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:
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.
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.
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