It seems very likely that support for the Nintendo 3DS and its various hardware revisions is coming to an end. With this in mind, it seems fitting that a port of the Nintendo Wii Kirby’s Epic Yarn title will most likely be one of Nintendo’s last titles on the Nintendo 3DS.
Fans of the original will no doubt know all about its charm and this trait is fortunately still a part of the Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn handheld port. Its subtle use of colour to create a world that is begging to be explored is one of its main strengths. This is reinforced with the discarding of Nintendo’s rule to usually keep levels in line with a theme associated with each world/zone. Instead, it for example includes a Jurassic era themed level in a lava themed zone.
Each of the levels makes great use of what is typically a gimmick that is only implemented in it. A gorgeous Jack and the Beanstalk themed level sees Kirby making his way up a beanstalk. Another sees Kirby going deep underwater as he faces many perils. In a nice twist towards the end, players even get to take on Yarn inspired versions of Dreamland levels.
Whilst Kirby was already armed with some unique moves and the ability to become more powerful with transformations, there is no denying that the addition of new Ravel abilities helps to inject new life into the game. Spread throughout the levels are Yarn Hats that make it possible for Kirby to do certain actions, such as producing bombs to blow up enemies and destroy parts of the environment. Some of these even make playing the levels more fun since it becomes less cumbersome to acquire everything that each level has to offer.
Albeit this port does not come without its issues as easily noticed when playing it. It becomes apparent how difficult it can be to make use of the movement controls. The analog stick has a tendency to make Kirby turn into a car and the D-Pad doesn’t always feel as easy to use as it was on the Nintendo Wii. It’s also obvious that the conversion of features that relied on the Nintendo Wii remote pointer and sensor bar didn’t go so well, given how awkward it can be to make use of them.
At least Nintendo addresses some criticism associated with the original release. Despite Kirby games not being known for their difficulty, it’s still puzzling to see that Kirby can’t die in this title and the only penalty comes from losing the game’s currency (beads) and not being able to unlock everything. This version of the title attempts to rectify this to a certain extent by adding the Devilish mode. This mode sees the addition of a limited amount of lives and a flying invincible enemy that spends most of the level stalking and attacking Kirby. It’s definitely the right direction to make it more of a challenge for skilled players. Even if it’s not that difficult to stay alive and the games offers some concessions, such as another character giving Kirby health portions halfway through a level and the enemy disappearing during certain sections of some levels.
Complete levels in Devilish mode and Kirby will be awarded with new items to decorate his place in exchange for leftover health portions. Each of the areas also has a boss to take on to gain yarn/wool used to stitch the fantasy world back together.
Another great addition found in this port are missions for Meta Knight and King Dedede. Both characters take on very distinct missions that make use of their key characteristics. As expected, Meta Knight missions are more aggressive and faster. Whereas, those done with King Dedede focus on speed and his brute strength. It’s really fun to play all missions and the only real downside is that there are not many of them to complete. Collecting a certain number of beads in each mission will unlock new content in the form of Mats that can then be filled with beads.
Whilst Kirb’y Extra Epic Yarn might still not be the most challenging of titles, there is no doubt that it’s still a lot of fun to play. The addition of content shows that Nintendo didn’t just want to release a basic port and it means that even fans of the original will have a reason to journey back into Kirby’s yarn world.