You’re reading Short Takes, our sort of first impressions/mini-review hybrid in which we provide our opinions of a game in slightly truncated form. This may be a game we’re eventually going to fully review, it may be a game we don’t have time to play to completion and review right now, but it’s a game on which we want to share our thoughts. There are tons of games that come out every week, and we can’t play and review all of them, so this is our way of joining the conversation and chiming in on the titles that interest us as we work through the weekly release schedule. Short Takes will not include a numbered score. So, please join me as I unravel the mysteries of Yoshi's Woolly World. See what I did there?
Back in 2010 when Kirby's Epic Yarn was released for the Wii, I was in love with the hand-crafted fabric art style that the game presented. However, I remember feeling like something was missing. The gameplay style didn't really mesh with the Kirby that I know and love, and the game wasn't very challenging. After playing Yoshi's Woolly World I can attest that the yarn aesthetic on display here is not only beautiful to look at, but it fits perfectly with everything I expect from a Yoshi adventure.
Title: Yoshi's Woolly World
Platforms: Wii U
Price: Game $49.99 (Yarn Yoshi Amiibo Bundle $59.99)
What Is It?
Yoshi's Woolly World takes place in a beautifully-rendered, hand-crafted world populated by Yarn Yoshis. The game opens with the Yoshis living a blissful, peaceful existence — as Yoshis tend to do — until the evil sorcerer Kamek flies in to ruin their day. Kamek transforms the Yoshis into bundles of yarn and scatters them across the land. However, two of the Yoshis manage to escape this fate, so they immediately set out to save their friends and stop Kamek's nefarious plans. The gameplay for Woolly World will be familiar to anyone who has played a Yoshi game. As always, Yoshi has his tongue, his butt stomp, and his flutter jump at his disposal. He can use his tongue to unravel enemies and turn them into balls of yarn, after which they can then be used as projectiles to throw at switches or other enemies.
From the title screen on, the colorful art style of Yoshi's Woolly World is bound to impress you. Everything in the game looks like it was actually woven from yarn or stitched into cloth. Unlike Kirby's Epic Yarn, Woolly World presents a sufficient challenge, especially beginning with World 2. For those looking to take it a little easier, the game can be switched into Mellow Mode at any time. In Mellow Mode, Yoshi is granted wings and given the ability to flutter along indefinitely. He's not able to fly above the entire level — like the P-Wing in Super Mario Bros 3 — but he can hover whenever you hold down the jump button. I personally prefer Classic Mode, but I did try Mellow Mode briefly. It made me smile when Yoshi would hum every time he fluttered his wings. Seriously, if you are not charmed by this game then you must have a heart of stone!
I've enjoyed trying to collect everything in each level, and that is where the real challenge comes in. Each stage contains five flowers, five Wonder Wool, and 20 stamp symbols to be discovered and collected. Some of these collectibles are very well hidden. If you can manage to finish the level with full health as well as find all 30 collectibles, then you have aced that stage.
I also appreciate the fact that, unlike Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, this game does not require you to play on the Wii U game pad. Many control options are available — such as the Pro Controller — which allow you to enjoy the game's beautiful visuals on your TV screen.
The Value in Variety
Certain levels require Yoshi to take on a different form, such as an umbrella, a motorcycle, or a Mega Yoshi, and these sections represent some of the game’s highest points so far. These brief timed segments add a little flavor to the gameplay proceedings. They are a refreshing change of pace that is not overdone. Another thing I've enjoyed about the game is the many costume skins available to be unlocked. Every time you find all 5 bundles of Wonder Wool in a single level, a new pattern is made available for Yoshi to wear. Also, if you visit the Amiibo Hut, you can scan in any amiibo for an additional pattern based on the amiibo character you used. My favorites are Link Yoshi and Sonic Yoshi.
What I’ve Played So Far
I’ve completed all of Worlds 1 and 2, sampled both Classic and Mellow Modes, and dabbled in some Amiibo Hut costume skin action.
Should You Buy This Game?
I am enjoying this game a great deal. I can recommend Yoshi's Woolly World to anyone who enjoys a fun platformer. Time will tell if the game keeps up its momentum, but so far I haven't noticed anything in particular that I dislike about it. The game carries sufficient challenge for fans of the franchise and newcomers alike, and Mellow Mode is a great alternative for kids and inexperienced gamers.