Yoshi sure had his fair share of ups and downs over the years. You may wonder if turning him into a crochet toy was really a good idea. Thankfully, it was; so grab your needles and let's knit one unforgettable yarn.
As a fan of Yoshi platformers ever since the incredible Yoshi's Island, I was impressed right off the bat by how Yoshi's Woolly World brought back the classic gameplay. I wasn't expecting this since Kirby's Epic Yarn (made by the same developer) was a departure for our favourite pink pal. Running, jumping, watching Yoshi's legs frantically paddle as he hovers, and gobbling up enemies and turning them into balls of yarn (as opposed to eggs) made me fall in love with the series all over again. Of course, this time you don't get to carry around a baby on your back, but I digress. As I progressed further, it was great to experience all sorts of different stages and scenarios such as tricky maze-like structures, satisfying puzzles, action-intense moments, and thrilling boss fights. Things never became stale throughout since excitement lurks around every corner. Just when you think you've seen it all, Yoshi transforms into a new configuration and you carry on as if you're playing an arcade shoot 'em up or Dig Dug. Did I mention Poochy makes a return? There's so much to see and do in this adventure that it's simply awe-inspiring.
It goes without saying that Yoshi's Woolly World looks fantastic. Everything is rendered in yarn and appears as if you can reach in to your television and touch it for yourself. Distinct environments including greenery, a desert, a land filled with sweet treats (yum!), a winter wonderland, and Baby Bowser's sinister lair are all a joy to explore with cohesive themes and constantly evolving concepts. Each character is so cute to the point that you'll actually feel guilty for fighting some of the bosses. This unrelenting level of charm remains steadfast from start to finish. Even the music complements stages with unique upbeat tunes that may not be as catchy as in older Yoshi games yet they do a great job of adding to the overall fun. Simply put, Yoshi's Woolly World contains nothing but pure high quality cuteness.
The main campaign contains six worlds with eight stages in each. Fully exploring a stage could take well over fifteen minutes, so you're looking at one long game. If you're a perfectionist then you'll be delighted to hear that there are a ton of things to find in each stage such as flowers that unlock an extremely challenging bonus stage in each world, balls of yarn that come together to form new playable Yoshi variants, and Miiverse stamps. Also, collected jewels act as a currency that you can purchase temporary upgrades with. As you can see, not only is there a lot to do but each object you collect has some sort of tangible reward. This makes exploring the massive stages all the more satisfying especially considering a lot of games nowadays don't even bother with unlockable content.
Some extra features are included that add layers of fun for those willing to check them out. The most notable feature is being able to play through the entire game cooperatively with a friend. If you have someone in your life who enjoys 2D platformers then this is great news since playing cooperatively is handled seamlessly. When playing by yourself, you have the option to use any Yoshi amiibo (even the Super Smash Bros. one) to control two Yoshis at once. It can get confusing but it does make the game easier. Scanning in other amiibos unlocks skins for Yoshi that resemble the appropriate character. Although this is neat, my Pikachu amiibo only unlocked a generic skin. Anyway, after beating the game you can enjoy browsing enemies and music in the Scrapbook Theater and challenge bosses in the Boss Tent. It's amazing how all of these extras make the already packed adventure even more valuable.
There isn't much to say when it comes to downsides. The first thing that springs to mind is that the secrets are very well hidden. Impatient gamers who just want to breeze through and collect everything will see this as a huge deterrent. However, I absolutely love the fact that it's nearly impossible to find everything in one go. This old-school approach means that you'll still be discovering treasures weeks after you've finished the game. Besides, finding everything is optional. Anyway, the only other negative point is that there could have been more modes such as multiplayer mini-games like in Yoshi's Island. Playing cooperatively is definitely fun but being able to compete against your buddy between stages would have taken it to the next level.
Yoshi's Woolly World is a tough game to put down with its masterful gameplay, phenomenal presentation, and impressive amount of extra content. Although it's not as awesome as the timeless classic Yoshi's Island, this is definitely the next best thing.
- + Classic Yoshi platform gameplay will surely delight both existing fans and newcomers
- + Non-stop cuteness throughout
- + Plenty of extras and replay value
- - Some components may get a bit too frustrating for impatient gamers
- - It feels somewhat incomplete without more modes such as multiplayer mini-games