Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Kirby's Epic Yarn: Review

In late 2004, a new Kirby game was announced for the Gamecube, Nintendo’s previous home console. Screenshots quickly followed, and each of the areas and characters depicted were vivid, colorful, and gorgeous, all of which were essential for a Kirby title. The classic side scrolling action, of which the series never once abandoned, remained present. Best of all, numerous features showcased in the pictures such as teaming up with partners and Kirby’s trademark hats, were no doubt nods to what was Kirby’s greatest moment: Kirby Super Star on the Super Nintendo. There was no other information regarding to the game, which was typical for a Nintendo game. At the following year’s E3 Conference, the trailer below was shown.

It was everything Kirby fans wanted. New and old abilities were unveiled, and they all looked incredible. Just as in Super Star, the game used partners as a form of multiplayer, but this time you could use four players! The action was explosive, and every ability was just as flexible as they were on the Super Nintendo. It was Kirby Super Star on a modern console, and we couldn’t be happier.

And so we waited.

And waited.

And waited..

And waited…

…and waited.

We never heard about that game ever again.

The unnamed Kirby title remained on Nintendo’s release list for what seemed like forever, but there was not one speck of information as to why it was taking so long. It was then announced that upcoming Gamecube games were to be ported to the Wii, and we took this as a sign that our favorite puffball would eventually receive the same treatment. Sure enough, his name was imprinted on the Wii release schedule, but the excitement would not last for long. Nintendo’s silent treatment enforced a gradual halt to our cheers, and as the years went by, Kirby’s spot on the release schedule became something of a joke. In the meantime, Kirby continued his adventuring career on the handheld Nintendo DS with some excellent adventures, but alas, something felt amiss. The sting of not having a new title for the little guy on a home console for over seven years echoed in our minds.

Then came this year’s E3, in which we had an explosion of new games. A new Zelda was announced in the form of Skyward Sword, and Donkey Kong Country fans were finally getting another sequel to their beloved trilogy. The 3DS, Nintendo’s latest iteration of the DS, induced dropped jaws everywhere with three-dimensional technology and with the glorious return of Kid Icarus. And wait, what’s this? There’s a picture of Kirby on the screen…they’re talking about him! Oh my god, it’s finally coming! Our messiah has come at last!

…or not.

The new game was called Kirby’s Epic Yarn. The trailer showed Kirby traversing in a world of yarn, with gentle music playing in the background. He was swinging on bells, transforming into cars, unraveling a yarn dragon, and collecting beads. I shook my head in disbelief as the flood of details began to surface. Where were the sprawling, wonderland backgrounds? Why was he using a yarn whip and not his trademark copy abilities? Why is the focus of the game to collect beads? Is it true you couldn’t die?

It didn’t feel like Kirby.

As the media and most fans celebrated the new direction, I attempted to make sense of the game, and the thoughts that followed led me to having a buried optimism for Kirby’s new adventure. The same situation happened just seven years earlier with Kirby Air Ride, his last game on a home console. Nearly every critical source slammed the game’s simplicity and confusing presentation, but my friends and I discovered it was an addictive title full of replay value, and I remember swearing I would no longer listen to a critic's opinion of a Kirby game. It remains one of my favorite multiplayer titles to this very day.

I decided to equip myself with that same optimism and hope for the best.

And now, we’ve had Epic Yarn for nearly two months.

It seems that once again I have been blinded by a Kirby game’s premise. Don’t let the new style fool you, this is a true Kirby.


One of the reasons why I love Nintendo so much is that they can pull nearly any idea out of an hat and make it work with their expertise of innovation. A plumber traversing through a kingdom of mushrooms and beating up evil turtles? Sure. How about his greedy doppelganger starring in a series of five-second minigames involving reflexes, nose picking, and dancing aliens? I’ll take it. Living in a forest community of bipedal animals while decorating a house and paying off your debt? Hmm. Every single one of these concepts have been tremendous successes, and it is all because of their games are designed for the full comfort of the player while continuing to be the kings of creativity.

So should there be a game starring a puffball who swallows enemies and takes on their powers, who for this title has lost this power and now made out of yarn and is having an adventure with beads, bells, and living in an apartment?

Why not?

