control Prince Fluff, Kirby’s azure counterpart in Epic Yarn. Both control the same, and can snag and toss each other to higher ground - a key strategy when trying to collect all the game’s treasure. We mostly played the game solo, but found the co-op mode to be just as fun, and in some cases a noticeably different experience. Certainly not a clustershart like the four-player mode in New Super Mario Bros.


Above: On the left is Kirby’s mech in solo, the right is the co-op version. Note the extra fist and lovely crown on the right version - that’s added functionality AND presentation!

So if you want to play with your kids, or want to wean someone (parents, non-gamey significant others etc) off the casual crap they’ve been playing on Wii, this is the game to use. Two player co-op with no death, arresting graphics and a slight competitive edge (who can get the most beads?) should be enough to make anyone forget the piles of $20 shovelware suffocating the aisles. Conversely, the emphasis on performance makes Epic Yarn not about avoiding death, but avoiding being hit at all - how’s that for a hardcore angle?


Above: But don’t think for a second that every level is cakewalk

If you’re really dedicated, you can try to earn a high rank on each boss, which opens up additional, harder levels in each world. Again, if you’re playing for pure fun, you can run through the main levels in about five hours and have a great time; if high scores and challenge are on your mind, go for the medals and unlock all the additional content. Truly something for everyone.

The fuzzy, feel-good atmosphere extends to Quilty Square, the game’s small town area. Here you can spend beads on various pieces of furniture or fabrics, which you can then use to populate “Kirby’s Pad,” a customizable living space that he and Prince Fluff share when not combating evil yarn people. Many objects can be found out in the game (they’re the treasures referred to earlier), but others are only available after helping Kirby’s home grow into a full-blown apartment complex filled with tenants requesting specific furniture. Fulfill their needs and they open up additional goal-oriented levels (find X things in X seconds and such), and reward you with, of course, more furniture. Sounds like a mini Animal Crossing, which it kinda is, but nowhere near as involved.


Above: You can go for a consistent theme, or just drop things everywhere like we did. Either way it’s fun for a bit, but not the most engrossing part of the game

Then there’s the story, which is usually a complete non-issue in Nintendo titles, Kirby or otherwise. This time though, the tale is presented so warmly that we actually looked forward to the animated interludes. Here’s the game’s opening, which is spoiler-free, and sets up the reason Kirby is made of yarn:


Above: It’s like an Epic Yarn book on tape! 

Sealing the whole package is the beautiful soundtrack, which makes Epic Yarn not just one of the prettiest games on the system, but one with equally impressive audio that’s among the year’s best. Each level bounces with pleasing, soothing tunes, while some (like Lava Landing) opt for ominous piano tunes heavy on the bass. It’s on the same level as Mario Galaxy, though not quite as grand. Worthy listening for sure though, as evidenced by the fact you can collect the soundtrack song by song during the course of the game. Good Feel knew the work was so good it made the OST a collectible!

And that’s it. Just a relaxing, visually desirable game from beginning to end. No stress, just good times the whole way through. Some may scoff at the laid-back difficulty, but we’d simply suggest they dig into the harder levels and earn top marks, which is no simple feat. It’s easy yet challenging, hardcore yet casual, new yet old... Epic Yarn really does cover all the bases.


Is it better than... ?

New Super Mario Bros Wii? Yes. New SMB Wii touted four-player co-op and a return to the classic Mario gameplay that’s part of our blood at this point, but gave us a shockingly vacant world and pushy-shovey multiplayer that irritated more than enthralled. We were in the minority on that call, but we’re sticking with it and feel Epic Yarn offers a prettier, more playable game, fit for any audience you can name.

 


Kirby: Canvas Curse? Yes, though for reasons that aren’t entirely fair. Canvas Curse was a proof of concept title that make Kirby a ball that you had to guide using nothing but the stylus. It turned out to be a brilliant use of the still-new hardware and remains fun to this day, but it’s forever tied to “tech demo” in our eyes. Epic Yarn on the other hand is a flawlessly executed classic game that’ll be fun no matter what platform it appears on.

Muramasa: The Demon Blade? Yes, though the audiences may not be exactly the same. Muramasa is a strikingly animated 2D slasher that’s a mix of Castle Crashers and Devil May Cry, but it also contained a ton of backtracking and unnecessary Wii Remote/Nunchuk control schemes. Still a kickass title though, and is available for extremely reasonable prices (you ARE listening to TalkRadar’s game deals, right?), so go ahead and pick it up and decide for yourself.

 


Just for you, Metacritic!

