To say I was a little apprehensive about Kirby’s Epic Yarn would be making it sound like I had any interest in this game to begin with. As I would look through stores searching for a bargain that wasn’t in the ads, I would always pass right over certain games. Epic Yarn somehow got lumped into that category along with Madden and Call of Duty. My eyes would scan right over it as I perused the game sections. Perhaps the cutesy cover or being in the middle of an unhappy relationship with my Wii had something to do with it? Likely a little of both factored into that.
What finally made me give in was planning our week of Kirby content. Having a couple of people I know speak fairly negatively about it, my expectations were fairly low. I ended up being pleasantly surprised.
The art direction of the game, while a touch strange and a bit of a tough sell to all but the most open-minded, is the most notable feature of the game. The entire world and its inhabitants being made of yarn are not only an aesthetic choice, but affect Kirby’s abilities and how he interacts with the world. Instead of being able to do his characteristic inhale and spit, Kirby now morphs his yarn body into shapes to handle foes and maneuvering. Attach your lasso arm to a button and scrunch the world up to bridge a gap that you couldn’t pass otherwise. Get a move on a bit more quickly by turning into a car (complete with little horn sound effect) when you dash. He can’t fly anymore, so you’ll find gusts of air and turn him into parachute to get to the heights you need to go. If nothing else, this shows Kirby himself is more clever and resourceful than he normally gets credit for.
There are points in the game when you also get to morph into special forms. You can turn into a train and guide Kirby through the level by pointing the Wii remote to draw the tracks for him to follow (a bit of a nod to the DS entry, Kirby: Canvas Curse). Transform into a flying saucer and, after absorbing three enemies with the saucer’s beam, unleash an attack that wipes virtually everything off the screen. My personal favorite is the gigantic Kirby tank that shoots rocket after rocket in a showing of force not usually associated with his pinkness.
The little graphical touches are also incredibly impressive. Enter a door and Kirby will appear as a lump behind the fabric, pushing it out slightly as he moves. Little attentions to detail like that really make Epic Yarn stand out and will help it continue to look fresh beyond the current generation. Art style can keep a game pleasant to look at long after the technology used in the game has been surpassed, and Epic Yarn has style and great design choices in spades.
Epic Yarn does live up to the “baby game” status it’s earned by being incredibly easy. I’m not even sure you can die, as I was never in any danger of doing so. Seeing that Kirby was originally created to be an entry point for new gamers, I don’t think anyone is going to be expecting anything too challenging anyway. Epic Yarn is still a fun experience (especially in co-op) with impressive visuals, an adorably sweet story (even by Kirby standards), and a surprising amount of depth and attention to paid to details.
I nearly never gave Kirby’s Epic Yarn a chance. Thankfully, Kirby turning 20 fixed that error for me. If you’ve ever thought about giving it a chance, I would recommend doing so, as it can be had for around what you’d pay to download a Nintendo 64 game on Virtual Console if you look hard enough. There’s really not any reason to not give one of the most creative Kirby titles a spin. You may find yourself falling for its cavity-inducing charm.