There are two kinds of people that have been anxiously awaiting this week’s release of Yoshi’s Woolly World for the Nintendo Wii U: fans of the classic Yoshi’s Island franchise, and people who can’t get enough amiibo. (And, for the record, there’s no shame in being a member of either camp.)
So it’s a Yoshi’s Island-style game?
Indeed. I’d compare if (favorably) to 2014’s Yoshi’s New Island, but, instead of the loose, chalk and watercolor visual aesthetic, you get a lush world of yarn and fluff.
Like Kirby’s Epic Yarn for the Wii?
Sort of. I mean, both games were developed by Good-Feel. Yet this one seems bigger, more beautiful–like the sort of hi-def, fully realized pseudo-claymation in Kirby and the Rainbow Curse… but with much less limited gameplay. Still, I get what you’re saying; Nintendo isn’t exactly turning over any new ground here, visually speaking. It’s been done before, but don’t let that dissuade you from checking it out.
Um… Why not?
Why, there are eggs to throw and Shy-Guys to throw ’em at! And Kamek is there too. Making mischief, as always–this time by deconstructing your friends to their yarny components…
That doesn’t sound exciting.
Well, I rather believe it’s not supposed to. Yoshi’s Woolly World is different–relaxing, contemplative even. The combat is typically pattern-based, so it’s all about planning your movements. You time your jumps out, calculate your egg-throws, that sort of thing. That’s not to say there’s not action–I mean, it is an action-platformer–but it takes a more relaxed (and relaxing) approach.
Sure, if you want it to be. Woolly World is, as expected, packed with collectibles. You can run, jump, toss, and stomp your way through each level collecting hidden Flowers, Miiverse Stamps, and even Yarn that can be used to unlock playable versions of your multicolored comrades. There’s certainly a level of skill involved, but play can be easily switched between Classic and Mellow mode, the latter of which gives Yoshi helpful wings that help prevent perilous falls.
And that’s good for younger gamers, right?
Yeah, younger gamers and those of us who get easily frustrated. The two-player co-op mode definitely makes Yoshi’s Woolly World an excellent choice for family multiplayer. There are lots of supported controller types–GamePad, Pro Controller, Wii-mote, etc.–and rebounding off your partner to jump to new heights does help players discover cleverly hidden areas. Of course, by the same token, trying to navigate platform puzzles and cramped passages with two Yoshi’s can often prove more trying than going it solo.
What you’re saying is it’s relaxing… but also frustrating?!
It all depends on how you play. If you’re a completionist, prepare to drive yourself bonkers looking for every single bauble. But if you’re just looking to play a fun, gorgeous game with your 7-year-old–one that’s a bright and beautiful bounty of fabric textures–then you’ll find a winner in Woolly World.
Speaking of “fabric textures”…
Yoshi’s Woolly World looks like a virtual Etsy showroom from the folks at Good-Feel and Nintendo, thus the Yarn Yoshi amiibo is a proper real-world analog. He’s delightfully cuddly, as opposed to the traditional amiibo, but he still doesn’t look out of place when you stack him on the shelf next to his plastic companions.
But does it actually do anything?
In single-player mode, you can touch the amiibo to the GamePad to generate a second controllable Yoshi. This provides a taste of the multiplayer charm without having to put so much thought into coordinating your moves with another person. You can also save your favorite Yoshi design to the amiibo–which, while cool in theory, lacks much genuine utility save giving you some control over the look of your artificial player two. Yarn Yoshi comes in a trio of different colors, but you can also use many of your existing amiibo figures to unlock character-themed skins. We’ve played with Mario-Yoshi, Mega Man-Yoshi and–while the kids and I were disappointed at the lack of a proper Pokémon-Yoshi–there’s no denying Splatoon Inkling-Yoshi is a very special shade of awesome.
If you’ve heeded my previous advice and snagged Splatoon and Super Mario Maker, it’s quite possible that you’ve got more than enough Wii U content to keep you blissfully occupied for the foreseeable future. While Yoshi’s Woolly World isn’t exactly on par with those other first-party juggernauts, it is a unique and enjoyable shared gaming experience–especially as we edge ever closer to the proverbial holiday season and its ample family time.
Review materials provide by: Nintendo of America