The game's story is told like a child's bed-time story book. Don't expect anything along the lines of character development and heaven help you if you've never played a Kirby game before, because all of the characters will mean absolutely nothing to you. It may or may not be a spoiler to you, but just skip this paragraph if you don't want anything spoilt; still reading? Good. Well, you see, King Dedede is in the game and well... He just appears. No explanation who this character is, what role he plays... Just, here he is! Unless you have prior knowledge of the series, you wont know if Dedede is a villain, a friend, a casual acquaintance, some random guy plucked from the world... Same goes for another notable character, but I wont go that far. Overall, the game feels under-developed with just how the story's told, it's very stylishly shown, but style doesn't beat substance, especially elementary storytelling like establishing characters.
The main gimmick of the game is Kirby's extending lasso-type-attack which changes use depending on context. This can be used to roll up enemies, remove 'hollow' blocks and do special things such as hanging onto buttons and swing around, pull tabs to reveal hidden objects and open chests to reveal hidden items. You can perform the move in 5 directions, up, down, left, right and diagonally left and diagonally right. There's also the odd instance where you can fold the level vertically or horizontally to get to ledges that would otherwise be impossible to reach. This was quite a touted feature for the game, along with 'unzipping' parts of the stage to reveal a new path to progress, however it's just not that big of a deal. It's rarely used despite the fact it's the most innovative and interesting mechanic in the whole game.
Kirby's Epic Yarn is, and there's no way around this; an easy game. Infact there is no difficulty to the game what so ever. Enemies generally have no way of hurting you, you have no life bar, no lives, just a score which certain enemies or the occasional fall from the stage can damage (and in a pretty big way). As such the game's difficulty curve is a slight incline from 'press start to win' to 'just mash buttons, it'll work out'.
The worst thing that can happen to you through the whole game is getting a low score. I like the idea that platformers are moving away from obligatory 'Game Over' screens, it is an archaic remnant of arcade games that wiggled their way into home console games for some inexplicable reason and I'm glad to see the back of it. But there's then just going a step too far to simply remove the concept of, in essence; death. Going back to a checkpoint which is perhaps say a minute away from where you were isn't really all that tedious and it encourages you to get better so you don't have to keep replaying this part of the stage over and over. By giving people the ability to go back say, 4 seconds from any given fall off the stage does none of this. But, I digress.
The world system itself is quite clever. Much like Super Paper Mario, you have a 'hub' world, here you'll find stages to play. After 'normal' or obligatory stages, you receive a 'patch'. Patches are given to you when you return to the world hub. No idea why, since all you do is just throw the patch anywhere and it'll automatically find it's resting place and unlock another stage for you, doing some ostentatious animation and augmentation to the world hub such as dropping in cake layers, making hills, calling down UFOs and so forth. These are quite fun little places to roam and explore and the animations used are pretty neat, especially ones early on where the hub map is a piece of parchment which has rolled up and it eventually gets unrolled as you complete stages.
As you're most likely aware, Kirby's Epic Yarn looks brilliant. Visually speaking it is extremely striking and there really isn't another game which looks like it. The fabric moves realistically and animations are so fluid. It comes together into one awesome looking game which is clear and concise, cheerful and playful at the same time. You really don't expect the Wii to be able to pull of such visual feats, especially what appears to be some sort of anti-alias applied to just about everything (or some very clever visual trickery). One thing I have noticed is that the game looks a lot better in motion than it does in screenshots, so just keep that in mind.
In the end, I still can't quite make up my mind if this is a Kirby game. It is developed by Good-Feel, not HAL Laboratories and I think that right there says it all. It's not a Kirby game. It has a lot of charm and enough 'cute' to make you shoot rainbows out of your eyes, but on substance, the game is fairly lacking. The game is obviously meant for an audience much younger than myself and a lot of people who grew up with Kirby, but that was Kirby's thing. It had universal appeal, it was cute and fluffy for little kids but also insanely enjoyable for everyone else. Kirby's Epic Yarn doesn't have this appeal and is strictly aimed at young children and hey, there's nothing wrong with that. Nintendo didn't say otherwise and I think just looking at the game shows you where Kirby's Epic Yarn's audience lies. Just a shame there's not an awful lot anyone outside that audience can really enjoy. If you're a die-hard Kirby fan or just want a simple game you can complete in one sitting (I'm not joking, my Wii never turned off for the entire game, well, entire game minus a lot of the extra levels and the decorating/side-game segments) or you're about 7 years old and are reading this review for some reason then this game is for you. If you're a lot older and think Kirby Superstar Ultra is the best game of the series, stay clear. Stay well clear.
No where near enough depth, predictable and merely strings along the game.
There's no fraying ends, it plays like a dream and is overall a very enjoyable experience.
The game looks fantastic, One of the best looking Wii games the system can cut from it's cloth.
Finding an out-of-place or bad track in the game is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. It's amazing.
9 HoursDoing just the obligatory levels and seeing the credits roll will give you about 8 and a half hours, 10 if you go back and do the extra stages and perhaps more if you do the side-games as well.