Yoshi’s Woolly World accomplishes what it sets out to; the game is a cutesie ‘yarn themed’ laid back 2D adventure. The game, arguably the spiritual successor to Kirby’s Epic Yarn, draws the player in with its woolly world, and keeps them exploring with its heap of things to see and do. Kirby’s Epic Yarn was criticised for being too easy. That problem is mostly addressed in Woolly World with the addition of lots of well hidden, and often treacherously placed, collectibles.
Nintendo seems to consistently put out games which, due to innovative art direction, transcend what we thought was possible on the equivalent of last gen consoles (Wii U). Yoshi’s Woolly World is no different. Everything, from Yoshi Island’s overworld an onslaught of adorable enemies, is brought to life will a woolly aesthetic. Developer Good-Feel interestingly visualises the various actions of Yoshi with different yarn-based transformations. When Yoshi hovers through the air, his legs will now unweave and reform as a propellor. When Yoshi slams down, his body becomes a mallet caught by gravity, plunging onto foes. It is really nice to see a great idea capitalised on, I guarantee you’ll be taken aback by a world which so often knits itself before your eyes.
In terms of gameplay, Yoshi’s Woolly World has the distinctive jump hovering and enemy swallowing that Nintendo’s favorite dinosaur is known for. Gathering yarn balls (created by consumption of yarn enemies) and decimating hosts of shy guys below with a barrage of your hovering Yoshi’s eggy arsenal, feels amazing. There are some misgivings I had with the raw gameplay, for example Yoshi can now hover almost indefinitely, but at the end of the day Woolly World served as a nice break from the more fast paced and tight adventures of Mario and Rayman.
So what is there to do in the woolrd? Surprisingly: a lot. Entering Woolly World I didn’t expect an abundance of content, but that is what I found. The core game will take you around ten hours, less if you want to play the casual mode (which allows you to skip entire stages), and on top of this, there is a tonne to collect. Many 2D platformers have accustomed me to expect meaningless collectathons, but Woolly World offers things like a currency system which allows stages to be replayed with different perks, and the ability to unlock over 40 different Yoshi variations. A number of Woolly World’s levels even have mini games where your Yoshi might become a yarn plane or a yarn digger! If all of this is not enough, then it may be time to introduce a friend…
Co-op gameplay is where Woolly World really shines. Having experienced it, I know now that Yoshi and multiplayer are two things that go together like Batman and brooding; being gobbled up by a friend (atleast I thought my co-op buddy Mike was a ‘friend’…) is equal parts frustrating and hilarious. One can throw their friend anywhere, allowing for pandemonium I had previously thought to be impossible. Its not all bad: working together is also an option. Buddies can be used as makeshift trampolines with which to access each level’s hard to reach spots!
To summarise, Yoshi’s Woolly World doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it does make it look a whole lot cuddlier! All of this title’s heart and innovation lies in its visuals, nevertheless Woolly World’s gameplay stills pass as a fun and engaging platformer.