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When my other half came home with this game she proclaimed 'it was cheap, it's a two player co-op and it looked quite fun'. She then followed it with the often dangerous phrase (in my experience anyway) 'OK - so I took a bit of a chance on it'. She had paid £15 for it second hand. Another game soon to be destined for the 'trade-in' drawer I thought...
But how wrong was I? This is a little gem of a game, glued together by the most imaginative storyline I've seen for a while and told in a manner which is as equally original and delightful. The whole thing provoked a sense of being back in your childhood, with the narrator's voice and dialogue coming straight from an episode of Jackanory. No shooting aliens or decapitating zombies - this is just a really nice, family game!
As the game's name suggests the storyline revolves around fabric/sewing/knitting and starts with our hero Kirby being transported to 'patchworld' where he eats a large fruit and becomes a ball of yarn (don't you just hate it when that happens?). Anyway, the 'Patchworld' contains several mini-worlds and within these there will be five or six actual levels (left to right platform 'scrollers') - as you complete one, another unlocks, with a boss level at the end of each mini-world. It's not rocket science this!
The controls are also dead simple - it's a platformer at the end of the day - holding the remote flat, your cross hair is used to move around and your 1/2 buttons to jump and 'strike/grab' objects. Other controls are needed when Kirby collects items which turn him into other objects such as a train (here you have to turn the remote control around and draw the tracks on the screen) and a tank (here you have to shake the remote to 'power' it). There are others, but half the fun is finding out what certain items do, so I won't say any more.
One of the other things that makes this game so good for us is the two player co-op ability. With the instant drop in/drop out option, there is no issue of starting a level as two players only for the phone to ring, meaning the other has to sit around and wait (impatiently in my case). One of the players can drop out at any point, even mid-level. It should also be noted that whilst playing other co-op games, such as donkey kong country, rows have occasionally broken out when the screen slips or judders due to one players movements causing the death of the other. This doesn't seem to happen as much in this as the second player will always be automatically transported to where the first is, should they not keep up or fall off. Handy!
I would thoroughly recommend this game for both adults and children alike. It will genuinely be one of the first games that we share with our daughter, as it is inoffensive, bright and colourful, has lots of music and doesn't inspire you to go out and mow people down with a lawnmower (for instance!). But most of all, it's just really addictive!!!
My sister was given this game for her birthday as she tends to love cute things, and when my mum and me spotted this game, we thought she'd love it. I didn't really know too much about Kirby before buying this, but my friend who loves these kind of things would tell me about other Kirby games and how much she loved them. We bought it preowned at about £20, so £10 cheaper than we would have usually paid for it. I thought this was a great price to have paid for it, as it has kept my whole family entertained for ages.
Unlike the other Wii games, from the party minigames to the 3d platformers, Kirby is a nice change from all of these, providing players with great, well designed 2D platforming fun. Within Kirby Epic Yarn, the controls are simple, unlike the other Wii games which need a nunchuck, all you need to control Kirby is the Wii remote itself. This is probably why Kirby is rated for such a young age of only three plus, letting even the youngest in the family enjoy this cute looking game. And for those who love multiplayer, as long as you have two Wii remotes, you get to play together as Kirby and Prince Fluff!
The main character himslf, has become one of Nintendos well loved characters and after playing this game you'll see why. His appearance is so cartoony, cute and cuddly that you'll just love playing as him because of how well hes designed. The fact he can't die to added to his character of course as this was a great feature for people like my mum who tend to die over and over in games. Throughout, he also has the ability to transform into different shapes, allowing him to fly, become a robotic tank or submarine and grab things such as ledges.
As I mentioned before, the controls are really simple to use and makes the game really easy to use. When playing the game you hold the Wii remote horizontally instead of vertically, and then use the arrow buttons to control Kirby himself and the buttons 1 and 2 to make him do various actions like swing or jump etc. However, you will also have to shake the Wii remote or do other actions with it, to complete some of the challenges. But even my younger sister can use it, so this isn't very hard at all.
The environments that you travel with Kirby through add to the overall experience of the game due to their amazing design. Each location is so detailed and cute, that it really makes it a different gameplay compared to other Wii games, which can either be so dark or just not detailed enough. Kirbys Epic Yarn contains both bright colours and lots of details, to make the locations Kirby travels through as interesting as the challenges he faces throughout the game. This is what makes Kirby an excellent game to even watch someone play, as I have watched my sister play it, simply due to the fact it looks so great!