While the loss of a new IP is felt, there really is no better Nintendo franchise suited for a yarn makeover than Kirby. It is a series embedded with fluffy backgrounds, adorable characters, and not to mention a charming premise to tie all of that up. A wonderland where the inhabitants sleep, eat, and play all day while going on adventures? Hey, it’s gotta be a better fit then Metroid.

With this in mind, Kirby’s Epic Yarn has no restrictions in reformatting the series in a new art direction and as such, the series’ charm is kept intact. While our hero can no longer swallow his foes and steal their powers, the game still feels like just another new Kirby game and retains every bit of that feel, refraining it from standing out as a black sheep. In a stark contrast, it manages to simultaneously push the series forward in regards to modern standards, and has paved a new path for future games in the franchise. It’s a wonderfully diverse title.

How has Epic Yarn reintroduced the series in the modern age?

Read on to find out.


When a new file is created, you are treated to a lovely cinematic explaining the backstory of the game.

For those too lazy to watch the video, I’ll offer a brief recap. While taking a stroll through Dream Land, Kirby comes across his favorite food, a Maximum Tomato (or a..Metamato?), and eats it not knowing it belonged to the evil sorcerer Yin Yarn. In retaliation, the wizard uses a magic sock to transport him to Patch Land, a word of stitching, fabric and yarn. As Kirby is adjusting to new surroundings, he finds that his swallowing powers are lost, but the tomato he ate allowed him to transform into varying shapes.

After saving Prince Fluff a short time later, he learns that Yin Yarn has separated the stitching that bound Patch Land together into seven pieces, and has plunged the kingdom into chaos with the outbreak of monsters. Kirby, being the hero that he is, offers his help and the two set out on a quest to patch up the kingdom.

It should be apparent that the storyline of Epic Yarn is not Pulitzer material. What truly makes it shine, however, is the use of cut scenes in the game. Previously, the series would hurriedly push the story bits along so players could get back to the game, and more often than not, they were either portrayed in a silent fashion (Kirby 64) or text narration (Kirby Super Star). While Kirby was never a series rooted in story, as are most Nintendo franchises, some might say it’s time for them to move forward in this direction.

In this case, it works remarkably well. Each cinematic in the game plays right after you beat a boss and move on to the next set of levels, so they never obstruct the flow of the game. Moreover, they never take themselves too seriously, and really, who expected that in a game with a yarn theme? Whether it’s Kirby causing mischief in a apple tree or Yin Yarn realizing he hasn’t decided what to do after taking over Dream Land, each scene has the power to just a smile to your face, make you chuckle (or in my case, laugh out loud), and set you in the mood for another round of adventures. Particular attention has to be paid to series regular Meta Knight, who belts out campy dialogue in every scene that he’s in (“Kirby, forgive me! I blame the yarn!”).

By far the best part, however, is the use of a narrator. This is the first Kirby game to feature full voiceovers, something that would’ve been perceived as sacrilege maybe seven years ago. Be that as it may, there’s no denying that this guy does a perfect job of narrating the events unfolding on the screen. These cut scenes are presented in the form of a storybook, and the voice of a loving, whimsical grandfather accommodates that flawlessly. As one would to a child ready for bed, he crafts different tones of voices for each character and adds the proper inflection to the words he’s bringing to life. This is the main reason why I looked forward to each and every one of the flicks presented, and I can’t wait to see how they’ll tackle this next time. Bravo!

Yes, he really does say that.


Now, in a normal review I would be discussing the game mechanics first, but I’d like to answer the question that’s probably zipping around your mind: “What’s the deal with the yarn style you’re yapping about?”

Obviously, developer Good Feel has taken a rather different approach in Kirby’s design. He is now a pink outline of yarn, and every other character in the game takes a similar approach. Fabric and textures dot the skies and landscape, and Kirby strolls along encountering buttons, bells, and yes, even deadly falling wallpaper. Despite my initial gall at the surprising overhaul, there’s no denying the immense charm this change brings. However, the reason why I was so apprehensive was something I was afraid this reformat would lose.

If there was anything I was truly worried about Epic Yarn, it was losing the feel of the wonderful beauty of the older games. As seen above in the form of Super Star, Kirby games always have this rich, vibrant, perhaps even angelic setting that I have always been in love with. These backgrounds are a true work of art, and to me are the very soul of the series. Would a graphical style made of yarn compliment this, or leave it in the dust with its new feel?

