Poochy & Yoshi’s Wooly World Review

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Game Title: Poochy & Yoshi’s Wooly World
Developer: Good Feel, Nintendo of America
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Game Type: 3DS
Download: 7,769 Blocks
NA Availability: Retail | Digital Download
EU Availability: Retail | Digital Download

Yoshi has always and will probably always be my favorite character in the Super Mario franchise.  As you’ve seen in previous Mario and Yoshi reviews, I’ve always loved the ability to play as Yoshi as well as diving into Yoshi’s own subseries from the Mario franchise.  Yoshi’s Island.  Yoshi’s Story.  And of course, the ability to play as Yoshi in Super Mario 64 DS have been big highlights of the series for me.

So when Yoshi’s Wooly World came to the Wii U, I was at a loss.  One Yoshi game wasn’t enough to get me to chuck out the cash to buy a Wii U, and it seems that my patience has finally paid off.  Mere weeks before the launch of the Nintendo Switch, Yoshi’s newest adventure got ported from the Wii U to the 3DS and what a port it was, promising  30 fps play on the 3DS and 60 fps on the New 3DS.

So, let’s use our egg-throwing skills and check out my review of Poochy & Yoshi’s Wooly World for the Nintendo 3DS!

Story

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The game is the same as the Wii U version of the game.  On an island made completely of yarn, the wizard Kamek ambushes a group of Yoshis (or Yarn Yoshis to be precise) and transforms all but two of them into bundles of yarn for Baby Bowser to use to build a new castle.  The Yoshi’s then give chase to find the pieces of their friends scattered across the various worlds on the island .

The story is pretty standard Mario premise.  Villain kidnaps someone, protagonist goes after them.  But I view this as a pretty nice step up from previous handheld Yoshi games because it separates from the dependency on Baby Mario and Baby Luigi being in the game, allowing Yoshi to go solo and help their own series flourish (plus you don’t have that annoying ‘get hit, hurry and save Baby Mario’ feature anymore).  And that is one thing I really like about it.

Gameplay

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Like previous Yoshi games, Wooly World is a 2D Platformer with combat elements thrown into the mix.  During the journey to rescue the other Yarn Yoshi’s, you’ll be side-scrolling through levels and fighting off enemies and bosses to get from one stage to the next.

First of all, let’s talk about how this is different from the Wii U version of the game.  The 3DS version removed the Co-Op mode, so you can’t do any multiplayer with any friends, though the feature that lets you scan a Yoshi Amiibo to have 2 Yoshi’s under your control to mimic co-op play is surprisingly still built into the game.  Amiibo is another thing.  The number of Amiibo figures that can be scanned for the Craft Yoshi feature has increased significantly since the Wii U game.

The other addition to the game is the new Poochy Game Mode.  As you go through the campaign, you’ll unlock levels in a special game mode where you control Poochy in an Endless Runner to collect coins and Poochy Pups.  Also speaking of Yoshi, the easy “Mellow Mode” from the game that gives Yoshi wings to easily fly through a level has been further enhanced by giving you endless Yoshi Pups to use instead of Eggs/Yarn Balls to further make things easier if you’re having a hard time or are getting this game for a young child to play.

Now, playing the game takes you between Craft Isand and the 6 Worlds the game has you play through. Craft Island has a bunch of things you can do outside of the main campaign, like the Poochy Runner I just mentioned, an Amiibo Shop that lets you scan Amiibo figures, a Boss Tent for re-challenging bosses once you finish the game, and finally the Yoshi Craft hut, which allows you to modify the design on Yoshi.  You can scan Amiibos for Yoshi Designs or you can pick colors and manually draw your own and share them via StreetPass.

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The Yoshi Craft feature really gives this game a LittleBigPlanet feel (and the fact that the graphics and design make everything look like LBP meets Yoshi’s Island).  You have a lot of freedom with this feature.  You can use the standard Yoshi colors from games like Yoshi’s Story, but the fact that you can manually draw and share your own designs is a really neat feature that’s built into the game.

Navigating the actual levels is pretty in tune with what Yoshi fans can expect.  You can jump and flutter around each stage, eat enemies, and then use Eggs to pop open clouds to open new areas or to solve puzzles.  A lot of previous elements return, including the transformation levels, giving you new Yoshi Forms to play as, from an Umbrella riding through the wind to a giant Mega form, similar to the Mega Power-up from Super Mario 64 DS.

One big enhancement from previous Yoshi games is Power Badges.  As you play through the game, you’ll collect coins for points and unlock Power Badges.  These badges require a number of points to use and take into the stage, but can manipulate the stage in a variety of ways.  They could increase your defense so you don’t lose as much health when hit, or they can make you bounce out of pits you might fall into instead of having you die automatically.

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Also, the Yarn theme goes heavily into all of this.  First of all, since all enemies you eat are made of yarn, you get Yarn Balls instead of Eggs, and instead of killing enemies right-away, being hit by a yarn ball will actually tie them up with yarn, allowing you to then bypass or stomp on them from the air.  The environments are also shown here, with sections you can eat through (which unravels the yarn) and light environments you can move and manipulate by pushing against it.

Bosses do this as well, but bosses are the one thing about the gameplay I did not like.  Each boss fight was pretty unique and has its own easy-to-learn boss pattern.  However, the game starts rehashing old bosses with new move-sets pretty early in the game.  Across the 6 worlds there are 12 bosses, and you have a couple boss monsters you fight 2-3 times across those worlds.  It really just feels like they didn’t want to use any other enemies so they just decided to rehash bosses from previous worlds in new ones.

Rehashed bosses aside, there’s a lot to do here.  Each world has 8 stages, so you’ve got 48 campaign levels to trek through, plus half a dozen stages in the Poochy Runner game and a secret stage in every world if you collect all of the flower collectibles.  With each stage varying in length from 5 to 10+ minutes, the game should still last you a good 8 hours or so.

Controls

Controls are pretty simple.  Moving is done with the Circle Pad, but you can also use the D-Pad for movement.  Since this is a side-scroller, I highly suggest the D-Pad for this.  Then the face buttons do most other things.  A is for jumping/fluttering, B is for using the tongue to eat items or enemies, Y lets you freeze your Aim when throwing a Yarn Ball as well as the L trigger.  Finally, the X and R buttons let you start aiming and throw Yarn Balls.

Finally, the touch screen comes into play, too.  It’s not necessary for any platforming, but it does give you easy access to the Power Badge menu and the ability to switch from Classic Mode to Mellow Mode if a stage is giving you problems.

Presentation

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Presentation is the best part of this game.  The graphics on the 3DS look wonderful.  I don’t think I ever saw a single jagged edge when I played through the game.  The whole yarn design came over to the handheld extremely well.  The music came over and fit as well.  The soundtrack is full of incredibly cute music that sticks with the theme but also sticks with you.  I’ve had many of the tracks play in my head well past putting down my handheld.

Performance is the best part of this, though.  Nintendo’s claims of 30 fps on the old 3DS models was no joke.  The game played without a hitch on my 2DS, and the load times are nice and short as well.  You’ll not be waiting more than a few seconds for any part of the game to load.

They did a great job with this port’s optimization.

Summary

Poochy & Yoshi’s Wooly World is a charming and adorable entry to the Yoshi series.  Although multiplayer co-op being removed and rehashed bosses are a downer, it’s only a couple minor blemishes to a great example of how a Wii U to 3DS port can be done right.

8/10

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