Developer(s) – Good-Feel Co.
Publisher(s) – Nintendo
Director(s) – Atsushi Kono & Naoya Abe
Producer(s) – Etsunobu Ebisu, Keita Kawaminami & Takashi Tezuka
The first Yoshi game to be release on a home console since Yoshi’s Story back in 1998, Yoshi’s Woolly World stays true to the core mechanics of all the other Yoshi games released throughout the years, but also provides a level of challenge unseen in most other games on the Wii U. Whilst this game isn’t as creative or unique as Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker for example, It’s certainly a stern effort from Nintendo, and certainly goes above and beyond it’s Nintendo 64 counterpart.
Graphics – 8/10
Deriving influence from the Wii game Kirby’s Epic Yarn, the scenery and style of the game is made up of cloth and woolly textures, which look extraordinarily realistic; even against video games developed in more advanced hardware than the Wii U. The many different worlds found in the game, in lieu of the franchise’s tradition, also have their own themes and elements similar to any Super Mario game. Whilst it may not be as varied as Yoshi’s Island, which had much more menacing locations as well as innocent-looking ones, it still quite a bit of variety about it compared to most other games.
Gameplay – 8/10
The mechanics and the objective of the game is more or less identical to that of both Yoshi’s Island and Yoshi’s Story; clear each level and fight the boss at the end of the world, rinse and repeat. What makes Woolly World different from the others, however, is not the level of challenge involved in simply clearing each level, but the challenge of completing every level to 100%. The secret levels in particular can prove extremely testing to clear. Nintendo wanted gamers to be able to explore every nook and cranny of every level to find every secret, but they certainly didn’t make doing that easy. But this isn’t to say that the game is inaccessible. For those who are having too much trouble with it, there is simplified version that can be played instead to suit both parties of gamer; something I think should be done with every other video game that can be considered overly hard.
Controls – 10/10
Since this game plays out identically to every other previous Yoshi side scroller, there are no unnecessary complications with the control scheme. However, I did think it was somewhat interesting to be able to move Yoshi around in 3D environments throughout each overworld. It made me think about what may have been if Nintendo and Argonaut Games had still been in partnership with one another throughout the fifth generation of gaming, and that if a 3D Yoshi game had been released instead of Argonaut breaking off and making Croc: Legend of the Gobbos out of what ideas were left from the previous project.
Lifespan – 7/10
To complete everything in the game will take around 15 to 20 hours, which whilst being about the average of most side scrollers on the Wii U, is still fairly impressive. Classic side scrollers could only be made to last a fraction of that timescale, but their respective franchises have been kept fresh with the inclusion of new side quests and additional curricular activities; and Woolly World is no exception. I’ve highly anticipated this game since it’s announcement at last year’s E3, and I was satisfied to see that it lasts this long.
Storyline – 6/10
The plot of the game, again in lieu of Super Mario tradition, is very straightforward; Yoshi must rescue all the other Yoshis after being unravelled and scattered by the wizard Kamek, and must then take the fight to Bowser Jnr. The story of Yoshi’s Island was a little more interesting, since not only did it put players in the shoes of another character from the series, but it also explored the origins of Mario himself. But unfortunately, Woolly World doesn’t have very many interesting elements like that, and consequently, makes much less of an impact in terms of story.
Originality – 6/10
In addition to having an unoriginal story, the game itself is also somewhat unoriginal, bar the inclusion of a much longer lifespan, and a heightened level of challenge. The art direction may be much different to that of the rest of the Yoshi games, but of course, the same developer used the same visual gimmick in Kirby’s Epic Yarn. It may look very good and very realistic in this game, but it’s been done before. I don’t think recycling boss characters helped matter either.
However, despite what it lacks in both story and uniqueness, Yoshi’s Woolly World makes up for in its gameplay above all else. It’s still a very enjoyable experience, and I recommend it to anyone with a Wii U. It’s certainly a better exclusive than many Xbox One games, and will prove a challenge to any fan of the platforming genre.