Kirby’s Epic Yarn for Wii Review

If you’re on a journey through the past of Nintendo’s biggest franchises, it won’t be long before you encounter Kirby. For a character that you can’t help feel was created last thing on a Friday, he’s actually been around long enough to have graduated university and begun to be warn down by the realities of life. Epic Yarn is the tenth Kirby game, and my second, my first being Planet Robobot on the 3DS.

Right away I identified Kirby as low stress gaming, and Epic Yarn is no exception. I haven’t yet worked out if it’s aimed at children, or adults who’ve had a bad day. It’s almost ASMR in game form. The gentle piano music lulls you to sleep, and the calming pastel colours of the cloth style backgrounds give you happy dreams once you’ve dropped off.

If it is aimed at children, I can’t help but feel like Nintendo wasted their time. It’s too beautiful, and too tranquil for children to appreciate. Then again, maybe it could be used to sedate them.

The characters are drawn as if they’re made out of different coloured string. Instead of being a pink blob, Kirby is a pink loop of yarn. This means a big difference in play style from the usual Kirby eating enemies system that most people will be used to. Rather than eating enemies, Kirby unravels them, and can then throw them at other enemies, or the occasional obstacle. All that adds to the calming nature of the game. You don’t kill anything, you simply unwind it. Beyond that, you can’t really die either. As you progress through the levels you pick up jewels, and you lose those jewels if you get hit or fall off something. Apart from that, there’s very little stopping you from completing your goal.

Unfortunately the lack of peril means the game has to challenge you in other ways, and that’s the bit I’m not too keen on. It’s all about the collectables. There are loads of them scattered around, a lot of them being impossible to find on your first run through a level. Very often you’ll be in a situation where you can’t stop moving, and you notice at the last second that you should have turned left when you actually turned right. The only way to fix the mistake is to run through the level again. That gets tiresome quickly.

Luckily the designers thought it would be good to shake things up a bit, and so decided to take advantage of the fact that Kirby was made of string. If he’s just string, then he can be changed into lots of different shapes. Those shapes range from being a single strand of yarn, allowing you to fit into tiny places, or becoming a missile firing technodrome. Something very similar happens in Planet Robobot so at this point I’m assuming it’s a staple of the Kirby games. I’m prepared to learn otherwise as I progress through the franchise. Anyway, the changes in gameplay are a very welcome treat, and always leave me feeling a little sad when they’re over.

There are lots of fun gameplay mechanics that make the most of the yarn and cloth construction of the game world. All the backgrounds are made of cloth, and sometimes have little holes in that allow Kirby to travel around behind the background of the game. It’s another nice thing Nintendo put in there. Backgrounds can sometimes be messed with by pulling zips and buttons. It may well remind you of Yoshi’s Wooly World on the Wii U and 3DS. The only link I can find between the two games is the Wikipedia saying that Yoshi’s Wooly World is a spiritual successor to Epic Yarn. That feels to me more like something a fanboy would put on there, not like something Nintendo would actually say.

There is one gameplay mechanic that I won’t be trying out. It seems Kirby has an apartment, and I can decorate it with all the collectables I find in the game. Apparently this unlocks further levels and challenges, but I’ll never know because I’m not going to spend any time decorating a computer game apartment. Unless it’s The Sims. Or Animal Crossing. OK, so I’m just not decorating Kirby’s apartment. That said, as much as I’m complaining, it isn’t exactly a bad thing that they’ve tried to make the game as big as they can. It does give brilliant value for money.

As I travel back through the histories of big gaming franchises that I missed out on back in the day, I must admit that I was most worried about games only available on the Wii because of the motion controller. I still don’t know how I feel about that thing. I do think it was a good idea, I just miss a regular controller. Epic Yarn lets you off all the complicated Wii control, and works by using the Wiimote in a sideways configuration, just like it’s a classic NES controller. To be fair, games as complicated as Epic Yarn don’t need all that many buttons and would have been ruined had Nintendo tried to cram in unnecessary motion controls. It never occurred to me that this was an option. I’ll just add it to the list of reasons why I feel I was cheated out of the Wii, and that’s a whole other article right there.

Overall, Kirby’s Epic Yarn is a cracking little game, all be it a little unchallenging. Making the game harder than it is might well have ruined the experience for adults and children alike. If you have a Wii and haven’t played it yet, I do recommend picking a copy up. You’ll have to get a pre-owned one, but I’m seeing them go for around £10, which while it isn’t cheap, it’s really not all that bad considering the prices some old games go for. If you don’t have a Wii, add it to the list of reasons you have for getting one. Heck, you can get a pre-owned Wii for less that £20 now so I might go as far as to say Epic Yarn is worth the price of the console too. Actually as you’d get both for less that £30, I’d say it’s worth buying a Wii just to play this one game, and that’s before you remember you can also get Super Mario Galaxies and many others that justify the Wii all on their own. I’ll might never play Epic Yarn again, but I’m very glad that I did.

Tech It Or Leave It Episode 227 – Googlio 2017

In this episode we cover the news from the recent Google IO event, and take a look at the Conservative Party plans for the internet.

226. Update Your Windows

In this week’s show we take a look at the tiny hack that apparently happened to the NHS, but nobody noticed.

#Tech #Technology #Gadget #Phone #Laptop #Computer #iOS #Amazon #Google #Microsoft #iPhone #Android #News #Reviews #Discussion #Talk #Spoken English #Simply Syndicated

Tech It Or Leave It Episode 224 – We Never Went Away

We’re back with the very latest tech news and a whole load from the previous month. Sorry we went away, we’re back now.

