E3 2014: Hands-on: Yoshi’s Woolly World

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

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I’m so glad to finally hear more news regarding Yoshi Yarn…or rather, Yoshi’s Woolly World. There is many a reason I’ve been anticipating this game since its announcement so long ago. Getting the chance to play it…well, I’ll say this: the game didn’t meet my expectations, it far exceeded them. Ready for more?

What’s the first thought you had when you saw that aesthetic for the first time? This is Kirby’s Epic Yarn, again. That game was great/easy/forgettable/unforgettable. Your initial thoughts are right, insofar as it definitely has that game’s look and feel, but…this is far from what Epic Yarn was. I know I don’t have a review to back me up, but Kirby’s Epic Yarn was…not a Kirby game at its core. It’s a game that happened to feature a lot of Kirby characters, music, and surroundings, but…Kirby lost everything that made him Kirby, at least in the traditional sense.

Yoshi’s Woolly World is…not like that at all. It would be like playing Yoshi’s Island, except make it co-operative (I did play with another person/the Red Yoshi…more on that in a moment) and replace the spectacular animation from the SNES era with an absolutely adorable (and at times visually stunning) yarn look. It’s got everything that makes Yoshi’s Island what it is…the happy flowers, things to find, eggs to hurl (except in Woolly World, they’re simply balls of yarn)… the only thing it’s really missing is Baby Mario, but there’s a simple health bar (that takes the form of hearts around Yoshi) that takes his place. That’s right–you can die in this one. That makes it different enough from Kirby’s Epic Yarn from the get-go, right?

Yoshi's Woolly World | oprainfall Yoshi's Woolly World | oprainfall
Yoshi's Woolly World | oprainfall Yoshi's Woolly World | oprainfall


Here’s where things get even cooler, though: There were three levels in the demo. I watched folks play the second and third levels, and the latter offered one of the game’s “one step above Yoshi’s Island” features. There are chicks in this game that you can hurl like eggs…except when you hurl them, they leave a cotton-cloud in their wake that you can use as stairs to climb up/down/around. Want a bridge? Hurl a chick and it makes a cloud-bridge! If the game is filled with these kinds of things that make each level feel unique, like a simple (but noteworthy) evolution to typical Yoshi’s Island exploration and platforming…sign me up!

Before I wrap things up: this is the first Yoshi game to ever feature co-op. Just like with New Super Mario Bros. U before it, it’s the kind of co-op where your friends can either help you or be mean. As described during the Nintendo Digital Event…you can eat your Yoshi comrade and hurl him at enemies…or off the cliff. The former instance is particularly handy when you’re out of eggs…I mean, yarn balls!

Yoshi’s Woolly World seems like the perfect game you can share with a kid or someone who genuinely enjoys very cute, relaxing experiences…that happen to stem from a long-running series. If you’re excited for it already…amp up that excitement, because it’s much better than I hoped, personally. If you’re on the fence, I hope looking at this trailer sells you.

Yoshi’s Woolly World is coming to the Wii U in 2015. Don’t forget to check out my review of Yoshi’s New Island for more Yoshi-related endeavors!