Style and Substance
When people are asked “What is the most important part of a video game?” many will answer “gameplay,” some might answer “story,” but almost none will answer “art style.” Just look at the majority of modern video games, with their diverse colour palette of brown, grey and more brown, and you’ll see my point. The majority of video game developers just don’t care as much about creating a unique art style, but that’s what sets Yoshi’s Woolly World apart. Unlike its other AAA counterparts, Yoshi’s Woolly World’s aesthetics are what makes it so special and distinct. So while Woolly World doesn’t exhibit the deepest story, or most consistent level design, its colourful, cute and charmingly knitted design more than makes this game a worthy addition to your gaming library.
Personally, talking about a story in a Nintendo game in 2015 feels redundant, in fact the first time I wrote this review I missed the story completely. It’s that important!
Once upon a time, in a land far far away there lived the Yoshi’s and they lived a very happy life. Until one day Kamek kidnapped all of the Yoshi’s and turned them into wool, so now Yoshi has to travel across many different lands to save her friends… blah di blah di blah. You get the idea: Yoshi’s Woolly World’s story is as deep as a kiddie pool.
Yoshi’s Woolly World looks beautiful in crisp 1080p. Everything looks handcrafted and homemade – in a good way – with the majority of models having a slightly fuzzy outline to exaggerate their woolliness. The handcrafted backgrounds are creative and interesting, making well-trodden world tropes feel fresh and new again.
Sadly, Woolly World’s musical score is far from impressive: it’s boring, bland and repetitive. I feel like the soundtrack tries to be too ‘cutesy’, and it comes off as plain and boring when compared to other modern Nintendo soundtracks, i.e. Mario Kart 8, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds etc.. Don’t worry, Yoshi’s Woolly World’s soundtrack is ten times better than the monstrosity that was Yoshi’s New Island’s excuse for music, but when I only recognise a game’s main theme, I think we have a problem.
Moreover, Yoshi’s Woolly World is incredibly good value, with its 50+ levels and plethora of collectibles, this game really gives you bang for your buck. The collectibles actually mean something: wool creates alternative Yoshi designs, flowers unlock new levels and stamp stickers unlock Miiverse stamps. This helps give the player a real sense of achievement and a feeling that they’re actually making progress, instead of just increasing a counter. This paired with how well hidden the collectibles are creates one of the most rewarding games to 100% complete on the Wii U.
However, the level design can be a bit of a mixed bag. Some levels are amazing, with some of the best level design I’ve seen in the last couple of years. Nevertheless, other levels can be slow and monotonous and are frustrating to play. The amazing level layout definitely outweighs the bad, but there were times when I wanted to stop playing after a particularly frustrating level.
Yoshi’s transformations are back and better than ever. Throughout Yoshi’s adventure, she will transform into a mermaid, bike, umbrella and more. All of the transformations are fun, easy to control and interesting to use, but more importantly they feel different, adding variety to Yoshi’s Woolly World.
The Verdict 8.3 out of 10
Yoshi’s Woolly World is easily the cutest game I have ever played, but it’s the little touches that make it special: the way Yoshi’s feet knit into wheels when she gains momentum or the way she unravels her legs when she jumps. This game is extremely creative in the way that it uses its wool aesthetic, and if this game was judged purely on looks, then it would easily be getting a 10 out of 10… but they aren’t. Sadly, at times Yoshi’s Woolly World’s level design falls flat, and while it has many moments of brilliance, levels can be incredibly frustrating. Nevertheless, with its challenging collectibles, woolly aesthetic and varied gameplay, Yoshi’s Woolly World is definitely a great game and is definitely worth your time. In fact, I’d go as far to say that it’s easily the best Yoshi game since the original Yoshi’s Island on the SNES, if not better.
For more information about what the score means, check out our official review scale.
Lucy Pallent is an Associate Editor at MONG. She is a girl gamer from a rock in the middle of nowhere and is the world’s biggest n00b. She likes Nintendo, JRPGs and food. Feel free to follow her random ramblings on Twitter.