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 by Good-Feel and HAL Laboratory and published by Nintendo for the Wii video game console. 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. It was released later that year to critical acclaim, receiving an Editor's Choice award from IGN, who 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. A spiritual successor to Kirby's Epic Yarn called Yoshi's Woolly World was released in 2015 for the Wii U.
The game is played with the Wii Remote held sideways. Differing from other games in the Kirby series, Kirby no longer has the ability to inhale enemies, copy abilities, or fly. He instead uses a whip-like ability to attack enemies, able to wind them up into a ball of yarn and throw them (similar to the original Kirby's Dream Land). Kirby can also use his whip to activate mechanisms, such as zips and pulleys, and swing on buttons. 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 while dashing, and turn into a submarine whilst underwater. Certain areas give Kirby unique transformations, such as a giant missile-launching robot, a turbo-powered buggy, a UFO, and a train that travels on tracks drawn by the Wii Remote. A second player can join in, playing as Prince Fluff, who plays identically to Kirby.
Kirby can collect beads scattered throughout each level, with medals earned for collecting enough beads before the end of the level, which in turn can unlock more challenging levels in each world. Kirby does not have health or extra lives, but will lose some of his beads upon receiving damage or falling into bottomless pits. Beads can be used to purchase furniture and wallpaper for Kirby's apartment, which the player can customise to their liking. Additional furniture, as well as music tracks, can be unlocked by finding treasure chests hidden in each level. By decorating other apartments with the right furniture, new tenants will move in, opening up bonus challenges such as time trials.
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 sorcerer 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 both his power to inhale and the ability to fly 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. When they come across the first piece after defeating a monster that attacked the duo, 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 as he begins to take over Dream Land in Kirby's absence. Kirby and Prince Fluff are forced to fight King Dedede and Meta Knight after they ambush them in Patch Land. When Kirby and Prince Fluff finally collect all seven pieces of the Magic Yarn and stitch Patch Land back together, Meta Knight, no longer under the sorcerer's influence, apologises for attacking the duo earlier and 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. With Meta Knight's help, Kirby and Prince Fluff confront and defeat Yin-Yarn, breaking the spell and returning both Dream Land and himself back to normal. Prince Fluff parts ways 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 mostly by Tomoya Tomita, while franchise regulars Hirokazu Ando, Jun Ishikawa and Tadashi Ikegami handled the musical reprises towards the end of the game. As the original plot for the game involved a timid Prince Fluff searching for his lost mother, Tomita originally hoped to create a "new kind" of feeling introduced in the game's opening: soft and sweet, yet also sad and unsettled. However, the game turned out to be more conventional than he originally planned, so he changed direction to slightly richer arrangements. 
Kirby's Epic Yarn received generally positive reception upon its reveal. 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 and Best Platformer and awarded it for Best Graphics, Artistic. 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.
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.
Kirby's Epic Yarn received critical acclaim. On the review aggregation website Metacritic, it holds a score of 86%. IGN gave the game an Editor's Choice award, calling it "an amazing looking game that embraces traditional platforming designs in fresh new ways." GameTrailers praised the game's presentation and imaginative gameplay, though criticizing the inability to die. GameSpot said that the game's "story levels are way too easy", but that the graphics and overall fun made up for its shortcomings. 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 said that "the joyous platformer might not be difficult, but it's fun, inventive, and outrageously imaginative."
1UP.com praised the game for the creativity of the levels and the thematic visuals. Game Informer praised the game's artistic style as "one of the best-looking games on the Wii" and also noted both its ease of use for less experienced gamers and its challenges for more experienced gamers. Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu gave it a score of one nine, one eight, one nine, and one ten for a total of 36 out of 40. They said: "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 praised the game's concept, gameplay and graphics. Edge gave it a score of eight out of ten, saying, "Not since Yoshi's Island's designers broke out the crayons has a Nintendo platformer looked so much like a work of craft, but it's a pity that, for the most part, the levels don't feel as fresh as they look - a platform made of butterfly stitching is still just a platform."
The Escapist gave it a score of all five stars and called it "one of those games that you'll play simply because it makes you feel so good. It's also challenging and clever, with well done co-operative play and even a great soundtrack. There's no downside to this game." The A.V. Club gave it a B+ and said, "Drawbacks aside, adults should consult their doctors about a prescription of Epic Yarn instead of Prozac." The Daily Telegraph gave it eight out of ten, saying, "Players who simply wish to drink in the dreamy visuals and enjoy the cute characters will find Kirby's Epic Yarn a breezy and attractive way to while away six or so hours of their time." However, The Guardian gave it three stars out of five, saying, "Teenage boys will absolutely hate it. But when viewed as a platform game for kids, it's pretty impressive. Kirby first emerged in 1992; only now has his existence been justified."
Kirby's Epic Yarn won GameSpy's 2010 Platforming Game of the Year award, and Giant Bomb's 2010 Best Looking Game award. It was the runner-up for Nintendo World Report's 2010 Wii Game of the Year award. At 2011 Game Developers Choice Awards, Kirby's Epic Yarn was nominated for the Innovation award. At 14th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards, Kirby's Epic Yarn was nominated for Family Game of the Year, Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction and Outstanding Achievement in Game Play Engineering. IGN ranked the game #95 in Top 100 Modern Games in 2011.
As of April 2011, Kirby's Epic Yarn has sold 1.59 million copies worldwide.
In a Nintendo Direct broadcast in January 2013, Nintendo announced a new, visually similar successor called Yoshi's Woolly World. Released for the Wii U in 2015, the game instead features Yoshi as the protagonist and offers amiibo compatibility. Good-Feel developed the game.
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