pax 2015

Yoshi's Woolly World

It's Not As Easy As You Think
by Brian Shea on Aug 31, 2015 at 05:45 AM
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Good-Feel
Release: 2015
Rating: Rating Pending
Platform: Wii U

Nintendo fans would be forgiven for thinking Yoshi’s Woolly World is a game you can just stroll through. After all, it features cute aesthetics that recall the charming yet simple Kirby’s Epic Yarn. In addition, every level we’ve seen to this point has been mildly challenging at best. That all changed this weekend at PAX Prime, as Nintendo introduced me to some of the more challenging levels of Yoshi’s Woolly World.

The first level I played was called Woollet Bill’s Last Ride. On this stage, Yoshi must ride on a trail that a Woolly Bullet Bill leaves behind as he travels through the fast-scrolling level. Over the course of the stage, enemies bubble onto the screen and drop onto the disappearing trail in the most inconvenient places. Plus, on many occasions, you must quickly jump up to platforms above in order to get over obstacles blocking your path, then get back down to Woollet Bill’s trail before he flies past you.

Woollet Bill moves quickly and will not wait for you if a difficult obstacle is ahead. Though that makes it tricky enough, difficulty is further added by the fact that you must exercise discipline in how you play the level. Using the Yoshi Bomb (Yoshi’s ground pound move) is out of the question, as that proves to be too much force for Woollet Bill’s flimsy trail, and my poor Woolly Yoshi immediately fell through to his death. Also, if you throw Yoshi’s eggs or use his tongue to grab enemies, you need to be careful not to hit or eat Woollet Bill, as that will kill him and immediately halt your progress and leave you trapped until the level’s scroll catches up and pushes you off the now-stagnant platform.

As much as Woollet Bill’s Last Ride tests your platforming skills and precision attacks, Yoshi's Curtain Call tests your timing and reflexes. In the early part of the stage, I jump my Yoshi into a circular object with an arrow. As I do this, it sends me flying off into the distance where Yoshi grabs on to a curtain on a line. The curtain races forward as I do my best to move Yoshi up and down on it to collect as many coins and other items as possible.

It feels like a fun mini-game with no chance of death – then I notice that the end of the line is coming up and there are no platforms in sight. I quickly climb to the top of the curtain as another curtain appears well out of reach. Using my Yoshi’s position on the curtain, the momentum the curtain has given me, and my best timing, I jump off the curtain at the right time and latch onto the next one, sending that one flying forward at the same speed. This continues for several minutes with jumps that feature varying degrees of difficulty. Some even require you to jump back and forth, completely defying the laws of physics and tricking your brain a little in the process.

Yoshi's Curtain Call isn’t as punishing as Woollet Bill’s Last Ride, but it is a blast that challenges you and has you on the edge of your seat. This was my third time playing Yoshi’s Woolly World, and without a doubt it was the most fun I’ve had with the game. Yoshi’s Woolly World comes out October 16.

For more on Woolly World, you can check out the latest trailer for the game here and a brief interview with the game's producer, Takashi Tezuka, here.