There’s something to be said for the current state of gaming that something like our current subject, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, can elicit such a positive response from the press and gamers alike. It’s not hard, it’s not violent, it’s not dark, and it’s certainly not mature. In fact, it’s easy, friendly, bright, and cute almost to a fault. So why is it that gamers, who we are told are beyond the cute and childish games of yore and want serious, mature themes these days, can still enjoys titles like this one? Because above all, it fills that primal need we started this hobby for – it’s fun.
Let it be known that the story sequences will elicit groans and guffaws from anyone over age of five. They are my absolute least favorite part of the game with their simple kids-book lines and the friendly (to the point of being creepy) narrator. However they don’t taint the whole experience, and they can be skipped.
Once into the game, you’ll constantly be dazzled and impressed by the highly unique art style and what the designers did with their cloth-based premise. Lava made of thread, quilted dinosaurs, even lens flair done completely in yarn. It’s been quite a while since a game made me step back and go “oh, wow,” but I did it constantly here. The levels are based around basic, old-fashioned ideas like music, toys, the jungle, the ocean, and a giant beanstalk but they have just an undeniable charm that you tend to overlook the simplistic concepts and just enjoy them.
The game plays extremely well. The controls feel and there’s comes a point not long after starting where you stop thinking about them completely and just enter a Zen-like phase, completing long sequences of moves just right to get an out-of-reach item, and you just marvel at how it all comes together. I’m not one to normally discuss the controls to this degree but these are so sound that they stand out by fading into the background.
The music, while sometimes catchy, can be really childish, but that fits the theme. Some of them are so soft and subdued that you wonder why the developers didn’t just skip them. Others though, like the music on Mt. Slide, where you’re snowboarding, fit the action really well. Speaking of snowboarding, it’s just one of the many tricks Kirby can pull off. At different points, Kirby will spend time as a tank, a fire truck, a dolphin, a UFO, a snowboarder, a race car and more. The odd duck is train mode, which involves drawing tracks on the screen for Kirby to follow. My hand was too shaky with the Wii remote to be accurate so these modes took much longer then they needed to because I couldn’t draw tracks smooth or contiguous enough that Kirby wouldn’t get stuck and fall off.
You can play with two players simultaneously like New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and there’s an apartment building where you decorate rooms for tenants who then offer you challenges to complete. You’ll be hunting down five copies of a character in one level and carrying a different fabric friend to a particular point in another. These provide the challenge that the normal game lacks, because you can fail these.
With all of the things to do and the extremely easy progression, this makes a great game for young players or non-gamers. For the more hardcore crowd, there’s plenty of things to collect, medals to earn, and challenges to complete, but most importantly it is the most basely fun game I’ve played in a while, and it would be a mistake to miss out on it because of it’s ease and bright colors. Yes it looks like a kids game, but there’s something here that everyone should enjoy.