'Kirby's Extra Epic Yarn Review': Improving on an Already Creative Formula

Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn for the Nintendo 3DS still isn’t your typical Kirby game, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a wonderful platformer that builds on an already unique world full of yarn and patchwork. With the improvements Nintendo added that set it apart from Kirby’s Epic Yarn which released years ago, Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn is brought further into the traditional Kirby formula while still maintaining its charm.

Those who played the original game when it released for the Wii in 2010 will find that the setup to the string-filled story is the same, but for those who haven’t, the intro explains why Kirby’s now an adorable yarn creation. Kirby and the rest of his friends have been sent to a world full of yarn by the sorcerer who’s aptly named Yin-Yarn, and it’s up to Kirby and his new friend Prince Fluff to progress through levels and worlds so that they may restore things to their natural order.

Using a Yarn Whip to manipulate the environment and progress through levels by unraveling yarn enemies and finding secret passageways, Kirby must try to avoid getting hit so as not to lose the craft beads he’s collected. The worlds and stages that contain those beads and enemies are remarkably creative with scenery built from pieced-together yarn and cloth, and each one is full of interesting ways for Kirby to progress. Stitching together a bear and unraveling a fossilized bird to access new areas are just a few of the ways the 3DS game charms players. It helps that every world is also expertly crafted and diverse with players traveling underwater and into space and everywhere in between through some stunningly creative environments.

Kirby also has a new tool in Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn called Ravel Abilities, but if you’re like me and never played the original, you might find yourself double-checking to make sure these weren’t a part of the original game. Throughout the various stages, enemies and Prince Fluff will hold abilities above their heads that Kirby can lasso to bestow upon himself a neat hat and, more importantly, a new power. These Ravel Abilities take inspiration from Kirby’s traditional powers – you can’t suck up enemies in this game since Kirby’s made of yarn, of course – and are the main feature that make this feel more like a Kirby game than ever. You can slash enemies with a wire sword, throw out a button great distances to whip opponents at range, and can toss bombs to clear out large areas. If you’re looking for a powerup to pick, the Nylon Ravel Ability that lets Kirby create a whirlwind that sucks up beads and defeats nearby enemies is by far the best option.

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(Photo: Nintendo)

If you did play the first game and found it to be easy, you’ll probably feel the same about Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn. Most of the levels are fairly simple since Kirby only loses beads when hit, though there are some stages that’ll test your patience if you’re trying to get the best score possible while collecting everything and holding onto beads. Either the analog stick or the D-Pad can be used to pilot Kirby as he transforms into a car and other objects with a hard press on the stick or a double-tap on the pad sending Kirby into a dash. The analog stick feels like the better option, but its sensitivity and just a desire to move quicker in levels means you’ll always be dashing for the most part. It’s frustrating when getting used to the controls to continuously bump into walls and watch Kirby bounce off to the platform below, but towards the end of the game, you’ll be flying through levels.

The Devilish Mode does add some difficulty to the game if you’re looking for more of a challenge though. Each level including boss fights and bonus missions can be played in Devilish Mode which causes flying devils after Kirby to hinder his progress. You can send them away temporarily, but they’ll always come back until the level is finished. What’s more challenging about this is that the mode actually gives Kirby life points, and losing all of them will end the stage. The mode puts a b it more pressure on players and again makes everything Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn feel more like a traditional platformer.

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(Photo: Nintendo)

New minigames featuring King Dedede and Meta Knight also make for a nice break between levels or some post-game content. Dedede Gogogo sees the hammer-wielding character racing through a stage that’s constantly moving while collecting beads and avoiding obstacles while Slash & Bead has Meta Knight dashing through enemies and stalling for time until the level ends. Completing these games and levels on the Devilish difficulty will award players with new decorations to fill Kirby’s pad, but the minigames and extra challenges themselves are the real draw.

Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn is simply delightful and is worth picking up for anyone who didn’t play the original, though mileage may vary for those who played the original and are looking for a completely new experience. This Kirby game being on the 3DS instead of the Nintendo Switch might be a head-scratcher to some, but it’s still just as enjoyable on the handheld-only device. It’ll keep you entertained for 6-7 hours if you’re just looking to experience the story and some bonus levels and will last much longer if you take part in all it offers.

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Rating: 4 out of 5

Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn releases on March 8th for the Nintendo 3DS for $39.99 with more information found here.