Kirby has always been a unique video game series, but Epic Yarn promises to bring a new level of creativity to the franchise.
The Wii exclusive is essentially a side-scrolling platformer but features a unique patchwork art style where everything is made of fabric – and Kirby himself of yarn.
This provides a bed of vibrant gameplay experiences including the ability to transform into a dolphin, robot or train, as well as using the colourful environment to defeat enemies and progress.
Players can grab hold of zips, swing from buttons and use Kirby’s whip to disarm enemies or turn them into balls of string and send them flying.
Two users can play the game co-operatively, with the second gamer taking control of Kirby clone Prince Fluff. Players can pick up the other character to jump higher – allowing access to hard to reach areas – or use them as a weapon and throw them into other opponents.
The game has been developed by Good-Feel and HAL Laboratory, two respected Japanese developers who have worked on hit titles such as Wario Land: The Shake Dimension and Super Smash Bros respectively.
The game’s storyline is the usual Kirby fare. Our hero is thrown into the fabric world by an evil sorcerer and must collect magical threads and sew the world back together. Kirby’s enemies King Dedede and Meta Knight also appear.
Players can also pick up themed items and pieces of music to decorate areas – providing a hint of customisation not too dissimilar to Sony’s LittleBigPlanet.
Considering Kirby has been around since 1992 when the pink ball of fun first appeared in Kirby’s Dream Land on the Game Boy, it’s surprising that Epic Yarn is the first Kirby game to arrive on home consoles since 2003’s Air Ride.
Like Donkey Kong, the character strongly appeals to the younger audience, and is a perfect example of how Nintendo caters to the entire family with its games.
There are also thousands of dedicated Kirby fans who have grown up with the character and will still enjoy Epic Yarn as much as newcomers will.
Ahead of the Kirby
Kirby’s Epic Yarn has received the most favourable reviews in the series’ history. IGN awarded the game nine out of ten, Eurogamer gave it an eight and Destructoid a 9.5. It has a Metacritic score of 88.
Over ten Kirby games have hit shelves since 1992, including Kirby’s Dream Land on the Game Boy, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards on Nintendo 64, Air Ride on the Gamecube and Super Star Ultra on DS.
The pink snooker ball with arms has made several cameos in Nintendo’s line of recent and popular Smash Bros games, giving him added exposure to a younger demographic. The series has sold over 5m copies worldwide.
Kirby’s Epic Yarn has been developed by Hal Laboratory and Good-Feel – two Japanese studios that have seen success with past Nintendo games. These include Pokémon Stadium, Mother 2, Kirby’s Dream Course and Picross 3D.