You can always count on Nintendo to put out solid first-party games! That’s a good thing, because, uh, if you’ve got a Wii U that’s the vast majority of what you’ve got to play on it. The NX is still off on the horizon somewhere, so if you’re over Splatoon and your Wii U’s been gathering dust, it’s time to wake that sucker up again with Yoshi’s Woolly World, the latest adventure starring everyone’s favorite baddie-munching dinosaur.
Yoshi’s Woolly World plays a lot like previous Yoshi titles. Yoshi’s got his usual array of abilities; he can run around, jump and flutter for increased distance, eat baddies, make and throw eggs – well, yarn balls – and pound the ground for secrets. Yarn ball creation and throwing is likewise about the same as it’s always been; eating an enemy allows Yoshi to either shoot it out as a projectile or, uh, convert it into a yarn ball in a manner that certainly doesn’t bring pooping to mind. He can then throw those yarn balls using an aiming reticle, allowing him to bop enemies, collect items and secrets or ricochet them off walls to do the same.
It’s difficult to complain about all of this because it continues to work as well as it always has. There’s little reason to change something that works, and the strong combination of fun and precision that define the Yoshi titles continues here. Level design is top notch in true Nintendo fashion; concepts are introduced gently, then the intensity is gradually ramped up over the course of the stage and the game. Transformations from earlier Yoshi titles show up again as well, including an umbrella, a motorcycle and more, which offer you a chance to dash around and pick up prizes.
While running around Yoshi-ing it up is as fun as ever, it’s also relatively easy. This is a nice contrast from the recent brutality that was Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, a game with a similar aesthetic that lured you in with cuteness only to stab you in the face with difficulty; a closer comparison might be Kirby’s Epic Yarn, which was hurting a bit for challenge. For those who want some meat to their games, the heart of these Yoshi games continues to be wringing each stage for everything it’s worth in the form of collectibles and secrets.
That fine tradition continues here! Yoshi’s friends who were converted into yarn need to be found and knitted back together, for instance, so you’ll have to find five bundles of yarn in each stage to unlock new skins. You’ll also need to hunt down flowers, gems and stamps. You can spend gems on per-level power boosts, but they’re largely there to give you hints about where to find other goodies. There’s a whole lot of collecting going on in here, enough to keep you at it for quite some time if you’re dedicated to getting everything. If that’s the kind of gameplay you’re after, then Yoshi’s Woolly World won’t disappoint.
Nintendo’s Amiibo obsession is also present and accounted for here. In Yoshi’s Woolly World, your pricey plastic pals are used to unlock even more skins; they can also be used to provide some co-op assistance. The skins are actually pretty nice-looking, even if there’s an oddity here or there where an Amiibo simply generates a regular green Yoshi with an Amiibo logo. There are also a few Woolly World-specific Amiibo which, appropriately enough, are made of yarn and are soft, fuzzy and adorable. I don’t usually open my Amiibo, hoping instead to use them to put my kids through college, but my significant other didn’t give me a choice here and I can confirm that they are, in fact, the cutest thing in existence.
The graphical style is, of course, the defining aspect of Yoshi’s Woolly World. Everything is made of fabric. The world is wool, the ground is felt, you’ll fight foes by flinging balls of yarn at them. All of the fuzzy characters make adorable noises and explode into harmless thread when defeated. Lava is represented by an orange and red carpet, while clouds and other hanging objects are held up by barely-visible thread. The proceedings are, in their entirety, very soft and cuddly. If you’re an evil demon lord, the sheer cuteness of it all might cause you to spontaneously explode, so you should probably skip this one.
Bottom line: you’ve got around 15 hours here if you don’t bother grabbing everything and probably 30 if you do, so it’s a pretty decent game for the price. It’s the same sort of pure gameplay we’ve come to expect from this sort of franchise. Yoshi’s Woolly World an easy recommendation and a game any Wii U owner ought to consider.