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Tickled pink with Kirby's new epic

Nov 17, 2010

By Daniel Barron - G4 Canada

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KirbyThere's no denying that Nintendo's playful pink puff of a mascot known as Kirby has sucked for far too long.

No, we're not talking about Kirby games themselves. The majority of them - from the original Kirby's Dream Land, to the DS standout Kirby's Canvas Curse - have been fully deserving of standing alongside other Nintendo platforming powerhouses like Mario and Donkey Kong.

What we're alluding to here is gameplay. Kirby is famous for inhaling his enemies and taking on their powers like some kind of overly-cute, less-robotic version of Mega Man. It's as synonymous to him as the morph ball is to Samus Aran or the Master Sword is to Link.

Things are a little different, though, in his latest adventure, Kirby's Epic Yarn. In it, the main character encounters an evil sorcerer and gets trapped in Patch Land, a world where just about everything - including Kirby himself - is made up of yarn. Kirby quickly finds out that his ability to hoover everything in his path is completely useless, and he'll need to use the very material that makes up his body to battle his foes and make his way back home to Dream Land.

KirbyThis may sound like a twisted nightmare scenario conjured up by Freddy Krueger himself, but Nintendo manages to make this game as tooth-achingly sweet as humanly possible.

First of all, the story itself is narrated (wonderfully) by a man who sounds like he's reading straight from a Dr. Seuss book, complete with voice changes and plenty of repetition. Secondly, the vibrant and colourful look of the game not only keeps the atmosphere lighthearted, it also equates to endless eye candy. It may not be presented in 1080p high definition or three dimensions, but having Kirby pull apart a zipper or yank a button to transform a section of a level never gets old.

The music, meanwhile, is some of the most memorable we've heard in a game in years. Levels like 'Hot Land', 'Water Land' and 'Snow Land' may not sound like the most original, but the music - oh, and the spectacular level design - makes many of them stick in your mind long after they've been completed.

Lastly, Kirby never actually dies in the game. Running into enemies or getting hit by projectiles only results in Kirby getting bounced away, while falling down a pit will see the now-flightless pink sphere getting snagged from doom and lifted to safety.

KirbyThe real downside to these things happening is that you lose beads, which are the currency of Epic Yarn. Getting to the end of each level doesn't take all that much skill; it's finishing with enough beads to earn a gold medal that will have you replaying levels over and over again.

Though Kirby can't actually suck up enemies and take on their powers, he still has numerous default forms he can change into at any time. Whether it's an umbrella to help with pinpoint landings, an anvil to crush baddies, or a car to zip past trouble areas, there's no shortage of ways for Kirby to help himself get as many beads and hidden items as possible.

In addition to this, several levels have special sections where Kirby can change into new forms for a limited time. One level sees him swimming through water as a dolphin, while another has him chugging along as a massive (but somehow still kinda cute) missile-spewing tank. Later levels see him become a spaceship, and you'll find yourself no longer in a Kirby game, but in a hilarious (and fun!) Gradius ripoff.

KirbyLike any good Nintendo platformer, there is a ton of stuff to do beyond the main adventure. Kirby can decorate his Patch Land home with items that are found or bought from the neighbourhood store, while friends will come over to challenge Kirby in minigames ranging from hide-and-seek to capture-the-beads.

Though these things are moderately fun, they feel more like filler, and only serve to take away from the real focus of the game, which is the seven worlds found in the main quest. In fact, it's easy to completely forget that there's a main hub where you can do these side quests.

The knock that many 'hardcore' gamers have for Nintendo games in general is that they aren't mature enough. Kirby's Epic Yarn is sure to provide a decade's worth of ammunition for those people.

That's neither here nor there though. This game may start out as little more than a children's book on a Wii disc, but it truly does turn into an adventure of epic proportions.

Marcus Fenix has his Lancer and Kratos has his Blades of Exile, but we're starting to think that when Kirby is equipped with his yarn-whip, he may just be the biggest badass of them all.

 

Kirby's Epic Yarn
Format: Nintendo Wii
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: HAL Laboratory, Inc.
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
Official Site: http://kirbykirbykirby.com

Rating: 9 / 10

 
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About G4 in Canada
G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.