Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn (3DS) Review
The end of the road is creeping ever closer for the Nintendo 3DS. With its golden years well and truly in the rear-view mirror as the love and support of the gaming industry continues to shine upon the Switch, we’re left with a slow trickle of releases before the tap truly runs dry. In what is almost definitely the last major release from Nintendo for its veteran handheld, Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn pulls up the pink puff ball’s Wii release from 2010, stitches on in a few new additions and delivers a feel-good farewell for the 3DS.
The simple story sees Kirby pulled into a world appropriately named Patch Land by the evil Yin-Yarn where Kirby discovers that both he and everything else is made of yarn. The charmingly narrated tale of your quest to sew the world, torn apart by Yin-Yarn, back together is thread-bare but gives you enough of a reason to traverse a variety of colourful and cleverly designed platforming worlds, making the most of your new found stringy form to interact with the environment and collect beads along the way.
Being made of yarn opens up a wealth of new possibilities for Kirby. Hurling a lasso allows him to swing from objects, pull parts of the world together to move platforms, unzip walls and completely dismantle enemies. This new form factor also results in the ability to morph into an assortment of vehicles or animals. One minute you’ll be blasting woolly minions with missiles as a tank, and the next you’ll be spinning through the ocean as a dolphin. It’s just another example of how the game makes creative use of this mechanic, and the way the aesthetic and gameplay mesh together never stops being delightful.
New to this 3DS port is the addition of Ravel abilities, which closely resemble the copy abilities of more traditional Kirby games. After balling up and donning a specific yarn cap (or using a supported amiibo) you’ll sport abilities such as being able to drop bombs, wield a sword and twirl up yarn projectiles at will. These new abilities are a welcome new feature that helps to add some variety to the levels, though some may lament the fact that they make an already breezy game even easier.
Much was made of the practically non-existent difficulty upon the release of the original many years ago, and how you’ll feel about the base experience offered by the game will undoubtedly vary from person to person. Initially, the game can feel a little slow and dull, but by the time you’re a few levels in it’s very easy to settle into a relaxing rhythm with this game. The standard mode offers very little in the way of challenge, to the point where it’s actually impossible to die. Getting hit simply makes you drop beads, which you’ll be collecting to try to get the best medal you can at the end of each level. Those looking for something a little extra can aim to locate three treasures on each map, which incentivises you to fully explore both the level and Kirby’s capabilities. This curious exploration of every hidden detail in each stage is where the true joy of Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn is found.
If that’s not enough though, the addition of Devilish Mode may satiate those looking to insert a slice of danger into their adventure. This mode actually gives you a damage meter that can sustain five hits, after which you’ll be plopped back at the start of the level. To make things even trickier, you’ll be constantly followed by a small bat-like creature that will launch projectiles at you and try to make your life more difficult.
The moniker “Devil-ish” feels appropriate, as I wouldn’t go as far to say it makes for a particularly difficult game, and it eventually becomes more of a mild nuisance than a genuinely enjoyable way to ramp up the challenge. Those disappointed by the lack of difficulty in the original may find this enough to make the adventure a more enticing prospect this time around, but personally, I felt it only subtracts from the relaxing nature of Normal mode without offering a satisfyingly challenging platformer in its place.
Rounding out the new features for the 3DS version is a handful of fun minigames. Dedede Gogogo has you controlling the titular baddy in short-burst levels reminiscent of any number of mobile auto-runners as you collect as many beads as you can, whilst Slash & Bead puts you behind the mask of Meta-Knight as you chop through foes and collect more beads. Both games are decent distractions from the main quest, and even though they only have a few levels each, they’re fun and short enough to keep you coming back to stockpile beads which can be fused to make new mats for your apartment.
Kirby’s crib can be found in the main hub world and can be decked out with any of the furniture treasures and mats you collect throughout your adventure. Those with a collection itch can look forward to gathering up a huge number of unique items, with plenty more available to purchase at the nearby shops. You can also use specific pieces to furnish apartments belonging to other yarn citizens and can even expand the number of apartments available with the help of this world’s equivalent to Tom Nook from Animal Crossing. Unlocking new apartments grants access to even more minigames, including timed challenges where you need to find a group of small critters or collect a certain number of beads within a time limit. The inclusion of these extra game modes is a nice bonus for those considering double dipping on this game and makes for a complete package overall.
Unfortunately, one notable omission from the Wii version is the co-op mode. The slower, more relaxed paced of this game lends itself well to experiencing it with a buddy, but there’s no multiplayer here to be found. Another disappointing missing feature is the lack of 3D. It’s become common practice in the late years of the 3DS’s life not to include support for stereoscopic 3D anymore, but it really is a shame here. The yarn world is so vibrant and brimming with personality, with the stringy textures creating beautifully layered detailing. Stereoscopic 3D support would have really made the textures pop from the background, especially in parts where Kirby moves between different layers of the environment. It would have been a fitting send off for the system’s most obvious yet ironically underutilised feature in the end, but alas it wasn’t to be.
These minor gripes don’t diminish what is overall an immensely enjoyable journey through an endlessly charming and visually splendid experience. It’s a relaxing adventure that brings a smile to your face simply by setting you on a course through a delightful universe with enough tools and rewards to encourage you to see it all. Those craving a challenging platformer are still better off getting their fix from Mario or Donkey Kong in spite of the new Devilish Mode, but those looking to unwind, collect and explore a creative and imaginative world will find a journey worth taking with your 3DS at least one last time.
- Beautifully crafted world
- Creative and inventive environments
- Simple, relaxing fun
- No co-op mode
- Devilish Mode doesn’t add much to the experience