Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Jorge Ba-oh 01.02.2017 1

Review for Poochy & Yoshi

Nintendo's adorable dinosaur adventurer returns in an expanded tale for Nintendo 3DS. Building off the Wii U release, which originally hit the platform back in 2015, the new game adds a wealth of new content for a Yoshi adventure on the go. The flutter-jumping, ever-grinning and always hungry dinosaur is back in the spotlight, but just how does the 3DS version handle compared to the original? Is Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World the handheld Yoshi adventure than fans can unravel on the go, or is it a case of another tale that'll become extinct rather quickly?

When looking through Nintendo's expansive roster of games, there are always a selection that have to make the cut with every new console release. Some work on both handheld and in the living room, and others are just more suited to the portable realm that Nintendo commands so well. When it comes to Yoshi, the poor dinosaur has had a mixed set of games since the critically acclaimed Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island on the SNES more than two decades ago. Yoshi's Story and Yoshi's New Island fell a little short due to their diluting of the much loved formula, but Yoshi's Island DS and Yoshi's Universal Gravitation resonated far better with fans. This time round, the new game - for Wii U and now Nintendo 3DS - was penned by the studio responsible for Kirby's Epic Yarn, Good-Feel. All eyes were on the team, and Nintendo, to produce what would have inevitably been the first home console Yoshi title since 1997's Yoshi's Story, and one of the few without Baby Mario at the helm.

Right from the very first push of the Circle Pad and steps into the vibrant, intricately detailed world, there's a surge of retro familiarity. Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World instantly feels like the Yoshi games of old, revitalised for the current generation. Play as Yoshi as he travels through challenging, side-scrolling platform stages, gobbling up enemies and using their, well, processed bodies as projectiles to unlock secrets within these worlds. Much of the precision and movesets from the Yoshi's Island titles remain intact, where Yoshi can ground pound, flutter jump and use his tongue to latch onto nearby enemies. This particular style of play is just synonymous with Yoshi games, much like how Mario and Kirby's movesets are what fans look for in those franchises.

Screenshot for Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World on Nintendo 3DS

It isn't just an-all out classic affair for the ickle dinosaur, though, as Good-Feel has expanded on the classic egg mechanic. This time, eggs are yarn balls, and rather than just using them solely as projectiles to collide with objects and baddies, these play a more intriguing role. Introduced from the very opening stages in the game and becoming more prevalent in later levels, the woollen balls can grab up larger enemies, form platforms and warp pipes, and even spawn item boxes. It allows you to have a deeper use for pointing and shooting, and a better connection with the way the landscape has been designed. Even some enemies behave differently to their more traditional ways, keeping things renewed, but not veering too far from what works.

Beyond this, Good-Feel has introduced a transformation mechanic, where Yoshi can morph into the likes of an umbrella, mole or even a motorbike in more controlled side sections within levels. It's an interesting way of keeping the action fresh, much like a similar approach in the Donkey Kong Country series, and achieves a good balance by not being too excessive or gimmicky.

Screenshot for Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World on Nintendo 3DS

Whilst the overarching aim is to get from A to B and save fellow Yoshis, one of the key selling points of most - if not all - Yoshi titles throughout the last twenty years has to be the collectible nature of the games; a platforming staple that is prominent throughout Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World, and even more so with the Nintendo 3DS release. The original Wii U edition had a fair bit of content to uncover and collect - colourful patterns, bonus mini-games and more are scattered throughout the adventure, with even more bits to nab on 3DS.

Those finding it a little bit tricky this time round, or perhaps are being a wee bit lazy, can use the new Poochy Pups feature - charming little puppies, presumably Poochy's children, who can be summoned when playing in the game's "Mellow Mode." By toggling this difficult level on (even during the gameplay itself), the action switches to a more relaxed approach, and out come the frantic little pups, who are useful for sniffing out missed secrets. Mellow Mode is a neat touch, especially for younger players, and something that's fortunately not shoehorned in and completely optional - for those who want to go the whole hog. It does make things a fair bit easier, something Nintendo attempted with Yoshi's New Island's difficult level, but this game achieves a far better balance, and the ability to toggle between standard and Mellow is a good touch.


 
Despite ticking the boxes when it comes to gameplay, the storyline in Yoshi's Woolly World is a little forgettable, if not somewhat bizarre. A familiar wizard, the evil Kamek, decides to randomly visit a knitted island full of adorable Yarn Yoshi one day and turns the peaceful critters into bundles of yarn for Baby Bowser. Two Yoshis, our protagonists, manage to avoid being transformed and decide to rescue their friends by travelling the world and stopping Baby Bowser's plans to become as big as his father. Yes, a platforming game doesn't need to command a storyline with character progression and reams of dialogue, but there does need a drive that pushes players towards that end goal. It's a bit of an odd move, given the whole world is literally made of yarn - Kamek could have, quite easily, flown about ten feet and had a wad at his disposal. Plot point, yes, but a little niggle in an otherwise solid setup.

Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World continues the amiibo support from the original, including the new Poochy amiibo, with the adorable pup leaping into action to help Yoshi out of a tough spot. The Wii U designs, including new ones from Animal Crossing and Splatoon, are also available, letting you spruce up Yoshi with an array of colourful patterns from familiar franchises. It's a neat touch that adds that extra level of customisation into the mix without detracting from the main experience: saving the lost Yoshis!

Screenshot for Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World on Nintendo 3DS

Poochy also takes on his own adventures in a series of new and exclusive stages, letting players dash across levels to collect gems - speedrunner style - plus Time Attack missions for those craving an even greater challenge. These stages are almost like little gems themselves; simple takeaways from the main experience. These wouldn't quite work as a standalone game, but do sit nicely within the Yoshi universe, and are a neat way of getting in some quick game time - in some ways leaning toward the Super Mario Run formula.

Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World maintains the charming, colourful art direction from the Wii U original release, a vibrant and interesting world to discover and - quite literally - unravel. Those who have played and enjoyed Kirby's Epic Yarn or Yoshi's Story will feel right at home - the world is stitched together in both a visually appealing and structured way. These elements, combined with the game design, seem to have a purpose because of the interaction Yoshi has with the world. It isn't an intense, physics-based, open world destructo-thon, by any means, but going through the environments, there are plenty of examples of well thought-out elements.

The game runs just as well on the handheld, with some minor detail drops, maintaining the solid animation style. Those who like to engage in stereoscopic 3D, which isn't talked about so much, will like how Good-Feel has implemented the effect - something that does work particularly well with side-scrolling games. It is still a bit of a challenge, in general, to find that sweet spot, but less so with Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World. To complement the visual experience, the soundtrack's vibes match - it's jubilant, bubbly and certainly very Yoshi.

Screenshot for Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World is packed to the brim with content. It goes beyond a simple port by incorporating intuitive gameplay tweaks, from Poochy's helpers to customisable yarn patterns. It's a charming, well designed platformer that draws plenty of influence from Yoshi's golden years, but expands on them with cleverly executed mechanics. There are times where there may be a tendency to lean, just a bit, towards more gimmicky concepts, but these are maintained in such a way that it fits within the adventure in a natural way. Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World is the definitive release, and a solid return to form for a dinosaur who was on the brink of becoming extinct on handhelds - again. A must-have for any 3DS owner who enjoys and appreciates the classic side-scroller.

Developer

Good Feel

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Brilliant on Wii U and even better now it's on 3DS. I love what they've done for this update, rather than just doing a sloppy port. Now...I wonder if Nintendo would ever let Good-Feel loose on a Zelda game in this style. Could you imagine it?! Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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