Real Talk By: Ms. Throwback
At this point in time, Yoshi has had several large-scale games of his own. While our friend has traditionally been Mario’s right-hand-man, he over the years, has obtained a large fan base of his own. Namely the Yoshi’s Island series has had large-scale success and Yoshi’s Woolly World (Wii U) aims to do the same. Make sure to check out the list of our Top Five Yoshi Games to see Yoshi’s success story. For now lets delve into Yoshi’s newest title and why the mainstream critics were dead wrong.
Let’s start with some legit information. This is not a Mario game. It is not meant as a challenging platformer in the way that Mario is. The enemies aren’t immensely difficult, and there is no timer that kills you if you go too slow. The game was built this way on purpose. The main goal in the game is mass item collection. There are three main items to collect in each level. Power flowers, yarn, and stamp jewels. Collecting five power flowers opens up bonus levels, five yarns creates a new Yoshi, and stamp jewels let you collect real stamps to use for artistry in the Miiverse. Finding all the items in any given level is not an easy task. Not so much because of the enemies, but due to the puzzle aspect of the world itself.
The game can be play on two different difficulty settings. In classic mode the standard of difficulty is higher. Mellow mode offers a simpler approach with a much easier setting. This was one of the complaints from those other reviewers but this is the thing. Let’s get real for a second. This game obviously appeals to two different audiences. The first audience is young children for reasons that are extremely obvious. This game is beyond cute, every little girl and boy who owns a Nintendo sees this game and wants it, for that reason mellow mode was created. The second audience is the hardcore fans that have played Mario and Yoshi games for years. We love Yoshi, but we didn’t just buy it because it was cute. Nintendo solved this problem by offering two settings. If you are an expert platforming player the solution is very simple, pick classic mode. There is simply nothing to complain about here. The mode can even be changed at any time so if you start on Mellow, it can be changed to classic, even in the middle of a level.
Yoshi will use his own abilities, enemies, items, and movement through the level to open hidden doors, access question clouds, and open up new levels in each world. beside the classic tongue flicking, winding jump, and egg throws (in this game Yoshi’s eggs are actually yarn balls.), there are also unique parts of certain levels in each world where Yoshi will become giant, transform into a motorcycle or some other vehicle and use it to proceed through the level. These special areas are strategically placed and a fun challenge scattered throughout the worlds.
Besides the special areas, every flower, and yarn must be collected to open up a specific special level in each world. Each special level is extremely difficult and doesn’t include halfway save points which makes it likely that you will die and start back at the beginning. Again, unlike Mario, Yoshi can be hit only one time by certain aspects of the level, such as spikes, and he is sent swirling back to the beginning. I absolutely loved the special levels because it reiterated what I already believed about the game. That the difficulty level of the platforming aspect itself was intentionally set low because this game is about finding secrets, not necessarily moving at light speed through the world.
This review wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the beautifully stitched visuals that have been crocheted together with love and care. It’s clear the graphical aspect of this title was a huge focus. The depth of the world and characters is vast. Several materials from yarn, to fuzz, leather, and cotton are all carefully placed to give the feeling of a fabric world full of endless vibrant happiness. The belled tones and soft music creates a cutesy atmosphere that gives the feeling of a game with simple intent, but which is still extremely challenging.
One negative point of the game is the boss battles. The game could have honestly done without any bosses at all. Boss battles are incredibly easy and just really unnecessary in the grand scheme of things. They don’t really take anything away from the title but they most certainly don’t add anything new or exciting. Thankfully there is only one boss for each world so it’s not something you have to trek through often.
Yoshi’s Woolly World is an Amiibo compatible title which launched bundled with a green Yoshi Amiibo. Players can also buy blue or pink Yoshi as well. The Amiibo’s for this game are unique in that they are actually stitched with yarn and not made of plastic like the rest of the Amiibo collection. There are dozens of Yoshi designs to collect during your play through. Each of these Yoshi’s, plus several color variations of each one, can be saved to your personal Amiibo. The yarn Amiibo is an example of the extra mile Nintendo is willing to go for quality products for their fans. The Amiibo’s for this title are interesting and just as beautiful as the art style of the game. I do wish there was more functionality in the title itself for Amiibo’s however. This seems to be something I find myself feeling about Amiibo’s on a regular basis however.
This game also includes a Co-op mode with either a second player or by using the Amiibo. the AI for the Amiibo co-op character isn’t too shabby, although sometimes the second Yoshi can get in your way. Second Yoshi can make this up however as he carries his own supply of yarn eggs and health status, which allows you to basically carry double the lives. The entire game does not have to be played co-op. Player two can come and go as they choose.
All in all this is a wonderfully put together title with fascinating appeal. It’s cute and challenging. Yoshi’s extended jump ability and long-range attacks could make this game extremely boring very easily but they don’t. Nintendo has put genius platforming aspects in place to create a difficulty level that makes sense for the player. This game was created with a lot of love and to me it’s a clear decision. This is an instant classic for the Wii U.
Yoshi’s Woolly World Gets
4 Out of 5
+Graphics and art style on point
+Adaptable for skill level
+Beautifully designed Amiibos
-Boss battles seem pointless
-Amiibo features lacking