I think the screenshot above speaks for itself.

This game is absolutely gorgeous, and makes excellent use of its new style, whether it’s building upon a typical Kirby level or something completely new. Each area immediately grabs the eye thanks to the makeover, and you’ll want to see everything the game has to show you. Great examples include the soft blanket skies over the ocean, the many variations of clouds (whether they’re simply lint or are made out of patchwork), the cardboard structures, and the soft swirls of string that form tornadoes and cause ripples to shift in the velvety background.

This stage made me hungry...

This is perfectly in-tune with Kirby, and I’m kicking myself for not seeing the potential here earlier. Everything feels soft, idyllic, and just…well, pleasant, and this can make me forgive the game even in it’s most difficult challenges. It’s so strange at how even though the game employs such a radical twist in design, at the same time everything is just so simple and it screams Kirby. More often then not do I find myself just staring at the background and slowly melt from the game‘s soothing visuals, which without fail builds upon the game’s relaxation factor (more on that later).

And the effects…! My eyes widened when Kirby pulled on a button and part of the landscape scrunched up revealing a hidden item! The wrinkles that formed were literally photorealistic! For a console that’s supposed to be graphically underwhelming, it’s astonishing to witness. Perhaps most astounding, however, is the animation of the characters. For a character that has been transformed into a blob of moving yarn, Kirby moves with incredible fluidity and it‘s a marvel to witness. The enemies you’ll be facing are great fun to watch as well, the best example being the Waddle Doo, who if you watch long enough will attempt to stretch his two strands of hair. Everything comes to life.

It’s great to know that I had nothing to worry about. This is right up there with Super Star, Dreamland 3, Air Ride, and Nightmare in Dream Land as being the most beautiful games in the franchise. In fact, this is possibly the most beautiful game in this console generation. A huge pat on the back to Nintendo and Good Feel for pulling this risk off successfully.


Now, some of you might have been confused by my earlier description of Kirby “losing his powers” and gaining new ones, so I’ll explain what’s going on here.

From the very beginning of the series, Kirby had the special, if somewhat strange, ability to swallow his foes and gain their powers. He could breathe fire, or produce spikes, or turn into a wheel, or shoot lasers, or German Suplex, and even wield a parasol. It is defining staple of the series and is the reason why the games are so much fun.

In a surprising twist, none of this is featured at all his latest adventure. Kirby no longer can use his amazing super breath, as the air just passes through his threadbare body. Luckily, the special Maximum Tomato he ate earlier was actually a Metamato, and he can now transform at will into many different forms. Some might mourn the loss of Kirby’s trademark powers, but this new form of play more than makes up for it.

Kirby’s new form of attacking is by utilizing a whip of yarn, which has a variety of uses. By performing different button combinations, there are a variety of ways to take on your foes. You can simply untangle your foes into a clutter of yarn strings, or wound them up into a ball and throw them at the next enemy you come across. In a clever twist, sometimes you’ll encounter an enemy who might be wielding a spear, so you can aim at the weapon instead and throw it back!

Kirby also has several transformations at his disposal. If you tap left or right on the control pad, he’ll turn into a car and dash along the level. Press down and he’ll become a weight, crushing blocks and foes alike. If the 2 button is held, he’ll transform into a parachute and slowly ease his way down. If Kirby hops into a body of water, he’ll take the form of a submarine and uses the aid of a propeller. Each has their own use, are a snap to use and work instantaneously.

Ah..feeling the breeze.

It doesn’t end there. When Kirby jumps into a swirling Metamortex, he’ll transform into new forms with extra mobility and increased power, such as:

Tankbot: Kirby morphs into a GIANT ROBOT. He can employ rocket jets to float around, trudges along on treadmill legs, and fires missiles. It is as awesome as it sounds.

Dolphin: Taking the shape of a dolphin, Kirby performs powerful spins and graceful leaps. He can also play with a ball!

UFO: After transforming into a flying saucer, Kirby can abduct bad guys with a tractor beam and can unleash a devastating electrical attack!

Spin Boarder: Kirby whips out a surfboard and sleds across the stage. Try performing surfing tricks on flying enemies for extra air time!

There are entire stages devoted to these extra transformations, and they’re by far some of the most fun. In the video below, you can see the Spin Boarder in action.


