At least he doesn't suck anymore,
because he literally can't in this game.
Nintendo's unloaded several of their most popular franchises. There's been Mario, Zelda, Metroid, and upcoming Donkey Kong. We've yet to see the lovable, hug-able, pink puff of cuteness, Kirby, on the Wii as of yet. Nintendo's opted to change that with Kirby's Epic Yarn a complete reversal of the tenative 3D model project that was planned before. Out with the 3D and in with a unique artstyle made completely of yarn and fabric. Does Kirby's Epic Yarn's gameplay match up to the wonderful art of the game?
Kirby is always a hungry fellow. When he sees a magic tomato sitting precariously atop a bush, Kirby does what he does best, suck it up. This angers a nearby onlooker, a magician named Yin-Yarn that absorbs our hungry hero into a mysterious sock of sorts. It is then that Kirby is vacuumed into a world that is completely 2D and made up of yarn and fabric. Here he meets a troubled prince being tormented by one of Yin-Yarn's goons. The prince is named Prince Fluff, and Kirby rescues his new friend by somehow transforming into a car and jetting off with a quick and helpful escape. It turns out the tomato Kirby inhaled in one gulp was a magical one, giving our hero the ability to transform into many helpful objects and forms. Prince Fluff tells Kirby that the world he is in-- Patch Land-- is split apart in seven sections. Only by beating the boss of each area will a golden thread link two pieces together. With a goal in mind and a ever-hungry hero, Kirby and Fluff march off to right the wrongs of one evil and sinister Yin-Yarn.
Kirby's Epic Yarn progresses just like the original Kirby outing, Dream Land. At the end of each stage you earn a patch that opens up a new level to try out. This process continues until you reach a boss which you battle for a piece of golden yarn, vital to Kirby and Fluff's quest. Doing particularly well in a boss encounter gives the heroic pair a patch to unlock a secret level or levels in that area to try out. These are usually more challenging in scope with greater dangers and more enemies to contend with.
Speaking of challenge, Kirby can't lose a life. It is completely impossible for Kirby to die. This might make the game easy, but you're encouraged not to take damage as the medals you collect will rain out of Kirby as he gets hit with limited time to scoop them back up. Collect enough medals and you'll be rewarded either a gold, silver, or bronze medal pending on how many medals you've kept safe from harm. Another part of the challenge is when you get new tenants in a Patch Land apartment complex. These guests will ask Kirby to perform a specific task depending on who you talk to. One plays hide-and-seek with Kirby, another races Kirby to a set goal, another has you carrying the tenant to the goal, and another has you collecting a given amount of beads or defeating enough enemies within a strict time limit. These challenges are the most... well, challenging aspects of Kirby's Epic Yarn. It takes a lot of time to reach 100% in this game-- more than twelve hours easily. Add in the fact that at any time in the game, you can play co-op, and you have twice the fun for the same price.
Kirby is far more flexible than he's been in previous games of the series. This is thanks to that tomato he naively consumed. Kirby can transform into a myriad of objects and vehicles from a weight to crush enemies beneath him to a parachute that slowly floats our hero to the ground. Special transformations include a water-loving dolphin, an enemy-gobbling UFO, a fire truck to put out fires and volcanoes easily with, a spaceship whose gameplay is reminiscent of Galaga or Defender, a side-scrolling shmup game. All of these abilities make up for the fact that Kirby can no longer eat and take the powers of a given enemy. Instead, Kirby uses a yarn whip to take care of enemies, hang and swing from objects, and pull zippers wide open (and we're not talking about pant zippers either, you cheeky monkey).
Each world concludes with a massive boss battle. These aren't too challenging though figuring out how to acquire enough medals from a boss may be a bit perplexing. Each boss has its own attack patterns to look out for. Then they leave themselves open for Kirby to grab onto its weak point, pull for all he's worth, and damage the boss. There's seven boss battles in all, and each one is as entertaining as the last even if there's no difficulty in not dying.
Kirby's Epic Yarn is a presentation package that other games wish they could become. Sure, I doubt Gears of War would want such a package, but you get what I mean, right? The entire world is made up beautiful yarn enemies, objects, and fabric-covered platforms. This is without a doubt one of the most graphically-pleasing games available this year. Yep, I go as far to say that, and you can quote me on that. The soundtrack is composed well usually featuring a piano to play the melody or accompaniment. It's what you expect from the composer who wrote the incredible Wario Land: Shake It! soundtrack plus a trio of composers who are Kirby veterans. Overall, the entire package is wonderfully impressive unless you're not man enough for it.
Overall, Kirby's Epic Yarn is a great game that some might consider to easy to their liking as deaths are a thing of Kirby's past. However, if you play the game with the goal to collect as many medals as possible, then you're in for one heck of a ride. Kirby has never been as cute as he is now, and his adventure is one that will hook you from beginning to end. And if this game's magnificent charm doesn't appeal to you, then suck it up, because we all know Kirby can't in this game.
[SuperPhillip Says: 8.5/10]