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Monday, March 5, 2012

What took me so long? - Kirby's Epic Yarn

There are plenty of games out there, so many in fact you just can't play them all right after release. Here is one I finally got around to playing.

Leave it to Nintendo to come up with quirky art and graphic styles for their games. Paper Mario comes to mind. While cel-shaded graphics existed beforehand, no one expected them in a Zelda game. But Nintendo made it work with The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, despite the cries for more realistic graphics.

And then there's Kirby's Epic Yarn. The story is simple enough. Kirby is hungry and sees a tomato to eat, but the evil Yin-Yarn banishes him into Patch Land, a world made of fabric. How is he sent there? Through a sock Yin-Yarn carries around. Classic. Now Kirby is made of yarn, along with his buddies and enemies, and he must save Patch Land.

This is a game that makes me wish the Nintendo Wii was an HD console. It looks great on an HDTV. Each level is filled with colorful details that remind you you're inside a fabric world, from patches on the terrain to having the ability to pull on buttons and zippers to unveil hidden areas.

Not everyday do you see video game characters made out of yarn, but this game pulls it off nicely. Since Kirby can't suck down enemies and steal their powers, there are parts in levels where he'll be able to transform into all kinds of things, including a dolphin, UFO and train. I enjoyed turning enemies into balls of yarn to attack others with. I hated the train transformation, and had the worst time laying down track for Kirby to follow.

There is a ton of stuff to collect in this game, from each level's music to wallpaper and furniture to decorate Kirby's and other characters' apartments with. It isn't hard finding the hidden items, but I did miss some in later levels. Furniture and wallpaper can be bought, too, and I cleaned out the furniture shop. But I didn't really mess with decorating my pad, focusing more on completing the game.

My biggest knock on Epic Yarn is the difficulty. To simply put it, you can't die. The only penalty for falling down a bottomless pit or enemies hitting Kirby is losing beads, which hurts if you want to get a gold medal ranking at the end of the level by having so many. But there's so many in each level, achieving gold isn't a problem even with a few bumps along the way.

This game can be completed very, very quickly if you don't care about collecting anything at all. I spent a good amount of time finding hidden items and doing minigames that are available from a variety of characters. I finished over 80 percent of the game after the credits rolled. For those only caring about the main game, this is a one-day rental.

I had fun with this game. I enjoyed the level designs, and the amount of transformations available made me forget about the normal way Kirby gets his abilities. It's not for everyone though. The whole "no game over" aspect is aimed for young ones. But if you want to play a relaxing and stress-free game, you can't go wrong with this one.

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