The way these locations have been designed are so imaginitve to and fit with the whole premise of the game. Most of the locations look like yarn or wool themselves, and much of the detail can be seen as little buttons or accessories. Not only that, but they're included within the game play, for example you can swing from the buttons or jump from the wool platforms. The different varities of worlds is also great as you can be in space, snow or water throughout the game.
The music throughout is tolerable for the first 15 minutes that you play, but as time goes on it can get annoying and really start to bug you. This is probably what made me play in such short bursts if I think about it. It does however fit the look and make of the game, and adds to the overall experience of it.
I've never been great at puzzle games and never have really taken the time to play them, but Kirby is one of the few that I love to play. It can be quite challenging at times (I even have to ask my sister for advice on how to pass certain things) but this is nothing someone who loves puzzles wouldn't be able to figure out.
Gameplay is quite well paced with this game, although those who love puzzles may finish it quicker than I did, as my sister completed it in about 2 weeks. This is quite short however, and even though it is, it's still a great game to play! When playing it in multiplayer however, expect to finish it much faster than this, as my mum and sister finished it within a matter of days.
Even though the gameplay is relatively short, don't worry about this as there is quite a lot to do after you have finished the main story mode. As if you didn't collect them all the first time round you can replay and get items to decorate Kirbys flat (patches of fabric and items). Most of the times I replayed though was to get the medals for collecting a high amount of beads, as I am so bad at these puzzle games, I kept dying and losing them all the first time round!
The multiplayer mode really reminded me of the Lego series, as when you are playing there is the option to Drop Out if you need to go do something else. In fact, in the days after my sister got it, I always found her and my mum playing it. I never got the chance to really play as multiplayer with them though as they had paired up so much both of them had gotten used to playing with each other, and kept getting angry as I hadn't played the game as much as the other had and made more mistakes! But in their words, playing cooperatively throughout is quite easy and there was hardly any problems.
Overall, this is a seriously cute game with great locations, easy controls and although the gameplay might be short, it still makes for a great game to have in your collection. All of the great factors in it outweight the bad, and it's a great purchase to make.
Kirby's fame nowadays comes from Nintendo's popular Smash Bros. series, but as a standalone character can quite easily be shuffled into the childish and colourful simplicity that keeps a few certain demographic groups from taking interest in him at all. It's not that I'd directly recommend Kirby to a gamer obsessed with war based shooters or big-eye based Japanese RPG's anyway, but I understand that the typical argument of "there's a good game under the childish exterior" doesn't really matter to most. The point is that Kirby's first (and most likely only) Wii game knows exactly what it is, and does it pretty well. If you won't enjoy it, you know this already.
Kirby's Epic Yarn is a platform based game, aimed at a younger audience, and is set on a world map where progressing through one level will unlock the next. The levels are based in small 'areas' which the levels are related to (a water level in a water area), and the game involves being able to change 'Yarn' Kirby into different shapes and sizes in order to get to the end of the level, e.g. becoming a tank or submarine.
The game itself is fun, but the real defining parts are the visuals, and animation. The swings and whips of Kirby look wonderful, very well animated - the whole world being made from fabric helps to make a warm and visually enjoyable game. The whip can be a little tricky to use, especially when having to whip onto a button in order to dangle off of it. But the frustrations of the game are minimal.
I think most importantly though, the game is two player, allowing Kirby to be joined by a similar blue 'Prince' character. In general across gaming platforms, co-operative games are difficult to come by, especially ones that can be played with younger members of the family. If this is your main consideration for the game, then I highly recommend it.
Otherwise it has a reasonable learning curve (it begins very easy and ends up moderately challenging), and if you're stuck for a solo game to play, you can do worse. A confusing aspect though is that even though this is branded as a Kirby game, there's no real identifiable Kirby gameplay elements, the most obvious being the lack of sucking up enemies. You simply whip them and spin them (and they fall to cloth), making it feel that the Kirby name and character is just for branding, and does not feel similar to previous Kirby games.
Also, the Wii-Mote is held sideways, which makes it appropriate for inexperienced hands (the Wii-Mote and Nunchuck combination can confuse younger children). It's a simple game to complete, with elements such as wallpapers and furniture to collect for a 100% completion. (You are able to decorate your own room within the game, but the fun of that doesn't last very long.)