Once again, Kirby remains glued to a two-dimensional plane, and as such Epic Yarn is one of the latest in the Wii’s renaissance of reviving the 2D classic sidescroller. However, it shouldn’t really be a surprise since Kirby is the only major Nintendo franchise that has not made the big leap to 3D. I’d like to keep it that way.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that Kirby games never employed the greatest use of level design. While they are tremendously fun, the levels are often plain, have a tendency to toss in quick gimmicks, and are especially focused on plowing through every single enemy you come across. This can actually be a blessing, since I’ve always held the belief that this is the reason why Kirby is the perfect entry point for the burgeoning gamer, as the environments presented within offer an easy difficulty. However, this isn’t so appealing to an experienced gamer, who not only craves a challenge but innovation as well.

This is almost exactly the opposite for Epic Yarn. While most will have little problem clearing the levels in the game, this inconvenience will be tossed aside by how utterly creative, ingenious, and original they are, and most of this is thanks to the game’s aesthetic theme and the aid of the Yarn Whip. Your mouth will drop as you unravel a door and enter a hidden passageway into a tree of fabric, moving behind the scenes as Kirby makes his way up to the top. You’ll also find that careful use of the whip can affect the landscape around you. For example, you can pull zippers…

Open stitched up wormholes..

Cease a volcano’s eruption to pass by..

Swing on bells to reach faraway places..

And even lift a dinosaur’s head!

Perhaps most intriguing is how the game lets you progress. The others I listed above are certainly creative, but my personal favorite is in a level centered around toys. You stumble across a giant teddy bear, who is crying because of his foot’s stitching coming apart.

Not a problem for the yarn whip!

Thanks! Jump on top of me and continue!.

Isn't that just sweet?

Another improvement is the length of the levels. In older Kirby games, many stages were quick, simple bursts and while fun, didn’t provide a lot of meat for an accomplished gamer. Here, just about every level you’ll come across can last for a duration of four to ten minutes, and throw in enough twists to keep players going. Perhaps most notable is the Flower Fields stage, which has Kirby traveling on rings of flowers, then swinging on dandelions, swimming through a rainy fountain garden, and then obliterating everything in sight as a UFO! Other fantastic examples include:

-A beach level where you find yourself on top of the clouds and have to wake up the sun.

-A Christmas themed stage that sets yourself on an elevating platform. The lift is powered by a spool, so Kirby has to keep spinning it while dodging giant snowballs and other enemy attacks!

-A music stage where you swing on harps, bounce on drums, and float through music notes.

-An underwater stage where Kirby transforms into the aforementioned dolphin and plays keep away with giant, hungry angler fish!

-Cruising on a rollercoaster in space. YEAH, THAT’S RIGHT.

Curious? Check out some of the videos below.


The reason why games have that addicting quality is because of the challenge. Through these pieces of entertainment, we strive to better ourselves to clear the games we play. The penalty of dying, despite being a grisly aspect of a game, is necessary for us to feel proud of ourselves for overcoming the odds and saving the day. Or, well, beating the game.

So here’s the big twist: You can’t die in Kirby’s Epic Yarn.

I’m serious. You can’t die. There’s no extra lives, there’s no life bar, and Kirby suffers no damage from a hit. When he’s bumped by an enemy, he just bounces back a bit. When he falls into a pit, an angel carries him back out. When he’s smoked by fire, he only becomes charred.

So you can’t die? Then that means there’s no challenge, and that means the game isn’t fun at all. How can an action game where you don’t die possibly be fun?!?

If you watched the videos, you might be wondering what those bright colored gems Kirby is collecting. They’re actually beads, and they’re littered throughout the many stages throughout the game. What makes this so engaging is that the game tallies up how much beads you collect in each stage, and records your score with three different medals (Bronze, Silver, and Gold). Players will begin to recognize the effects of different beads, as the bigger they are, the more they’ll add to your score. You’ll especially want to nab the Crystal Star beads, which are worth the most.

Believe it or not, this is actually what makes the games challenging. When an enemy hits you, Kirby’s beads fly all around and you’re set on a wild goose chase (Much like Sonic‘s rings in Sonic the Hedgehog)! It’s absolutely humiliating when this happens, especially when you mistime a jump and fall into a pit. As an angel carries you back, you’ll moan in disgrace as beads by the truckload fall out of Kirby. If you want a Gold Medal, you can’t afford to screw up.

