First Impressions: Kirby's Epic Yarn Co-Operative Play

Cast on for a two-player pearl

Kirby’s Epic Yarn emerged from E3 as a highlight for many people, even winning the much sought-after Nintendo Life Best Overall Game of E3 Award. Whilst Corbie raved about the game’s single-player pursuit, Darren and James got chance to team up in tackling several levels from the game, and like many things in life, this one’s far more fun with two people involved.

Both players have identical skills, with a range of transformations available to give you the power to smash through blocks, glide gracefully, race around and generally cause havoc in a way only knitted characters can. As with New Super Mario Bros. Wii before it, you can pick up your teammate and throw them around, bowling them into enemies and sending them flying gracefully over gaps – or that’s the plan, anyway.

In one level, Kirby transforms into a giant rolling tank capable of firing rockets by tilting the Wii Remote and pressing a button. The second player can help out here as he or she turns into a rocket-propelled boxing glove, doubling the amount of firepower available for taking out the enemies that rain down from above.

The yarn theme works well throughout the stages: working together with your buddy to uncover each of the treasures hidden behind sewn-on patches is classic gaming at its best, and combining to pull zippers that reveal even more secrets is a fresh spin on teamwork. Tackling the dragon boss was improved with a second player too, as one could concentrate on tugging its buttoned-up tongue whilst the other worked on distracting it.

On the whole, the game’s nowhere near as chaotic in multiplayer as New Super Mario Bros. Wii’s insane action: the levels we played were fairly sedate, and although you can interact by picking each other up and whipping your teammate around, you’ll get in each other’s way far less often than in Mario’s multiplayer romp.

Whether you play solo or with a friend, there’s no doubt this was one of the most enjoyable games on show at Nintendo’s event: the imagination and graphical style are absolutely fantastic, with all the invention you’d expect from a top-drawer Nintendo title. It didn’t seem difficult enough to challenge gaming veterans, particularly in multiplayer mode, but we were only playing early levels from the game, so it’s possible it could become more difficult later on.

Our hands-on time with the game further cemented the growing feeling among Nintendo fans that Kirby’s long-awaited return could well be one of his best. Kirby’s Epic Yarn is scheduled for a release around Christmas 2010.

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