Yoshi's Epic Yarn
Yoshi fans have had a bit of a rough go of it since the Super Nintendo classic, Yoshi's Island, released. While Yoshi's Story on the Nintendo 64 delivered quaint, cutesy charm, it didn't follow the typical structure fans of Yoshi's Island were expecting. Nintendo has since left development of direct sequels of Yoshi's Island to lesser developers like Artoon with the Nintendo DS's Yoshi's Island DS and the Nintendo 3DS's Yoshi's New Island. While these games are by no means bad by any stretch of the imagination, they lack the originality, the superb level design, and the charm of the SNES original.
Now, Good Feel, hardly a lesser development as the studio is fresh off its two Wii games, Wario Land: Shake It! and Kirby's Epic Yarn, is sitting in the driver's seat, and its take on the Yoshi's Island formula is Yoshi's Woolly World. Not only does this Wii U exclusive hit many of the same high notes of the SNES classic, it actually surpasses the game in some regards. Yoshi's Island fans waiting for a true successor with bated breath can now stop and relax. Yoshi's Woolly World is the real deal.
It's a lovely day as usual on Craft Island, and a myriad of adorable yarn Yoshis hustle and bustle around the island's grounds. Suddenly, a rogue Kamek zooms onto the island from the horizon, wanting nothing more than to turn each and every Yoshi into a ball of yarn. To his scheme's credit, he mostly succeeds-- save for the spare two Yoshis that hid themselves in a pile of yarn. Try as they might to pull at Kamek's sack of Yoshi yarn balls, the two Yoshis cannot stop Kamek. He escapes, though not without dropping various yarn balls along his way to a castle. The two Yoshis make chase, and thus, this woolly adventure has begun.
To anyone who has played a Yoshi's Island game, Yoshi's Woolly World should be quite familiar to you. The only major difference here is that when you take damage, you don't have to worry about rescuing a wailing Baby Mario. Instead, a given Yoshi has up to twenty hearts of health, though you start just with ten at the beginning of a level. Through falling in a pit, losing all your hearts, or getting crushed, you start from the beginning of the level or from the last checkpoint you reached.
|Why are you sweating so much, Yoshi? There's only a ferociously|
hungry Piranha Plant ready for dinner below you.
|Yoshi's about to take this coin purse... er... crab, out.|
|These hungry Piranha Plants are about to get a Chain Chomp rock in their diets.|
Every fourth and eighth level in Yoshi's Wooly World's six main worlds consists of a fortress and castle respectively to saunter through, taking on their trials. I mention these specifically because these levels always conclude with a boss battle of some form. The fortress levels cycle between two bosses, a giant Monty Mole and a large Paratroopa, though each new fight against them presents new challenges and ways to defeat them. Whereas the eighth level, the castle, is always against a new opponent of some type. The boss fights aren't anything overly difficult, but they can definitely cause you to take a hit or two as you learn their patterns. Overall, they're entertaining bouts, if not a bit of a breeze to beat.
|Many bosses use the third dimension in some regard to great effect.|
100%-ing a level fills you with a great sense of accomplishment and a much larger appreciation of levels because you get to better explore them, finding their secrets. It also rewards you as well with in-game content. For instance, securing all five flowers in a level helps to unlock a bonus level in a world. Each of Yoshi's Woolly World's six worlds contains eight levels, and getting all the flowers in each unlocks said bonus level. In addition, finding all five spools of yarn in a level presents you with a new Yoshi design, such as a cow-patterned Yoshi, a citrus fruit-patterned Yoshi, and even some Nintendo console-oriented knit patterns.
|Nothing like having a world full of starred levels to make Yoshi's day.|
With all my gushing compliments towards Yoshi's Woolly World in this review, you and I would be hard pressed to have me find something that I truly dislike about the experience. However, there is but one small issue I have with Yoshi's latest, and that has to do with the before mentioned collectibles within the game.
They are all fun to find, but the designers of Yoshi's Woolly World have sort of gone overboard a little bit. Fans of the Yoshi's Island games will know that secrets can be found in hidden item clouds that only shows themselves when Yoshi or an egg-- or in Woolly World's case, a yarn ball touches the area they are located. Many times the level designers hide collectibles inside the hidden item clouds, which means if you're not combing through every inch, every nook and cranny of each level, you're bound to miss one or two... or several, even.
|That lava might look like a quilted pattern, |
but I assure you, it's quite hot and hazardous to Yoshi.
|Spools of yarn like this lay about in precarious and usually hidden locations.|
|"Surprise!" (You should have seen the look on Yoshi's face.)|
Yoshi's Woolly World is a phenomenal game that oozes charm and personality, delivers exceptional level design with a constant stream of interesting level mechanics and concepts, has great cooperatively play for two players simultaneously, has a good difficulty when going for 100%, and features an art style that continues to focus on Nintendo's strengths with their system's visuals. Yoshi's Island fans, you've been searching for a successor to the Super Nintendo classic's crown for twenty years now. I am happy to say that you can finally stop looking. Yoshi's Woolly World is it, and it will leave you in stitches.
[SPC Says: A]