This is where experienced players will find their enjoyment, as the game chucks enough dangers and traps to keep them going. However, it should be noted that players don’t have to focus on collecting beads and can just simply clear the level. This provides a perfect balance for beginners, as they won’t have to worry about dying or stress out from collecting enough beads. You can just take your time. Unfortunately, this might actually be the only major drawback against the game, as Epic Yarn offers no reward for collecting Gold Medals or for having a 100% clear record on your file.

As for Kirby’s immortality itself, the only strike against it are the boss fights. On the plus side, they are all incredibly creative and are a blast to battle; most notably Squashini, a magician who selects his terrifying magic tricks via a slot machine. However, there’s no real sense of danger or accomplishment in fighting these goons because you can never die, which puts a real damper on things. Even when you’re assaulted by gigantic flaming sword strokes or are tied to a bomb, you’ll only lose beads. Thankfully, they try to compensate this by goading you into earning a Gold Medal by not getting hit, which enables unlocked levels. I suppose there had to be one gaming staple affected negatively by this new system, but it’s not a big deal in the end.

In any case, this was hands down the biggest risk of the game, and while it's not perfect, I applaud Good Feel for making a great attempt.

While adventuring in Patch Land, Kirby realizes that he longer has a place to stay. Luckily, landlord Dom Woole comes to rescue and offers him a temporary home: An apartment.

Yes, Kirby now lives in a apartment complex. And get this: It’s actually a fun gameplay element.

At first, your new digs are pitifully bare. Just wallpaper, carpet, and windows. Not much. That’s where the treasure chests come in.

Each of the chests you find an unlock in a level contains a piece of furniture, and you’ll find two per stage. Once obtained, you can place any one of them into your apartment and place it wherever you like.

What immediately grabbed me about decorating Kirby’s apartment was the sheer volume of contrast between regular items (brown tables, refrigerators, and grandfather clocks), to outside appliances and toys (basketball hoops and vehicle models), to wacky variations (lantern fish lamps, camel sofas, and chocolate ottomans) and just plain awesome stuff (Flying saucers, beanbag chairs, ship masts and Christmas ornaments). There is a large variety of items to experiment with, allowing for practically a million choices. And these aren’t just static objects that languish in the background, either. You can actually interact with your furniture, such as sleeping on your bed, ride a rocking horse, turn on the TV, and even play a little tune on your electric guitar.

Furthermore, there’s an even wider range of wallpapers and carpets to fool around with, and they don’t just add flair to the walls and floor. Get this: there’s an option to embed wallpaper/carpet designs onto compatible furniture!!! You can imprint a sky pattern on a beanbag chair, or splash a dazzling black onto your instruments. You can shift the designs around however you like, and there are practically a million ways to redesign your humble abode and its assets.

How do you get these, though? Well, there’s a shop outside of your apartment that trades wallpapers, carpets, and extra furniture for beads, so there’s even more of an incentive to nab more of them. Not only that, but as you progress through the game, other tenants will move into the complex and will invite you to play games with them, such as hide-n’-seek, racing, and timed competitions to grab the maximum amount of beads. Some of these are actually rather challenging and can take many attempts to clear. As a reward for completing these trials, they’ll reward you with extra wallpaper.
To me, I find it very fascinating that they put so much time and effort into what really is an optional section in the game, particularly since this is a Kirby game. I think the reason why I became so enthralled with this feature is because of my previous association with Nintendo’s Animal Crossing, an addicting series of games that revolves around collecting furniture and making friends. My love of those games shined through here, as I grew obsessed with furnishing Kirby’s apartment. I must have rearranged the entire place over a dozen times, and I‘m still not satisfied!

Does any of this have any impact on the gameplay? Not really. But it doesn’t have to be. It’s just a fun diversion that offers a satisfying break from the main game, and that’s all it has to be. What a wonderful addition to the franchise! I dearly hope that this concept is expanded upon in future Kirby games. Think of the possibilities you could have here, and the replay value this would add!

…sometimes when I leave the apartment, I turn Kirby into a car and pretend he’s going off to work.


I love, love, love, love, love, love, love Kirby music. It’s the very reason why I fell in love with game music in the first place, and they’re great for lightening a darkened mood. It’s incredibly flexible, and can be bouncy and soothing, or feature a pumping synthesized orchestra. How can you mix such tones with yarn?

