Published Nov 10, 2010Gaming's "next-gen" may have promised the future, but it has ironically ushered in a renaissance of old-school side-scrolling platformers. This revival can be traced to the comeback of the ever-nostalgic Nintendo and the retro proclivities of the grown-up-but-still-gaming NES and Game Boy generations. The genre that nearly died out during the transition to 3D gaming has also been critically reconsidered, with its once technical limitations now seen as providing structure. A sidescroller may never match world-building wits with, say, Fallout: New Vegas, but it often does seem like a purer gaming experience.
The latest neo-sidescroller to hit the Wii is the long-awaited Kirby's Epic Yarn ― the cult character's first console platformer since 2000's Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards. But rather than simply add a new chapter to the long-time fan favourite franchise, Nintendo has revamped the pink bubble-bobble wholesale. No longer can Kirby swallow and spit-up his enemies ― after all, he's now but a yarn outline of his former self.
Sure, Nintendo shamelessly borrowed the arts & crafts aesthetic of the PS3's LittleBigPlanet, but if the gorgeous textured textiles look is somewhat familiar, the rest of Kirby's Epic Yarn is wildly original, brilliantly designed, impeccably polished and utterly adorable.
It's set in a two-dimension world of felt, cloth, buttons and, of course, yarn that Kirby has to sew back together; it's a long, nonsensical story. The resulting game feels almost handmade, like a warm and joyful rejoinder to all the same-same greyscale shooters that have dominated in recent years. And much like the Mario Galaxy series, Kirby completely upends everything we know about how platformers operate while still adhering to the genre's basic principles of world map, theme levels and boss battles.
Whether unthreading enemies, swinging on bobbins, pulling zippers or transforming into a parachute or buggy, whether solo or in co-op mode, Kirby's Epic Yarn is a pure pleasure to play. It is no coincidence the developer is called Good Feel. (Nintendo/Good Feel)