Yoshi's Woolly World review
Yoshi's Woolly World is a side-scrolling platformer with a lot in common with past titles. If you've ever played any of the Yoshi's Island games, some of this will sound familiar! It's his first outing on the Wii U and on a home console since N64's Yoshi's Story. I would like to start with the very basic premise of the game, let's begin.
Once Upon A Time In A Woolly World...
Kamek has turned all the Yoshi's into snuggly little balls of yarn and it's up to you to travel across the various worlds collecting them all up. Of course, there may be some appearances from a couple of familiar Mario villains and without giving away any spoilers, Magikoopa could be considered just a puppet in this equation!
The accompanying worlds that take you through your journey have the very traditional themes we all know and love; fire, ice, forest, desert etc. The idea behind each stage is to get to the end of the level in one piece, each one has four varying factors that contribute to the overall completion of the game. To get a shiny gold medal you'll have to make sure you pick up all 5 pieces of wonder wool, all 5 daisys, all of the 20 hidden gems and last but not least finish the stage with full health.
Now that for the most part starts off fairly simple in the beginning, this quickly becomes a lot more challenging though and provides the game with plenty of replay value. I found it easier to complete each stage then work my way back through each level, focusing on one objective at a time. It's a really good idea to get you to continue playing the game long after you've reached the final boss. Unless you know this game inside out before you've played I'd be insanely surprised if you found everything in the game at 100% completion on your first play through.
It does show that Yoshi's Woolly World isn't all just about its look, the developers of the game, Good Feel, have put some real time and effort into creating inventive level design and thought about new ways to play.
Is it a bird?! Is it a plane?! Nope, it's just Yoshi disguised as an umbrella!
That's right, Yoshi is also able to transform into various different means of transport. Some of these are not your usual type, such as the mole digger (I made that up myself) but it just adds to the game's charm. There are special doors that give him these unique abilities and they range from making Yoshi into a towering giant, turning him into a floaty umbrella and even a shimmering mermaid; complete with glittery fin! Behind each one of these special doors you are given a time limit in which to reach the goal and the difficulty level does depend on what you're transformed into.
These forms are in short supply but introduce new ideas each time you come across one, this ensures the gameplay doesn't feel stale and finding out what the next transformation will be gives you a little buzz of excitement!
The wonder wool you collect throughout the game on each stage will unlock you a new Yoshi, essentially there are over 70+ to find in the game and the designs they've come up with are truly quite a sight to behold. There's a special stage in each world should you wish to unlock them all which will grant you yet more colourfully designed Yoshis, this is one of the main factors that made this game an essential purchase for me.
If you have been going on a mammoth collect-a-thon and you have some Amiibo sitting on your shelf, you can use them in game to unlock some more Yoshi skins. There's around 25 of the current Amiibo selection that are compatible, it's a small addition but is easy on the eyes. Once you have scanned them in once, they're there forever as well so if you have friends with Amiibo's you haven't got yet it's a good idea to invite them over for game time!
A fluffy finish!
Yoshi is still going around eating enemies, I don't think that will ever change. What's different in this game then? The answer is probably not a lot. Aesthetically though it really gives a feast for the eyes! Instead of eggs, you now poop out woolly balls of yarn to throw at your enemies. You'll be using that an awful lot too, filling in hidden platforms and using your tongue to reveal hidden walkways.
The challenge throughout the game is somewhere in between Kirby's Epic Yarn and Super Mario Galaxy, I never found it to increase terribly but I'd say it's not as easy as Kirby's Epic Yarn (Good Feel were behind that one too, no surprise there!) yet not as difficult as the Galaxy games. The boss battles at the end of each world are very well thought out, inventive and witty and they require a lot of tooth and nail precision timing when throwing your yarn balls but it never feels frustrating.
For people who are expecting something different you probably should save your pennies. If the game wasn't so fuzzy and beautiful, with the overall woolly theme I think this review would be a lot different. As it stands the gameplay is solid and it will take you a good 15 - 20 hours to complete.
That's not including the extras that I haven't mentioned in this review, and completing each level to a gold standard. Yoshi's Woolly World looks beautiful in all it's HD goodness and the colours really 'pop', after 18 years out of the big screens it's nice to have you back Yoshi!