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Review: Kirby's Extra Epic Yarn (Nintendo 3DS)By Sasari At 13.03.2019 15:21

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In a sweet storybook opening, a narrator retells how one day in Dreamland, Kirby was wandering around, stuffing his face, as he was want to do when he was unlucky enough to be set upon by a Caped Sorcerer; a Caped Sorcerer who was known for turning people into Yarn. Kirby, not one to be intimidated by such theatrics, focused on eating the nearest food, the Sorcerers magical Metamato. An act which saw Kirby pulled into a magic sock, transported to a world of Yarn, with his body transformed into a basic outline made of Yarn.

Within this new world, Kirby spots a yarn monster chasing down a young boy made of yarn with a crown. Kirby tried to help, but his usual method of scoffing down his enemies doesn't really work when his body has been transformed into a string stretched into a circle. The monster just popped out the other side. Luckily, the Metamoto gave Kirby some new abilities, including the ability to turn into a car. The duo tear away, and begin on a quest across the seven lands of this "Patch Land;" a place that has been torn apart by the evil Yin-Yarn.

The basics of the gameplay are classic Kirby wandering across 2D stages, taking out enemies, avoiding environmental hazards, and collecting lots of gemstones along with special patches along the way. While Kirby can't swallow up his foes, he can instead whip out a string from his body, catch the enemies string in turn, spin it and wrap their woolly warriors into little balls of yarn that he can then toss at other foes. Kirby can transform into a car to speed along, an umbrella to float across gaps, and a block to smash through obstructions beneath him. Not to mention he can use his yarn whip to unzip secret passageways, often sneaking behind scenery and inside building to find all the gems he can.

There are also sections where Kirby finds a spiralling portal of yarn, jumping into which transforms him into various forms for special bonus sections; he can become a water spraying fire engine, for sections traversing volcanoes, putting out fires that spray too close; he can transform into a little digging machine for sections reminiscent of Dig Dug; or become a rocket ship for a classic top-down scrolling shooter. Transforming into these huge yarn creations adds an extra level of originality to the stages.

The stages themselves all revolve around your score. Based on the time to complete, the gems gathered up, the three secret patches to be found, and the wheel of fortune spun at the end, each stage sets a rank up to gold based on the performance. It's something that gives some extra life in replaying stages to hit that top score - something that will come without much effort in the first few worlds, but will require a few attempts in the final one.

On top of every stage from the original Wii version, there are some brand new extras for this new release, fittingly, considering the name and all. The most noticeable are the new abilities Kirby has access to, as they appear in almost every stage. These come in the form of 'Ravel Abilities,' and are acquired by stealing hats from enemies. The simplest of these is a bowl of yarn with a pair of knitting needles sticking out which allows Kirby to form yarn balls without using enemies for their materials. A twisted string of wire gives Kirby a sword that can slice through any Yarn in range. A black star hat gives Kirby the ability to craft little yarn bombs. A crystal hat gives Kirby the power to spin like a whirlwind, destroying anything he comes in contact with, and adding an extra bit of height to his jumps. The three-star hat allows Kirby to fire out a trio of projectiles. Finally, a metal ring acts like a deadly giant yo-yo.

There are more unravel abilities too, though not everyone will be able to experience them. Since the game is now on 3DS, the amiibo functionality has become unlocked. Each of the Kirby amiibo unlocks a new Ravel Ability. Anyone with Waddle Dee, Kirby, Meta Knight, and King Dedede can check these out. There's also a new 'Devilish' mode where a literal speed demon to race against in each story stage for anyone who wants a bit of extra challenge, Kirby games are, after all, notoriously easy. And, new furniture to hunt down that was not included in the original.

There are two brand new mini-games too. The fire 'Slash and Bead' places Meta Knight as the playable character, and while the regular game has freely explorable stages, this is made up of scrolling 2D levels. Meta Knight has to cut his way through tons of enemies, collecting beads along the way. Similarly is King Dedede's 'Dedede's Gogogo,' where the puffed up Penguin in his woolly form sprints across a stage, collecting beads, smashing blocks, and avoiding explosives to reach the end. Both of these games have four stages, with each becoming unlocked as the story progresses. At the end of a level, a rank is given based on the amount of enemies vanquished and beads collected, with that rank unlocking mats. These mats use the beads collected to craft little items. It's an enjoyable, fun, little addition. It's a shame there aren't more of the stages.

Kirby's Epic Yarn uses a wonderful woolly, fluffy style which is most likely now most recognised thanks to Yoshi Wooly World; a game that was actually the spiritual successor to this one. While it can't look quite as rich as its successor thanks to the limitations of the hardware and the age of the game it still delivers a fantastic experience.

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Final Score
Sure to be one of the final, first-party, big games on 3DS, as it slowly winds down into retirement, but at least it's going out with a bang. As this is definitely the best Kirby game to hit the platform to date, and easily one of the best platformers. Yoshi may be the star of the woolly show at the moment, with [i]Yoshi's Crafted World[/i] landing on Switch soon, but Kirby did it first and did it best. This is an utterly charming patchwork that's absolutely impossible not to get tangled up in.

9

/10

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