There is a tough question that must be answered, how do you make one of the world’s most adorable characters look even more adorable? The answer is simply in design, it is about taking the character down a new route that shows them off in a whole new light. Back in 2010 Good Feel did this for Nintendo with Kirby when they made Kirby’s Epic Yarn which saw Kirby become made of wool. This idea carries over to the newest collaboration effort between Nintendo and Good Feel which answers the burning question, and truly makes Yoshi look more adorable than ever before as he becomes wool for his latest adventure.
In the past Yoshi games have had a sort of sickeningly cutesy charm which has worked well with the feel the character gives. Yoshi is adorable so his games need to match, and this is something that is certainly captured within Yoshi’s Woolly World, the general vibe given off from Woolly World certainly differs from Yoshi’s previous games but it ties in perfectly with the character himself.
Just about everything in this game is made of wool and it ties in perfectly with Yoshi. To some point this begins to feel like a child’s feverish dream as the charm and detail is unbearable, just about all the platforms found in the game are made of wool. This all ties in well with Yoshi and makes the character feel truly connected to the world as everything ties in with each other.
Many of Yoshi’s abilities from past games have been perfectly carried over to Woolly World with some slight changes. One of Yoshi’s main abilities in his past games is to throw eggs which he would collect to solve puzzles, a similar idea has been carried over for this game though to match the woolly design of the game Yoshi now throws balls of yarn at his enemies as well as solve puzzles.
Wool based puzzle solving plays a big part in the game, by unravelling enemies balls of yarn can be created which often have to be used in order to create platforms and unlock hidden areas. For the most part, these platforms are usually simple things to move forward in the level, but on many other occasions they are hidden or offer access to hidden areas. Puzzle solving is really enjoyable, although it is also very simplistic rarely ever being overly challenging.
Yoshi’s Woolly World may be one of the most adorable games around, it does not mean it is the best. In fact, in a lot of ways Yoshi’s Woolly World fails to be thrilling, it is originality that turns out to be Woolly World’s biggest flaw, a fair portion of what we get in Yoshi’s Woolly World feels very much the same as new ideas seemed to be rarely added. Whenever new ideas were added many of the better ones were quickly forgotten in favor of returning to ideas I had seen many times before, which I honestly found to be quite disappointing.
New ideas are barely added to the game, but in the rare occasions that they do, these ideas are thrilling and really proved to be quite fun. A particular level I played during my time with the game had Yoshi hidden behind curtains as it was the only way to see and stand on platforms. The level required patience and concentration, and was one of the most fun levels I came across while playing this game. For how clever this level was I spent a good amount of the game hoping that this idea would have a second appearance, much to my disappointment it never did.
In another instance I got to play a really interesting boo level, with this game the use of boo’s was really clever. While on the surface they operated in the same way as any traditional Mario game where you look at them and they hide, boo’s were actually a really interesting part of the gameplay. Using my balls of wool I had to prepare a careful throw which would bounce off the wall to hit a visible boo which I had to use to reach higher ground. It wasn’t until late in the game that I came across this level and was disappointed to know that I would never see another level like it again, it was just another classic example within Yoshi’s Woolly World that showed off the underutilization of ideas.
The shortage of ideas does not mean the game is bad, it was a problem but I can’t deny that the game itself can still be pretty fun. Levels barely evolve but for the first run while things are still fresh it is undeniable how fun the game can be, Yoshi’s skills such as the ability to thrown balls of yarn as well as hover add some fun to the game as you tackle interesting enemies and dangerous obstacles, the side of things I did find fun.
The other thing I found fun was some smaller transformation sections added to certain levels. In specific levels Yoshi enters through special doors which sees him transform into a variety of different things. These moments only appear in short bursts but I personally found to be some of the core highlights of my experience with the game, seeing Yoshi become giant or even become an umbrella were nice changes for the game that altered the experience and presented some really fun and memorable moments.
The problem with so few levels offering any changes or interesting ideas is the shortage of replay value. With the fact that most levels feature recurring and very dull ideas, means I have trouble finding reasons to return to most levels. With a shortage of ideas, the reasoning for many is
There is a partial reason to return to levels, which simply is the sheer amount of collectables that are in the game. Each level houses five sunflowers, twenty stamps and five balls of yarn, within the levels these are hidden and can often require several visits to a level in order to collect everything. On many occasions these are hidden and require some careful observation to find, even still the more dull levels still don’t give a whole lot of incentive.
Collectables often felt more like busy work to me, just trying to get me to spend just that little bit more time with the game. While I liked the result I got from collecting some of the collectables such as a new pattern of Yoshi to play as, which I did think was a nice touch and played in well with the knitted design of the character, gameplay wise it didn’t add anything to the game. Likewise collecting sunflowers added an additional level to each area which added an even more challenging level to the area, though it again did not really provide me much incentive to want to return to levels just to unlock this.
Yoshi games are known for their difficulty, something that acts an opposite to the much more tame Mario games. With Woolly World the difficulty has not been lessened, on the surface the game may seem cute and cuddly but deep down the game hides a terrifying secret, much of the games levels are quite difficult. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t die a lot during my time with Woolly World as the overall difficulty was not a letdown, in fact it was this fact that kept me engaged and kept me playing right to the end.
It is simply the irony of Yoshi games that exists, the game looks adorable and like it’s for a child, though like its predecessors this is still more for the experienced gamer. However, unlike the past games in the franchise there is actually some accessibility added for the younger game player. The game adds a mellow mode, while the difficulty still remains with this mode, things do become a whole lot simpler as Yoshi is given the ability to fly, removing some of the challenge of the traditional platformer. The addition of this mode is a sigh of relief and makes the game a whole lot more accessible, something that I think children will gladly appreciate.
Yoshi’s Woolly World does justice to the wool formula that Good Feel established with Kirby’s Epic Yarn, the use of yarn in the game is incredible and Yoshi and his game world have never looked better. Woolly World in its gameplay is a great game that offers plenty of changes that are appreciated and offers a fun game, it is just the many shortcomings that hold it back.