Saturday 7 September 2019

Kirby's Extra Epic Yarn ★★★★☆

Say what you want about Kirby, but you can’t argue with his versatility. While characters like Mario are largely reused in similar ways and genres with each new entry, the little pink puffball has embarked on many different adventures of different styles - Kirby's Tilt 'n' Tumble and Kirby's Canvas Curse gave players a new way to control the little guy, while Kirby's Dream Course and Kirby's Air Ride introduced the character to racing simulators. 9 years ago, Kirby’s Epic Yarn hit the Wii and transformed Kirby into a shapeshifting piece of string in a ‘fabric-ated’ world. It was a huge success, so now, the game has been re-released as an updated 3DS exclusive – Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn.

While strolling through Dream Land, Kirby discovers a rather tasty-looking tomato and decides to eat it. Yin-Yarn, an evil sorcerer who possessed the tomato, appears and banishes Kirby into Patch Land, a world made completely from fabric. Kirby transforms into yarn, rendering both his flight and inhaling abilities useless. He must embark on an adventure to help Prince Fluff by collecting seven pieces of magic yarn to stitch Patch Land together in order to thwart the evil plans of the sorcerer Yin-Yarn. Yeah, it’s totally bizarre. But it’s really quite charming. The simplistic tale is told like a children’s story, complete with a quaintly British narrator. The presentation is all rather adorable.

First of all, and arguably most importantly, this is not a direct port of the Wii original. The key added feature is the new so-called Devilish Mode, which is exactly what it sounds like. While the original release was criticised by some for being far too easy, with Kirby able to take damage and fall into pits and simply lose a few recoverable gems and continue to progress through the stage. Devilish Mode laughs at that approach, and gives Kirby a health bar – take five hits from the yarn monsters who consistently appear, and you’re buggered. It’s back to the start of the stage for you, young gamer. Now for those who want a mindless and simple session with Kirby, the original and easier mode is still an option – but honestly, even Devilish Mode doesn’t present much of a challenge. The three added devil AIs aren’t particularly intelligent and are fairly easy to overcome, meaning the game is still pretty simple.

On the whole, Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn plays pretty much exactly the same as it did on the Wii – although the delightful co-op mode from the Wii is gone – but the similarity to the original game is by no means a criticism. The visuals retain their wonderful child-like flair and the world is as engrossing as ever. This charmingly nostalgic and beautifully rendered little game is an absolute delight throughout and harks back to one of Nintendo’s finest releases of the 21st century. I had a lot of fun revisiting Patch Land and although it was a peculiar choice not dropping this one on the Switch, it could just act as a nice final word on the 3DS console. It might not be a particularly essential purchase for anybody who played the original, but the newly added Devilish Mode adds a new challenge and it’s nice to be able to take this game on the move.

Sam Love

Kirby's Extra Epic Yarn at CeX

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