Year after year violence and action reigns supreme when it comes to video games. Shoot outs, melee combats and screams from fallen enemies are almost consistent with new game releases, so it’s a wonderful sight when a new game comes out and its sole purpose is to be adorable. Nintendo has, and always will be, a master of their own craft, creating joyful games for people of all ages, and after the success of Yoshi’s Woolly World on the Wii U, you can now knit yourself a happy experience while you’re out and about. But is the package worth the price of admission a second time?
A haven in a haberdashery
Full disclosure, I’ve never played the original game on the Wii U, so this is my first foray into the lands of ‘Yoshi-dom.’ Right from the get-go I fully understand the love and admiration Yoshi gets from its fans – it not only looks adorable, but sounds just as cute too. The little green dinosaur is definitely more than just a little side-character and brings a whole lot of charm to an already charming game. I won’t touch on too many things already covered in Dawid’s review of the Wii U version, but I think a few noteworthy mentions are required.
Visually speaking, the game is incredible and follows the wool theme with a pristine touch. Each stitch, weave, button, loop, tassel, ball of yarn and crotchet stick found in the world is expertly crafted and moulded to make a really good looking game. Everything – okay, maybe not the flames – looks like it comes straight out of a haberdashery and magically woven into a platforming game. Words can barely describe the art-style and how effective it is in the game.
[pullquote_right]The little poochys act as a replacement for wool, making them an endless supply so you won’t have to worry about running out[/pullquote_right]Yet despite this soft textured and wool themed look, it’s a surprisingly tough game. While the controls are simple to work out, the mastery is something else. The game, just like the original, has two modes: Classic and Mellow. In classic you’ll tackle the game as it’s meant to be tackled, with little help and trying to find bucket-loads of wool to shoot. As you progress through the game, the difficulty and complexity of the levels kick up a notch forcing you to sharpen your dexterity and harness your skills. You’ll find yourself simultaneously jumping to consume an enemy, shoot the yarn you created after said consumption to build a platform and land safely on it. Seriously, it gets pretty tricky.
Bringing in the Poochys
Now, unlike the Wii U version, the Mellow mode is a little different. You’ll now have three little poochy side-kicks to help you out when you’re stuck in a knot. The little poochys act as a replacement for wool, making them an endless supply so you won’t have to worry about running out. They’ll even help locate hidden secrets, attack enemies and point out areas of interest. They’re really handy, but by the same token, using mellow mode does take out any challenge the game has to offer.
[pullquote_left]Timing is everything in these levels and it’ll take quite a few attempts to get everything, especially in the later stages.[/pullquote_left]This brings me to one of my main gripes about the game. I fully believe Classic Mode is the better experience and that Mellow mode makes it too simple. The ease of changing from Classic to Mellow when you’re in a bind is very tempting and often feels like cheating when you cave in. It’s a great mode for younger children, but it’s a great temptation for everyone else.
I also have to admit that I did get bored half-way through the game. While each world had something new to add, it still wasn’t memorable or lasting. This is to be expected, I suppose; when you’ve created so many great platforming titles, there’s bound to come a time when a game feels too familiar and this game unfortunately, suffers for it.
Another new addition are the Poochy specific levels, which are steadily unlocked as you progress through the game. They’re fairly short, but require constant replays to perfect. In them you play Poochy as he zips through a level collecting little gems and completing certain objectives. It’s a bit like a fast on-rails game, where all you can do is make the little dog run faster, slower, jump or crouch. Timing is everything in these levels and it’ll take quite a few attempts to get everything, especially in the later stages. There aren’t many though, so it’s not like you’re getting a whole side section to fiddle with. While it is new content, it’s not exactly hours and hours worth.
Would you like some popcorn with your cross-stitch?
The next, rather exciting, addition to the game is the Yoshi Theatre. This includes quite a variety of short stop-animation clips involving a few different Yoshi and Poochys. They’re very funny and each clip made me laugh. At the end of the clip, you’re asked a question and if you get the right answer, you’ll receive a few extra gems in the main game. The only drawback is unlocking the clips. A new clip can only be unlocked every 24 hours and you need to go into the game to unlock and wait another 24 hours to unlock the next. It’s a bit tedious and a cheap shot to get you to play, or at least switch on, the game everyday.
Nintendo does what Nintendo does best – they create fun. However, it’s not going to be long before fun isn’t enough. A simple story and good platforming won’t be enough forever, and certainly not for a game that will never go down in price after time. Lasting appeal and games that stick are important and while Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World is cute and charming to death, it leans mighty close to forgettable, especially with that easy to access Mellow Mode. I would certainly recommend the game to people who love the Kirby and Super Mario franchises, but if you’re teetering on indecision, then you might want to move on, especially if you already own the game on the Wii U.