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Game Review

So you've been looking at the success of the Nintendo Switch and thinking maybe that means that your faithful 3DS will soon be abandoned to the junkyard of handheld gaming history. But wait! Don't give up your small-screen hopes just yet. There are still some new 3DS titles coming out, such as the recently released Kirby's Extra Epic Yarn.

Yes it's an enhanced port of an older Wii game from years ago. But the question is, is it a good one? Let's see how well this yarn is spun.

Woolly Woes in Dreamland

The basic storyline here is presented like a fanciful children's tale with a curtained stage, construction-paper cutouts and a kindly narrator. He tells of a rumor that's swirling about in pink puffball Kirby's home of Dreamland. People whisper that a caped sorcerer is turning folks into yarn versions of themselves.

Yep, it's true: Even Kirby gets zapped into yarn by this magical guy named Yin-Yarn. And Kirby's then sucked into a strange, uh, fabricated dimension where everything is made of yarn, cloth, buttons and beads. There, Kirby learns two things: First of all, his vaunted vacuum-like abilities no longer work because, well, yarn. And second, this stitch-and-button world is falling to tatters because of the sorcerer's machinations. It's a place in desperate need of a hero.

So it's up to you, Kirby and a local youth named Prince Fluff to conquer various lands infested with yarny baddies and bosses, then to gather special yarn that can stitch this world of Patch Land back together. Oh, and after that, good-ol' Kirbster needs zip back to Dreamland to stop Yin-Yarn from further zapping and unraveling wickedness there, too. I mean that guy is one mean piece of string.

The Fight in His Fabric

Gameplay wise, things work much the way you'd expect in a Kirby game. You jump from platform to platform, avoiding pitfalls or yarn hazards (two words you wouldn't normally use together). You also take on knitted-together bosses in various forms, such as a giant yarn dragon that shoots out a super long tongue; a ghosty yarn stage magician who tries to zap you with tossed cards and explosive escape tricks; an underwater monster jellyfish made of yarn …

Did I mention everything's made of yarn?

Since Kirby no longer has his vacuuming or pink-balloon powers, he makes do with some yarn-based abilities that he quickly whips up. He can use a piece of his own yarn form to snatch up objects and disarm baddies. He can wrap up, toss and unravel bad guys, too, for that matter. And Kirby also has the wherewithal to reweave himself when necessary, enabling him to remake himself into a parachute-like shape when falling from a high ledge, for example.

New to the 3DS version, Kirby also has access to Ravel Abilities, which are similar to power-ups in other games. One such ability allows you to reshape a paper clip into a sword, for instance. Others give access to button bombs and giant yarn balls. And one really useful skill empowers Kirby to spin, spin, spin into a whirlwind that unravels enemies and sucks in nearby treasures.

And Wound-up Devils?

Since I'm talking about bombs and such, I should also note that Kirby never really dies in his battling. He may tumble off a precipice, but he's always flown back up by a yarn bird and sent off for another try. The only time the hero's life can be threatened is in another 3DS extra included Extra Epic Yarn's make-up: something called a Devilish Mode.

If a player chooses this extra-challenging version of gameplay at the beginning of a stage, a little yarn devil—looking like a small round bat with a frown—will jump in and toss extra hazards or bombs at Kirby. In this mode, Kirby gains a depleting life gauge; and if he loses all his life pieces, he has to start over from the stage beginning.

Even in that trickier mode of play, however, there are extra chances to regain life and keep hero-ing on. And that's the real extra to this latest 3DS game: It's all about the cute, the cuddly, the heroic and the fun.

And no matter what else happens on your 3DS in the future, Kirby's Extra Epic Yarn is a current title that's worth a spin.

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March 8, 2019

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Bob Hoose

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