After a poor showing at E3 I was considering selling my Wii U.
It’s in no way a bad console. Every time I’ve loaded it up I’ve had a good time with it and it has some incredible exclusives. There just seems to be nothing on the horizon and although games like Mario Kart 8 and Super Mario World are some of the best the company have developed, they’re not games that I consistently play.
One thing was holding me back. I have a kid and he’s started noticing videogames. I try not to force it on him. Not that I think they’re a bad influence - I’m just trying to let him find his own things he likes and not force my hobbies onto him.
It doesn’t help that I tend to play violent games. Coming off the back of Bloodborne
and The Witcher
I was used to playing when he’d gone to bed, so when Yoshi’s Woolly World
downloaded it was nice to enjoy a game that I could play in front of him and not worry that his innocent little mind would get corrupted.
The title screen booted up and the music began. His eyes widened and he wandered over to me and sat on my lap. For the next half an hour or so we sat taking in the cute visuals and incredible music without making a sound.
initially feels like a spin-off. It uses the same template as the Mario
games, a platformer with collectables, although everything seemed a lot calmer than in those games. The platforming was easy, the enemies were laying around as if they couldn’t be bothered to attack you and I was past World one in no time.
I initially had the feeling that this was a training game for kids. Teach them the basics of Nintendo platforming without challenging them so that they could move on to the proper games when they’re ready for the challenge. There are no lives, no run button to hold down and, with Yoshi’s ability to momentarily hover in the air after a jump, you have a safety net when trying to make a difficult jump.
But as I continued through the game Yoshi’s Woolly World
evolved into a challenging platformer that will test any level of player and is filled with the same love and attention that the plumber’s games have.
As seems normal for a modern platformer from Nintendo, each level has it’s own unique idea and plays with it. From non-linear levels to cute woolly dogs, the player is asked to constantly react to the new element the level introduces and manipulate them to uncover secrets or just make it to the end.
The levels are filled with collectables. Much like 3D World
’s green stars. Here you have to collect five flowers and five balls of wool, which just so happen to be your Yoshi friends split into hundreds of pieces. With ten items to collect you’d think that they would be easier to find than stars, but that’s not the case.
Levels in Yoshi’s Woolly World
are bigger than they are in Mario
games, and not just in length. Some levels have a incredible amount of alternative routes through them and hidden areas become puzzles as there is more than one way to unlock them.
There are also gems to collect which, unlike in Mario
, keep an ever-rising point total that can be spent on power-up badges at the start of every level. These can help with anything from surviving falling into a pit or making the games hidden items more viable - a much better system than simply adding an extra life.
Some secrets require chucking wool at them, others need a arse stomp while some even ask you to deal with enemies in specific ways to get past your obstacle. Initially this is where the challenge lays for the experienced gamer. Collecting everything in the first two worlds isn’t easy and will be your main task until you hit world three.