Kirby has always been the spark of joy in the occasionally cheerless games landscape. I mean, how can he not be? He’s a literal ball of cute pink fluff, and in this cotton-themed adventure, he’s every bit the pure, shining saviour of games that he should be. Kirby is wholesome, Kirby is brilliant, Kirby is beautiful – and he loves us all. I promise I’m not being held at gunpoint (I love you, Kirby.)
In this adventure, Kirby gets himself turned into yarn – because we all thought he couldn’t get any cuter. But, of course, we were wrong, and he is very cute. This title is a remaster of the original Epic Yarn, released for the Wii in 2010 – and as one of the most innovative and fun of the Kirby games, it’s a welcome return (or a great new introduction for those who missed it the first time.)
If you’ve played a Kirby title, you’ll be familiar with the game’s brand of action. At its core, it’s a classic platformer title, with Kirby leaping and bounding over obstacles, collecting gems, attacking unsuspecting enemies and sometimes ploughing through woollen forests in the form of a giant, bomb-wielding tank. Very cute and wholesome.
In this game, Kirby loses his iconic ability to suck in enemies and absorb their powers – but instead gains the power to reshape his body into anything he chooses – including the world’s most adorable submarine. These new forms help him overcome many obstacles, clear pathways and defeat more powerful enemies.
There’s a handful of new features for the 3DS version, including a new Devilish Mode, which adds a sense of urgency and mild panic to your adventure, two fun side quests following King Dedede and Meta Knight and a handful of new ravel abilities to spice up your Kirby love life.
The Devilish Mode is a particularly good inclusion, because in its original form, Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn is easy. Enemies that can damage you are few and far between and the most challenge it presents is in the form of puzzles, often with simple solutions.
In Devilish Mode, Kirby is pursued by a bat-like creature that won’t hesitate to take a chunk out of him. Losing all your health will lead to a game over – an extremely rare screen during the main game, and it adds far greater depth to the gameplay.
The side quests included – following King Dedede and Meta Knight – are both fun, but ultimately unnecessary inclusions that add in more things to do and collect. They both riff off the main gameplay, with Dedede’s levels being quicker paced (more akin to a round of Sonic) and Meta Knight’s focusing on exploration. Still, these were a great way to break up the action of the main story and boost the gameplay further.
Nintendo is currently going through a strange phase where the majority of what they’re producing are remasters and ports of their classic, best-loved games. This has included Kirby, Luigi’s Mansion, Mario & Luigi, WarioWare, Super Mario Maker and more – all of which have found a new home on the 3DS (and intriguingly, not the Switch).
As someone with huge gaps in their Nintendo knowledge, these remasters have been absolutely fantastic for me, and I’d like to formally request that Nintendo continue making these games for the 3DS forever, because it is the greatest and best console, thank you. But, back to Kirby.
Each level in this game is beautifully designed, and it’s clear how much thought and love has gone into the game. As someone with an interest in sewing, the textures and details had me frothing.
Traversing a level sometimes involves pulling a string – and this in turn, creates a fabric gathering in the stage. Jumping on the stage floor will yield a tiny, cotton-y bounce – and everything, from the foreground to the background, is made up of yarn-y goodness.
Paired with a delightful soundtrack and stunning remastered (non-3D) visuals, Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn is a very welcome addition to the 3DS’ release schedule (and probably one of the last few titles to be released on the console). As far as pure and wholesome gaming adventures go, you won’t do much better than this.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Highlights: Gorgeous visuals; fun gameplay
Lowlights: Lack of difficulty; no 3D functionality
Developer: Good-Feel, HAL Laboratory
Release Date: Saturday March 9th
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
This game was reviewed on Nintendo 3DS with a pre-release retail code provided by the publisher.