Kirby's Epic Yarn
|Kirby's Epic Yarn|
North American box art
Kirby's Epic Yarn, known in Japan as Keito no Kirby (毛糸のカービィ Keito no Kābī?, lit. "Yarn Kirby"), is a 2010 platform video game developed for the Wii video game console by Good-Feel and HAL Laboratory, and published by Nintendo. It is the tenth installment of the Kirby video game series and was released in October 2010 in Japan and North America and in February 2011 in Australia and Europe. It is the first entry in the Kirby series on a home console since 2003's Kirby Air Ride and its first home console platform game since 2000's Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards.
After eating a tomato belonging to the evil sorcerer Yin-Yarn, Kirby is banished into Patch Land, a world completely made of fabric, which turns him into yarn and makes his abilities to copy enemies by swallowing them and flying useless. He must help Prince Fluff by collecting seven pieces of magic yarn that are used to stitch Patch Land together. Kirby can also transform into objects like a car, a dolphin and a parachute at certain parts of the game.
Before the game's release, Kirby's Epic Yarn won numerous awards at E3 2010 including Game of the Show from GameSpot. Upon its release, it was received with generally positive reviews, with a score of 88.67% on GameRankings and an 86/100 on MetaCritic. IGN gave the game an Editor's Choice award and ranked it as #95 in their "Top 100 Modern Games". As of April 2011, Kirby's Epic Yarn has sold 1.59 million copies worldwide.
The game is played with the Wii Remote held sideways. Differing from other games in the Kirby series, Kirby's usual ability to copy enemies by swallowing them has been rendered useless and Kirby has lost the ability to fly since air goes through his new body. He instead uses a whip-like ability to attack enemies, while he can also capture the enemies and turn them into a ball of yarn (which can then be thrown). He also no longer floats in the air by holding his breath like in previous games, instead gliding in the form of a parachute. Kirby can also transform into a car for extra speed, a submarine for underwater travel, among other things. The game is also the only game in the Kirby series to have the Warp Star absent from it completely.
Each level has three secret treasure chests for Kirby to find (similar to Kirby: Squeak Squad); also, colored beads are scattered throughout every level, which Kirby can collect to increase the score at the end of the level, which earns medals. The treasure chests and medals can unlock extra levels, which could provide greater challenges. Kirby does not have health or extra lives, but will lose some of his beads upon damage or falling into bottomless pits. These beads can be spent in an in-game shop to purchase furniture and wallpapers, which can then be used to customize Kirby's living space. Occasionally, other characters will show up in Kirby's living space and set him challenges, such as time trials and collecting all the beads in a level. Two-player co-op is possible at any point in the game; the second player plays as Prince Fluff, who plays identically to Kirby.
The game features graphics rendered in a unique knitted design based on animated yarn and a world of cloth and textiles. The game works its graphics style into the gameplay through creating interaction between the game and its graphical style, such as allowing Kirby to pull on buttons, stray threads and zips and spin balls of yarn to reveal hidden areas or alter the shape of the terrain.
While walking through Dream Land, Kirby discovers a tomato and decides to eat it. Yin-Yarn, the evil sorceror who possessed the tomato (revealed to be a Metamato), appears and magically banishes Kirby into Patch Land, a world completely made of fabric, via the sock carried around his neck. In Patch Land, Kirby's body transforms into yarn, rendering his power to inhale useless. Instead, Kirby is granted the ability to transform by the magic of the Metamato, which he uses to rescue a boy being attacked by a monster. The boy, named Prince Fluff, explains that Yin-Yarn has separated Patch Land into pieces, which was tied together by magic yarn. Kirby decides to help Prince Fluff collect all seven pieces of the magic yarn and restore Patch Land.
Meanwhile, Yin-Yarn captures King Dedede and Meta Knight and places them under his control. Kirby is forced to fight King Dedede and Meta Knight after they ambush him in Patch Land. When Kirby and Prince Fluff finally collect all seven pieces of the Magic Yarn, Meta Knight, no longer under the sorceror's influence, informs Kirby that Yin-Yarn is turning Dream Land into fabric. Prince Fluff produces the second sock, its magic fully restored by the seven pieces of the magic yarn, and uses it to transport Kirby and himself to Dream Land; now completely made of yarn. Kirby confronts and defeats Yin-Yarn, breaking the spell and returning Dream Land and himself back to normal. Prince Fluff parts with Kirby, stating that he can visit Patch Land anytime via Yin-Yarn's magic sock.
