Hands-On Preview: Yoshi’s Woolly World
Yoshi’s Woolly World pulls no punches with its yarn aesthetic. The character you control, the enemies you face, and the landscapes you traverse are all yarn-based, save for the piranha plant. Nintendo has really committed to this visual style, and it pays off wonderfully.
In Yoshi’s Woolly World Eating enemies unravels their make-up, and they pop out of Yoshi as little yarn eggs to be thrown into enemies or traced out pieces of the environment that need to be filled. You will frequently come across bags of infinite yarn balls for you to utilize, in case you already wiped out all the enemies nearby. Yoshi can only carry a certain amount, and if you’re not careful with aiming the ball of fabric, might need to backtrack and gather more to progress. This is because you will often come across platforms that need to be filled in, using yarn obtained from the aforementioned baskets, enemies, or by sucking up and throwing your cooperative partner.
The game also features a multitude of secrets to be found, whether hidden behind yarn that needs to be unraveled, sections obscured from view, or passages that require you to push a wall farther in. Other areas are more obvious, such as a cloud that has such depth it is obviously a platform to run on.
In these secret areas you will obtain both flowers (equivalent to Mario’s Stars or large Gold Coins) and pill-shaped icons which will help you unlock abilities for progression later against larger enemies. Yoshi has his own stomp move, and a floating jump that has his body turn into a square rock and propeller respectively.
When playing with another player, you won’t want to get too far ahead as being off screen for too long results in death and having to wait for your partner to release you from the winged egg you reside in.
There are some depth of field tricks, such as gems being shown in plain sight but not obtainable until you cross onto the other side. Tricks like that can leave you jumping endlessly as you wonder why the gem isn’t being added to your score.
Amiibo have some functionality in Yoshi’s Woolly World, with all standard Amiibo unlocking a special skin for Yoshi’s woollen body. The Yarn Yoshi Amiibo, however, will summon another Yoshi that you control at the same time as your main character. The feature plays much like the clone mushroom did in Super Mario 3D World, and can also cause a bit of trouble when the two get separated during tricky platforming segments.
The feature does have an upside though, as having two Yoshi’s available means when one dies, you won’t get booted back to whatever previous checkpoint was activated. Instead, it’ll appear again as a floating egg, and can actually be turned into that egg whenever you want using the Gamepad. Yoshi’s Woolly World‘s use of the gamepad is just identical play of what is on-screen.
Everything shown so far has been the usual impressive platforming adventure Nintendo is known for. Yoshi’s base moveset doesn’t seem exhaustive at first, but the special abilities and the environments you will come across will create their own unique scenarios as you travel across the cute yarn world inhabited by dinosaurs and shy guys.
While I am disappointed it is not as soon as the Australian, United Kingdom, or Japan release, Yoshi’s Woolly World will come to North America on October 16, 2015.