It's an odd game to recommend, but the game's journey is a sweet one. It could have been a lot more - but as a way to spend time with a child or partner (where violence is an issue) then it'll serve your time well.
I have two children aged 6 & 4 that both love to play on the Wii but were getting bored of the Sports Resort, so i bought them Kirby's Epic Yarn 2 weeks ago. They love it, if they could play it 24/7 they would.
There are two main characters in the game, Kirby and Prince Fluff. The aim of the game is to navigate your way around Patch Land finding 7 pieces of yarn to restore Patch Land, which has been split up into several pieces by Yin-Yarn, the evil sorcerer. There are various levels to the game with plenty of objects to be collected. Separate mini games are also included in order to finish the mission, ie. Zeke's hide and seek.
The soundtrack and sound effects are quite apt, being soft, mellow and gentle, in no way rushed. Music is played in the form of piano pieces with bells.
The controls are simple and not overly complicated with the buttons 1 & 2 being used for various functions through out the game, 1 being to whip/collect objects and 2 to jump, whilst using your arrows to move in the direction you choose.
You can choose to play a 1 or 2 player game and have the option of opening a file at the beginning to save your game into and return to at your leisure. Should you be playing a 2 player game you really need to work together, one can not race off and complete the level.
This game really can provide hours of fun, emphasises working together and being part of a team, therefore children are learning without even knowing it. There are no battles, no fighting, no killing. This game can be fun for any child, no matter how big or small (I have opened my own file, and started my own game) and will definitely bring a smile to your face.
After being relegated to handheld outings in recent years Kirby returns to the consoles in Kirby's Epic Yarn on the Nintendo Wii. As with most Kirby adventures what we get here is a 2D platformer, but things have been spiced up by using a different graphical style. Instead of the cartoony graphics we are used to Epic Yarn uses level designs and character models that appear to be made of cloth and yarn. It looks gorgeous and shows that Wii graphics can hold their own with the PS3 and 360 if they get creative and don't just try to go for realistic visuals which can never match those produced by the more powerful consoles on the market.
Kirby's latest adventure starts in Dreamland where the pink puffball is starving. He spots a tasty tomato nearby which he promptly consumes. Unfortunately for him the "Metamato" he just ate belongs to Yin-Yarn an evil sorcerer who is currently in the process of invading Kirby's homeland. Furious at the consumption of his beloved fruit Yin-Yarn sucks up the Kirbster into a sock which transports him to Patch Land, a world were everything is made up of fabric. Wow I wonder how many drugs the guys at Good Feel games had to take to come up with this.
Anyway, once there Kirby meets up with Patch Land's ruler Prince Fluff (he looks like Kirby, only that he is coloured blue, wears a crown and has angry eyes.) Prince Fluff explains to our hero that the kingdom has been broken up into a number of continents by Yin-Yarn and needs to be sewn back together using magic thread. Being the helpful chap that he is, Kirby agrees to aid Prince Fluff in gathering the magic thread before returning to Dream Land to save his own world from the sorcerer's evil intentions. It won't be an easy task though as Yin-Yarn has enslaved a number of Kirby's enemies (including King Dedede and Meta Knight) and ordered them to protect the magic threads. Well okay it will be an easy task, this is a Kirby game after all. They aren't exactly well known for being Ghost N Ghouls like in terms of difficulty.
As someone who isn't fond of motion controls I was pleased to learn that Kirby's Epic Yarn uses a traditional control scheme. You hold the Wii mote horizontally, like a NES pad, using the d-pad to move, button one to attack and button two to jump. There are only a couple of occasions were the controller's more advanced features are utilised and thankfully they handled well. One such example is were you get to decorate Kirby's room by pointing the Wii mote at the screen and another section were Kirby changes into a tank. To fire off rockets in this form you have to aim by tilting the controller.
If you have played any of the other Kirby games you will feel right at home controlling him in this outing. He handles the same as in other games although they have changed the appearance of some of his actions in keeping with the theme that the Metamato has given our hero transformation powers. For example when you dash in this game Kirby turns into a car rather than bursting into a sprint. Instead of swimming Kirby changes into a cute submarine when he hits water and when he jumps his feet momentarily change into springs.
