Yoshi’s Woolly World
The first impression anyone will get from Yoshi’s Woolly World is that it’s a child’s game: and you’d be correct.
Nintendo has positioned the Yoshi games as platformers for younger children for several iterations now. It really began with this title for the Wii U, which also has a “Mellow Mode” to make the game even simpler for those smaller tykes who may be playing alongside their parents.
Mellow Mode makes this game almost too boring to want to play, unfortunately. The regular mode may bring it back to speed with the “Island” series of games (which offer a far greater challenge) but the repetitiveness of Woolly World can, and likely will, get to more mature gamers.
With that said upfront, this is still an enjoyable game with superb art direction, graphics, audio, and controls. The style of the game is at the forefront, as noted in the title, everything is geared toward yarn – think grandma’s knitting – as Yoshi creates “yarn eggs” now, and unravels enemies and secret areas like kittens playing with a ball of yarn on YouTube.
Throwing yarn balls at “invisible” outlined targets covers them in yarn to complete necessary platforms or unlock areas of the level.
It’s a really cool mechanic that fits well within the Yoshi genre – so well, that I think this game is underrated and overlooked due to being too simple at times (and ignored by more serious gamers).
Yoshi, himself, operates in the same manner as Island games, however, there’s no babies on Yoshi’s back anymore – your life is a circular heart meter similar to the timing mechanism in previous games when a baby was knocked off of Yoshi’s back.
The game is geared toward completionists, with plenty of replay value… if you want to actually grind through and replay it.
I found collecting every flower, piece of yarn, rubber stamp and more to be monotonous. However, some of it may be necessary to proceed later in the game.
Collecting everything will unlock a different color or “themed” Yoshi which you can swap to play as – a pretty cool reward if you ask me.
Poochie also makes a cameo appearance along with some other familiar Mario characters. (The various types of Shy Guys are especially cool.)
In all, Woolly World is an enjoyable, but super easy romp. Like most Wii U games it’s lost to time for a console that didn’t sell well. Unlike some of the best Wii U games, this one wasn’t reissued for the Nintendo Switch, instead getting a port to the 3DS which doesn’t hold up as well graphically (but is aimed at a better, young target audience of that handheld console.)
If you have the ability to check this game out, as a fan of Yoshi games or simple platformers – or have a kid that’s getting into gaming, this one is highly recommended. Hardcore gamers can safely bypass this as it won’t be their cup of tea.
Splatoon for the Wii U will go down as one of the most overlooked and often forgotten titles of the console’s life cycle. Due to the low sales of the system, and no re-release for the newer Nintendo Switch (which received the sequel) I feel as if most people will never realize how great this first game in the series truly is.
Granted, the big sell of this title is online play, something that Nintendo was never strong at but excelled with Splatoon. But there’s also a charming 27-level single player mode which deserves a lot of credit as well.
The game starts in a plaza where you choose which modes you want to play, including the online or offline options. It also includes some other interactive modes, with a customization shop that features ways to change the appearance of your “inkling”.
From there it’s the inklings versus the squids in a bright, colorful game that I can only describe as Goldeneye meets paintball – yes, 007 had a paintball mode, but the goal if this game is completely “splat” your opponents while covering each world with brightly colored paint.
Naturally, your opponents want to do the same, turning each skater-style park into a turf war of two colors.
A number of painting weapons are at your disposal and each operates in such a strategical way that you’ll end up with a style unique to yourself. You can hone a simple ink gun or go with a giant paint roller – or perhaps you like different bombs which can explode upon impact or on a timed interval.
No matter the way you go about the campaign mode, each level builds upon different skills you learn to master the game. Even the motion controls of the Wii U gamepad (which can also be disabled) feel natural over time.
By the time you get to the final boss, which is one of the longer battles I’ve encountered in a game of this style, you must nail everything – and it never feels too frustrating either. Rather, you will be on the edge of your seat as the adrenaline rush kicks in and a sense of accomplishment upon completing the game.
If you have access to a Wii U, Splatoon is something I highly recommend. The Switch sequel is in much of the same vein, but you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t check out the original. It’s an absolutely gorgeous game with bright visuals and a thumping soundtrack that’s easy to get addicted to.