Yoshi’s Woolly World is one of the most adorable games I’ve ever played. From its fabric world to its woolly inhabitants, the game is stitched together nicely. Yoshi’s Woolly World gets back down to the knitty-gritty of what makes a great Yoshi game. Although, it sometimes feels that the game is trying a bit too hard to be Yoshi’s Island, which is not an easy task, leaving the game with a somewhat fabricated feeling.
The game opens on Craft Island where a bunch of woolly Yoshi’s are living their peaceful and leisurely life to the fullest, but things suddenly get turned upside down when Kamek the Magikoopa shows up to ruin their day by turning them into yarn. Two of the Yoshi’s go into hiding during the ordeal and make it out in one piece. They soon set off on a quest to rescue and recover the spool remains of their unraveled friends which are scattered across the vast landscapes of Craft Island. The opening is similar to Yoshi’s Island, minus the baby bros. Unlike Yoshi’s Island, you won’t find any witty dialog, or interesting background stories to unravel, just a few short lines of cheese text, which is rather disappointing.
The presentation of Yoshi’s Woolly World is astounding. From the beautiful crafted backdrops, to the woolly creatures that inhabit it, the game will inspire you and you leave you awestruck at times with just how much creative scenery is spewed across each stage. The little touches like Yoshi’s feet squishing into the ground as he moves along, and the little threads of wool fuzz that surrounds the world makes you appreciate even the finest details. Even the enemy designs are well thought-out. Seeing the knit-wit Shy Guys wielding crochet hooks as spears left me in stitches.
As your journey unravels, you will venture across six worlds, each based off the classic themes you come to expect (fire, desert, snow, etc) from a Nintendo platformer. Each level has a unique platforming mechanics, like throwing chickens to make a temporary cloudy path, or sticking to velcro conveyor belts while dodging dangerous enemies. Every level has something new, which Nintendo is well known for. The only downside to this, is that some of the earlier mechanics feel like baby steps, building up to much more challenging and interesting ideas, not to mention many if not most of the game’s mechanics have been ripped straight out of Yoshi’s Island. It‘s the last 3 worlds where Yoshi’s Woolly World really shines with some really unique ideas that have never been seen before, leaving the earlier stages feeling a bit threadbare.
Each stage of Yoshi’s Woolly World has multiple collectibles you will want to be on the lookout for. The game does a great job at pulling the wool over your eyes, and hiding many of these collectables behind hidden flaps and invisible walls. There are flowers, which unlock secret levels, Wonder Wool, which unlocks new playable Yoshi’s, stamp patches, which give you preset stamps to use on Miiverse, and gems, which you can spend on power ups before you enter a level. Some of these power ups allow you immunity to lava, power up your ground pound, or even let you skip the stage if you find it too challenging. If you don’t have the appropriate amount of gems to skip a stage, and you are having a hard time completing it, you can also switch the game from Classic Mode to Mellow Mode at any point, which gives Yoshi wings, and allows you to slowly fly through any stage.
One thing Yoshi’s Woolly World improves upon over its successor is the transformation sections. Not only are there more vehicles to transform into, but they are a lot more fun to operate than the transformation vehicles in Yoshi’s Island, and the stages surrounding them are better designed to fit those vehicles as well. Surfing on waves with a motorcycle, and momentarily turning the game into a shmup as you become a plane and shoot your enemies out of the sky is actually a lot of fun. While there are few sections like this hidden and scattered throughout the game, it would have been nice to see more of it, as that’s where the peak of most of my enjoyment came from.
Like many of Nintendo’s recent first party games, Yoshi’s Woolly World has Amiibo support. You can scan almost all Amiibo into the game (Except for Pokemon) and Yoshi will get a fresh coat of wool, covering himself in a pattern inspired by the character you scan. However, if you scan any Yoshi Amiibo, you will be given a duplicate Yoshi which will travel with you. This comes in handy if you are out of eggs, as you can eat your own partner, pop a stool, and toss him at your enemies as if you were some sort of cannibalistic ape. If you would rather play with a real life friend instead of an Amiibo, you can do that, but it’s not pretty… Multiplayer is all fun and games at first, but let me tell you, it’s a real friendship killer. It won’t be long before you and a friend are fighting with each other because you keep accidentally eating each other, and throwing one another off cliffs. Multiplayer is real disaster, as it is too hard to perform any kind of action in close corridors without hurting your friends’ Yoshi.
While Yoshi’s Woolly World isn’t a bad platformer by any stretch of the imagination, it tries too hard to be its 20-year-old predecessor, but can’t quite pull the string to make it work. Not only that, but there are just so many other amazing platformers already on Wii U, like Super Mario 3D World, and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical freeze, which pushes Woolly World down the pipe of must play Wii U games. It’s still worth a play, but because it’s a full price game with such little content, I think it would be best to wait until the game hits the bargain bin, as that’s the type of game it feels like.
+ Beautifully inspired Woolly World
+ Later stages have great mechanics
– The earlier stages needle little help
– Tries too hard to be Yoshi’s Island
Yoshi’s Woolly World is a decent platformer that looks like a piece of art, but the content just isn’t there for the price. Wait till it hits the bargain bin.
Jason Betthauser is the Senior Producer at The Game Bolt. He enjoys playing through classic games on cold, snowy, Minnesota days, especially if that game is Super Metroid. Follow him on Twitter.