One the funnier Nintendo joke facts, at least in our book, is that Nintendo consoles always finish off their lives with a Kirby game, and there's a lot of evidence to back this up. Kirby's Adventure came out on the NES two years after the arrival of the SNES, Kirby's Dream Land 3 came out on the SNES two years after the arrival of the Nintendo 64, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards came out on the Nintendo 64 one year before the GameCube, Kirby Tilt "n" Tumble came out on the Game Boy Colour the same year as the Game Boy Advance arrived, Kirby & The Amazing Mirror came out on the Game Boy Advance the same year as the Nintendo DS arrived, and Kirby's Dream Collection came out on the Wii the same year that the Wii U arrived. Now, Kirby's Extra Epic Yarn, a remaster of the same game with a slightly less extra name from 2011, has arrived on the Nintendo 3DS, and we have to say that 2019 probably is the last year we consider the 3DS alive and kicking.
Enough with the history lessons, let's talk about the game! Kirby's Extra Epic Yarn is a 2D-platformer with a charming premise, same as most Kirby games. One day, Kirby eats a tomato made out of yarn. The tomato transforms Kirby into yarn, and he is pulled into the villain Yin-Yarn's world, while Yin-Yarn comes out to take over Kirby's world, with the help of his yarn-minions. Kirby meets Prince Fluff, who tries to repair the world that they're in because Yin-Yarn ruined it. How do we repair this land? By stitching it back together, of course! The question is; can Kirby save the day, and regain his normal body, made out of... uh... What is Kirby actually made of...? Let's leave that subject for another day and another text...
As you might have gathered, the story in this Kirby title is nothing out of the ordinary, but that's to be expected. Kirby games have always aimed at the youngest demographic, and Nintendo should be praised for creating a small, funny story that's both relatable and charming for young and old alike. The cutscenes are well animated, and a cosy British narrator pulls you along the story, just like in the old Winnie The Pooh cartoons. Something that's unlike the classic Kirby - something that quite impressed us - is the actual gameplay.
When you think of Kirby, what comes up in your mind? Probably four things. He's pink, he's round, he can fly, and he eats stuff (suck is probably a more correct term, but let's keep it civil, shall we?). In this game, only two of those four things are correct; Kirby is pink and round. The last two features have been removed, with you no longer being able to eat enemies to your heart's content, flying around and stealing powers. As previously mentioned, Kirby is made out of yarn, and if he tries to eat anything, it simply flies through his body! He, therefore, has to use his new yarn-body to attack enemies, climb, and do a multitude of creative things by pulling buttons and ropes, and sneaking through holes in the different garments.
There's a lot of room for creativity here, and the developer really has seized the opportunity to be as creative as possible. There are still transformations in the game, granting you powers and changing the way you look (shout-out to the steam locomotive transformation), so this is still in many ways a Kirby game, but the many small tweaks that come from the game world give this a personality games such as Kirby Star Allies on the Switch lacks.
Outside the 2D platforming, you can design your own house, play mini-games with King Dedede and Meta Knight, and do other light activities, however, the platforming is definitely the focus of the game, and while the platforming is good, it is quite simple. You control an immortal (in normal mode) Kirby, having to climb through the levels until you reach the end. The challenge here does not lie in surviving, but in collecting everything in the level, but there's no timer, so you're free to take your time. You can activate a more difficult mode where a small purple creature tries to kill you, but this is also not truly challenging if you've played other platformers before. It's easy because it's aimed at kids, so that's not necessarily a problem, and at least they've captured a feel-good vibe.
The game gave us an experience on 3DS that we haven't had in many years and the visuals were truly striking. Something with this yarn-style makes the softer image coming from the screen not seem like a limitation, instead, it enriches the art-style, and it might be the art-style that works best on the 3DS screen. The music is good as well, even if we'll likely never think about it again, and the rest of the presentation is well done too.
Having not played the original game for the Wii, the one thing we can't comment on is whether you should play this game if you've already played the original. What we can say is that if this is the swansong for the 3DS, it certainly is a creative game that fits perfectly into the console's library, and it might even be our favourite Kirby game.