Kirby's Epic Yarn was officially revealed at Nintendo's press conference at E3 2010, where it was announced to be released during the autumn that year. It is the third game to be developed by Good-Feel for Nintendo, after Wario Land: Shake It! and Looksley's Line Up. The idea of a "world of yarn" was proposed by Madoka Yamauchi, the Planning Section Manager of Good-Feel, and ideas for the game mechanics grew after the staff experimented with store-bought cloth. The game began development under the name "Keito no Fluff" (lit. "Fluff of Yarn"), featuring Prince Fluff as the main character. During the summer of 2009, Nintendo proposed that the game be altered and released as a title in the Kirby series, though Prince Fluff remains in the final product as Kirby's partner. At least three months were spent focusing on Kirby's movements and character design. To create an "authentic feel" for the cloth and textiles, the graphics were created by using digital photographs of fabric, which were placed under polygons. The game's soundtrack was scored by Good-Feel's Tomoya Tomita and HAL Laboratory's Jun Ishikawa and Hirokazu Ando, who worked on previous Kirby games.
|Kirby's Epic Yarn|
Kirby's Epic Yarn received critical acclaim. It won numerous awards following its E3 2010 appearance, including the prestigious Game of the Show award from GameSpot and the G4 television show Reviews on the Run. GameSpot also nominated it for the Best Wii Game, Best Platformer and named it as Best Graphics. The game received the award for Best Overall Game from Nintendo Life as well. Additionally, it won the Best Graphics award from GameTrailers, beating out notable contenders like Crysis 2, Killzone 3, and Gears of War 3. GameTrailers also awarded it the Best Platformer title. It was named Best Wii Game by 1UP.com, Nintendo World Report and Kotaku, and awarded Best Character Design by Kotaku as well. It was also ranked #95 in IGN's "Top 100 Modern Games".
Game Revolution editor Nick Tan praised Kirby's Epic Yarn (amongst other games) as a great revival, commenting that (unlike the other titles) it completely refashions the character Kirby. He compares the graphical style to Yoshi's Story, describing it as a "ball of whimsy" and calling it a "certified winner" of E3. Siliconera editor Jenni agreed, stating that she was excited to play the game after seeing its trailer, commenting that the game looked great on the HDTV she played it on. GamesRadar editor Brett Elston described Epic Yarn as the "cutest, most charming game" for the Wii. He commented that it was a relief to see something interesting in the series, describing recent titles such as Kirby Air Ride, Kirby: Squeak Squad, and Kirby Super Star Ultra as being stale. While The Escapist editor Steve Butts was largely uninterested in Kirby's Epic Yarn in the face of bigger titles such as The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Donkey Kong Country Returns, and Metroid: Other M, he stated that after playing it, he felt that it was the strongest title amongst Nintendo's E3 lineup, citing the visual style and gameplay, but he noted that the game felt somewhat easy.
The critical reception to Kirby's Epic Yarn has been the most positive in the series' history, with the game currently holding an 88.67% on review compilation site GameRankings, making it the 21st best reviewed Wii game. IGN gave the game a 9.0 score and an Editor's Choice award, calling it "an amazing looking game that embraces traditional platforming designs in fresh new ways." GameTrailers gave the game a score of 8.4, praising its presentation and imaginative gameplay, though criticizing the inability to die. GameSpot gave the game a score of 8.5, stating that its "story levels are way too easy", but that the graphics and overall fun made up for its shortcomings. GamesRadar gave the game 9/10, praising its "impossibly adorable graphics" and classic Nintendo gameplay. Kotaku gave the game an Editor's Choice award, calling it "a game designed for constant smiling, a side-scroller that will soothe the stressed." Nintendo World Report gave the game a perfect score of 10, stating that "the joyous platformer might not be difficult, but it's fun, inventive, and outrageously imaginative." 1Up gave the game an A-, with praise for the creativity of the levels and the thematic visuals. Game Informer gave the game a 9.5 out of 10, praising the game's artistic style as "one of the best-looking games on the Wii" and also noting both its ease of use for less experienced gamers and its challenges for more experienced gamers. Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu gave Kirby's Epic Yarn a score of 36 out of 40, stating that "The game's not just about looking cute -- the way the gameplay takes advantage of this yarn world is brilliant. Even if you've encountered these sorts of obstacles in other action games, they seem fresh all over again here. It's a great action game, too, and if you try to get every item in the game, even veteran action fans will find it challenging. The whole package is stuffed full of fun and surprises. The graphics are unique and packed with originality. The game's set up so you never get a Game Over, but there's still enough optional hardcore aspects to it to keep all walks of gamers happy." Nintendo Power gave Kirby's Epic Yarn an 8.5/10, praising the game's concept, gameplay and graphics.
As of April 2011, Kirby's Epic Yarn has sold 1.59 million copies worldwide.
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