Being a bit disappointed with Kirby’s Epic Yarn for the Wii, I feared another let-down when it came to this game. I eventually got this game because I had money to spare on Amazon. Sounds weird? It is, but that’s a topic for another day. Let’s see what we have with Yoshi’s Woolly World and how Yoshi holds up on a home console after Yoshi’s Story on N64.
The story begins with the Yoshis minding their own business. Kami appears, turns everyone into wool, splits them into five pieces each and tries to escape, but two Yoshis, that have been hiding, try to stop him, causing him to drop the wool pieces all around the world.
Look, if you ever played a Yoshi game before, nothing should be surprising to you. The story works for what it is but I think it’s time for a different plot by now.
The gameplay is, as it is with most Nintendo games, the core of this game and boy does it deliver. Yoshi doesn’t use his controls from Yoshi’s Story but rather goes back to Yoshi’s Island. That means: You’re not able to use the tongue or aim in complete control (you can use motion controls though, which make it feel a little bit better), instead, you’re back to a cursor moving up and down as you wait for your chance to throw your projectile just like in Yoshi’s Island for the SNES. You move with either the left joystick or with the D-Pad, even though I recommend the D-Pad because the joystick brings no advantages at all and even then you basically use the D-Pad controls.
You can jump, do your usual floaty-jump and you can do your ground-pound. Using your tongue only works in two directions, up and a side direction since pushing down activates your ground-pound. When using your tongue, Yoshi can swallow things and he… she… it… can turn enemies into wool eggs, which you can also get from egg containers. The eating-fruit-to-finish-a-level mechanic from Yoshi’s Story was completely removed, we’re back to running through a level while collecting stuff and finding secrets.
While some of this sounds like a huge step backwards compared to Yoshi’s Story, it works and once you can accept it like it is, then you have a wonderful control scheme. But in the end, I just can’t forget Yoshi’s Story and how it managed to improve movement and aiming for Yoshi in so many ways, I feel like there’s so much untapped potential here. There are also badges in this game. Badges give boni and you can equip them before entering a level. You pay for them by using the huge amount of jewels that are found in each level. Many of these may turn a few levels into complete jokes but there isn’t really one almighty badge that magically solves all your problems. For that, you have the easy mode, which gives Yoshi wings and more hearts, I don’t recommend using that mode though as you miss everything that is good about the game then.
What Yoshi’s Story can’t beat by far is the content of this game. There is so much stuff to collect and to do in this game, you’re probably going to be busy for roughly 10-25 hours.
Are you afraid, that the creativity and originality of this game suffers from it? Don’t be, because this game explodes with unique level design. Every level has its own touch and while some levels use previous gameplay elements, it enhances these and makes them more difficult. In each level, there are 5 wool pieces, 5 sun flowers and 20 stamp coins to collect in addition to completing them with full health. Once you collect the five wool pieces, you get a new unique looking Yoshi which you can also use as your new primary character. The sun flowers don’t do much on their own, but once all 40 sun flowers of a world are collected, they unlock a ninth stage with, again, their own items to collect and these are difficult to complete, especially the later ones unless you use badges. You should really go for the 5 wool pieces in the secret level as well. Stamp coins give you Miiverse stamps while full health is just there for completionists sake.
If you collect all sun flowers in the game, they unlock the hardest secret level in the game. So to recap: There are 55 unique levels in total each with collectibles. Is it worth collecting everything? Personally, I don’t really care for stamps and the full health thing makes later levels really difficult but I recommend that you should totally go for all wool pieces and sun flowers. There is so much love put into this game and there are so many details, that it would be a shame to let these go to waste. You can also just rush through the game and have an extremely enjoyable time but you would miss out a lot then.
The content isn’t without costs though. Some bosses get recycled but they are given new abilities when you encounter them again but you never encounter a boss enemy too many times.
Honestly, I can’t go specifically into gameplay because there are so many levels, that spice things up like with Yoshi transformation stages, bike Yoshi is my personal favorite or throwing cute baby birds that leave a temporary trail of walkable clouds behind.
There is also Amiibo support for this game and it’s pretty cool. Each Amiibo gives you a new Yoshi with a design according to that Amiibo, meaning, you can play as Mario-Yoshi or even Shulk-Yoshi. It’s a shame that you can’t use Pokemon though for whatever reason. Yoshi Amiibos gives you a clone, causing you to control two Yoshi’s at the same time. This is nice for a while but there are many stages, in which this works to your disadvantage. There is co-op too, which works nicely for a while but playing this game seriously in co-op is next to impossible, thanks to Yoshi’s tongue.
I have to give this game credit: My only complaints are the missing control improvements from Yoshi’s Story, the co-op mode and the Yoshi Amiibo. This is a very nice working game and whatever you might think, if you are even remotely interested in 2D games, then this game will be a blast to play.
The music of this game is sooo good. Like, I think the worst song of this game is actually the main theme. Some of this game’s soundtrack is such a blast to listen to, people with high-quality TV audio or home cinemas are going to benefit greatly from this soundtrack. I can’t really praise it enough, I have absolutely nothing to say about the music of this game except for: Please let there be a full-OST CD. Misaki Asada and Tomoya Tomita, you did a fantastic job with this.
The graphics are equally as awesome. This game is looking GREAT, I mean best graphics of the year 2015 contender. The art design of this game will hold up for years to come and I think, just like Kirby’s Epic Yarn, even when something better looking will eventually come out, it will always remain timeless in its own way except for the resolution (though we’re going to be stuck with full HD for quite a while).
What this game does very good for its genre:
It’s an awesome game and finally a worthy successor to the legacy that is Yoshi’s Island. This game is, without a doubt, one of the best 2D Jump ‘n Runs ever created. The soundtrack is fantastic, the gameplay is great and the graphics are phenomenal.
What could have been improved:
Bring back the Yoshi’s Story control scheme, even if it’s just optional. You can do a lot more with that, just imagine moving with the left control stick and aiming with the right control stick, while managing your jumps and other moves with the four shoulder buttons. This game already only uses the D-Pad and four buttons, which include throwing so this would have been perfectly possible. Boss reusing has to be written off for both Mario games and Yoshi games as they are always a flaw. Make easy mode dependent on death count again since it ruins the work you’ve put into your level design.
This game would have been even better if it had a different plot as well. Yes, we know Yoshi’s Island for SNES was an awesome game but don’t you think it’s about time to move on?
This game is awesome. I enjoyed this a lot and I’m so glad that I decided to play this game in the end. I would have missed out on one of the best Jump&Runs ever created. There is not much else to say about this, get yourself Yoshi’s Woolly World, it’s a must-play.
Tested on: Wii U
Test based on:
Final Patched Version