By now, I am sure you've read plenty of words about Kirby's Epic Yarn—many pun-filled. And you may have groaned a little. Well, I promise you that what I did with the review title just there is the last one you will get out of me. (Maybe.)

Perhaps you'll excuse those of us who have played the game, though; we came in not really sure what we were getting into (It's gorgeous, but—you can't die? Kirby has no copy powers? Is this going to be a bit of a disappointment in the end like Good Feel's Wario Land title?) and walked out so full of joy that it's bubbling over a bit. Nerds that we are, puns are to be expected in situations like these.

It may surprise you to hear this, but it has proved pretty difficult to quantify just what makes Epic Yarn such a joyful experience. I hear you say, "Well, duh! Just look at it! It looks fantastic! It's hopelessly cute! Just this week I have watched eleven videos of grown men playing it and breaking down into fits of 'd'awwww' every thirteen seconds!" To which I must simply nod and say yes, that is indeed its signature draw. Good Feel's incredibly talented artists, animators, and creators have created a living, breathing, impossibly adorable world of textiles. But I am not going to stare at anything, no matter how beautiful it is, for the thirteen hours (plus co-op time on my daughter's file!) that I've put into this game so far.

So what is it? I had tried to put my finger on just what it is last week, actually. I attempted to tease a running sum of the value of this game out of a million little threads. I argued with myself in prose about how it was a pretty easy game yet it managed to be challenging at the same time. Through it all, I managed to miss the point. That point is one that I had actually realized even before the game came to be in my possession, based on the scant demo time I had with it at E3: Good Feel's newest effort... feels good.

That good feeling draws from a number of sources, which I came to realize a lot more fully as I played more. Of course, part of it comes from the theme that we talked about before. But there's even a little more to it than just the wow-factor of a fully-animated world of yarn: it's full of little things that Good Feel's designers found they could do with their creation. You've seen a few, no doubt, like pulling on threads to bunch up the world and bring a platform closer, swinging from a button sewn into the background, and unravelling baddies and spinning them up into balls of yarn. The yarn-whip move that you use for interacting with this world is not only highly appropriate, but simply feels good as you dart around whipping and pulling on everything in sight like some sort of arts-and-crafts Indiana Jones—only cuter.

It feels good to hop around the world, too. It's full of big platforms and wide-open spaces, perfectly suited for Kirby and Fluff's typically-languid movesets, with opportunities for slightly more advanced platforming if you want to go for all the collectables in the level like the beads and pieces of treasure. The spacious environs also make the optional co-op play work better than just about anything I've seen in the genre (it may be heresy to say so, but I'd put it even a notch above New Super Mario Bros. Wii), particularly as the carefully-designed levels open up into a myriad of shortcuts based on standing on your partner's shoulders or being tossed up onto platforms otherwise reached through more complicated means. I had a ball (of yarn) playing this way with practically everyone, from 3-year-old to accomplished gamer friends.

Winning in Epic Yarn is a bit of a different concept than what you'll find in a typical platformer. You can't actually kick the bucket; even bottomless pits just result in you getting fished out, just with considerably lighter pockets as you'll have bled high-value beads all the way up. What's most interesting about it is the drive that it gives me to clear the levels with as many beads and as high a streak (the number of beads you collected in a row without taking a hit) as possible, particularly when the bead values count for bronze, silver, or gold medals in each level—obviously, you want the gold, right? I like the way this concept is put together; we've had the endless discussions of "why do we have 1UPs when we don't actually lose anything?" Epic Yarn says "why indeed?" and gives you a nice alternative to the whole thing that's both compelling and friendly to players of all skill levels.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there's a good amount of variety to be had throughout the game. It starts off with simple, rather standard, relaxing platforming (though with little bits of charm here and there that you can't help but smile at) but then takes you through some pretty cool transformation based areas like ATV racing and being a UFO abducting everything in sight. It gets even more interesting near the end, still playing with new ideas, making things a little more thrilling and a little more challenging. I'd love to tell you about them, but I know that part of enjoying the game was seeing them for the first time myself—so, just trust me, there's a lot to see, and a lot to enjoy. And, of course, it all feels good to play. (With one exception: the Kirby-train. You'll see what I mean when you get there.)

It's all about the feel in Kirby's Epic Yarn. It won't white-knuckle you like the latest in-vogue super-hardcore repeated-death-fest; rather, it gives a feeling not unlike partaking of a treat, all sweetness and no stress. If you absolutely need to have randomly placed swinging blades ready to take you out at the slightest misstep in order to have a good time in your platformers, it's probably not for you. But just relaxing and having a good time, playing around with a friend or on your own, checking out the fun to be had in each level until you get all those treasures and all those medals—it's all there. Feeling good is where that joy comes from.