Kirby is a mixed bag for me. As a child, I loved the simple platforming, adorable enemies, and copycat technology. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve lost interest because Kirby hasn’t grown up; the handheld versions, Squeak Squad and Amazing Mirror are obviously targeted toward younger audiences. Super Star Ultra brought back some of the retro goodness, and the original could be argued as the most difficult, but not on the scale of difficulty, it hovers around bothersome.
Now that I’ve played Kirby’s Epic Yarn, not much has changed, but there is still hope.
The obvious change in the Kirbyverse is the new visual style. The backdrop and platforms are largely made from fabrics, and the characters are animated pieces of yarn. Seeing it in motion up-close, it looks and flows wonderfully. The yarn adds a ton of aesthetic value to the game at the sake of looking – almost – too childish.
However, even though it looks like something your grandmother stitched together when you were younger, the game looks awesome up close. There is almost a realistic look to the yarn characters, and the fabric backdrop looks like it has been laid underneath the screen of your TV. Everything works together really well.
The demo consisted of three levels: tutorial, full level, and a boss battle. Like most other Kirby games, it felt very easy to play; unlike my Donkey Kong Country Returns playthrough, I never felt challenged at any given time. But, these were only tastes of the beginning of the game, and with the string and physics mechanics, there is the possibility of devious puzzles to challenge solo and cooperative players alike.
Yep, there is multiplayer! Player two controls Prince Fluff and helps Kirby throughout each level with the same abilities. The crux of the gameplay revolves around Kirby, or Fluff, using a piece of yarn to destroy and grab enemies; unzip or stitch together the level, grab objects, or combine powers to become an unstoppable yarn-tank. Players can also work together to boost themselves up and find hidden treasures to increase their score.There wasn’t anything available to show what the score was for, but knowing Kirby, extra modes and mini-games might be included in the final title.
Surprisingly, unlike other Kirby games, the pink guy can’t absorb enemies to gain new abilities, not in the demo at least. Instead, he has a multitude of abilities that transform him into different items. Dashing turns him into a car, pressing down in the air turns him into a weight, and pressing jump again causes him parachute slowly to the ground. It’s a waiting game to see what other powers he might possess.
After defeating the boss (and realizing his yarn becomes frayed as he takes damage), I walked away from Kirby’s Epic Yarn with mixed feelings. I really enjoyed the art style, and the nostalgic feel of a classic Kirby game on consoles, but I wasn’t completely sold. There are a lot of awesome mechanics available here, but the introductory levels don’t show off their full potential. However, it is an early demo, and I have faith that Nintendo will make sure its first console reboot for the pink fluff makes for a good show.