To create Yoshi’s Woolly World, Nintendo has somehow managed to distill pure, child-like imagination and creativity then used it to create a 2D platformer that is charming, joyful bliss. The game’s simple, yet solid mechanics make it approachable for players of all ages, which may be its biggest criticism – the main gameplay is just too easy. However, that shouldn’t stop fans of the genre from jumping in, as Yoshi’s Woolly World has a lot to offer and a lot to love.
The main element of Yoshi’s Woolly World that makes it unique is its astounding aesthetic; almost everything in the game looks as though it has been constructed in the real world using various arts and crafts materials and placed into the game. You control Yarn Yoshi, a small woollen Yoshi doll as he traverses over forty stages with their own unique themes and gameplay challenges. Every stage in the game looks as though it was constructed by a child in their bedroom using building blocks, bed sheets and crafting materials. The visuals look absolutely gorgeous and the aesthetic remains consistently strong throughout the entirety of the game.
Gameplay is classic 2D Yoshi platforming; Yoshi has a simple jump which can be held to perform a short hover and he can eat enemies to turn them into yarn balls that can be used as projectiles. The tried and true simple base mechanics are really just a means to an end as each stage usually has it’s own unique mechanics that keep the gameplay fresh and interesting. One stage will see Yoshi using his projectiles to create cloud platforms to reach the exit, the other might see Yoshi controlling a flying carpet and dodging various aerial hazards. Certain sections and hidden areas of the game will also see Yoshi morph into a different form such as a motorbike that can drive up walls or a mole machine that can dig. These sections are great fun and offer a decent challenge, as they are often restricted with a time limit.
The gameplay variety keeps the action fresh, yet players that are looking to simply get from the start of the level to the end will find very little challenge. The game is clearly designed for players of all ages, as the skill level required to simply finish all the stages is quite minimal. But simply finishing all the levels would be depriving yourself of the best bits of Woolly World, as hidden throughout the stages are a myriad of collectables for you to track down. Finding all these collectibles is where the real challenge lies and where the classic Nintendo level design shines bright.
Great platforming puzzles and exceptionally difficult challenges await those hoping to perfect each stage. Doing so requires collecting twenty hidden gems (collecting enough of which rewards the player with new stamps to use in the Miiverse), five hidden flower tokens, five hidden yarn tokens (finding all five of which will reward the player with a unique Yoshi skin that can be used throughout the game) and completing the stage with full health. It’s a tough challenge that is clearly designed with the more experienced player in mind and it more than makes up for the lack of challenge presented in the critical path.
An optional Mellow Mode makes the game even easier by giving Yoshi the ability to fly and infinite health, making this an obvious inclusion for younger and less experienced players that just want to jump in and not worry about dying. Alongside this, “Badges” can be equipped at the beginning of each level that give unique effects such as making hidden items more pronounced or playing alongside the lovable poochie companion.
The game features a local shared-screen co-op mode where a friend can jump in and take control of another Yoshi to complete the stage together. This co-op play can bypass a lot of the challenges in the levels as players are able to jump on top of one another and throw each other like projectiles to get to hard to reach areas that would normally require completing a platforming puzzle when playing alone. But the co-op mode is completely optional and can be good fun when played with a friend.
The standard Miiverse support is present, allowing players to create and share drawings and messages with other players that are presented at the beginning and end of each level. Sadly, this is the only online feature that the game offers. An online co-op mode would be nice, but it’s a feature that hasn’t been present in any of the other Nintendo platformer titles on the Wii U, so complaining about its exclusion may be somewhat redundant.
As appears to be the trend with Nintendo lately, Amiibo support has also been implemented rather unremarkably to get that dot point on the back of the box. Players can swipe their Amiibos to get a unique Yoshi skin in the flavour of their Amiibo character, or if you have the adorable little Yarn Yoshi Amiibo that comes bundled with the game, a second Yoshi appears in the world that allows a single player to control two Yoshis at once. which can be used to break the level design similar to co-op play.
All in all, Yoshi’s Woolly World is a game that is a real joy for players of all ages and experience levels. Its focus on accessibility may be seen as it’s detriment to some, but in reality the game offers as much challenge and content as any other Nintendo platformer, providing you enjoy hunting for collectibles. The game has a really unique art style that is just bursting with charm and creativity and the level design and gameplay variety are some of Nintendo’s best.
FInal Say: Play It