Way back in 1990, Nintendo unleashed a new character into the Mario world – Yoshi. At the time I was a child so this little green dinosaur easily found a place in my heart. My fondness for the character has remained strong, choosing to play him in games that involve him like Mario Kart, Tennis, Golf, etc. Throughout the years he has gotten to be the star in a few of his own titles, some better than others. Now again, on the Wii U Yoshi has his own title, Yoshi’s Woolly World.
The story is a fairly standard Nintendo story forgoing the use of any real voice acting and sticking solely to simple script, actions and body language to display the characters emotions, thoughts and feelings. While this is isn’t the most engaging way to tell a story, its simple and effective way to get the point across to people of all ages without forcing the audience to endure massive cut-scenes or JRPG-like texts novels. The Yoshi’s live in a world called Craft Island, a peaceful land where everything is made of wool, yarn, buttons and other various pieces that go along with the theme. Kamek shows up one day and turns all the Yoshi’s into bundles of yarn (or wool? I’m not sure of the difference) except for you and your potential co-op Yoshi. You find yourself in a modern take on the classic Mario style level system trying to rescue all of Yoshi’s mates. The story isn’t the most thrilling thing you’ll find but lets be honest, nobody looks to these kinds of games for their storytelling and it certainly doesn’t take away from the experience.
The game plays as a 2.5D platformer and plays brilliantly. The controls are as smooth and effective as you could expect from a Nintendo IP. They even give you the option at the start of the game to mildly customize your control scheme sweetening the experience. Yoshi can throw out his tongue and gobble up most of the enemies found throughout the game. After eating one you can choose to shoot them at another enemy taking them out for good or in the case of a piranha-plant, tie up their chomping mouths to keep from taking a bite of your Yoshi. Alternatively you can use their now slobbery, dissembled wooliness to shoot at hidden objectives and watch them appear in front of you granting you gems, one of the levels 5 hidden sun flower gems, a platform to jump on, a tunnel to go down and sometimes even a lost Yoshi yarn ball. If you don’t have a current use for the enemy you just consumed you can shoot him presumably out of Yoshi’s butt as a little ball of wool to save for later that you can use against enemies or again for hidden items.
The levels are fun but ultimately the game is pretty simple. An experienced gamer or fan of the platforming style will find it fairly unlikely to come across a level that genuinely challenges them. The one thing that certainly will challenge virtually everyone is finding all the hidden items. That’s where this game really shines. In each level you will be able to collect 5 Sun Flower gems, 5 pieces of yarn that assemble a new and playable Yoshi and 20 stamp pieces that earn you a new stamp for use in the Mii Verse. The hidden collectibles are sometimes hidden so well nearly everyone will have to go back and play some levels 2 or 3 times and most levels will require a decent amount of time spent searching. Luckily there is no timer to complete the levels so its definitely worth taking a long look around for bits of yarn to pull on or hidden rooms to jump into. There are also no lives or game overs so feel free to get a bit extreme in your search because some locations may surprise you.
For children or less experienced gamers, Yoshi’s Woolly World is the perfect game. It offers up enough challenge to keep hardcore gamers interested until the game is complete but is simple enough that anyone can get into it. There is a mellow mode that can be engaged at any time and badges that can be used to provide assistance like not having to worry about falling into pits, having a cute little dog to help you get over obstacles and many others that you can turn on simply by spending a few gems. You will always earn enough gems in a level to cover the cost tho so don’t worry about using them up.
The game has a co-op mode which for some will only make the game easier, and some much harder. In my experience having a co-op partner meant having easier access to hard to reach areas or timed Yoshi Wool retrievals but also meant dealing with someone else getting in the way, hitting you with balls of yarn and occasionally pulling the camera focus off you causing you to transform into an egg and float towards them ruining the progress you had just made. But the pros far outweighed the cons and the game really was far more enjoyable with a second person to laugh with and gave me that classic Nintendo couch co-op fun that few games offer these days.
Graphics and Audio
Its hard to talk about graphics when they are made up of cartoon wool. Under those conditions I would have to say they’re the best cartoon wool graphics I’ve seen in a video game. Running at 60fps and 1080p the game looks fantastic. The world they built entirely out of wool and fabric is a colorful and fun place to experience. Their use of wool characters did’t go underutilized either. During certain conditions Yoshi’s feet will retie themselves into little wheels and propellers giving a small touch to make you smile. The music and sound design in the game is fun and fits perfectly into the games wool theme. The game use of Amiibo’s is really well done. By placing your choice of Amiibo on the NFC reader your Yoshi will gain a new color scheme to resemble that Amiibo causing him to look like Mario, Saumus, Link or whatever Amiibo you happen to have.
Yoshi’s Wooly World is an adorable game that even the biggest Mortal Kombat fatality fans will find themselves smiling at. Its short but has bonus levels, its fairly simple but has challenging treasure hunting and a lot of replay value if your interested in trying to 100% complete the game; which I would fully recommend since saving the Yoshi’s is the point of the game and collecting all the sunflowers will unlock more, harder levels. It stays true to the classic Yoshi games and offers up a genuinely fun Nintendo co-op platforming experience. There is a neat use of Amiibo and the games wool themed design is definitely something worth checking out for yourself -This is undoubtedly one of the Wii U’s best titles.
Rating: [star rating =”4″]