Monday, October 25, 2010

Yarn and Meat



One of the first things that came to mind when I heard about Kirby's Epic Yarn was "where in the world did they come up with this concept?" I first imagined a fancy boardroom full of stressed game developers spouting random ideas (probably in Japanese). Then I came across this old commercial and imagined some desperate down-and-out developer visiting memories of the past and having a woolly epiphany. Of course, in actuality the real story is that the game was completely unrelated to Kirby until later in the development stage when Nintendo tossed the idea out there. A Super Mario Bros. 2 situation, if you will. The fact is though, it doesn't really matter how this idea floated into existence because it's the end result that's flipping brilliant.



So brilliant, in fact, that it was one of the deciding factors of my repurchasing a Wii (of course alongside Super Mario Galaxy 2, New Super Mario Bros Wii, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Goldeneye, Zelda and the Skyward Sword, and the several other titles Reggie Fils-Aime throttled ecstatic Nintendo fans with at the last E3... making Microsoft and Sony look like idiots for hopping on the motion control bandwagon).

But I digress, seeing as it's fall - and that means an avalanche of quality gaming - I haven't played as much of Kirby's Epic Yarn as I would have liked to at this point. However, I can tell you that if you own a Wii, you should go buy it as soon as you can. What makes Kirby's Yarn so Epic you ask? Well not only does it sport some of the most creative and beautiful graphics I've seen on the Wii, it's also darn fun to play. Yes, I think fun is the best and most poignant way to describe Kirby's Epic Yarn. It hearkens back to a day when games were less complicated, but equally as addictive - possibly more so. At the same time it doesn't beat you over the head with a brutal difficulty. The fact is that everyone's favorite pink glutton's latest adventure is actually quite the opposite and could be considered too easy (even boring for some of the more close-minded, blood-lusting FPS maniacs) but I actually think it's a nice change of pace. I love a good rewarding challenge as much as the next guy but it's nice to play that odd game that's just plain fun.

While I'm on the topic of rewarding challenge though, I thought I'd also highlight the recently released anti-thesis of Kirby's Epic Yarn - Super Meat Boy (for X-Box Live Arcade and soon WiiWare/PC). It's almost ironic that these two titles were released so close together. While they both promise "old-school" game-play they couldn't be more different. Where Epic Yarn is soft and cuddly, Meat Boy is rough and downright crazy. Epic Yarn plays like a gentle stroll through the park while Meat Boy plays like a lengthy run across hot coals with lobsters clamped on your face.

The danger of a game that christens itself "tough as nails" like Super Meat Boy is of course the fragile balance between the aforementioned rewarding challenge and throwing your controller at the cat with unbridled frustration. I'm happy to say that Super Meat Boy is certainly the former. You will die a lot - I guarantee that much - but the loading is so lightening fast and the game so well paced that it probably won't bother you as much as you'd think.

Before this post gets too lengthy though I'm going to close by saying that I hope to eventually post a full review of both games and I'm immensely happy to see the side-scroller making a glorious comeback... even if it does include Yarn and Meat? In the mean time, enjoy the trailers for each game below and stay tuned!

The Official E3 Trailer for Kirby's Epic Yarn:



A "commercial" for Super Meat Boy by way of a fantastic spoof of old 80s/90s commercials:



~Ben

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