Yoshi’s Woolly World Review

Yoshi’s Woolly World Review

A Yarny Masterpiece

Mario? Eh, he’s just a profession-confused guy with really tough shoes. Peach? Too pink and too prone to being kidnapped. Toads? Excepting Captain Toad, they’re pretty much useless. No, my favorite inhabitants of the Mario universe have always been the Yoshis. Affectionate, loyal, and always hard-working, Yoshis are ready to do whatever it takes to save the world, be it ferrying Baby Mario across dangerous terrain or chomping hot peppers on an obstacle course in space.

Sadly, it’s been some time since our Yoshi friends have had a great game of their own. Ever since the original Yoshi’s Island way back in 1995, Nintendo has struggled to recapture the magic that paired a sense of childlike wonder with some truly worthy platforming – until now. Yoshi’s Woolly World is a magical place full of surprises and hidden depths of gameplay goodness.

At first glance, it may seem like we’ve been here before. After all, Kirby’s Epic Yarn on the Wii already explored the craft theme. Yoshi’s Woolly World , however, perfects the concept. Every inch of this world looks handmade, and it’s a riot of colors and textures that make you want to reach out and touch them. Yarn, felt, burlap, canvas; you’ll know exactly what every object in the game (reality-stretching lava aside) is made of, and there are imaginative crafty delights around every corner. Shy guys wield little crochet hooks like spears, burlap flags flutter in the wind, sequins sparkle merrily, and one level is a couch fort in miniature. And have I mentioned that it’s all super-adorable? It’s so effing adorable it might make you want to hurl, but secretly, you’ll love it.

It’s not just the look of the world that works, it’s the entire gameplay concept. Yoshi tosses out yarn balls and instantly knits platforms that sag slightly under his weight. He unravels enemies and knitted objects with his tongue. He bounces off felted platforms and scrunches up cloth curtains to get at hidden gems. See a scrap of yarn tied up in a bow? That’s a hint that you can unravel some scenery. See a chain chomp made of twisted wire? Toss a yarn ball at it and it knits up into a friendly woolen wrecking ball that can crush enemies and obstacles. Familiar Mario series elements have been tweaked and re-imagined as a part of this cloth world, leading to an internally consistent yet constantly surprising experience.

Yoshi's Woolly World Screenshot

This is a game for explorers, for people who love taking in its small details. There’s no time limit in the levels and there are few mechanics that push you relentlessly forward, except in the odd transformation sequence. Its not the kind of hard-core platformer that wants to kill you from the first level, but it does have a challenge level that gradually increases as you move through its worlds – especially if you want to get all the collectibles. For example, it usually takes a few worlds for a Mario game to present a “jump atop a flying enemy to get to a high platform” challenge, but Woolly World tosses some in (optionally) in World 2. Still, it’s primarily a game that asks you to slow down, to investigate every corner, to hang out with a friend in co-op play and experiment with the way its world works.

Yoshi's Woolly World Screenshot

Gathering all the collectibles in each level won’t be easy, and it can feel a bit unfair at times when many are hidden in invisible question-mark clouds. Still, there are often subtle clues in the environment that hint at secrets, and the game rewards you properly for each kind of collectible. Wonder Yarns are the most important kind, as collecting all five in a level gives you access to a new Yoshi with a unique yarn pattern. Some are a bit odd, but others, like Moo Moo Yoshi and Cinnamon Yoshi, are absolutely precious. Collecting gems gives you currency for power-up badges that can be invaluable for exploraing, plus there are Miiverse stamp coins hidden in some gems. Finally, collecting all those familiar happy daisies in a world gives you access to its bonus level. The great news is that you don’t have to collect all of anything in one playthrough. Your progress is saved, so if you only need a single Wonder Yarn in a level, you can rush through and just grab the last one without having to remember where all the others were.

Woolly World ‘s flawless controls help you out at every point in the journey. Yoshi has been a bit floaty in some games, but Yarn Yoshi is rock-solid and stops on a dime. He goes exactly where you think he will when he jumps and flutter-glides, and the jumping challenges have been measured perfectly – they require skill without being overly frustrating. You can pick the speed of Yoshi’s yarn-throws, but I found the default (slower) speed to be quite easy for aiming purposes. It’s frankly a relief that he’s been unshackled from that bawling brat, Baby Mario, which greatly aides his mobility and helps the more laid-back feeling of this game (and if I never hear that crying baby sound effect again in my life, I will die a happy gamer).

Yoshi's Woolly World Screenshot

I’m not always a fan of Mario series music, but Yoshi’s Woolley World sports a lovely soundtrack that manages to be whimsical without throwing it in your face (I’m looking at YOU, New Super Mario Brothers soundtracks). It’s heavy on the classical guitar sounds and can run in the background while you’re taking a break without driving anybody in the household insane. The sound effects are spot-on as always, complete with the familiar “ba dum” sound Yoshi makes while slurping up an enemy. D’aaaaw.

If you’re looking for a super-hardcore platforming experience from top to bottom, Yoshi’s Woolly World probably isn’t for you. If, however, you want to explore a fantastically realized world that gradually ramps up its challenge and contains new delights around every corner, don’t hesitate to pick it up. It’s the best Yoshi game in years, it’s perfect for solo play or a leisurely afternoon with a friend, and it’s so stinkin’ cute it’s almost unbearable.

Welcome back, Yoshi. Come give us a snuggle!

This crafted world is full of fuzzy textures so real you could almost touch them. 5.0 Control
Precision platforming at its best. You’re in total control, and jumping challenges are measured perfectly. 4.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Laid-back classical guitar pieces enhance the game’s atmosphere and won’t annoy your household. 4.5 Play Value
There’s always something new and fresh to discover, plus plenty of worthwhile collectibles to seek out. 4.8 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Players tangle, pull and stitch yarn to explore Yoshi’s world in creative new ways.
  • Yoshi has never been more adorable than as a toy knit from yarn. His entire environment is made from materials like felt, yarn, cloth and cotton, creating a gorgeous HD world that looks good enough to touch.
  • Instead of eggs, Yoshi tosses yarn balls at enemies. He can incapacitate a Piranha Plant by muzzling it with a piece of colored string. Or he can even use the yarn to knit together background elements.
  • Gobble friends and turn them into eggs. Then toss them into hard-to-reach heights and secret depths to discover in two-player cooperative play.
  • The game is co-developed by Good-Feel, the developer that created Kirby’s Epic Yarn, and Nintendo Co., Ltd under the supervision of Takashi Tezuka, producer of Yoshi’s Story and the Yoshi’s Island series.

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