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Yoshi's Woolly World review

Katharine Byrne
22 Jun 2015
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Yoshi's Woolly World
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
33
inc VAT

It's not particularly challenging, but Yoshi's Woolly World is guaranteed to melt hearts of stone with its adorable, charming design

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Specifications

Available formats: Wii U

Eating someone's pants and making them die of embarrassment sounds more like the first draft of a Mortal Kombat fatality than a way of taking down the first boss in Yoshi's Woolly World. However, sinister undertones aside, there's something inherently delightful about slurping down every last fuzzy strand of Nintendo's latest platformer.

Stitched together from felt, cotton, string, buttons and knitting needles, developer Good Feel has created a plush tactile playground like no other. Every surface bobs and dips beneath Yoshi's fuzzy little shoes, and the tiny shadows beneath each strip of fabric hints at a palpable sense of depth and texture. There are even huge balls of wool masquerading as trees and rolling hills in the background.

Yoshi's Woolly World screenshot01

^ We thought Kirby's Epic Yarn looked stunning, but Good Feel have really gone to town in Yoshi's Woolly World 

Yoshi himself is just as pliable, as Good Feel's playful animations hark back to its equally charming platformer, Kirby's Epic Yarn. For instance, instead of simply replicating Yoshi's age-old movements in wool, his legs transform into tiny wheels as he breaks into a run or a whirring little propeller as he sweats over a flutter jump. Likewise, his entire body moulds into a huge toy hammer when he executes out a butt stomp and his perfect sphere of woolly nose squishes and springs back into shape as he pushes adorable knitted Chain Chomps through caverns of destructible sponge and glittering sequins.

They're small flourishes, but they make the game feel infinitely richer and more charming than anything Arzest tried to achieve with its ungainly plasticine look in the abysmal Yoshi's New Island for 3DS. Thankfully, Good Feel's talents don't just stop at amazing art design, as this is a game laden with smart platforming ideas that burst out of every available seam.

Yoshi's Woolly World screenshot

^ Piranha Plants are one of the few enemies that can't be eaten, so you'll need to fire a woollen ball to tie up its ravenous mouth before you can defeat it

It starts with throwing your woolly projectiles (recycled from your equally stringy enemies, of course) into empty wire frames, instantly sewing them into existence to create a makeshift platforms or secret warp pipes to carry you off to hidden areas. Stray threads and tassels can also be gobbled up like giant spaghetti strands to reveal secret pathways and treasure items, but Good Feel wastes no time in stretching its imaginative waistband.

One particular highlight comes fairly late on in the game, where ghoulish sheets of cloth reveal invisible silhouette platforms and collectibles behind as they swish back and forth across the stage like a pair of curtains. Cotton reels dangle vine-like threads in mid-air, too, recoiling back and forth as Yoshi jumps between scarves held up by sentient knitting needles. One of our favourite courses, though, sees Yoshi firing flocks of fluffy egg birds into the sky to create his own set of criss-crossing platforms, where you'll need to run up the cotton wool trails they leave behind before they disappear into thin air.

Yoshi's Woolly World screenshot04

^ Collecting gems and finding hidden items is pretty tricky when platforms keep disappearing beneath your feet

Of course, being a Yoshi game, the very best platforming sections are tied to its cornucopia of collectibles. However, even we think Woolly World pushes Yoshi's incessant kleptomania a little too far this time, as you not only have five flowers and five pieces of Wonder Wool to collect in each level (the former of which lets you access each world's secret level while the latter restores one of your disintegrated Yoshi friends back to life), but there are also 20 stamp patches hidden inside the hundreds of gems available, and to top it all off you have to finish each level with full health before you even think about earning a gold completion star. That's a lot to get through in each level, but at least items you do collect stay fixed to your total completion record on repeat playthroughs.

That said, several collectibles are once again hidden inside invisible cloud packets which are only revealed when Yoshi happens to jump or move into that exact spot, so you're still likely to miss things unless you meticulously comb over every last scrap of empty space onscreen before moving on. This wouldn't be so bad if Yoshi were a more graceful protagonist like his rotund, mustachioed master, but his uneven flutter jump doesn't lend itself well to intense exploration.

Yoshi's Woolly World screenshot03

^ When you spy a neat little string bow on the side of the wall, it's time to chow down

In our eyes, it also goes against the grain of Nintendo's own school of design, where solutions are usually always elegantly laid out before you rather than deliberately hidden from view.  You soon learn to anticipate where those pesky clouds might lie, but for us, luck and happy accident often proved more successful than intelligent guesswork.

This is a problem we have with the Yoshi series in general, but for all Woolly World's artistry, the core platforming feels relatively tame compared to the devilish acrobatics you'll need to employ in something like Super Mario 3D World, for instance. You can even spend your bulging gem wallet on special power up badges which will save you from falling down pits or switch difficulty modes so you can effectively float through entire levels. This is no doubt a concession for younger players drawn in by its endearing facade, but it nevertheless feels a little straightforward for platforming veterans. 

Yoshi's Woolly World screenshot02

^ Every level can be played with two players, but the screen can become very busy at times if both players have a full trail of wooll balls behind them

Of course, you always add a little chaos of your own by roping in a friend to help you out, as every level can also be played in co-op. Having a second player on hand is particularly useful if you happen to run out of projectiles, as each player can swallow their fellow Yoshi and throw them around in much the same way as recycled enemies – although repeatedly chucking our other half into an empty pit is just as fun, too.

However, when each player has six wool balls trailing behind them, the sheer number of moving objects onscreen can make it difficult to see what's going on at times, especially if you're trying to navigate a tricky platforming section. Likewise, some sections simply aren't designed for two players, as using springy boost balls to jump up to higher areas almost always resulted in accidental death as one player got left behind.

Yoshi's Woolly World screenshot08

^ We particularly like the fuzzy Chain Chomps - just make sure you don't eat their woollen coats, as the hungry wire version underneath is particularly vicious

This is a shame, but overall it's a pretty minor kink in Yoshi's otherwise fine and luscious return to home consoles. After Arzest bungled his 3DS debut in Yoshi's New Island, we didn't think Mario's faithful steed would ever be able to return to his former glory, but Good Feel have done Nintendo's dinosaur proud. While the basic platforming doesn't pose much of a challenge, Yoshi's Woolly World is bursting with charm and character and we guarantee you'll be left with a warm, fuzzy feeling by the time you reach the end – even if it does mean eating copious pairs of pants. 

Availability
Available formatsWii U
Buying Information
Price including VAT£33
Supplierwww.zavvi.com
Detailswww.nintendo.co.uk

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