Kirby’s Epic Yarn Hands-On Preview
Kirby’s Epic Yarn box art
System: Wii Review Rating Legend
Dev: Good-Feel/HAL 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Nintendo 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Oct. 17, 2010 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Let’s Go Kirby!
by Amanda L. Kondolojy

Although the folks at Nintendo are all about targeting the “casual” market, it seems that they are increasingly going after those who pine for the games of old. Last year’s New Super Mario Bros. Wii proved that the retro side-scrolling experience was still quite the selling point for many consumers, and this simplistic title went on to become the best-selling standalone title of 2009. Capitalizing on this success, Nintendo has unveiled their next big side-scroller, Kirby’s Epic Yarn. It may sound like blasphemy, but I think this title may even be better than Mario!

Kirby’s Epic Yarn screenshot

We were able to get some hands-on time with one of the game’s first levels, and even though we were playing an early build of the game, it looked incredibly polished. Like the name implies, the world of Kirby’s Epic Yarn has plenty of string-based elements. Kirby himself has abandoned his usual jiggly pink aesthetic for a minimalist approach that sees our hero becoming a see-through yarn-based creature (with a cute set of googly eyes to match)! The enemies also have a yarn-based look, and though nothing in this world looks frightening, we did get to see a detailed yarn-dragon near the end of our time with the demo. In an interesting and humorous twist, the yarn-based enemies explode into stringy confetti when defeated. Although you might imagine this feature getting old after a few minutes, I was giggling my way through the entire demo!

In addition to Kirby’s new yarn-based look, the world of Kirby’s Epic Yarn also has an arts-and-crafts feel. The background looks like it is made of different patches of cloth, and the landscape is dominated by things like string, buttons, and zippers. The landscape is interactive, and Kirby can use his yarn-whip cracking powers to reveal secrets and hidden areas within the fabric of the game’s universe (see what I did there?). The game also has special areas where you can crawl under the fabric background, and you can follow Kirby as a little 3D bump under the landscape. The fabric effects were good-looking, and I was impressed with the quality of the visuals overall. The look reminded me of the homemade elements of Little Big Planet, but with brighter colors and more string.


However, even though the game features a modern look, the gameplay is strictly retro. Much like with New Super Mario Bros. Wii, you hold the Wii-Mote NES-style and use the 1 and 2 buttons to jump and attack. Kirby’s standard attack involves a whip that can either be used to thwart enemies or open new areas. As far as transformations were concerned, we were able to change into a little vehicle early on (with just a tap of the D-pad) and a large tank during a boss battle. While we were transformed, the controls were the same, except with the addition of a tilt-based aiming mechanic that could be used to accurately fire the tank vehicle’s primary weapon. The tilt mechanics feel a lot like the tilt used in Wario Land: Shake It! and were very familiar.

Kirby’s Epic Yarn screenshot

In addition to taking down enemies and playing around with the landscape, we were able to check out the game’s co-op as well. The entire game can be shared with a second player, and even though the game’s story won’t change depending on the number of players, the strategy you use to get through tough areas might. Not only can you combine with your partner to create super vehicles, you can also use your lasso weapon to carry them around difficult-to-navigate areas.

The only disappointing part of our time with Kirby’s Epic Yarn was the realization that our favorite float technique was gone. Although this was a staple of previous Kirby games, the signature Kirby float has been done away with in favor of transforming into a little parachute capable of gliding down slowly from high surfaces. While I was initially disappointed with this aspect of the game, it makes sense considering the game’s shift to traditional 2D side-scrolling. Just floating along the top would be cheating, wouldn’t it?

Kirby’s Epic Yarn screenshot

Although some major changes have been made to the gameplay and the game’s style, Kirby’s Epic Yarn definitely feels like a retro experience. Much like New Super Mario Bros. Wii, the game thrives off a new approach to an old format. But this is a good thing, and I can’t think of a more fitting way for Nintendo’s most famously round character to make his comeback. Although we don’t have a firm date for release, you can expect Kirby’s Epic Yarn to hit shelves sometime later this year.

By Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC News Director

Game Features:

  • The look of the world is stunning, but it’s also interactive. Pulling on stray threads might reveal hidden areas. When Kirby literally goes behind the scenes, the virtual fabric warps and bends to show his location.
  • Thanks to his versatile yarn composition, Kirby can take on a variety of forms both in his common actions and when he transforms into powerful vehicles. When Kirby dashes, he zips around as a car. In water, he turns into a submarine. At times, he can even transform into a massive robotic tank, a UFO, and other vehicles.
  • Two players can play through the entire game together.
  • Gems and collectible items are scattered throughout the environments for players to find.

  • Screenshots / Images
    Kirby’s Epic Yarn screenshot - click to enlarge Kirby’s Epic Yarn screenshot - click to enlarge Kirby’s Epic Yarn screenshot - click to enlarge Kirby’s Epic Yarn screenshot - click to enlarge Kirby’s Epic Yarn screenshot - click to enlarge Kirby’s Epic Yarn screenshot - click to enlarge Kirby’s Epic Yarn screenshot - click to enlarge Kirby’s Epic Yarn screenshot - click to enlarge Kirby’s Epic Yarn screenshot - click to enlarge Kirby’s Epic Yarn screenshot - click to enlarge Kirby’s Epic Yarn screenshot - click to enlarge Kirby’s Epic Yarn screenshot - click to enlarge

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