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When I first started playing Kirby’s Epic Yarn, I didn’t really know what to expect. Kirby games have never disappointed me greatly. Sure, Kirby 64 wasn’t all that amazing, but it was still a passable entry in the series with some cool new gameplay features. And words cannot express how much fun I had with Kirby’s Adventure on the NES.
I had the privilege of attending Nintendo’s press conference at E3 earlier this year, and the trailer for Kirby’s Epic Yarn really stood out to me. The game had great visuals, and the gameplay looked to be solid platforming fare typical of the franchise. When I got my hands on the demo, I was sold and I genuinely started looking forward to the game’s launch.
Fast forward a few months to October, and I’ve got my very own copy of the game. So let me take you down my journey into Patch Land alongside Kirby and Prince Fluff, the heroes of Kirby’s Epic Yarn.
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Adventure Awaits in Patch Land
I knew that Kirby’s Epic Yarn was a colorful game. It wasn’t until I actually played it on my TV that I realized just how cutesy the whole thing really was, though. That’s not to say that the game’s look is bad or overdone. Kirby’s Epic Yarn is cutesy, but that look translates into a charming, artistic game that really takes advantage of the Wii’s hardware.
As I saw the game’s story unfolding, a pretty visual design wasn’t the only thing I noticed. The game’s opening cut scene featured a fully voiced narrated segment. I wasn’t too sold on the narrator’s voice simply because I wasn’t very fond of his “kid’s book" narration style. It made sense within the context of the game, but I can’t say I was very impressed.
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Entering the Hub Area: Quilty Square
My first stop in Patch Land was Quilty Square. I immediately realized that this hub area wasn’t a hustling and bustling town filled with interactive NPCs. Quilty Square was a simple area where I could talk to a few characters here and there and visit Kirby’s abode, presented to him by Prince Fluff and Dom Woole, owner of Quilty Square and humble follower of Patch Land’s prince.
I checked out Kirby’s Pad and took the liberty of learning how the game’s decoration system worked. Because I was low on adornments, I decided I’d tinker with this optional feature a bit more later on. For now, I decided to check out the first world.
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On to Grass Land
The moment I entered Grass Land, I got that distinct Kirby vibe. The world’s setup was typical of the series, with doors leading to different levels. The first few stages were super easy, and at first I worried a little about the whole game being too simple. Kirby games have never been excruciating quests, but a little challenge is seen every so often. After getting through the first couple of levels, I noticed that the ease of play merely served as a tutorial.
Now, the game never really got tough as I played through Grass Land, but I did notice that the platforming became more intricate. Additionally, some sweet transformations were introduced. It soon hit me that this game was probably never going to get especially challenging, but rather offer a cool gameplay experience filled with neat cloth and yarn effects and great transformations.
I took on the game’s first boss, a large dragon named Fangora. Like the levels themselves, this boss fight wasn’t challenging, but it was a great deal of fun. I waited for Fangora to attack; I dodged the attacks; and I waited for a weak spot to reveal itself. This style of timing-based gameplay harks back to classic games, and it’s definitely a nice touch on the part of Good-Feel and Nintendo.
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A Look at Some of Kirby's Transformations
Kirby’s Epic Yarn takes a different approach to the transformation element from past Kirby games. Rather than sucking enemies up and stealing their abilities, Kirby must enter small portals located in certain spots to transform. As I played, Kirby took on several forms without having to enter portals. Dashing turned the pink puffball into a speedy car. While swimming, the hero transformed into a submarine. And after jumping off a ledge, holding the 2 button turned Kirby into a parachute.
The more impressive transformations, however, were those that were triggered by entering portals. Kirby’s Tankbot form was for all intents and purposes just awesome fun. Having the power to control a giant Kirby-shaped tank and shooting down baddies was very satisfying. Saucer Kirby took a little getting used to, but I got the hang of it in no time, and soon I was abducting Waddle Dees and using their energy to shock other baddies. The last transformation I’ll talk about (I don’t want to spoil too much) is the Off-Roader. As you might have guessed, Kirby turned into a speedy off-road vehicle. This quickly became one of my favorite transformations for multiple reasons.
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Back to Quilty Square
After defeating Fangora and clearing some extra transformation-based stages, I headed back to Quilty Town. While at Kirby’s Pad, I decorated with the furniture found throughout Grass Land. It didn't take long for me to realize that there was nothing especially deep about this mode. There was something fun to do in Quilty Square, though. Kirby’s neighbor Zeke offered some hide-and-seek challenges. Playing through previously visited levels with the objective of finding Zeke and his buddies was pretty fun, and it added a little lasting value.
My initial time with Kirby’s Epic Yarn was definitely fun. There was some uncertainty at first, but it didn’t take long for the game to develop into something deeper than I had expected. Maybe I was assuming too soon, but after playing Kirby’s Epic Yarn for about an hour, I knew I’d be enjoying the rest of this charming Wii game.