Released back in the summer of 2015, Yoshi’s Woolly World was met with a fair amount of praise upon release – our own Dom described it as “a joyful platformer” in his review. As the Wii U’s stint as Nintendo’s home console reaches its end, it seems that their interim strategy is to bring a few of the standout titles from Wii U to the 3DS. It certainly makes business sense and Nintendo have made a few additions along the way, but the system’s limitations has also corners had to be cut.
Let’s start with the fact that some of the changes were for the better. Gone is the lag-filled overworld of the Wii U version in favour of a more traditional 2D level select. Gone are the frame-rate drops, meaning that the game has consistently good performance. It is still, however, a relatively easy game with a distinct lack of challenge outside of collecting all the collectables.
As for each of the levels, stamps that you use on Miiverse are replaced with pattern designs used to create your own Yoshi skin to share via StreetPass. Amiibo support is also back for those who can use it, while collecting yarns throughout each stage will also net you one of literally hundreds of skins available for Yoshi.
But I digress. The other big change – so big that they change’d the game’s name for it – is the fact that the special stages have been replaced with Poochy stages. You unlock more of these as the game progresses, each with their own set of challenges after first completion.
These levels are essentially runners, so if you’ve seen any of these before, such as Super Mario Run, this won’t surprise you with anything unusual. When you collect a Flower at the Goal Ring, you’ll get a prompt that states the Gold Rush is available, which takes the Poochy stages and fills them with tons of gems to collect. If you have the new Poochy Amiibo, this will have its own effect here, though not one I was unable to test for our review. However, Poochy can also be called upon in stages it wouldn’t normally appear with the Amiibo, so it’s handy to have it on hand.
Another feature that is bring publicised is that Nintendo have created 31 video shorts depicting yarn Yoshi and Poochy getting into all kinds of shenanigans. These are proceeded by a question that upon getting the correct answer rewards you with a small amount of gems. They’re adorable, but the decision to make them available in a piecemeal fashion, available only 24 hours after the last one was played, is mildly aggravating.
With all these extras, it’s important to remember what made the Wii U version so appealing in its visuals was that the resolution allowed for the fibre of the wool to be displayed. Sadly, in its transition to 3DS, a lot of that detail is lost due to the downscaling and compromises for the hardware. It still has the overall theme and Poochy looks as adorable as it did on the Wii U version, but the wool isn’t as explicitly detailed.
Another one of the joys that has been removed from the 3DS version is the lack of local coop, which given that Yoshi’s Woolly World and the Wii’s Kirby’s Epic Yarn were best played with a friend, is disappointing. It would not have been outside the realm of possibility to have coop over local WiFi and certainly for parents playing with younger children, this is a bit of a blow to the 3DS version’s appeal.
To make up for this though, Mellow Mode – where the game gives Yoshi wings as though it were a Red Bull advert, also now includes the Poochy Pups which are used like an endless supply of eggs. They will also highlight secrets for you to find. I will admit that I didn’t really try this mode out a great deal, but for those just wanting a nice relaxed time in finding all of the collectables, they’re an invaluable asset.
Aside from the visual downgrade and lack of coop, Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World is a faithfully recreation of the Wii U original for the 3DS. It is still a vibrant and appealing game, especially suited for younger children. For older gamers, hunting all the collectables for 100% completion is where the game gets challenging. Coming to handheld devices has hurt the game somewhat though.