Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn: Is It Worth Buying?

Image from Nintendo Everything

Time changes everything, but it hasn’t softened my opinion of this game.

I was a little wary of Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn in my initial sessions with the game, but I held out hope that things might grow on me over time. Instead, the opposite happened, and I got more and more frustrated with the game’s flaws and “features” as I kept going. While Extra Epic Yarn is technically a spin-off title rather than a mainline game like Triple Deluxe or Planet Robobot, the 3DS games are the most convenient comparison here, and this game just doesn’t measure to its predec…er, its successors.

Let’s start with the control scheme, which seemed to introduce more and more quirks to irritate me as the game went on. Forget about the lack of common Kirby mechanics like flying and copying for a second; I’d just settle for tighter controls and a better physics engine. Trying to use the Control Stick to control Kirby is a royal pain in the neck, as the same motion might make him walk normally one time and start dashing/driving the next, which made controlling the puffball’s momentum nearly impossible. In addition, the amount of bounceback Kirby got from hitting the wall (unlike, say, 2D Mario games, where the protagonist sticks to the wall) made it unnecessarily hard to fall through small gaps and kept ricocheting me back into enemies. I’d like to say the transformations were an improvement, but many were not: The UFO was painfully slow to maneuver, the giant robot and surfing character were equal parts slow and “meh,” and trying to use the fire engine was an absolute nightmare (a slight tap of L or R would send the hose flying in one direction or another, making aiming the darn thing as fun as pulling your own teeth). The game felt better when it was faster (race car transformation, DeDeDe GoGoGo), but in general this title is a master class in how not to make a platformer control.

The repetition of the levels started to take a toll after a while as well, which is a big problem because repetition is a huge part of the “extra” in Extra Epic Yarn. You play through a level on Normal mode to get the gold medal, you play through it again on Devilish mode to get all the star pieces, and then you might play through it again in a hide-and-seek or gem-finding minigame…I’m torn between my OCD need for collectibles and my utter boredom of getting dragged through the same darn level so many times. The same issue crops up in DeDeDe GoGoGo and Meta Knight’s Slash And Bead: If you want those coveted S medals, you’ll be playing those stages over and over and over until you pull off a flawless run (and then you discover that’s there only four stages in each mode). That not to say that the modes aren’t fun and the stages aren’t well-designed; rather, they aren’t much fun after the third or fifth or twentieth time through them, and the charm of the stages wears off a lot quicker than you might think.

But what about the story? In truth, Prince Fluff’s tale of woe and Yin-Yarn’s plot for Dream Land chaos just didn’t draw me in, which means I didn’t have a ton of motivation to keep fighting the controls and replaying the levels. The characters felt a bit flat (literally and figuratively), with Prince Fluff serving as an overqualified cheerleader, the shopkeepers and building owners lacked a ton of personality, and the mini Devils providing little more than an annoyance. Kirby’s stories tend to be pretty boilerplate until they peak with an epic ending, but with so much “meh” between here and the fun stuff, I just didn’t find the time investment to be worth the potential payoff. After all, I’ve got Splatoon gear to grind and Mario Kart races to win, darn it!

All of the above comes down to this: Do not buy Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn, regardless of whether or not you missed the original Wii game. If you’re hankering for a 3DS Kirby fix, pick up Triple Deluxe and Planet Robobot instead, as they’re much more fun and interesting to play. This game is disappointing enough that I’m starting to wonder if this was Nintendo’s plan all along, dropping a last-gasp mediocre title to signal that yes, the 3DS’s time has officially past. After eights years of loyal service to the Big N, however, the 3DS deserved a better sendoff than this.