Published Nov 05, 2015For all of Nintendo's dramatic ups and downs over the years when it comes to their consoles, what have remained consistently excellent over the decades are their first-party games. That is especially true when it comes to their side-scrolling platformers, for which the House of Mario established a winning formula back in the mid '80s that's never stopped paying off.
So it's not a surprise that Yoshi's Woolly World — a spinoff title starring the Italian plumber's dinosaur pal Yoshi, who first appeared in 1990's SNES title Super Mario World but hasn't had his own console title since '97 — is incredibly fun and quite clever. The surprise is that Nintendo didn't actually make it themselves.
Though they published and quality-controlled it, Nintendo handed the development reins over to the appropriately named Japanese studio Good-Feel, the good folks behind similarly successful Mario spinoff Kirby's Epic Yarn. Once again, they took a handicraft-inspired approach to their graphics, turning the familiar Mushroom Kingdom-esque world into one built entirely out of yarn and cloth.
The brightly coloured, textile-based visuals give the effort whimsy that makes it still feel unique despite LittleBigPlanet mining a similar handmade aesthetic nearly a decade ago. It also affects the gameplay itself, with egg projectiles transformed into balls of yarn that tie up enemies, or hidden areas accessed by unraveling threads. (The optional real world Amiibo collectible Yarn Yoshi is also made of wool and unlocks special gameplay features.)
If the cute overload art design didn't give away the all-ages appeal of the game, it also features nicely implemented two-player co-op — like swallowing your friend and spitting them into otherwise-inaccessible areas — so you can help little loved ones.
Oh, and while there's never a time limit in order to maximize exploration, there is a special "mellow mode" that gives Yoshi the ability to fly to make it even easier for little kids (or stoners). (Nintendo/Good Feel)