What is Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World?
Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World is an enhanced 3DS remake of Yoshi's Woolly World, a 2D, side-scrolling platform game that originally saw release on the Wii U. Set in a world made of yarn, the game begins when a meddlesome wizard, known as Kamek, sweeps through the land and Yoshi-naps the population, turning them all into balls of wool and scattering them all over. As the one remaining Yoshi, it falls to you to head off after Kamek, and teach him a lesson, rescuing all your knitted Yoshi pals along the way. A simple, puzzle-filled platformer in a similar vein to the Kirby games, Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World is a cutesy adventure for all ages and abilities.
How do you play Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World?
As a platform game, most of your time with Poochy and Yoshi's Woolly World will be spent making your way from one end of an obstacle-filled course to the other, leaping from platform to platform while taking out any enemies you encounter along the way - usually by swallowing them using your long, sticky tongue!
The game's woollen theme is more than just an aesthetic choice too, and throughout your adventure Yoshi will need to use wool balls - obtained either by unravelling enemies, or by opening specific wool baskets - to solve simple puzzles. Whether you're taking out a particular enemy by pelting it with a ball, knitting in a missing platform by chucking a wool ball at the dashed outlines you'll sometimes come across during levels, or using a well aimed ball to pick up some hard to reach collectibles, there's a wide variety of ways to put your wool balls to use. One level even sees Yoshi having to repeatedly knit and unknit a chain chomp enemy in order to get through the level - when 'naked', the chain chomp will follow you and attack, but when knitted up again, it turns into a solid ball you can roll along, through previously unbreakable obstacles. Pretty clever! Hidden collectibles and secrets can be found along the way too, either by going off the beaten track, or by meeting certain criteria, with five bundles of Wonder Wool hidden in each level, unlocking new 'outfits' for your Yoshi to wear.
How easy is Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World to pick up and play?
As with most of the previous Yoshi games, Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World is a fairly straightforward platformer that doesn't rely on pixel perfect jumps, one hit kills or super fast reactions - and the game even has several features that are designed to make it easier for newcomers to pick up and play, should you still find it a bit hard going. At any point, during any level, you can switch to 'Mellow Mode', an easier difficulty that gives Yoshi wings and the ability to glide near-indefinitely, letting you line up the trickier jumps with ease. You can also call in the titular Poochy Pups to lend a hand, who'll sniff out hidden secrets for you in levels, while also doubling up as an infinite supply of wool balls - great for if your aim is a bit lacking and you tend to find yourself running out of wool at inopportune moments.
While Mellow Mode does help you line up your jumps that little bit better, though, it doesn't make Yoshi indestructible, meaning enemies can still defeat you. With infinite lives, it's not too much of a problem, but the game's checkpoints aren't all that close together, meaning you may have to replay some sections multiple times should you mess up, sometimes having to re-do tricky platforming segments in order to have a second go at a boss.
For the youngest of players, there's very, very little reading involved here for the most part, although some short story sections do feature unvoiced conversations. That said, these conversations have no bearing on the rest of the game whatsoever, and can be skipped over with no ill effects.
Sample sentences include:
- "Welcome to Craft Island, a tiny place in the middle of the Handmade Ocean. Life here for the Yoshi clan is nothing but peaceful and leisurely."
- "Is that you, Yoshi baby? You can chase me, but you're not getting the yarn back! Say hello to Big Montgomery, and say goodbye to your chances of winning!"
- "Fine! Burt, hitch up your trousers and GO BUST UP THAT YOSHI!"
As a "port" of the Wii U version, Poochy and Yoshi's Woolly World is nearly identical to its Wii U predecessor, offering the same set of levels, and a few extra bonus features. There's a handful of "infinite runner" style Poochy Dash bonus levels, where Poochy legs it through the levels of his own accord, and you just need to tell him when to jump in order to grab some extra jewels; and great selection of stop-motion animated shorts, which unlock the more you play; and the ability to give Yoshi a custom paint job using a basic paint package!
With nothing untoward whatsoever, Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World is as fluffy and inoffensive as its title suggests. There's no bad language, no sex scenes and no bloody violence at all; combat simply involves latching on to the knitted enemies with your tongue and unravelling them, or pelting them with balls of wool, at which point they simply fall apart into their constituent threads and fade away.
Format Reviewed: Nintendo 3DS