Yoshi’s Woolly World is next in the line of Nintendo platforming games. Instead of just a standard Yoshi game, though, the world is converted to a wool version of itself. Everything is a crafted version of itself, including the world and the characters in them. If there was one word to describe this well-crafted game, it would be cute—or perhaps two words: too cute.
The plot is simple (which is to be expected). A Magikoopa steals all the Yoshis, turning them into bundles of yarn. The surviving Yoshis must work through each level to free them. You free the Yoshis by collecting all five pieces of yarn in each level. Each Yoshi you unlock has its own special and unique design. There are six worlds where each world has eight levels. Each world also has two bosses, which the Magikoopa power up in order to fight you.
While the plot itself may be simple, the game is anything but. Complexity is layered into every detail, which makes it cute, exciting, challenging, and just plain entertaining. You can play Woolly World from start to finish either by yourself or in co-op. While beating it alone is possible, the more challenging levels benefit from having a partner to help you out. Co-op is pretty seamless with only a few hiccups.
One of the biggest frustrations in the game is that a Yoshi will die if separated from its partner. While this makes sense, in a way, it happens far too often because someone will be just slightly behind their partner. At certain points, trailing behind your partner by just a few seconds will result in death for one of you. It’s rather annoying, and stands out because the rest of the game works so well. When you have something that well-polished, even the slightest scratches appear larger.
The levels are where the game shines. The idea of making a Yoshi game appear as though it’s made of yarn in of itself isn’t much. However, a lot of detail went into the game to really help capture the experience. Details might seem unimportant, but they help to add to the overall experience. You might not notice at first, but slowly, over time, these things start to stand out. Things like the edge of platforms being knitting needles, fires being a series of strings, and even how many different colors of “yarn” that are in the game really make the look pop.
The worlds themselves all follow a different theme. Each one is truly unique from the others, and the levels in those worlds also stand out. If nothing else, the game looks great, and you will take that with you while you play. Woolly World also has a great soundtrack. The music is fun and catchy. All of it combined is aesthetically pleasing with a lot of extra cuteness thrown into everything. The Yoshis are adorable, the enemies are less threatening and more cuddly, and you even get a dog to help you that manages to somehow be the most adorable thing in such an adorable game.
Gameplay is solid and entertaining. It’s not really reinventing the wheel, but making the most out of it. You can swallow enemies and then throw the yarn (instead of eggs) to fight other enemies and solve puzzles. Puzzles tend to focus on timing with platforming, which opens different sections of levels. There are bonuses to find while you play as well. Finding all the yarn in a level gives you a new Yoshi. Collecting all the flowers in each level within a world gives you a bonus level. The game starts off easy and straight-forward, getting progressively more challenging as you go on.
By the later levels, you will have to put a lot more thought into how to proceed, and be grateful if you have a partner to help. The bonus levels are nothing to take lightly, and by the third world, they start to get very challenging and frustrating. Overall, the game will take some skill and might be frustrating for those who are not great at platformers. The challenge is refreshing, though, and will keep older gamers from being disinterested. It might be a little too hard for some gamers, but it sticks pretty solidly to remaining a challenge that isn’t impossible. There is a mellow mode for people who are struggling; however, it only allows you to hover jump. The puzzles may remain just as challenging in mellow mode. There are also power badges you can purchase to help with levels, and some give you more defense while others stop you from taking damage from certain things.
All in all, there is little to complain about with Yoshi’s Woolly World. It’s not the most innovative or deep experience you will have as a gamer. However, it’s a treat to look at, play, and listen to. Sometimes you don’t need an epic adventure—rather, you can just enjoy super cute platforming fun.