Review: ‘Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World’ blends customizability with engaging gameplay
Does the 3DS port actually improve on its Wii U predecessor?
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
Yoshi is back in a delightfully fanciful adventure, joined by his puppy pal, Poochy. Nintendo spins players a yarn of adventure and excitement when Kamek, a villainous “Magikoopa”, is responsible for turning the Yarn Yoshi inhabitants of Craft Island into lifeless piles of “Wonder Wool”. It’s up to Yoshi and Poochy to save their friends before they’re lost forever!
‘Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World’ boasts a masterful blend of customizability and engaging gameplay able to keep players of all ages entertained throughout. Even fans of the Wii U version might not find it so hard to transition to the 3DS if they should feel so inclined. The port manages to preserve the 60 fps output, as well as a far more inclusive Amiibo interface, allowing for a greater variety of shareable designs and patterns for your characters. With the latest updates, along with the fan-favorite consistent elements, there’s plenty to make this game fun for anyone, both fans and novices alike.
Creating an extensive library of custom Yoshis to play with is half the fun!
One of the first things you’re asked when you start your adventure is to design your very own Yarn Yoshi. The ‘Yoshi Hut’ features an entire pallet of colors and patterns, letting you mix and match different crazy combinations to the classic character. You’re free to switch between them as much as you want and create as many different variations as your heart desires. Thanks to the game’s improved Amiibo support, you can even introduce new and exclusive Yoshi designs that can be shared with friends via the street pass.
Even the way you play can be changed and custom fit for your style. As you progress through the stages, you can earn badges that alter your powers and benefits. Before you play a stage, you’re asked to pick from your badges, which range from making all your yarnball projectiles larger for better accuracy to benefits in speed and durability. These badges are only usable when you cash in gems, so scooping up as many as you can is your best strategy.
The world design is imaginative and gives the game its own fun personality.
You might be asking yourself, “What exactly is a ‘Woolly World’?” The answer is both complex and insanely simple. ‘YPWW’ takes place in a very familiar layout (floating platforms, green pipes, man-eating plants, etc.), but depicted as woven entirely from yarn. While it’s not the first time games have attempted to up the cuddly factor, ‘Little Big Planet’ being the first to come to mind with a similar M.O., this game presents its own interpretation that fits with the overall tone. In fact, the “woolly” of ‘Woolly World’ plays a pretty big role in the gameplay.
While others allow the cute look to simply make their games more palatable for younger children, here we have a layout that allows you to manipulate the environment and discover secrets therein using the yarn itself, similar to what you might find in ‘Kirby’s Epic Yarn’ for the Wii. Many secret maps, entrances, and puzzles can be unraveled as you make your way collecting gems and fighting enemies, provided you know where to look. You might notice several knots against seemingly blank walls or certain types of fabric that don’t quite fit with the rest of the aesthetic. Usually, these will lead you to many of the hidden gems tucked away that can help you with the additional map goals.
Mini-games add an element of variety that keeps things from getting too repetitive.
Something at which Nintendo has always excelled has been creating mini-games. In order to maintain a sense of varying gameplay, they’ve always managed to introduce new and interesting content to keep you engaged, ‘Woolly World’ being no exception. In this case, many of the mini-games focus on Poochy and his adventures. A series of speed runs and exploration maps give you an entire avenue of activities and opportunities to earn more power-ups and grow your skills.
If you’re looking for even more to do (of which there is plenty) outside of the usual puzzles, you also have the option of checking out ‘Yoshi Theater’, a series of ten second short films featuring Yoshi and Poochy in all their woolly glory. The shorts are followed by a pop quiz question, which if answered correctly, grants you a decent amount of gems necessary to unlock and use badges.
‘Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World’ gives players a fun new feel in addition to the cavalcade of Nintendo side-scrollers, but still maintains that familiarity that allows you to jump right in without hesitation. The same mechanics are still evident from the traditional character related games, but with a fanciful aesthetic that gives it its own charm and personality. With its enjoyable gameplay, customizability, and even the added benefit of updated Amiibo compatibility for those that partake, ‘Poochy/Yoshi’ is perfect for hardcore fans of the Nintendo library, newcomers who might be discovering it for the first time, and everyone in between.