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Yoshi's Woolly World Review

Yoshi’s Best Solo Adventure In Two Decades
by Kyle Hilliard on Oct 12, 2015 at 07:00 AM
Reviewed on Wii U
Also on 3DS
Publisher Nintendo
Developer Good-Feel
Rating Everyone

Following the debut of Yoshi’s Island on Super Nintendo in 1995, Mario’s thankless babysitter has seen a number of sequels take advantage of his egg-throwing and float-jumping abilities. Each has been a disappointment, however, each for its own reason, but not Woolly World. After 20 years, Super Mario World 2 finally has a worthwhile successor.

Woolly World looks fantastic, and though its yarn aesthetic is not an original one (developer Good-Feel created 2010’s Kirby’s Epic Yarn), the game expertly embraces a feel all its own by presenting a world that truly feels knitted together. It’s the perfect follow-up to the 1995 original’s crayon-drawn style, and I was still remarking on the small touches and details of the world all the way up to the last level.

The gameplay is similar to Yoshi’s Island, with the ability to eat enemies to create yarn balls (the new egg stand-in), throw those yarn balls, and use a jump that fits comfortably between a double-jump and full flight. It feels smooth and is a vast improvement over last year’s 3DS title, Yoshi’s New Island, which felt slow and sometimes unresponsive.

It’s hard to make a crocheted blanket intimidating, so you would be forgiven for assuming Woolly World is easy. It can be easy if you so desire, with its Mellow Mode and badges that give Yoshi temporary power-ups like immunity to fire and lava, but a challenge is here if you want it. I never threw the controller down in desperation, but I lost a surprising number of lives in more than a few sections. I embraced the challenge, however, and was appreciative that it never became a boring walk in a beautiful park.

Check out our Test Chamber of Yoshi's Woolly World

If the standard challenge isn’t enough, you can always add a second player. Co-op is one of the big back-of-the-box bullet points, and while I am happy the option exists, I found it much more enjoyable without a second player. There isn’t much real estate in the levels for two players, and it was always a struggle to figure out who the screen was following, leading to surprise deaths. Griefing your co-op partner can be fun, as you can eat them and turn them into a yarn ball or spit them away from the action, but it turns out this isn’t a great way to progress.

Along with collecting flowers and hidden Miiverse stamps (red coins in previous games) every level contains five skeins of colored yarn. Collecting them unlocks new skins for Yoshi, and it’s fun to see what each skin looks like, even if some of them are quite ugly. It makes searching every nook and cranny of each level worthwhile, as I found myself frequently changing out my Yoshi for the latest style.

Yoshi’s Woolly World is the Wii U’s best-looking game, as well as the best Yoshi’s Island since the original Super Nintendo title. It has a great balance of challenge, exciting bosses, callbacks to the first game, and enough new mechanics and touches to make it easily stand above each attempt at creating a Yoshi’s Island successor of the past two decades.

Bring Your Amiibos (But Not Yoshi)
Woolly World lets players use just about every one of their Amiibos to unlock a special skin for Yoshi. It’s a great, unobtrusive way for players to get use out of Nintendo’s figures, and see their favorite characters make a cameo. Using a Yoshi Amiibo (either the cute knit one included with some versions of the game or the Smash Bros. or Mario Party one) lets players control two Yoshis simultaneously. Two Yoshis appear on-screen with your inputs making both react at the same time. Much like the co-op, I’m glad it exists as a bonus novelty, but from a practical perspective it’s immediately confusing and proved a huge hindrance. I could not remove the second Yoshi fast enough.
Deliver a new Yoshi’s Island for modern consoles with cooperative play all wrapped in an adorable yarn aesthetic
It is impossible not to be absolutely charmed by Woolly World’s yarn universe
The music is pleasant, but rarely rises to Nintendo’s typical level of unforgettable tunes
Yoshi feels great, throwing yarn balls and floating with ease – a vast improvement over 2014’s sluggish Yoshi’s New Island
Though best played alone, Yoshi’s Woolly World is the best platformer starring the dinosaur mount since the Super Nintendo original

Products In This Article

Yoshi's Woolly Worldcover

Yoshi's Woolly World

Wii U, 3DS
Release Date:
October 16, 2015 (Wii U), 
February 3, 2017 (3DS)