Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn Is Nothing To Yawn At

Let’s get this out of the way first: it would’ve been extra epic to see Kirby’s 2010 adventure on the Nintendo Wii ported onto the Nintendo Switch rather than the 3DS. Replaying a nine-year-old game on an eight-year-old handheld isn’t exactly an upgrade, especially considering there’s a perfectly good two-year-old console/handheld hybrid that can do a lot more to enhance it. However, being that it’s such a priceless platformer, revisiting Kirby’s Epic Yarn on the 3DS in 2019 is still a pure delight.

When it first arrived nearly a decade ago, Kirby’s Epic Yarn was one of the most memorable titles to arrive on the Wii in a long time, and it hasn’t lost any of its lustre in the years that have followed. Like the recently released Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, it’s a lovely send-off to what’s easily the greatest handheld ever made. Granted, both games don’t offer that that much additional content, but who’s complaining when they were so perfect to begin with?

What Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn DOES add to an already excellent experience is noteworthy. The best bonus is Devilish Mode, which fixes the one thing sorely lacking in the original version: a true sense of challenge. You literally couldn’t die in the previous game, which had its merits and drawbacks. Now Kirby has a five-hit health bar and is being constantly chased by a projectile-shooting yarn demon. So, for all of you who find Kirby games a little too friendly, think again. Of course, if you want to take it easy and old fashioned, you can play in the original mode. The challenge here is more about finding all those collectibles and amassing a gargantuan amount of beads to progress and stamps to deck out your sweet pad. However you choose to play, it’s a very good time from start to finish.

In addition to a less forgiving story mode difficulty, there are also two new minigames. Dedede Gogogo is kind of like Super Mario Run (which is kind of like every other infinite running game), in which the franchise’s main villain must slide, slash, jump, and bolt his way from one end of the course to the other while collecting as many beads as possible. Like regular difficulty story mode, getting hit by obstacles means losing beads, so, y’know, don’t do that. In Slash & Bead, you play as Meta Knight, and the objective is to strike enemies to collect, you guessed it, beads! Both modes are a welcome addition, though somewhat disposable after a couple hours. 

Reduced to 240p, the game looks nearly as good as it did on the Wii, where it clocked in at 480p. This is a good thing, because boy is it a pretty sight. The premise of the story sees Kirby getting transported into a world made of yarn, called Patch Land. This aesthetic makes for some of the most adorable and inventive visuals Nintendo has ever crafted. The story unfolds like a children’s storybook, going as far as being narrated by a friendly British man. It’s just pure adorbs, through and through. Kirby’s “This grass feels like pants” line upon arriving at Patch Land still cracks me up nine years later. This aesthetic was so epic that it found its way into not one but two Yoshi games: 2015’s Yoshi’s Wooly World for the Wii U and the upcoming Yoshi’s Crafted World, arriving March 29 on the Switch.

Another element that distinguishes this adventure from other games in the storied franchise is that Kirby can’t fly or even swallow enemies to adopt their powers. The latter omission makes sense considering the lack of the stomach due to Kirby being made out of yarn and all. Instead, Kirby whips a rope of yarn to unravel baddies, swing from buttons, and tug on objects to reveal secrets and passages galore. One final add-on worth mentioning is Kirby’s Ravel Abilities, which provide unique power ups akin to other adventures, like wielding a sword or tossing bombs.

Unlike the Wii version, there’s no co-op mode this time, and 3D isn’t supported with this release, which is fine by me because I rarely use it anymore. And finally, you can slap your amiibo to a New 3DS for some extra bells and whistles. But seriously, where’s my yarn Kirby amiibo, Nintendo? I NEED one!

Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn is out now exclusively on Nintendo 3DS. Check out the trailer below.