Kirby’s Epic Yarn is cute. In fact, you might even go so far as to say it’s absolutely adorable. It’s so cute that while standing in line, I actually heard more than one woman go “Awwwwww!” at the mere sight of it. If there was a award for “most happiness in a game” at PAX, Epic Yarn would win by a mile. The longest lines at the Nintendo booth were to see Epic Yarn, and nearly everyone who played it had a face plastered with a nice, big smile.
The most notable thing about the game is its highly original visual style, and all of the well-rendered cloth and string that makes up the world is as vibrant as feasibly possible. It’s a wonderful direction to take the franchise, as Epic Yarn is a Wii game that wouldn’t particularly benefit from the extra processing power available on other systems. A decade from now when modern games look like garbage in comparison to the games of the future, Epic Yarn will still look awesome.
The general cheerfulness of the graphics translates how it plays as well. I played the demo cooperatively with Mike Henry of Twisted Pixel, and we were wondering if it was even possible to die. We didn’t see something that could represent a health bar, and the Nintendo rep mentioned that she actually hadn’t seen anyone kick the bucket while playing the game. This isn’t really a problem, as the game is obviously tailored to a far younger demographic than myself, but anyone seeking a challenge will still find it by searching the game for all the secret gems and treasure.
Mike took the role of everyone’s favorite pink ball while I was Prince Fluff. Fluff seems to be the ruler of the yarn world Kirby has stumbled into, and Kirby is helping him take his kingdom back. Kirby has had his trusty vacuum ability taken away, but he now has the power to grab his opponents with a whip using the 1 button. His whip can also latch on to zippers, strings, and patches that will change the environment. One section had both of us combine to form a giant tank where I shot missiles while Mike punched things, which was highly enjoyable.
It’s a relatively simple game from what I played, but Kirby was originally conceived as a beginner’s game, so it fits in the parameters of what Kirby should be: simple and fun.
If you’re looking for a fun game you can play with either your young child or inexperienced girlfriend, Kirby’s Epic Yarn will serve you right when it launches in October.