Guff Review: 'Yoshi's Woolly World'

After Super Mario World hit the scene for the Super Nintendo and blew fans away, they wanted more. And Nintendo soon delivered with Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island "” a prequel that shared nothing in common with the original and nobody asked for. Though Nintendo clearly slapped such a name on the product to sell more copies, the game still managed to solidify itself among the best 2d platformers ever. Despite its new direction, Yoshi's Island captivated players with fresh gameplay mechanics and inventive ideas, leading to a string of watered-down sequels that never quite managed to live up to the original.

Now, nearly 20 years later, the Wii U received the latest entry in the series, Yoshi's Woolly World, and it lands closer toYoshi's Island than any previous attempt. Strangely enough, the title's universe appears to be constructed entirely of yarn. Players wanting to adventure back to simpler times shouldn't judge this game by its cushiony cover "” while it may be soft, it's unquestionably crafty. Let's take a look at the top reasons to play Yoshi's Woolly World for the Wii U.

Irresistible Yarn Visuals

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Fitting with the name, every item in this game appears to be intricately handcrafted from yarn: the characters, enemies, objects and background all in one peacefully tattered existence. However, the visual style is more than an afterthought, as the graphics are fully integrated with the gameplay. In over 40 expansive levels, players must rescue unlucky Yoshis that were captured by the evil wizard Kamek and turned into bundles of yarn.

Fortunately, Yoshi's pliable body can morph into helpful objects to get out of nearly any fabric jam. When Yoshi runs, his legs transform into wheels. When he flutter jumps, his feet change into a propeller. And when he pounds the ground, his dino butt becomes a lethal hammer. Heck, if real dinosaurs were this adaptable, they probably never would have gone extinct.

Players can push squishy walls that compact much like couch cushions, traverse terrain literally falling apart at the seams, and tug on knots that unravel the world before their very eyes. Players must avoid enemies attacking with crochet hooks, create sturdy structures by coating wire frames with balls of yarn, and even yank strings from the ground that devastate the environment so much that fracking and strip mining look like child's play. Both practical and cute, this game is the macaroni art project that you probably won't throw in trash when your kid's not looking.

Traditional Yet Varied Gameplay

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Nintendo


To navigate this treacherous turf, Yoshis have more abilities and control than your typical Mario game. Right from the start, they can flutter jump over vast distances, ground pound, and even more uniquely, eat enemies to turn them into projectile balls of yarn. Yes, instead of collecting ammunition throughout the level, players can grab any enemy with Yoshi's tongue, swallow them by pressing down, and acquire a free yarn ball in what has to be the most adorable version of recycling ever seen. With yarn balls following behind Yoshi, players can tap a button and initiate a very precise targeting system that swings a trajectory line up and down until they're ready to shoot. And all of this can be done while moving Yoshi with the control stick at the same time. This aiming might seem like a lot to take in at once, but players will be sniping even the smallest targets like a pro in no time.

Other than spamming yarn balls like toilet paper on Halloween, each level in Yoshi's Woolly World lets players explore at their own pace and interact with the area's unique features. In some levels, players will be pushing chomp rocks that they can use as platforms and wipe out unsuspecting enemies like the boulder from Indiana Jones. Other levels might include one of many transformations Yoshi can go through that drastically change the gameplay even more: Umbrella Yoshi allows the reptilian hero to float around in the air like Mary Poppins, Mole Yoshi digs through the dirt, Mermaid Yoshi lets players explore the salty seas, and Motorcycle Yoshi zooms forward like a less environmentally friendly version of Sonic the Hedgehog. Though these sections are short, they keep the game fresh and exciting. You go ahead and show me one time yarn was more exciting than this.

Oodles of Collectible Objects

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Nintendo


Each level within Yoshi's Woolly World contains a number of collectible items to encourage players to scour every inch. Collecting five yarn bundles within each stage will reward players with a new costume for Yoshi usable in any other area. Perhaps the most rewarding collectible, five daisy flowers tucked away in each stage, unlock a number of bonus levels that are unquestionably the most distinctive, rewarding and intense experiences in the game. In one such stage, players must hover in the air above repeatedly disappearing water platforms. Another bonus level forces Yoshi to grasp a series of high-speed curtains barreling down crazy tracks like a deadly fabric roller coaster.

Players can also collect beads, this game's currency, to buy badges that boost their abilities. Though these badges can make the game too easy by protecting Yoshi against fire damage or falling down pits, they can also help frustrated players find that last pesky flower or stamp they've been going crazy trying to find for days. With so much to collect, the game should take the most dedicated players around 20 hours to collect everything, though those rushing could blast through the title in less than half that time.

However, this is the type of game you'll want to make yourself at home in each area, take in the atmosphere, and explore the intricate yarn designs. Yes, the bad sweater party now has a new competitor in holiday yarn-related festivities, and Yoshi's Woolly World doesn't reek of B.O. or need ironic justifications to exist... it's simple platforming fun.

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Nintendo



Despite all this, I still have some nitpicks:

-  Some of the secrets in the game aren't hidden in clever ways, but rather in seemingly random spots. If you want to beat this 100 percent, be prepared to launch yarn balls at every possible polygon.

-  The first few worlds are especially easy, even when collecting all objects.

-  Many of the bosses appear multiple times with only minor differences. Defeating major foes by jumping on them three times is rather uninspired and dull at this point.

-  The amiibo interaction is great by allowing players to scan in nearly all of Nintendo's figurines to acquire new costumes, though the costumes are simply color modifications.

-  Sure this is a 2D platformer, but a deeper story would be nice to connect the smooth gameplay.

Players still waiting for an authentic Yoshi platforming experience can finally blow the dust off of their wallets and sink their teeth into a very close sequel to Yoshi's Island. Though it took nearly 20 years, the reptile mascot is back in an adorably polished experience that's bound to make you smile.