One of the biggest changes in this Kirby game is that he cannot fly. Instead when he jumps he morph into a parachute to slow his descent. I have no issues with this change as I always felt Kirby's flight powers were too overpowered, especially in a platforming game. There were many stages in the older games were you could float over all the enemies making most hazards a joke. Another tweak in Kirby's jumping mechanic is that he can change into a weight in mid-air. This allows him to come crashing down breaking certain blocks and squashing any hapless sod who happens to get in the way.
The only other difference worth mentioning is that Kirby cannot suck up enemies and spit them out. Some people will miss the omission of his trademark power, but in its place you get a thread whip which is just as good. By tapping the attack button Kirby can unravel enemies or if you hold down the button you can turn them into a ball which can be thrown at other nasties (which in effect is the same as Kirby eating someone and spitting them out.) The whip also has other uses which include opening zips which reveal secret areas and it can be used to swing along buttons Spider-man style.
Epic Yarn plays pretty much like any other Kirby platformer. You start a level by entering a door on the world map and walk to the end taking on enemies and avoiding the usual dangers you would expect from this type of game (spikes, bombs, traps which try to squash you etc.) Before each level starts you can choose to play by yourself or with a friend (one player controls Kirby and the other Prince Fluff.) The major difference in this game is that you cannot die. You don't have lives or an energy bar so the only penalty for getting hurt is that you lose beads (the game's currency which can be used to buy furniture for Kirby's in game house.) This feels a lot like the Lego games were you are indestructible, but if you take too much damage you lose studs.
There are certain sections were Kirby can change form by touching a metamortex. This brings some nice variation to the gameplay. Each form handles differently and comes with its own abilities. The forms include a tank that fires missiles, a flying saucer that can scoop up things with a tractor beam, a buggy which races against enemies, a dolphin that can swim fast and hit enemies with an Ecco the dolphin like nose charge, a fire truck complete with water jet, a mole like vehicle that tunnels through cotton wool walls and even a rocket than flies through some 2D shoot-em-up like sections.
As you travel along the stages you are encouraged to keep an eye out for treasures. There are three in total in each stage including music to unlock for the sound test and furniture to decorate the house Kirby gets at the start of the game. Furniture you acquire can also be used to furnish other homes which will encourage other characters to move in. These new tenants will invite Kirby to take party in mini games like hide and seek were more goodies can be earned. Items can also be bought using beads scattered across the levels. As I mentioned before if Kirby gets hit he'll spill some beads so you have to be careful when traversing a stage or else he won't have much cash to buy stuff.
It took me just over six hours to beat the story, but if you are a completionist you'll get some more game time out of the title by revisiting your save file to find all the treasures, unlock the hidden levels, buy all the items and get gold medals in each stage. Six hours may not seem long, but as far as Kirby games go that is pretty lengthy. It's also worth noting that some so called "hardcore" games aren't exactly much longer. I've seen people beat Dead Space 2 for example in around seven hours and I hear that Call of Duty's single player campaign is pretty short too.
As usual some people will criticise Kirby for being too easy, but I don't think that is a bad thing. Yes you can just run through it as you cannot die, but then you won't earn gold medals for each stage (you get these by ending the level with many beads so you have to play carefully.) Parents can buy this game safe in the knowledge that it doesn't contain graphic violence or any other unsuitable content. Kids will like the game because they won't get frustrated by getting stuck on a tough section. As an adult I too had fun playing this. It's a relaxing change of pace when compared to other more intense games that verge on being borderline stressful (as anyone who hunts achievements will attest to.) I recommend Kirby's Epic Yarn providing that you can get past its cute kiddie exterior. It's a game that proves there is still some life left in the Wii.
Review originally posted on Ciao (March 2011)
Do you remember the days when computer games were simple, didn't require use of a motion controller, multiple complicated button pressing, but a 2D platform could keep you happily entertained for hours without being ridiculously difficult?
Well you must be younger than me (not hard) - kids it's time to get back to basics and enter the wonderful world of Kirby with a game that will delight you with its beauty, entertain and thrill you and, what's more achieve the feat of making a game that makes the wii do more than I ever thought was possible. Quite simply this is a great game.
