One interesting dichotomy going on at this year’s E3 is on one side of the convention center you have games dedicated to blowing people’s brains out with large machine guns, and on the other you have adorable side-scrolling platformers where you play as Mario’s dino-sidekick made out of yarn. Yoshi’s Woolly World combines the quirky gameplay of the Yoshi series with the cosmetic aesthetics of Kirby’s Epic Yarn, co-developed by the creators of that game Good Feel, and the two compliment each other perfectly.
If you’ve played a Yoshi game before, such as Yoshi’s Island or Yoshi’s Story, the gameplay hasn’t changed much, and that’s not a dig because if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Players assume the role of a Yoshi and traverse the levels, which are all beautifully rendered landscapes made from wool/yarn. The visuals are a huge improvement over previous Yoshi titles and fully utilize the high definition capabilities of the Wii U. It’s some dazzling eye candy.
The main differences in the game from previous incarnations is in the way things are constructed. As I said, the environments, enemies, and hidden items are all made from wool and instead of Yoshi arming himself with a trail of eggs, he uses balls of yarn, and it’s as adorable as it sounds. Some elements of the environment are also capable of being pulled apart by a loose thread, leading players to new areas that might offer some surprises.
“Woolly World” also features co-operative play, up to two players for the sake of the demo we played, but I get the feeling it could go as high as four in the final product. Another new addition to the gameplay is your fellow players can suck up your Yoshi and “digest him” into a yarn ball, this comes in handy for some specific puzzles in the game. One more difference in this latest title is the lack of a time limit on the levels. Instead of forcing players to complete a level under duress of the clock, the game allows players to concentrate on exploring every nook and cranny they can find, and also insures that players bent on finding all the secrets will definitely go through each level multiple times.
The trend of beautifully-rendered Wii U games continues with Yoshi’s Woolly World, which offers players an adorable platformer with easy controls and plenty of replayability. Fans of previous Yoshi games will be able to step right in with no issues just as easily as newcomers. Though at the time the game is only playable with two players, should that number be increased we could have a new go-to party game on our hands.
Yoshi’s Woolly World will launch exclusively for the Wii U in 2015.