If you were to judge a game by the amount of housework I get done over the subsequent days, then Yoshi’s Woolly World scores very highly. Just ask Janet, if you can see her through the dust storm that’s engulfed our front room.
Heavily influenced by Kirby’s Epic Yarn, and all the better for it, Yoshi’s Woolly World is undeniably Nintendo. A 2D platformer that harks back to earlier adventures, and with its luscious woollen graphics and perfect controls it still feels as fresh as ever.
As always, the degree of difficultly is in the hands of the player. The boys are happy to race through the levels with the blinkered goal of reaching the final boss, frantically sticking out Yoshi’s tongue to swallow balls of wool that then become projectiles. Meanwhile, I’m left biting mine as they blatantly ignore the collectables and hidden treasures along the way. Completing a game in its entirety remains
an obsession a taste they’ve yet to acquire.
And it’s this depth of gaming that both makes the game what it is, but is also its Achilles heal.
The knitted nature of the levels provide some brilliantly subtle clues to hidden areas. Whether it’s a stray strand of wool for Yoshi to pull on, or a variation of colour/pattern for him to push against, without a time-limit there’s great satisfaction to be had from taking the time to find them all.
Each level has five flowers to find, and finding all forty within a world rewards you with the surprise of some wonderful bonus content.
Find all five bundles of wool and a new Yoshi is knitted.
But there’s also twenty stamps to find, hidden amongst the collectable gems that are strewn throughout, or within a hidden cloud that only appears when you walk/jump through it, or as is often the case, by a stray ball of wool accidentally launched in the wrong direction.
Anyone who played the original Super Mario Bros is probably still haunted by the hidden vine in World Two. So hard to find was it that it took a premium rate phone call to the Nintendo helpline for me to find it, and two weeks grounded when my mum got the phone-bill through. If that was you too, then expect some flashbacks.
And to fully complete each level you need to finish with full health. It’s not that difficult to achieve, but replaying levels with only this goal remaining can feel a little monotonous.
But all that said, the pleasure to be had from playing Yoshi’s Woolly World far out ways any of these small gripes.
The game-play is solid and defies the soft and bouncy aesthetics, striking the perfect balance between familiarity and uniqueness. The level of detail is as wonderful as you’d expect, and the enemies, whilst not overly challenging, are beautifully designed. At various points in the game Yoshi will also transform into something different such as a dolphin or umbrella, adding plenty of variety to match that of the 50+ levels.
Co-op mode works well and can help in finding those hidden collectables, at least it would if only I could persuade the boys to stop swallowing each others Yoshi and spitting him off the screen!?
It’s been nearly twenty years since Yoshi had his own title on Nintendo’s main console, and with Yoshi’s Woolly World it’s definitely been worth the wait.
The boys give it a 9/10. For me, it’s a solid 8.
I was sent Yoshi’s Woolly World for the purposes of this review. All words and opinions are honest and my own.
For more information you can visit the official Yoshi’s Woolly World website.