Kirby is one of the most well-known of Nintendo’s protagonists, being unbearably cute and accessible to people of all ages. His adventures in Dream Land have always been solid if easy experiences, and this extends to his newest adventure, Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn, a 3DS port of the 2010 Wii original.
The story follows Kirby as he, in a wonderfully dumb character moment, commits small scale larceny and steals someone else’s tomato. This victim turns out to be the sorcerer Yin Yarn, who is understandably a little annoyed because it was his lunch or something and banishes Kirby to Patch Land, a world made entirely of fabric that he carries around his neck in a sock.
He’s barely there five minutes before having to save the locals, using the power of the tomato he ate in the “real” world to transform into a car and saving the adorable Prince Fluff. He discovers that Yin Yarn has torn apart Patch Land, and that they need to find the pieces of Magic Yarn to stitch the world back together again and defeat Yin Yarn.
In Patch Land, even Kirby is made out of yarn, so he loses his ability to inhale enemies and fly, and so the gameplay is quite a lot different than previous appearances of the little pink blob. Instead of his usual powers, he instead uses transformations and unravels himself a little to use the strands as a lasso, turning the enemies into balls of yarn to throw.
This takes place over side-scrolling 2D levels where the object is to get to the end and ring the bell. But along the way, there are multiple trinkets to find including furniture (more on that in a moment), tracks from the games, and hidden gems. This last part is the most important one as you’ll be aiming to get the most gems possible in a level to get your gold medal at end.
Each level will unlock the badge you need for the next one, and each world is themed and ends with bosses that are more like puzzles to solve than brute force encounters. There are hidden badges in each world for optional levels too, should you wish to find them. Usually these levels revolve around a transformation and can be immensely fun little challenges.
There’s also the fun housing subplot in which you help an undeniably shifty looking landlord place the right furniture in apartments to manipulate potential tenants into moving in. It’s dumb in concept, quite funny in its execution, and ultimately quite satisfying as a minor distraction from the main game. Also, you can play games with the tenants too, if you like.
New for this version of the game is Devilish Mode, a harder way of playing the game that has a little yarn devil following you through the levels trying to make you lose gems and just generally being a nuisance. This is a great addition to the game, creating a more tense and difficult experience in a game that was arguably far too easy originally.
Also new to Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn are the Ravel Abilities, getting Kirby new themed powers like a sword made of wire (and a cute hat), and new mini-games featuring King Dedede and Metaknight. These are fun little distractions, with more courses unlocked as you progress, but are ultimately forgettable padding, especially in the wake of a particularly big gap.
The two player co-op play from the original title, in which a player took control of Prince Fluff, is entirely missing. The game being on 3DS explains this somewhat, but as the 3DS has wireless communication, surely that would resolve this? This just sadly makes the game feel like it has severely missed a trick by not being on the Switch, allowing easy two-player.
Another problem with the game is that some of the issues, or more specifically, one particular issue from the original game are still present in this version. Some of the transformations control just as horribly as they did on the Wii, with the Train feeling even worse with the 3DS control scheme. Small changes were all it would need, so it feels like a cheap port overall.
Visually, however, this game is a treat, with all the fuzzy yarn charm of the original. All of the levels, enemies and bosses are cleverly designed within the aesthetic of being sewn together, and the whole game in intensely cheery and colourful. Even the sound design falls into this wholesome ethos with the music being incredibly bouncy and fun, if immediately forgettable.
Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn is one of those rare ports that fails to even be as good as the original. The game that is here is enjoyable and solid enough (aside from the train, of course), but it is missing the key ingredient that made the original better. The new additions are great, giving fun new gameplay experiences, but it doesn’t make up for the missing co-op ability.
Our overarching feeling playing this is one of cheapness, of a port thrown out with little due care and attention. Kirby’s Epic Yarn was a flawed game originally, and this port has the exact same flaws once again, so really it isn’t worth the second trip through Patch Land. Furthermore, it can’t be ignored that this game should have really been on the Switch instead of the 3DS.
Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn is out now on Nintendo 3DS. Fancy a copy? Then why not grab one?
- New Persona 5 Royal Trailer Introduces Kasumi And Special Edition Revealed - June 6, 2019
- New Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night Character Revealed Ahead Of Release - May 31, 2019
- Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers Preview - May 29, 2019