If you said that Yoshi’s Woolly World reminds you of Kirby’s Epic Yarn you’d be right. Both games feature a unique art style where the entire world is made out of yarn and both look like game’s my grandma would make (and my grandma knows a thing or two making adorable videogames). Yoshi’s Woolly World is very much a spiritual successor to Kirby’s Epic Yarn and earlier this year I got a chance to try it out for myself.
Much like Epic Yarn played like a traditional Kirby game, Woolly World plays like a traditional Yoshi game. Gameplay is more exploration based; the levels I played were much more expansive than those in Epic Yarn and secrets were everywhere. Continuing in the series’ tradition, all of Yoshi’s traditional moves return. He has his flutter jump that gives you a bit of extra air, the ability to eat enemies (an unravel them as you do so) and the egg throw. The egg throw is particularly cool in this case since it allow Yoshi to change the environment slightly – hitting greyed out platforms with one of Yoshi’s eggs causes the egg to unravel and become the platform.
The stages actually change as you play, too. By hitting the question clouds all sorts of things could happen, such as giant flowers springing up and becoming new platforms. This really gives the sense that you’re playing in actual world and not just a static backdrop.
One thing I would not expect from Woolly World is difficulty. While it’s often hard to judge a game’s level of challenge based on a few early stages, based on it’s pseudo-predecessor I think it’s safe to say that we’re not exactly looking at Demon’s Souls here. Kirby’s Epic Yarn, while a lot of fun, was also incredibly easy. However, Yoshi games are known to have difficulty spikes now and again but they never get too challenging. Although this also wouldn’t be the first Yoshi game that stayed fairly easy throughout (I’m looking at you, Yoshi’s Story). Then again, the game’s producer Takashi Tezuka has said that the game is not going to be easy, so the difficulty may yet surprise us.
Unbelievably, Woolly World actually looks better than Epic Yarn. Rather than everything being made of simple strings of yarn, all the characters and environments looks like they’re fully formed 3D characters made entirely out of wool. The effect is so convincing I’m pretty sure they actually did create wool figures and scanned them into the game. This is true of everything in the game – characters, enemies, items, and environments. It’s really a sight to behold and even when not playing it I was enraptured just looking at it.
If there’s one genre that Nintendo does well, it’s platformers. It may be shaping up to be easy, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to be fun. At this point, even if Yoshi’s Woolly World stays exactly as it is, it will be worth playing just to see it in motion. Either way, we’ll find out when the game releases next year.