Make no mistake - this is straightforward, walk-right-to-win platforming. It’s not re-writing the book on anything and it’s probably not game of the year material, but it’s just plain fun, and acts as a charming antidote to the M-rated avalanche we can’t seem to pull ourselves out of.

Oct 15, 2010

More Info

Release date: Oct 17 2010 - Wii (US)
Available Platforms: Wii
Genre: Action
Published by: Nintendo
Developed by: Good-Feel
Franchise: Kirby
ESRB Rating:
Everyone
PEGI Rating:
3+

We Recommend

59 comments

  • Nap1400 - October 27, 2010 7:53 p.m.

    @Brett, AHEM..... Zero, Zero 2, Marx, Marx Soul. Need I say more?
  • Ninjadmin - October 19, 2010 8:54 a.m.

    This is a bit too cute for me.
  • ax37 - October 19, 2010 8:37 a.m.

    Its Little big planet for Wii.
  • RonnyLive19881 - September 18, 2012 1:51 p.m.

    BS, Little Big Planet is Yoshi's Story for Sony...
  • Austin_SJ - October 18, 2010 6:02 p.m.

    He means did Kirby flash you his junk.
  • GamesRadarBrettElston - October 17, 2010 7:14 a.m.

    @Hotdiddy I did beat it, but didn't see anything "disturbing." I've beaten most other Kirby games too so I'm not sure what you're referring to...
  • SwampRock - October 16, 2010 8:54 p.m.

    I'd get it if I had a wii, kinda tired of shooters right now.
  • Life - October 16, 2010 6:15 p.m.

    Now, the real question is... is it better than Crystal Shards? Because that to me is the end all be all of Kirby games.
  • ZakanSparta - October 16, 2010 4:32 p.m.

    I'm honestly glad for another creative, out-of-the-global-flow game that succeeds. Especialy on Wii, which is probably most underrated platform ever. Considering geting a console (first time since the 8-bit I had) and it will sure be Wii. After playing the action, "M-rated" as reviewer called it, games on PC, playing the same stuff but slower and with worse quality graphics on X360/PS3 feels like backtracking, Wii, on the other hand, may realy offer me something different, interesting, and with easy access to coop games, which is sadly hard to find/arrange on PC nowdays (Trine FTW! More local COOP NOW!)
  • randilon - October 16, 2010 4:07 p.m.

    this game looks sooooo gay :S girl audience anyone?
  • NightCrawler_358 - October 16, 2010 2:26 p.m.

    I definitely want to get this, but New Vegas is in like 3 days. Still, i'm glad this got an awesome review!
  • Hotdiddykong - October 16, 2010 2:06 p.m.

    This game is a great as I had hoped! Its common sense it would be easy since the game allows you to pass if you collect enough beads to get bronze rank,its gonna definitly get SHIT HARD getting gold on EVERYTHING, getting all soundtracks and pretty much getting it %100 is what makes this game challenging. Its extras is awesome and should be since its a console Kirby. One question,PLEASE ANSWER BRETT! Brett,if you beat the game,tell me, did something disturbing appear? If you played Kirby games,you would know what I mean.
  • thatblindgamer - October 16, 2010 1:51 p.m.

    Yeah, I was hoping that it was a good game as well as having cute graphics. If it's only about 5 hours for a casual playthrough, which I'll probably do with my brother, than I suppose that I'll just rent it.
  • Kitsuta - October 16, 2010 1:14 p.m.

    Awesome. More games need to have no dying. It can be an extremely frustrating mechanic and it does not need to be in every game ever made. I look forward to playing this, especially the co-op. Love the negative points in the review. Is there such a thing as too cute? Really?
  • BornToLose3 - October 16, 2010 12:48 p.m.

    nice review Brett cant wait, been looking forward to this all month...just have to get away from SC2...
  • Nikku7 - October 16, 2010 6:57 a.m.

    It looks like all the gamer perfectionists who go for 100% completion will be the ones who really feel challenged by this game despite not dying. It seems rewarding enough to keep most people, myself included going anyway. If it's anything like Kirby Super Star Ultra's The Great Cave Offensive treasure hunt, I will definitely be hooked on this one.
  • GammaGames - October 16, 2010 5:06 a.m.

    I clicked the video, and it said Rated M. Then I realised it was an ad for castlevania :P anyway, great review!
  • grappler51 - October 16, 2010 3:54 a.m.

    Definitely gonna get this, that intro movie was awesome! I can't remember the last time a game made me that genuinely happy.
  • AGENTJORRRG - October 16, 2010 3:23 a.m.

    *good

Showing 1-20 of 59 comments

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