Yoshi’s Woolly World Review (Wii U)
If cute things make you barf, then make sure the trash can is next to you every time you boot up Yoshi's Woolly World. Every single thing in the game could melt even the coldest heart. The enemies are cute even though they're dangerous, the Yoshis are insufferably adorable, and the unlockable costume colors for the Yoshis are just the best thing ever, especially with amiibos. Duck Hunt Yoshi? Ness Yoshi? They and the rest of Yoshi's Woolly World constantly made rainbows spew out of my mouth... but was it any good?
After thinking about it for a while, the cutesy aesthetic hides some pretty ingenious platforming design within its stitching, but nothing that will completely revolutionize platformers. The use of the yarn that makes up this world sometimes made my mouth drop, but after a while the novelty wore off. The sheer amount of collectibles in each stage is impressive, but before long I stopped caring to collect them in favor of finishing a level. Yoshi's Woolly World is by no means a bad game, it's just not a game-changer.
The minds at Good-Feel really know what goes into good level design, as each level challenged me in new and innovative ways. One level forced me to lead a Chain Chomp throughout the course, constantly covering it with yarn so I could push it or taking the yarn off so it could jump onto platforms. Another had me assembling platforms on a windmill with my yarn balls, creating the world with whichever colors I wished. These levels truly made me swoon, reminding me of the glory days of platforms.
Other levels, however, were less interesting, especially in boss arenas. One fortress crawling with Koopa Troopas was merely an obstacle course with pipes and Koopa shells, sometimes forcing me to backtrack to previously visited rooms in order to proceed. The boss fights themselves are fun, fusing standard platforming bosses with numerous yarn-based abilities, but the stages leading up to them are not as enjoyable.
If there's one place that Yoshi's Woolly World completely excels, it's the audio-visual package. The world of wool and yarn is breathtaking in HD, filling the screen with a color and vibrance not seen in a gaming world of browns and grays. Manipulating the world with Yoshi's yarn-throwing and tongue-lashing techniques make it even more beautiful, especially early in the game when I had to make flowers grow and use them to proceed. It's a pretty little sequence, definitely one that I'll remember fondly.
The visuals are pretty, but the soundtrack is in a world of its own. Every stage song is melodic beauty, from the song I've been hearing since the game debuted to the excellent track from the windmill stage I mentioned above. I never in a million years thought that the music soundtrack would be what left the biggest impression of me from this game, yet here I am adding tracks from the game to my regular music playlist. It's a welcome surprise for sure.
While all of these things are wonderful and make the game stand out, Yoshi's Woolly World can become boring very quickly. Some stages drag on longer than they need to, some of the puzzles and tasks from a stage are asinine, and eventually I found myself putting the controller down and finding something else to do. For all of the innovative stage design Good-Feel brought here, I never really felt compelled to press on in my quest through the Woolly World, and that's a real shame.
Yoshi's Woolly World is not going to be unseating Mario from the "best platforming games" throne, but it's a cute and cuddly little adventure perfect for younger players just getting into games for the first time. The difficulty level never becomes astronomical, and there are no extra lives to gain or lose, just play until you win or quit. Older fans might need a little more substance in their platformers, but even they would agree that Yoshi's Woolly World is a fun little game with a lot of personality bursting from its seams from beginning to end.
This review was completed using a retail copy of Yoshi's Woolly World provided by the publisher for Wii U.