Feb 27

Game Review: Kirby’s Epic Yarn (Wii)

Ok kids, drugs are bad. They are very very bad. Unless you are a video game developer, then they are very very good. The crazier your mind works when you make a game, the more twisted ideas that you will attempt and sometimes you can bring an original concept that will blow a gamer’s brain clear out the back of their head, to much applause and bewilderment from the players. Some of these strange concepts have born legends like Lemmings, Killer 7, Katamari, Patapon, Abe’s Oddysee and even some Mario games have sections that could only be described as “inspired by extreme substance abuse”. This time, the cute pink fluff-ball Kirby excuses himself to “kiss the sky”.

Kirby’s Epic Yarn is a 2D platformer on the simplest of levels but where it lacks in challenge, it more than makes up for in ingenuity and artist style. Kirby has always been a little different. In every other game outing, Kirby has had an ability of eating his enemies and taking on their character traits to accomplish goals, all while looking cuter than a box full of puppies. Epic Yarn kinda does away with this storied tradition but delivers something that is so true to the character that its omission is forgivable.

Through the strange events in the games intro, Kirby and all of the world around him gets turned into look-alike outlines of themselves made out of yarn. Yep, you did just hear that: yarn. Fluffy, wooly string. The simplicity in the graphical department only adds to the overall charm and must be seen to be believed. When you jump, the red string making up his feet become a spring. Holding the jump button to float makes him change into a parachute. Run and Kirby turns into a cute little car, complete with an adorable “beep-beep”. And the animation used for all transitions and movements is unbelievably fluid. The brain burns at trying to recall past gameplay with such a high frame rate. But all this gorgeousness does come at a price.

Kirby is sweet. Too sweet for a lot of gamers. Epic Yarn is like eating sugar frosted ice creamed toffee through krispy Kreme doughnuts standing in the middle of Disneyland during a kitten parade. Such cutesy-poo will inevitably turn off just about every adult gamer that plays it. Also, since the game is aimed at really young gamers, there is no challenge here. I didn’t realize until it was brought to my attention but you can’t even DIE!!!!

There are, however, a heap of levels and even a bag of side quests to keep one occupied until the sugar diabetes claims your real life. A lot of these missions are well peppered with ingenious gameplay with only a very few offering tame experience. Every level has collectables scattered about including furniture for your house/gangster rented room (why is it that all landlords in games are evil??) which helps push you to explore your surroundings. However, it’s the act of exploration that will excite you, rather than the spoils. The boss battles are very well thought out too and Kirby’s new whip attack would give Indiana Jones a run for his money.

What we have here is the age old dilemma: to play a kid’s game or not to play a kid’s game? Kirby Epic Yarn’s quality is unmistakable however, with a fine touch to graphics and controls that Nintendo have a masters degree in. It’s substance being both a draw card and a repellent due to how childishly innocent the game’s content reeks. Think of an even more childish Super Paper Mario but with even more LSD consumed. For those without the guts to be seen buying such a kid’s game, buy it for your girlfriend, son, daughter or infant nephew or niece. Then pinch it from them when they fall asleep!!!

– Stubby