What I feel makes most of these songs especially unique is in their style. Quite a number of songs are made with the slight touch of piano, and sometimes harps and even a melodica. The songs can provide an ambient, yet thumping or even flowingly beautiful tone, most notably for the Volatile Volcano and Deep-Dive Sea stages which lay the backdrop for encountering pillars of fire and are on the run from giant sea monsters. It’s a flabbergasting contrast and left quite an impact on me.

That’s not saying the other songs don’t quite match up to that level as well. The trademark cozy music remains prominent, as evidenced by the above Big Bean Vine and the piano-tastic Flower Fields. There’s also a smorgasbord of peppy songs, most notably in Rainbow Falls and Boom Boatyard (Am I the only one who noticed the New Super Mario Bros. vibe?!?), and blood-pumping ones in Future City and Volatile Volcano. Most of these are obviously made with synthesizers, but it’s of a modern quality and doesn’t feel outdated.

It’s a lovely variety for a world of yarn, and each one fits their areas perfectly. I’ve noticed some comments in saying that the music doesn’t leave a strong impression as they had in earlier games, and I’ll admit that there are definitely a selection of songs that are stronger then others. For example, I can barely recall the songs in Treat Land, but I can still hum most of the ones in the Water/Space lands. My personal favorites are some of the more extravagant tracks, such as the ones found in Snowy Fields, Mushroom Run and Fountain Gardens, which I can definitely point to as being made out of that Kirby quality.

The new composer has done wonders, but series composers Jun Ishikawa, Hirokazu Ando, and Tadashi Ikegami have returned for scoring the last half of the game. You can expect to see familiar songs to return (I’ve already presented Green Greens) , all of which are performed via real instruments and provide new spins on the classics I’ve grown to love. Plus, they all play on a CERTAIN selection of levels that every Kirby fan has to experience!!!

Another successful musical Kirby venture. I love the songs so much, I listen to them nearly every day on Youtube. I’m begging you, please release a soundtrack, Nintendo!!!

So, how does Epic Yarn hold up in comparison to previous Kirbys?

I mentioned earlier that the game feels right at home with the series, but there’s no denying that it takes some dramatic departures. You can’t die, Kirby’s regular powers are unavailable, you collect beads, and of course, the yarn. I’ve explained how interesting these changes are and why they work, but there’s one more element I’d like to go over.
If there’s one thing that this game has going for it besides the aesthetics, it’s the relaxation factor. Nearly every time I’ve played Epic Yarn, I immediately sink into my seat and relax my eyes, absorbing all of the eye candy presented on screen. Everything that this game presents just has this calming effect on me, whether it’s the felt backgrounds or the soft music or the way Kirby parachutes off a ledge slowly nabbing every bead he comes by. It’s a game I’ve begun to label a relaxation simulator, and it does its job remarkably well.

I mentioned earlier of a resemblance to the series Animal Crossing, a game where you move into an animal-filled village. There are no goals other then what is set by the player, such as choosing between a wide variety of furniture, earning vast amounts of money, practicing feng shui, and catching every type of fish. The only limitation is your house, in which you have to pay off your debts or else you can’t make it larger. It is also a relaxing title.

How interesting that they converted this sort of experience into a platformer!! It’s almost the same deal in Epic Yarn. If you don’t feel like playing through the levels, you can just stroll right on back to your apartment and keep decorating, or join a game of hide and seek. Alternatively, you can just ignore all of that and try to earn as many points as possible. You can do whatever you choose while abiding to your restrictions, and as such it’s a diverse title in more ways then one.

Would I want Kirby to keep his immortality and yarn theme? Not really, and to be honest with you I’m getting a little tired of the “Oh no, Kirby has been sucked into another dimension!” plotline. However, Kirby doesn’t necessarily have to continue his fabric adventures to keep these elements and I’d love to see more platformers that would continue in this direction.

Thank you for opening my eyes to this new genre, Kirby. Kirby’s Epic Yarn is very much a success and is no doubt one of the best games of the year.

In the game’s title screen, Kirby drops in via a car, weight, or parachute, and the music above plays. He stands still, wearing his eternal smile, and waves at the player.

I stare at this screen every time I play.

The moment the song enters 00:18, I point to Kirby and say, “That’s him. That’s my childhood.” I am taken back to the days where he is my favorite video game character.

