Poochy and Yoshi are back in a craft-inspired pastel adventure! Kamek is up to no good once again, turning all of the yarn Yoshi into skeins and absconding with them. As one of the few Yoshi remaining, it’s up to the player to work through 6 worlds worth of levels and bosses to recover his friends and stop Kamek. Good-Feel and Nintendo released Yoshi’s Woolly World for the Wii U in 2015 while Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World is a port for the 3DS with added features. I will discuss these added features, as well as how the game stands on its own.
Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World is a side-scrolling platformer in the vein of the Yoshi’s Island series. Yoshi brings most of his classic abilities back to the table: flutter-jumping, ground-pounding, and egg-tossing (except now the eggs are yarn balls). Being made of yarn confers some extra benefits as well. When Yarn Yoshi finds certain doors, he enters a vehicle stage where his malleable wool body becomes the vehicle: plane, bike, submarine, and more.
As expected, some environmental detail was lost going from the Wii U to the 3DS, but the colors still pop and the world has retained its crafty feeling. The background music is just as cute as the world. It perfectly punctuates the feeling of soft-and-warm. Play this game with the music on, at least once.
This game is stuffed to the seams with collectibles. In each of the 48+ levels, be on the look-out for five Smiley Flowers, five Wonder Wools, 20 Pencil Patches, and countless beads. Collecting all the Smiley Flowers in one world unlocks a bonus stage. Wonder Wools unlock additional Yoshi skins, while Pencil Patches are used in the 3DS-exclusive Craft Mode. Pencil Patches replace the Miiverse stamps from the Wii U game. Some of these collectibles can be quite difficult to track down without some extra help.
Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World is everything a platformer should be. Each level feels unique in both practice and visuals, despite everything being made of various textiles. The difficulty ramps up at a manageable pace. I never felt there was a huge skill gap from one level to the next, though comparing World 1 to World 4 shows quite the difference. After dying four times in the same spot, usually chasing stray Wonder Wool, my patience started to wear thin. Luckily, Woolly World is designed with a few anti-frustration features. Power Badges are unlocked as levels are completed. Players have the option to spend beads on a Badge before each level (or in the middle of one), gaining abilities like fire immunity, detect hidden items, bouncing back out of pits, and much more. These badges are invaluable for scouring every level looking for every secret. Power Badges can be bought before a level or even in the middle of it, granting that extra boost needed to get through a sticky situation. If that doesn’t work, there’s always Mellow Mode. While Woolly World wants to challenge players, it doesn’t want people to put the game down when they get stuck.
Mellow Mode can be switched on at any time. Yoshi sprouts wings and has three Poochy Puppies following him at all times. Winged-Yoshi can fly through the level, avoiding pitfalls and jump puzzles, while the Poochy Puppies help direct Yoshi where to go next, find secrets, and can be used as yarn balls at any time. Mellow Mode is aimed at players that might not be able to make it through a level unassisted, but still want to see the rest of the game. Through Mellow Mode and Power Badges, Good-Feel has managed to create a game accessible by almost anyone, yet appeals to those seeking a platforming challenge.
The platforming is phenomenal, but the boss fights are mediocre. They simply aren’t memorable, and most are quite easy. Even the final boss will be quickly overcome. For a game with only the bare minimum story, all aspects of gameplay become that much more important. Lackluster boss fights haven’t prevented me from enjoying the meat of the game, but I do stop and think about how much better it could have been.
But What’s New?
It’s important to note that multiplayer mode is not available in this version of the game, but plenty of things have been added and updated. Poochy Dash and Scrapbook Theatre are two new features to Woolly World. Poochy Dash is a mini-game starring Poochy as he non-stop runs to the end of the level, jumping on enemies and dodging obstacles while collecting beads. Each level of Poochy Dash has its own set of mini-goals like popping all the bubbles or not breaking any ice blocks. This mode is insanely fun and addicting. I would play this mode as its own game entirely. Scrapbook Theatre is a collection of stop-motion animations featuring various scenes of Yoshi and Poochy. After viewing, the player is asked a simple question, and if they answer correctly, they are awarded bonus beads. It’s simple and cute, adding a little more charm to the game. Lastly, players can finally create a Yarn Yoshi pattern from scratch (or with collected Pencil Patches) and share their creations via SpotPass. This is a feature I think should have been in the first game, and I’m certainly glad to see it now.
Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World features more amiibo support than the original game. Players can scan in most of their amiibo collection to unlock additional Yoshi skins. Scanning in a Yarn Yoshi activates Double Yoshi mode, summoning another Yoshi that mirrors the player’s moves. I haven’t benefited from this mode, and choose not to use it at all. A yarn Poochy amiibo was released alongside the game. Aside from being downright adorable, scanning in Poochy summons an in-game Poochy wherever Yoshi is. Poochy is invulnerable to environmental hazards and enemy attacks, can find secrets, and bring back Wonder Wool and Smiley Flowers for Yoshi. The ability to use Poochy in any level at any time is quite the power, but not unique to the amiibo. Players can always buy the Poochy Power Badge for 500 beads before jumping into a level. For those who want to double-up on using a different badge and Poochy, or don’t want to spend the beads, the Poochy amiibo will run $16.99 at retail. The amiibo unlocks one more special feature: Time Attack modes in Poochy Dash. Completing these modes unlocks patterns for Poochy. Be warned though, playing with Poochy feels like Mellow Mode 2.0, where most challenge is stripped away and levels become trivial.
Yoshi’s Woolly World is a seriously good platformer. Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World adds some welcome bells and whistles. Woolly World has been criticized for being too easy, but I disagree. Both Woolly Worlds are crafted such that the player has a say in how difficult they want to make it. Playing the game in Classic mode, with no Power Badges, no extra Yarn Yoshi or Poochy amiibo, and hunting down every secret is no small undertaking. With no frills, Woolly World is Nintendo hard. However, there are no achievements and no trophies for playing this way. Whether a player chooses to play entirely in Mellow Mode or use Poochy in every level, they all end up at the same place as the no-frills players. Bare bones, this game takes about 8-10 hours to complete. Industrious collectible-hunters will easily double that time.
I give this game an 8/10 because it is a solid entry into the 3DS library all on its own. As for being a port…I played the original Woolly World when it launched. For me, enough time has passed that Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World felt new again. That being said, there’s not enough reasons to pick it up if you’ve already played through the original. If you haven’t played the original, Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World is one of the best platformers available on the system.