Now that I've spent a good bit of time with both Donkey Kong Country Returns and Kirby's Epic Yarn (I've played the former for just over seven hours and the latter for more than 15), I've decided to sit down and compare various aspects of these two games--which I consider to be two of the very best platformers of this generation (if not ever).
Graphics--There's no question about it: Both of these games feature graphics that are among the best on the Wii. Stylistically, though, they're on opposite ends of the spectrum--with Donkey Kong Country Returns' graphics focusing on characters and worlds that have been sculpted out of polygons to give the game a beautiful, three-dimensional sheen and the graphics of Kirby's Epic Yarn focusing on hand-drawn characters and worlds that look as though they've been crafted out of fabric. Although I slightly prefer the latter to the former--especially since the graphics in Kirby are more varied--it's hard to find fault with either.
Music--This one's another toss up, and for a number of reasons. First, both games feature a slew of tracks pulled from previous releases--which makes the overall soundtrack a bit less exciting (in my mind) than it would be if it were made up of original music. Second, the majority of these remixed tunes are fairly subtle and often fade into the background. Still, a few of them manage to stand out--such as "Cranky's Theme" from Donkey Kong Country Returns and "Cozy Cabin" and "Snowy Fields" from Kirby's Epic Yarn. In the end, I once again prefer Kirby to Donkey Kong in this area, but only by a smidge.
Gameplay--It's rare for Nintendo to release a game, especially a platformer, that doesn't control like a dream, and neither Donkey Kong Country Returns nor Kirby's Epic Yarn are exceptions to that rule. That said, both games have a few, small issues that could be problematic for some players. The roll move in Donkey Kong has tripped up more than a few gamers (especially those, like me, who play the game with just the Wii remote), for instance, while the train transformation in Kirby can be a bit trying. Other than those niggles, though, both games control as smooth as butter. As such, I'll call this area a wash.
Overall--After reading all of the above, it likely won't be much of a surprise to hear me say that, overall, I slightly prefer Kirby's Epic Yarn to Donkey Kong Country Returns. I've been completely blown away by both games thus far, though, and I honestly don't think you can go wrong with either title if you're any kind of platformer fan.
Now that I've had my say, what do those of you who have played both games think? Do you prefer one over the other? If so, why?