I remember eight years ago, when the Gamecube was still Nintendo’s prominent console and Super Mario Sunshine and Animal Crossing had just been released. Spongebob Squarepants is still my favorite cartoon, and I worshiped it daily. I read sprite comics such as Neglected Mario Characters online and believed they were most hilarious sources of comedy ever. I dove more and more into the history of Akira Toriyama’s classic Dragon Ball and found out the animated adaption had been radically censored for American broadcast. I hated the Xbox for no reason.

I also remember Kirby. I remember daydreaming about adventures I made up for him and all of his friends. I remember the very day the anime cartoon came to our shores and I watched it every Saturday morning. I remember realizing that Nightmare in Dream Land was a remake of the NES’s Kirby’s Adventure and counting down the days until it was released. I remember how I played Kirby Super Star every day, believing it was the most beautiful game ever made.

Every time I’m at this screen, the memories and feelings of those moments rush to the surface of my brain.

My past may be gone, but Kirby is still with me. As such, my childhood remains.

Highly recommended.

-No reward for obtaining gold medals or 100% completion
-Might still be too easy
-Boss battles are creative, but lack spark. instruction booklet was ripped when I opened the case?

+Absolutely endearing graphical style.
+Addicting, yet velvety soundtrack.
+Ingenious level design
+Great use of new mechanics
+Apartment system is by far the best new feature
+Fantastic storytelling
+Pushes the series forward
+Virtues as a "relaxation simulator" are not to be missed.
+Co-op mode was not tested enough to form an extensive opinion, but it works well from what I played Great for parents to play with their kids.

Oh, I almost forgot. My promise back in the E3 impressions.

Let’s go out for some strawberry shortcake, Kirby.





  1. You never cease to amaze me with your writing skills, Anthony! Job well done!

  2. A truly epic review, in both depth and length, so where do I start?

    "Why was he using a yarn whip"
    Kirby, Castlevania Style!

    This review is perfectly timed. Just a day ago I was talking to my friends about modern console gaming. He made the claim that Nintendo is the worst of the three consoles in terms of games because, "they just have the same four games every time". Games like Epic Yarn blow that argument out of the water. Truly, the game looks amazing and I'm ashamed to say I've procrastinated and have put off getting it. As you pointed out in the review, Good Feel takes an age old (okay, not really, but still) character and completely changes the dynamics of it.

    Moving on to the actual gameplay, I have to admit I'm somewhat disappointed at the idea of not being able to die in the game. However, I usually give Nintendo a free pass at these sorts of things because of the wider audience they have to appeal. (However, if they ever give Zelda that treatment they shall feel my wrath!). On the flip side I'm glad to see that a third party developer has given Kirby the Grade A Fancy treatment. It is truly refreshing to see old Nintendo classics competently developed by other companies. It shows that the skills and expertise to make good platform games is still out there, it just has to be tapped.

    I also completely agree about the music on both parts. Kirby's music, while composed much differently from say the track to a Mario game, shares the very important characteristic of being memorable and melodic.

    I'd like to say much more about the review and the game itself but it'd probably take up too much space. Looking forward to reading the next one.

    P.S. Think we'll ever get a Zelda game from an outsourced developer? I'll cross my fingers!

  3. At least the "same four games" are more inventive, polished, and innovated then the rest of the industry. :D

    Personally, I'm hoping for Retro to pick up Star Fox...after they make one more adventure in the jungle. I'm not so sure about outsourcing Zelda, but it's true that Zelda has been in a bit of a slump lately. Let's see where Skyward Sword takes us before jumping to any conclusions.

  4. "At least the "same four games" are more inventive, polished, and innovated then the rest of the industry."

    I completely agree. Call of Duty boasts vast improvements over its previous games, with what? "New Skills"? (i.e. extra melee damage or what?". What did New Super Mario Bros for Wii give us? Four player simultaneous platforming action!

    I honestly have high hopes for Skyward Sword based entirely on the art direction so far. While I'm sure that the games art style cannot dictate its quality, the fact that they're trying something new and refreshing is a good sign.

    Personally, a small bit of me hopes that they pull a "Megaman 9" on Zelda someday. An old school top-down, entirely sprite based game in the vein of "Link to the Past" or "Link's Awakening" would simply be amazing.