Review: Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn (3DS)

It’s extra, but is it epic?

By Marc Deschamps. Posted 03/28/2019 06:00 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
Editor's Choice
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
Relaxing gameplay; gorgeous soundtrack; fun new minigames
Poison Mushroom for...
The visual aesthetic takes a hit on 3DS; no 3D functionality; Kirby's apartment is still an afterthought

In 2010, Nintendo and Good-Feel released Kirby’s Epic Yarn. While the Wii game received strong reviews, some Kirby fans lamented the game’s easier level of challenge and lack of traditional copy abilities. Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn gives fans a more robust package, addressing those specific concerns head on while also adding exclusive new minigames, as well.

At its core, Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn is a faithful recreation of the Wii original. The title sees Kirby transformed into a new, yarn-based form by the villain Yin-Yarn. Since Kirby is a bit more translucent this time around, Kirby can’t ingest enemies and steal their powers. Instead, Kirby can twist his new form into various shapes, including a car for faster travel and a parachute for slower landings. The pink puffball can also use a string as a bit of a lasso, which he can use to unravel enemies, or attach to buttons for swinging or pulling. Finally, certain areas of the game allow Kirby to transform into a tank, a sleigh and even a dolphin. Extra Epic Yarn takes things a step further with the addition of new power-up hats, which simulate the copy abilities seen in more traditional Kirby games while matching the craft aesthetic; Nylon gives Kirby a whirlwind ability, Button allows him to throw bombs, Wire grants Kirby a sword and Marking Pins provide something akin to throwing stars. These new options can either be found throughout each stage, or they can be received by scanning in a Kirby-related Amiibo. The new forms are an interesting change. On one hand, they do make things slightly easier in some sections, but other times they can make things more difficult, particularly when you want to use the lasso ability but end up producing a bomb instead. At the end of the day, it’s not a necessary change, but they do help the game skew closer to the classic Kirby formula.

Of course, the game’s ease was a point of consternation for some fans when Epic Yarn first released; the title is a much more peaceful platformer than most gamers are used to. In Epic Yarn, Kirby never “dies” in the traditional sense. Instead, when players fall down a hole or get hit by an opponent, Kirby loses many of the beads he collected throughout the stage, forcing players to scramble to pick them up before they disappear. Since the number of beads collected effects the player’s ranking, this does give players a bit of an incentive to avoid simply breezing through each stage. Those looking for a stiffer challenge, however, can check out Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn‘s new Devilish mode. In Devilish mode, Kirby can only take five hits in each stage, and he’s actively pursued by a Devilish creature that consistently tries to attack him. The whole thing feels reminiscent of the Angry Sun from Super Mario Bros. 3 and the new opponent even gets his own music to reflect the tonal shift. Players can toggle between the two modes at will before selecting each stage.

The change in music for Devilish mode is certainly necessary, as the game’s mellow tone is matched by an equally mellow soundtrack; composer Tomoya Tomita’s peaceful melodies seem designed to encourage exploring each stage at a leisurely pace. Complemented by its wonderful use of the piano, the game’s gorgeous tracks are a blend of music developed specifically for Epic Yarn in addition to remixed Kirby classics. Thankfully, the soundtrack for Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn sounds every bit as lovely on the 3DS’ smaller speakers, and the game’s handful of new tracks blend fairly well with the songs from the original Wii version.

While Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn plays and sounds like the Wii original, it doesn’t always look like it. It’s impressive that Nintendo was able to recreate the Wii game on the 3DS’ inferior hardware, but it does suffer a bit in the visual department. Previous 3DS ports like Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D have taken a visual hit between platforms, but the graphics arguably play a bigger role in Epic Yarn versus other games. The title still looks good, but the impressive level of detail present in the Wii original helped sell the idea of the craft aesthetic. This would have been a bit more forgivable had the game perhaps utilized the system’s 3D abilities, but the feature is completely absent. The decline in detail truly made me wish this game had released on Switch, instead.

Hidden throughout each level, players will find furniture which can then be setup inside Kirby’s apartment. The mode was a bit of an afterthought in the original game and, outside of SpotPass functionality, not much has changed in that regard. Players can earn more decorative options through a pair of new minigames, however. King Dedede Gogogo plays out like an infinite runner in which Kirby’s longtime rival races through stages collecting beads. Slash & Bead is a bit more action focused as Meta Knight cuts through foes in order to collect beads and achieve the best ranking. Both minigames are minor additions, but they are welcome ones. Meta Knight and King Dedede both control significantly differently from Kirby in the main game, and the levels provide a solid distraction. Of the new changes appearing in Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn, these were easily my favorite.

Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn is a near perfect port. The improvements Nintendo and Good-Feel have incorporated into the game should appease fans that wanted a more faithful Kirby title the first time around, while also giving players more reason to stick with the game after the credits have rolled. Unfortunately, the 3DS hardware just isn’t up to the task of faithfully converting the charming visual aesthetic of the Wii original. Still, those who have never experienced the game before will find Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn‘s relaxing pace and gorgeous soundtrack more than worth the cost of entry; it’s just a shame this wasn’t released on Switch.

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