The New Nintendo 3DS Review

I know I’m reviewing a game system that has been available for well over a year. Everything that there is to say has been said. So why review an old piece of tech? Simply because it’s by far the most exciting, interesting, and joy inducing piece of tech to end up in my grubby mitts in 2016. Also, you’d be right to point out that I’ve said some less than pleasant things about Nintendo over the years. Now is time to make amends.

So what prompted me to go out a buy a 3DS? I’ve joked that it’s all to do with Allison spending too much time on my PS4. The truth is that it’s our PS4, and that I’m struggling to find games I want to play. It’s great that I can play games like Bioshock and GTA5 with new and improved graphics, but they aren’t new games. There are very few PS4 titles that have gotten me excited.

Beyond that, while I’ve been put off hand held gaming because I simply don’t go anywhere, I have always been interested in having a personal small game system. I had a Game Gear back in the day and loved it. With misplaced optimism, I’ve looked to iOS to fill this gap, but it’s rubbish. Not that there’s anything wrong with iOS, or the hardware that it runs on, it’s just that it isn’t geared towards gaming in the same way a 3DS is. There’s no way that virtual buttons on a touch screen can compare to hardware controls. The iPhone has a fantastic processor and a full HD screen, but that’s meaningless if you can’t control the game you’re playing. I got myself down to Game and bought a New 3DS XL. It is orange.

After 30+ years of gaming, this is my first Nintendo console. The NES never got any traction in the UK, and the SNES was beaten by the Mega Drive. Kids my age played games on computers not consoles. I’ve played some of the classics, but never on a console I owned. From what I gather on YouTube, the childhood of every American my age was awash with Nintendo. I had one friend that owned an NES. That friend later got a Mega Drive. I cannot stress enough how unpopular consoles were for gaming in the U.K.

The 3DS is a difficult console to review because I can’t find anything wrong with it. Really, nothing. As I play it I’ve been day dreaming about what you could do to make it better, and I’m coming up with nothing.

It’s important to remember that the 3DS is a 3DS. It isn’t a portable version of anything else. Replicating an at-home console experience isn’t the aim of the game, so it doesn’t matter that it doesn’t have a 1080p screen, photorealistic graphics, and the latest version of Call of Duty. It’s a 3DS that plays 3DS games. Most of the hardware components are less than the best spec available, but it doesn’t matter one bit. At this point I feel like an attempt to improve it would end up ruining it.

If anything I just hope that my writing skills are good enough to convey the feeling of pure joy you get using the device. In our house we call it Nintendo Joy Face. It’s to look that sneaks on to a person’s face whenever they’re playing Nintendo. As far as I know, it’s a phenomenon unique to Nintendo products. When you get a PS4 one of the first things you do with it is turn off the music on the main menu. When you get a 3DS you turn it up as loud as it will go so you can dance around your living room to the music on the main menu.

There’s a good store system which I’ve been told is actually quite new and is one of Nintendo’s better online offerings. Unfortunately it suffers from the same problem as the PlayStation and Xbox stores, in that it offers games at full RRP. So far I’ve been buying games on cartridges because they’re much cheaper. Mario Golf is the full £39.99 in the store, or £16.99 for the cartridge on Amazon. You can also trade in cartridges when you’re done with them, or share them with your girlfriend to use on the 3DS you buy her because you feel so guilty about buying one for yourself, less than a month before Christmas.

I’m impressed with the job Nintendo have done with encouraging me to carry the thing around with me. There a system which allows two nearby 3DSs to detect each other and talk. The result is in game prizes for you and whichever 3DS carrying person you happen to walk past. It even tracks your steps and rewards you in an attempt to encourage you to get outside.

The games I’ve played so far have all been great fun. I’ve played through at least the main part of Super Mario 3D Lands, blasted through Starfox, greatly improved my handicap in Mario Golf, and done stuff in other games too. Before this experience I was guilty of believing that games on portable systems were small and limited. It might have been like that in the Game Gear days, but it’s not the case now. The 3DS games I’ve played are every bit as complex and full featured as anything you’ll find on offerings from Sony and Microsoft.

I’ve also been enjoying the Virtual Console. That’s where you’ll find popular games of consoles past. Finally I can play legitimate versions of classic games. Punch Out is great, as are Zelda and Mario 3. There are even a few Game Gear games available. I just hope they don’t come with the experience of totally killing six AA batteries every three hours.

In the time I’ve taken to write this article, my game library has grown. I’m playing all kinds of games and loving every second. If my 3DS broke today, I could almost say that I’ve had my money’s worth out of it. It’s by far one of the most joy inducing things I’ve ever owned. If you like video games, you should have one. You’ll love it. In a way, I’m kind of surprised that we don’t all own a 3DS. They’re just that good. But when I think back to the kind of things I’ve been saying about Nintendo on Tech It Or Leave It, it’s not really much of a mystery. Smartphone gaming clearly took Nintendo by surprise. Before the iPhone, if you wanted to play games out of the house, Nintendo was pretty much the only option you had. Now, people are playing more games on their phones, which I think is a shame. Smartphones can’t offer the same experience as a dedicated gaming device. On screen controls will just never be as good as physical equivalents. Perhaps Nintendo should do more to communicate that to potential customers. An iPhone could run Super Mario 3D Lands without breaking a sweat, but there’s no way it’d be playable without physical controls. Take it from somebody who tried carrying around an iOS controller in his bag for a couple of weeks, it’s a road you don’t want to go down. They’re bulky and awkwardly shaped, and the games that are actually compatible with them are barely worth bothering with. It’s much better to have your trusty 3DS and a couple of game carts tucked away, ready to get your Zelda on whenever you’re ready.

In conclusion, the Nintendo 3DS is awesome and you should get one.