Super Mario Bros is a fond part of gamers’ memories for several different reasons. It was a fun, challenging platformer that rewarded skill and timing and featured a colorful, cutesy universe.
It also rewarded one other thing – knowing where the hidden platforms were. Yes, gamers’ minds were collectively blown after they found the magic vine in World 2, there was no looking back. Nintendo has since snuck these little Easter eggs and hidden treasures into all of their games. Yoshi’s Woolly World sees a return to this tradition, but there’s a little twist. You don’t have to find any of the hidden items to finish the game, but they’re the most fun part of the entire experience.
If you choose instead to put on your blinders and barrel through the game’s 48 or so levels, you’ll have missed out on most of the fun the game is capable of offering. There are literally hundreds of hidden items you can choose to find in this game. Otherwise, there’s not much here that could be called inspired or innovative. Yoshi’s Woolly World is a fairly paint-by-the-numbers Nintendo offering. There are no time limits in levels and no concept of lives. The boss fights are laughably easy for experienced gamers. Without the side quests, Woolly World suffers.
There are certain things you expect of a Nintendo platformer, and here, Woolly World delivers. The controls are crisp and consistent. Yoshi can do Yoshi things; he can jump, whip his tongue around and stomp the ground. He can also take along balls of yarn can be thrown to disable enemies or press buttons to activate pathways. Most enemies you’ll face are made out of wool, so you have a nearly endless supply of yarn to draw from. There’s a catch though – you can only carry five balls at any given time. Due to the crisp controls, you’ll be able to breeze through the game without too many hassles. The first half of the game in particular is very easy to beat. Run, jump, eat, throw yarn, and get to the end. Rinse and repeat.
The Game Play:
While it’s not a particularly challenging game, it still has the Nintendo touch which makes it a delight to play. If you spend some time collecting all of the different hidden items (there’s a list which shows you the ones you missed at the end of each level), you’ll have a blast. Completists will have a grand old’ time crossing these off their list. There are also bonus levels and skins to unlock, so you better get to collecting them. The unlockable content includes some S-levels which ramp up the difficulty considerably, for those of you who like that kind of thing.
If you’re running through it like a bat out of hell, you’ll probably get to the end point of each level in five minutes or less. Spend some time trying to find where the level is hiding its secrets though, and you could be in there for half an hour. This is where the game really shines – when it forces you to examine the geometry to spot any giveaways or hints to secret passages. The visuals are characteristically gorgeous, with the art style portraying a world where everything’s made of wool. This premise also allows the game to stuff levels with little clues such as loose strands and soft stacks, any of which could be hiding some treasures. Finding one of these secret goodies will appeal to your inner child and the glee persists right throughout the game. It isn’t a flawless experiment however. Some of the animation choices cause Yoshi’s movements to look a little forced or weird. Woolen legs shouldn’t be moving that fast, right?
The side-scrolling Nintendo game is alive and well. The game meshes the treasure-hunting dynamic remarkably well into a 2D game. If you’re suspicious, you’ll do well in Yoshi’s Woolly World. Not all treasures are easily found though. Not to worry though, you have Poochy. Poochy is a ridiculously cute dog companion whom you can summon to your side by paying 5000 gems. He’s great at finding secrets and hidden passages. He also allows you to reach some far-off places, and finishes off some enemies while he’s at it. But, most importantly, when he does his jig, you’ll just want to reach out and snuggle him.
For the hardcore completists, the game also allows you to buy a perk which reveals all of the hidden items in the game. If you absolutely have to unlock the S-rank courses (and you should) this is an absolute godsend. While the bonus content takes a lot of work to unlock, it also provides you the most fun way to play the game. You could opt to ignore the treasure hunting altogether if you’re short on time, but you’ll miss out on the essence of the game. If you’re willing to spend a bit of time unlocking its secrets, Yoshi’s Woolly world is a fun platformer.