As if the adorable Mario sidekick couldn't get any cuter…
Lost amongst the big, brassy reveals of Hyrule Warriors, Splatoon, and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS were many quieter Nintendo announcements, but none of them were any less important. Slipped in amongst the reveals were long-awaited titles, unexpected entries, and unusual ideas, one of which featured everyone's favorite dino sidekick, Yoshi.
Yoshi's Woolly World, shown last year as Yarn Yoshi, blends the mechanics of the Yoshi platformer series with the yarn-based artistic style of the critically-acclaimed Kirby's Epic Yarn and produces a crapload of adorable. I mean, Yoshi registers high on the AWWWWWWW-meter to begin with, but as a knitted character? Let the squeals begin.
I was very happy to find that the familiar mechanics and gameplay of great games like Yoshi's Story were still retained in Yoshi's Woolly World. Yoshi still swallows up his enemies, but instead of turning them into eggs, they're turned into yarn balls which Yoshi can use to tie up other enemies, knit together platforms, or break down other parts of walls. My favorite element was that although the art style had changed, the platforming and puzzling challenge of the Yoshi's Story series remained, leaving me to scratch my head a couple of times while figuring out how to progress, with pleased exclamations once I did.
New to the series is the first opportunity for couch co-op, allowing a second Yoshi to join in the adventure. Co-op had a bit of a Battletoads-type feel to it; though players can't damage each other, they can get involved in each other's gameplay, including swallowing the other player in order to carry them around, shoot them up to higher ground, or just generally be a troll. The mechanic led to me and head honcho Anthony Severino shouting things loudly in public like, “Where the hell did I go?” “I think I ate you!” “Spit me out of your mouth!!” (Mrs. Severino, it's not what it looked like. We're just friends.)
Along with games like Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker and the recently-released Pushmo World, Nintendo has another title that proves cute can still be challenging in Yoshi's Woolly World. Anthony and I, for those who haven't seen our pictures, are both big, grown men, manly men, and yet Yoshi's Woolly World reduced us to giggling six-year-olds. It's ridiculously fun and unashamedly so. The yarn-style artwork looks like you can reach out and stroke it to feel its fuzziness. It actually makes me want a yarn Yoshi of my own. Though I'm sure it will be a target of ridicule, since those who like solid platforming action will have quite a tale to spin (pun intended) come the first half of 2015.