It’s hard to believe that the last Yoshi video game to land on a Nintendo home console is 1997’s Yoshi’s Story for Nintendo 64. In the time since, our favourite dino buddy has made a few appearances on Nintendo’s portable devices, including DS and 3DS, but now he’s back for another brand new console adventure…this time on Wii U!
Yoshi’s Woolly World draws inspiration from its Nintendo 64 predecessor, and the gorgeous fabric-filled Wii game, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, a game also developed by the talented team at Good-Feel. This latest Yoshi game is literally bursting at the seams with charm, from its incredibly cute hand-crafted visuals, to its dozens of adorable Yarn Yoshi characters. Adding to the game’s appeal is its ability to support two-player local multiplayer—a first for the series—letting you enjoy the entire experience cooperatively with your family and friends.
Platform: Wii U
Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Kamek is once again up to no good
The story begins on Craft Island, a tiny, colourful, knitted place in the middle of Handmade Ocean where a tribe of adorably plush Yarn Yoshis enjoy nothing but peace and leisure. That is until the day Kamek arrives and uses his power to turn the oh-so-cute stitched Yoshis into spools of yarn, stuffing them all into his Grinch-sized sack. To Kamek’s surprise, however, two clever Yoshis (a Green and a Red) hid in a nearby pile of yarn, dodging his foul fabric spell. After a brief tug-of-war over the bag Yarn Yoshis erupts, the evil magikoopa manages to break free, but not before clumsily dropping some of the yarn all over various nearby lands.
As you might guess, Kamek’s blunder is a stroke of luck for our two heroic Yoshis, who immediately set out to rescue their yarn pals accidentally scattered far and wide. Playing alone, or cooperatively with a partner, this grand adventure will take you through six exotic worlds, with over 50 stages in total, spanning lively grasslands, lush tropical jungles, a cloud world full of sweets, scorching deserts, slippery ice caverns, bubbling lava lands, and more. There’s a lot to see and do in this game, so get ready for hours of exploration, discovery, and most importantly, fun.
Familiar pick up and play controls
If you’ve played any of the previous Yoshi games before, you’ll immediately feel right at home with the controls in Woolly World. Yoshi’s main abilities are all back, including his signature flutter jump that enables him to temporarily float in the air (or even gain a bit of height) and powerful mid-jump ground pound. Also returning is his ability to swallow enemies and convert them into eggs, only this time Yoshi “unravels” bad guys and converts them into yarn balls. These yarn balls can be used as projectiles for several purposes, including tying up enemies or damaging them, hitting winged mystery clouds, and filling in certain platforms or objects.
Having fun with yarn
Experimenting with all the many ways that Good-Feel incorporates the “yarn” theme into the gameplay is easily one of the most enjoyable aspects of Yoshi’s Woolly World. For instance, tossing yarn balls at enemies has various outcomes, such as tangling up hungry Piranha Plants, or temporarily turning Boos into helium balloons that you can jump on to reach higher ground. Many of these yarn attacks have adorably cute animations too, like Piranha Plants wiggling to and fro in attempt to break free.
The whole world too is filled with hand-crafted surprises just waiting for you to find. Loose strings on the ground or walls can be unraveled to find new, secret areas. Foldable fabric walls can be pushed to reveal hidden goodies to collect. Throwing yarn balls at dashed outlines will stitch together new platforms to jump to. You can even walk behind some materials to find some of the game’s hardest to find collectibles. To encourage this exploration, just like in past Yoshi titles levels don’t have a time limit, leaving you free to have fun searching every nook and cranny.
Speaking of collectibles, it’s safe to say that Yoshi’s Woolly World is just as much about discovering and nabbing items as it is about the actual platforming itself. Each and every level contains a plethora of hidden treasures, from Smiley Flowers, to Stamps, to spools of Wonder Wool, to special beads. Individually, these items benefit you in unique ways, including unlocking brand new stages to play (Smiley Flowers), outfitting your Yarn Yoshi with new patterns (Wonder Wool), or used as currency to purchase Power Badges that make stages a tad bit easier to complete (beads). I’m not usually the type to replay levels in platforming games, but uncovering secrets is so much fun that I often found myself redoing stages to find 100% of the goodies.
As the very first Yoshi game to feature two-player cooperative action, I didn’t quite know what to expect, but wow did it turn out to be a lot of fun. On one gaming night, I played through nearly half the game with my wife and friends (we couldn’t stop playing) and we had a blast working together to navigate levels and hunt out all the secrets. For those hard to reach items, you can even gobble up your teammate and hurl them toward it, making it easier to complete your collection. Not only that, if one player is more skilled than the other, during dangerous stretches the experienced player can swallow the lesser skilled player, and then spit them out when the coast is clear. Should both players want a more relaxing experience, turning on “Mellow Mode” will give your Yoshis wings, making is much easier to finish levels.
Yarn Yoshi amiibo
While Yoshi’s Woolly World offers a complete game on its own, amiibo collectors should seriously consider the amiibo Bundle available that packs in a Green knitted Yoshi figure. It’s the first amiibo produced with a handmade fabric look, and it is by far the cutest of all amiibos. Let’s say you picked up the game on its own though, in that case you can still get the Green Yarn Yoshi amiibo sold separately. There is also a Pink Yarn Yoshi amiibo and a Light Blue Yarn Yoshi amiibo available.
Tapping one of these Yarn Yoshi amiibo onto your Wii U GamePad will create a duplicate Yoshi during Solo Play, allowing you to replicate actions that would otherwise only be used in Co-op Play. For example, you can swallow the doppelganger Yoshi and launch it towards items, just like you would when playing with a friend. You can also save custom yarn patterns right on the amiibo. There are a lot more amiibo that are compatible with Yoshi’s Woolly World (see the complete list here), which will unlock additional patterns based on their respective character.
I had a lot of fun playing through Yoshi’s Woolly World solo, and enjoyed it even more with a coop partner. The stylized, handcrafted graphics are a joy to see, and having the ability to literally unravel levels to find secrets is both novel and fun. With over 50 levels, and 30+ collectibles in each, you can easily put in dozens of hours into this game. I prefer the bundle edition, as it comes with an adorable Yarn Yoshi amiibo made from actual yarn, but either way this is a game worth having in your Wii U collection.
+ Beautiful handicraft-inspired graphics
+ Pick up and play controls
+ Secrets to find everywhere
+ Incredibly fun two-player coop
+ Mellow Mode is great for younger/new players
– Some levels can be a tad challenging
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5
Overall Rating 4.4/5 (88%)
By Paul Hunter, Editor Gaming
I work out of Toronto, Ontario as the Editor of Gaming here on the Plug-in Blog and as Editor-in-Chief of NextGen Player. I am thankful for having a loving and patient wife who doesn’t mind my 40 hour a week obsession with gaming. You can follow me on Twitter @NextGenPlayer