I did a search for how many times I've used to word "yarn" in a review before. Result: zero. Not a single piece of string in hundreds of articles. And it feels refreshing to finally get to use it, just like it's refreshing to play Kirby's Epic Yarn. When the small pink ball finally arrives to the Nintendo Wii he brings with him a whole lot of originality, charm and variation and I can only hope that his game isn't mistaken for something that is only for children.
Yarn then, let's start there. Yarn, textiles, buttons and zippers are the thread that ties the game's world together, in everything from story to graphical design. An evil wizard called Yin-Yarn gets mad at Kirby and uses his magical sock (yes, you heard me) and banishes our hero to Patch Land. Patch Land is like a textile store seen through a kaleidoscope. Kirby's usual super power - devouring his enemies - is pointless in Patch Land since he no longer has a stomach. Instead he can transform his now yarn-built body into all kinds of things, from a parachutes or whips to UFOs and tanks.
Patch Land is incredibly charming. Everything is the textile land has a soft edge, a zipper or a button - even when you land in water the splash is made out of yarn. By using Kirby's lasso attack we're able to fold the world, similar to how walls and buildings fold up in the Paper Mario. Patch Land is unique in its style, but if you've played Paper Mario, Little Big Planet or Yoshi's Story you'll probably feel right at home.
Early on in the game, Kirby meets up with Prince Fluff which opens up the co-op mode which is holds the same class as Donkey Kong Country Returns or New Super Mario Bros Wii. To share the experience with a friend is a pleasure and it's a lot of fun just to fool around - either by lassoing each other or transforming into cars for a game of chicken race.
Most fun is when Kirby and Fluff reaches sequences where they turn into something unexpected, often something enormous and powerful. At one point the two friends turn into a tank that covers more or less the whole screen in order to get through a level filled with enemies. One player controls the tank while the other mans the cannon - an absurd, and hilarious, sight. There are several similar situations, and some really imaginative bosses, but I won't spoil the fun by revealing what they are.
Kirby's Epic Yarn isn't a hard game. You can't even die, instead you simply lose the pearls you've managed to collect during the level you're playing. Die-hard platform fans might prefer the challenges in for example Donkey Kong Country Returns, but Kirby's Epic Yarn is never boring. And there's always the added challenge of trying to finish the levels with a perfect score and all available patches collected.
Seven worlds and forty different levels mean that the game will last you a while, which is much appreciated since Kirby's other games tend to be pretty short. Here's also a whole bunch of sidetracks you can take - they might not be the most fun you can have in the game, but they add to the longevity of it if nothing else. From the hub world you can reach your own, and the prince's, houses which you can decorate with the furniture you collect in the normal levels. You can also find friends and invite them over for a play date, like playing hide-and-seek. These activities in turn awards you even more collectibles.
Kirby's Epic Yarn is bound to make you smile, for many reasons. The unique world's design is one, the music and the many surprises are another. Which shape Kirby will take in the sequel remains to be seen, but I think this concept holds for at least one more game. It's simply a pleasure to write about: yarn is actually quite epic.