Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World Makes Yoshi's Best Adventure Totally Portable
Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World for the Nintendo 3DS may not be as beautiful as the 2015 Wii U version of the game, but it's just as fun—and even more packed with awesome features that'll keep you playing even once you've beat the game.
If you missed Yoshi's Woolly World for the Wii U, it was a side-scrolling platformer featuring yarn versions of the Nintendo icon Yoshi within a DIY-inspired world. The new game, releasing on Feb. 3, brings it to the portable 3DS system with all 55 original levels plus a bunch of add-ons, and I got the chance to play it before its release.
Welcome to Yoshi's Woolly World
The game begins with the yarn Yoshis hanging around, peacefully minding their own business before the magical baddie Kamek turns up, transforming most of the Yoshis into spools of wool. Once he's gone, it's up to the survivors to team-up with their friend Poochy the dog to go on an adventure and save their friends.
In some ways, the gameplay here is pretty similar to classic Yoshi titles like Yoshi's Island and Yoshi's Story. Traditionally, Yoshi flutter-jumps his way through worlds swallowing up enemies, which allows him to lay eggs, letting him shoot those eggs back at bad guys and obstacles.
But Woolly World takes place in a gorgeous world where everything looks like it was painstakingly crafted by hand. The levels appear to be made of felt, yarn, beads and other DIY staples, so the gameplay changes accordingly.
Like Yoshi, most of the enemies in the game are made of yarn. When Yoshi lashes out at them with his tongue, they unravel into balls of yarn, which Yoshi uses like eggs as his projectiles. They're great for stopping bad guys in their tracks, turning platform outlines into solids, and hitting winged clouds to find hidden secrets along the way.
And because Yoshi is made of yarn, his movements aren't exactly like they were before. When he does his flutter-jump, his legs morph into lifting propellers, and when he runs along the ground, they turn into wheels.
If you spot a loose string in the environment, Yoshi can grab it with his tongue to unravel and unblock a path. Other hidden areas are covered by imaginary walls or can be pushed back to reveal goodies.
Speaking of goodies, there's a lot to collect within this game. Each level has five hidden spools of "Wonder Wool," which are actually the component parts of the kidnapped Yoshis from earlier. Collect all five and you can recombine them to turn them into another Yoshi character you can play as during your adventure.
Certain levels also have special areas where Yoshi uses his yarn power to undergo awesome transformations. Yoshi can be everything from a motorcycle, to a mole, to a giant Yoshi, putting a cool new twist on the gameplay.
You'll also be collecting Smiley Flowers and Pencil Stamps, and you'll also be rewarded for beating the level with full health. The game may start off simple, but the challenge increases steadily as you move toward the end. If you're a completionist like me and you want to grab every last collectible, you'll have to tread slowly and carefully—and it'll take a while.
But it doesn't all have to be a big challenge. Totally new to the Nintendo 3DS version of the game is a "Mellow Mode" that makes the game easier for new players. It introduces an adorable mini version of Poochy called the Poochy-Pups who can sniff out secrets and goodies to help Yoshi along the way. They can also be shot at enemies like yarn balls. Mellow Mode also turns the player into a winged Yoshi who can stay in the air longer and navigate more easily during through jumping areas, and it can be toggled on and off even in the middle of a level.
And if things are still tough, you can trade beads you collect throughout the levels for Power Badges. These grant the player special powers, like the ability to spit watermelon seeds or fall into chasms without consequence for the duration of a level. More and more Power Badges are made available as the game progresses.
And if you're ever running low on beads, the game also has a "Yoshi Theater" where you can watch an adorable new Poochy and Yoshi clip every day for 31 days. At the end of each clip is a quiz, and you get beads for providing the correct answer about the video you just watched.
Make Your Own Yoshi
One of my favorite features of Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World is the customization aspect. First off, every Yoshi you put together from Wonder Wools has three color variations you can choose from.
Even better, you can design your very own custom yarn Yoshis. Pencil Stamps unlock more patterns you can use in your designs so you can personalize Yoshi to your heart's content. You can make up to 10 and share them with friends via StreetPass. Here's one I created myself.
Amiibo figurines also contain their own adorable Yoshi patterns. Test your own Amiibo with the game to see what they unlock!
When I saw the yarn Yoshi Amiibo figures a couple of years ago, I thought that their level of cuteness could never be matched.
A new set of #amiibo figures made of yarn will launch later this year with Yoshi's Woolly World. #NintendoDirectNA pic.twitter.com/CgP1cx5gYD
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) April 1, 2015
I was super wrong. Poochy has easily dethroned those precious Yoshis.
A yarn Poochy #amiibo figure will launch alongside Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World on 2/3/17. #NintendoDirect pic.twitter.com/huxbxveS4T
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) September 1, 2016
Luckily for us, all of the yarn Amiibo figures are compatible with the new Nintendo 3DS title. You can use the yarn Yoshi Amiibo to store your favorite re-knitted Yoshis. Bring them into the game with you for a helpful Double Yoshi. This second onscreen character can also be swallowed up and thrown as a yarn ball.
The yarn Poochy Amiibo—which I can't wait to get my hands on once it's available Feb. 3—has a few uses. Firstly, you can bring Poochy into a troublesome level. He can grab goodies, help you traverse across treacherous levels and more.
He'll also unlock challenges in a new 3DS mode called Poochy Run where Poochy runs across the screen collecting beads. If you can beat Poochy's special challenges, you can unlock more looks for Poochy, too.
Overall, Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World is pretty much everything you'd want out of a Wii U port to the 3DS. If you're most concerned with the graphics, this probably isn't your game—but with tight, replayable gameplay, a memorable soundtrack with cute effects and new features that make the most of what the Nintendo 3DS can do, it'll impress pretty much everyone else. Check out the trailer below and grab your own copy on Feb. 3 for $39.99.
Can't get enough of classic Nintendo games? Click HERE to find out which titles we can't wait to play on the Nintendo Switch.