By Matthew Scott Hunter
‘Kirby’s Epic Yarn’ (E)
Skill not necessary
The team behind “Wario Land: Shake It!” has woven together the most original and visually stunning sidescrolling platformer in years from materials found in any craft store. Backdrops have the appearance of stitched together cloth and denim, which can be folded and wrinkled in order to reach new areas. And the pink creampuff himself has been simplified into an outline of pink yarn, which can be rearranged into a variety of different shapes. Occasionally, Kirby will transform into a train, allowing you to sketch a thread track for him to follow. At other times, he’ll become a rocket ship, briefly changing the whole game into a “Gradius”-style shooter. The creativity on display will keep you perpetually dazzled, and the variety will ensure that you’re never bored.
Rather than eating his enemies and absorbing their powers as he’s traditionally done, Kirby dispatches foes with a yarn lasso, unraveling them into their component strings and buttons. Death is impossible, so the challenge isn’t to live through each level, but to reach the end without suffering injury, which causes you to lose many of the beads and collectibles necessary to obtain a gold medal. This system makes “Epic Yarn” accessible to players of any skill level. Beginners will never find themselves at an impasse, but only experts will claim the highest awards. Either way, Kirby’s adventure is sure to be the most fun that anyone without a tail and whiskers has ever had with yarn.
With so many high profile sequels coming out this holiday season, it’s easy for an original game like “Vanquish” to get lost in the battlefield, but anyone who loves good, chaotic, sci-fi fun should seek out this insane third-person shooter. Courtesy of a rocket propelled suit, you’ll powerslide around sleek futuristic environments at incredible speeds and then slow down time to blow apart evil Russian robots. The story is lacking, but the action is so fast-paced and exciting, there really isn’t time for a story anyway — just good, old-fashioned, frenetic carnage.
‘DJ Hero 2’ (T)
Since the release of “Guitar Hero” in 2005, the rhythm game genre has exploded across multiple instruments. But with virtually identical gameplay across the board, the feeling of playing a real instrument has succumbed to the sensation of timed button presses. “DJ Hero 2” combats this feeling by affording you a little creative input of your own. While still prompted by scrolling notes, you can blend tracks however you want, choosing which song to emphasize at which points. Crafting a killer mix will make you feel like a real master of the turntables.
‘Super Scribblenauts’ (E10+)
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
The latest “Scribblenauts” continues to amaze with its ever-increasing vocabulary. For those unfamiliar with the series, this game tasks you to solve puzzles by manifesting objects simply by writing words. But in addition to the usual nouns, a wide selection of adjectives (more than 10,000) is now available. It’s always disappointing when the game doesn’t recognize your words, but more often than not, you’ll be surprised to discover it does, and then suddenly you’re looking at a “furry house” and an “exploding banana.” CV