Kirby is, apparently, one of Nintendo's long established characters, last seen in a platform game on the Nintendo 64. Truth be told I'm not really the biggest of Nintendo fans, I do recall coming across the little blobby pink ball that is Kirby in Smash Bros or similar, he has apparently featured in about 20 games or so, if you are a die-hard gamer you may have come across him, I hadn't and am not about to regurgitate the long wiki entry on him here. Suffice to say Kirby is a cuddly looking character who, as soon as you meet him in this particular game, is completely playable with and very memorable. This is mainly as he features in a beautiful 2D environment, more of which later, but also as he is really, really easy to control and due to the fact that game play is refreshingly simple as the little fella can't actually die. In what can only be described as genius of game design, as the game goes on,Kirby can transform into lots of different forms, due to being made of wool which can unravel, change shape and be used to grab various items in the game.
So How did we Get there?
This being a Japanese game the story is predictably weird and involves a Big Boss having done something evil - here, Kirby finds himself in Patchland for reasons too convoluted and boring to recount and involve him swallowing a giant tomato and being turned into yarn; all you need to know is that this world is made of fabric and wool and is controlled by the evil wizard Ying Yarn. Kirby has an unlikely named companion, Prince Fluff (yes, seriously), and embarks on an adventure through 50 different levels with and about 8 worlds, literally sewing things up, with various hidden items along the way, and, it's fair to say not that much challenge at all. The is, however, plenty of interest throughout, due to the fact that a world made of fabric and wool has just so many possibilities.
Of course we've seen fabric worlds before, there's a nod to Little BigPlanet on PS3, but this is no pale imitation, and succeeds in doing what no other Wii game has done for me before, being absolutely beautiful to look at and totally absorbing at the same time. The game has won a raft of awards for its graphics, (it has, I believe been out for about a year in the US), and it does not disappoint. The world you play in has fabric backgrounds, with sewn in buttons to swing from or pull to reveal hidden areas, sewn platforms to jump onto and enemies that, literally, unravel. The world is in fabric with a lining background so you play on two planes either jumping up sewn on bits of the top level or, at times, going into the "lining" to continue to explore and find things, in this case jewels and sequins that you collect for points.
Kirby himself, who as I have explained, starts off as a little blob, has the ability to transform. Jump into water and he becomes a mini submarine or a dolphin and at various points he jumps and is a parachute or goes fast and turns into a little woollen car, or is a UFO, tank or train. It's all highly imaginative and highly pleasing stuff and hopefully the photos I have taken capture something of the game which manages to be cutesy but not too kiddy and is just a really, really good game environment to play in,though, as I shall explain perhaps a little short-lived and, for some, lacking in any real challenge. Neither point really mattered too much to me, as soon as we picked up the game it was instantly compelling and playable with, once we had got through the cut scenes. This is a game that can be played with 2 players or one and works on both levels.
As I have suggested this game is easy to play and doesn't really make that much use of the motion control. In the main you hold the wii controller horizontally and simply use the arrow buttons and "1" and "2" to jump or throw a small ball of yarn which is an extension of your arm which grabs things which you can then throw at enemies you can also unpick, this being a world of knitted things. It's as simple as that, though there are some points where you might, in two player mode, have to shake the controller up and down to make a tank made of two of you swing its arm or in order to hover. There are also a few points where you have to hold the controller vertically to draw a line for a track for the train to be sewn, but in the main it's simply a question of jumping and grabbing with the odd bit of slam dunking. It's, child's play - in fact my 7 year old can manage it and we've played a great deal of it together, both enjoying it in our own way, which leads me on to...
I've suggested already that this is an easy game, no for me, that's no bad thing. I quite like the fact that though this is a platform game it's not too frustrating, you don't inexplicably fall of things, and in the main when you jump it's easy to get to where you want to, though at times fairly challenging eg when you have to jump onto a floating and deflating balloon or stay on a swimming dinosaur's head (I mentioned this was a bit of a crazy Japanese game, right?), it is quite challenging.
That said, due to the fact that you can't actually die, but simply lose some of the "jewels" you collect and get rewarded less of a high medal at the end of the level, there may not be enough challenge for some. Like I said that for me is good, especially having recently tried to play "Donkey Kong" with my nephew, also on Wii and finding it ridiculously hard and annoying. That doesn't happen here, but the downside is that the gameplay is likely to be quite short, in actual fact we finished the whole story as such in under 5 days, and being a busy adult and a 7 year old, there's no way we could play for very long periods of time, if you can spend a day playing a game then, no doubt, you would finish it in 8 hours or so, especially if you were more skilled than we are.
