Review: Yoshi’s Woolly World (Wii U)

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Developer: Good-Feel Co. Ltd.
Publisher: Nintendo
Genre: Platformer
Rating: E 
Price: $49.99
 

 

How long has it been since we have seen an original game starring Yoshi on our consoles? That’s right, eighteen years. Since Yohi’s Story hit the Nintendo 64 in 1997, only the Gameboy Advance and DS have enjoyed a few titles. Thanks to Good-Feel, the cute little dinosaur has made it back to our television screens.
Good-Feel originally started out creating educational titles on the DS in 2005. They were the brains behind Kirby’s Epic Yarn in 2010, which received many awards during E3 and even more after its release. Apparently, the company decided to continue with the successful yarn theme and apply it to another of our favorite Nintendo characters; the result makes Yoshi’s return to consoles a triumphant one.

Story

Craft Island, located in the middle of Handmade Sea is home to many Yoshi of different colors and patterns. A regular day of peace and leisure is interrupted by Kamek the Magikoopa stating that he needs to turn all of the Yoshi into yarn . He nearly succeeds and captures all but two which manage to make an escape. They come to the realization that it is up to them to save their friends and restore Craft Island back to normal though the journey may be perilous.

Content Guide

Violence: Enemies are eaten and turned into yarn balls that can be thrown at enemies. There are instances where enemies can burn or freeze you. Pitfalls and spikes are present, but all that is shown is the character falling out of frame when dying. All of this nets the title a cartoon violence E rating.
Spiritual Content: The villain continuously uses magic throughout the game, ghosts also appear in a few levels.
Positive Content: Something I learned from this game was related to self-sacrifice. Despite the dangers, Yoshi sets off to rescue his friends. Things sometimes happen in life that we may not have control over and it is up to us to take on the ordeal. This may not line up with our own personal plans or desires, but the right thing to do is to handle the situation to the best of our abilities and with the right attitude like Yoshi does.

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Gameplay

Woolly World performs like any platformer in the Mario universe, except for the use of yarn balls. Throughout the game they are used to create platforms, fight enemies, and find hidden areas and collectibles. They are acquired through floating baskets or by eating enemies. Yoshi lays them like eggs similar to past games. Upon entering the game the controls are shown with an option for a precise throw or quick throw. To learn the controls I chose the precise option but with more understanding I later moved onto the quick style. Yoshi definitely has the right set of skills for his journey.
The different types of levels and environments are what brings much of the charm that knits this whole thing together. There are a total of six worlds, one of them being dedicated to a snow theme which happens to be my favorite scenery to explore in any game. There is quite a variety here, even though I did find myself in familiar haunted house and lava areas. Inside each stage are collectible sunflowers and bundles of yarn, upon locating all of the bundles a new Yoshi will be unlocked. Hidden bonus stages can also be found and are all a lot of fun, where Yoshi changes shape into a variety things such as a motorbike or umbrella.
A few key features definitely bring more depth, the first being amiibo support. Upon entering the amiibo hut place your favorite amiibo on the gamepad and you’ll get a new Yoshi pattern based on that character to use in game. If you have purchased a “Yarn Yoshi” amiibo, place that on the gamepad while inside a level. This will add another Yoshi to the game that will mimic your moves, the result is an added strategy that may or may not be helpful in the harder parts of the game.

Using your favorite amiibos will unlock new patterns

The second key feature is the cooperative play, because you totally want to invite your best bro over to play some Yoshi’s Woolly World. In all seriousness, playing with others makes any game more fun than playing by yourself. In case you run out of yarn balls, you can eat your friend and use them as a yarn ball to complete the task. At times, you both may actually be an obstacle to your partner rather than a boon, but that’s where the comedy comes in. Either way, with a friend there is great fun to be had.
In all its greatness, this Woolly World is not without its flaws. There is a Mellow Mode which is supposed to create a more leisurely playthrough by giving Yoshi wings along with the ability to hold infinite hearts and yarn balls. For me, this mode took out the fun and challenge that makes the game great. Another issue I had was the checkpoint system; the only time there was one placed before a boss was on the final level. Figuring out how to beat a boss usually means some trial and error, but every time you are defeated you must trek through one final chunk of the stage before facing them again. Having to rinse and repeat this multiple times was the only occasion I ever felt any frustration while playing, however I do realize that if those checkpoints were not as sparse, things would probably end up too being too easy.

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Presentation

Without such a creative theme and art style this game would be something different. The charm it holds would not be present. Nintendo has been accused of being one generation behind its console brothers, yet its first party titles including this one still look great. While making my way through some of the stages, I found that Good-Feel really included great detail all the way down to the backgrounds.
With good looking graphics there must be great sound quality, and this game has that as well. When it comes to titles like this, the music is usually decent and this one is no exception. The entire soundtrack is even available for listening pleasure inside the theater hut. I’ve gotten catchy little tunes from Nintendo games in my head since I was a kid, but this happens to be one of my all time favorites. Even if at times it sounds straight out of a Nick Jr. television show.

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Conclusion

By today’s standards, an adult male like myself is not supposed to use words like “cute” and “adorable.” I expressed this to a fellow staffer and his exact words were “No shame. That game is adorbs and gives me warm fuzzies.” I fully agree with that statement, because those were the only two words I could even think of to describe Yoshi’s Woolly World.
Unfortunately, I had missed the days of the Wii and never experienced Kirby’s Epic Yarn. After my first yarn-filled outing, I hope there is more to come. Upon reaching the end I felt accomplished, as if I had reached Mordor. I don’t consider myself a completionist but I plan on making the journey again just to get those collectibes I missed. From start to finish, Yoshi’s Woolly World has been quite a ride.

 

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The Bottom Line

An adorable journey, and yet tougher than it looks. There is great fun to be had here when flying solo or with a friend. Good-Feel has created another epic yarn-filled experience.

 

8.5

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L.J. Lowery

Born in southern California, but currently residing in Lafayette, Louisiana. Loves Hip Hop music, comics, and video games. Events/Media Coordinator, Podcast Producer, and Public Relations.

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