The game is equally good whether played in one or two player mode, though in two player mode we did find that one character is rather prone to inadvertently grabbing and throwing the other one and this was slightly annoying, however everything else worked well, including the ability for one player, when times got tough, to "drop out" and get carried up to their partner - this does happen to if one player wanders too far from the other but isn't done it too annoying a manner and most of the time two players can play co-operatively with none of the issues that plague, for example, two player games such as the lego games. It's good clean fun which *almost* had us looking like the Rednapp family in the adverts as we played with our wii - only less photogenic and with a slightly messier house - still we enjoyed playing this game together.
Once you have finished the game there is some additional fun to be had, as you go through the game one of the items you collect are little patches that you literally peel off or unzip. These can be used to decorate Kirby's flat and then other flats in his building. There are also a number of mini-games which see you revisiting levels to play hide and seek and do various other mini challenges. These are quite fun, and you can, of course, re-play everything to get a better bead score than you did first time round, or find objects you missed, but realistically you are going to have played through the whole thing rather quickly, still doing so is such fun that you may well forgive the game its comparative short-livedness.
Music and Narration:
What's harder to forgive is the annoying music that runs throughout, and is also an item you can collect. The music is very Nintendo jolly and repetitive, it sounds like they have let someone loose with a stylophone (remember those?) and a keyboard, circa 1985, it's annoying and at times extremely grating, a bit like wandering around Legoland for hours on 2 hours sleep. Still, I suppose it goes with the style of the game, and you can always console yourself with listening to the narrator - I haven't been able to work out who he is exactly, but the accent is British for the UK version, and it's definitely someone who narrated Jackanory or similar when I was a child - whoever it is he has done a fine job and almost makes me pay attention when the cut scenes make the story progress - is it just me who finds them a bit pointless - still they are what you expect in this type of game, and for what they are relatively well done.
Progression and Graphics:
Talking of which, things to expect that is, this game is quite generic in the way that you go through it, there are different "lands" within Patch Land, and you have to travel to each and through various levels, and beat a boss, some of whom Kirby has no doubt encountered in previous games at the end of each level. The bosses are not too tricky to beat in all honesty, and there really is nothing new to the way the game is laid out. Still as I have suggested, the interest here is more in enjoying and marvelling at the graphics, albeit not in HD, this being the ageing Wii, they are truly stunning. What's not to like about a world where you can jump on bouncy Toadstools or swing on a button tree? We particularly enjoyed the Space world which saw gravity being switched on and off, but it was fun exploring fabric worlds made up of Snow and Water too and there really is plenty of scope and oodles of imagination here. The game does get progressively more difficult as you go through the various levels, but within the confines of what is, at the end of the day a refreshingly easy and uncomplicated 2D platform game - old stylee.
So should I buy it?
So, overall then, this is an absolutely great game, and I can see why it has received the accolades it has, and scored quite highly in all the major game publications, Gamespot give it 8.5, which in my mind is about right, it does lose out a bit for being a short game and may prove a little easy for some.
That said, the good things about this game far outweigh the bad. You don't have to have played previous Kirby titles to enjoy it, neither do you have to be a fan of the Wii ;for me I will join in Wii party but until now have yet to really enjoy any wii game as much as this one. Sure it would be better in HD with PS3 controls, not to mention even prettier, but then it wouldn't be a Nintendo game would it?
Though the challenge level and longevity of this game could both be slightly better, the sheer enjoyment to be had from the game, beautiful graphics and all, far, far makes up for any slight shortcomings that this game might have. At the rrp of £39.99 this is an expensive game, but for the £27.99 from amazon that I paid, I'm happy with the amount of fun that this game has provided, and will no doubt continue to provide us with as we go back over the levels to find the remaining items we haven't yet found.
Overall it's hard not to forgive Kirby the little niggles and downfalls that this game does undoubtedly has, instead, if you have a wii, buy it, and enjoy the refreshing change of being transported to a beautiful, simple world that will, I'm convinced,amuse, enthral and entertain you in equal measures, whether you are young or old. I didn't expect to enjoy this game, but I did, and on that basis I can only highly recommend it.
(also on ciao in my name)