While there have been a few exceptions to the rule – Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D and Monster Hunter 4 – the majority of the big Nintendo 3DS releases are on the cuter side of the spectrum and the latest release, Poochy And Yoshi’s Woolly World, kicks things up to eleven. It’s another side scrolling platform romp featuring Yoshi and he’s got his newfound canine pal Pooch with him for the whole textile-rich adventure.
Taking its cue from Yoshi’s Woolly World on the Wii U, the new 3DS title continues with Yoshi in the starring role with no limelight-hogging Mario anywhere to be seen. It’s got significant similarities to the earlier Yoshi’s New Island, which originally brought the Yoshi platformers to the 3DS, but without Baby Mario on his back, but luckily Yoshi will have Poochy with him for company.
The UK release date for Poochy And Yoshi’s Woolly World has been confirmed for the 3rd February 2017, so it’ll be the first big platform adventure game of the year. There’s very little else out this early in the year, so if you’re craving something new, this is one of your few options. As ever with modern day consoles, you’ll be able to buy either a physical version of the game or you can go for the digital download option.
Where Mario adventures invariable start with the arrival of Bowser on the scene, Yoshi platformers kick off with the nefarious ill-doings of his magical underling, Kamet. This time he unleashes his mischief on Craft Island leaving Yoshi and his woolly pal Poochy with little recourse but to head on a mission to sort the whole thing out and return tranquil relaxation and fun to the handmade paradise.
The gameplay style is classic side-scrolling platformer with Yoshi as the lead character in a wool rich environment. Pretty much everything is made of knitting, so Yoshi’s tongue lash move can do everything from gobbling up baddies and pooping them out as balls of wool to unthreading walls to find new routes through the levels.
As is the case with Yoshi’s Woolly World on the Wii U, you use the woolly dragon droppings to fire at enemies to take them out, or at blank platforms to fill them in. With the Nintendo 3DS, you can use motion controls to aim your yarns of wool by tilting the hand-held console to get the angle you want. He’ll also be able to flutter jump to reach hard to reach platforms.
To make the game more accessible to all gamers, there are two main modes to the game. Classic mode is the standard run through without safety harnesses, but in Mellow mode Yoshi gets the added death avoidance of a pair of wings, a lot more hearts to find and Invincibility Eggs after your fifth fail at a course. You’ll also have the help of Poochy Puppies trotting along beside you to sniff out secrets and ways through a level, keeping enemies in check and as spare throwing material.
In addition to Yoshi’s standard running, jumping and tongue-flicking mode, Woolly Yoshi has a few more tricks up his sleeve during in-level sections when he travels through a Transformation Door. Here Yoshi turns into everything from a motorbike to a bouncing umbrella, a mole and Mega Yoshi (a giant Yoshi that can barge through everything).
However, it’s the addition of Poochy into the mix that really transforms the game. You can use Power Badges or the Yarn Poochy amiibo (sold separately) to call him into action during the game to help you along the way with a ride on his comfy back. However, he’s also got his very own stages called Poochy Dash, where you race through courses to collect beads, burst balloons and collect Poochy Pups along the way.
The other big addition to the game is the ability to create your own Yoshi and share it via Street. It’s a quirky paint-style tool that means you can make a Yoshi with your own style and colours.
It’s not cutting edge, but it’s as cute as it gets with the kind of slick animation and unique features that Nintendo is known for. It probably does as much as it can with the processing power constraints of the 3DS, but in general it looks pretty nice. There’s also a feature called Yoshi Theatre where you can watch little short videos of Poochy and Yoshi going about their everyday lives. It’s like the knitwear equivalent of Celebrity Big Brother.
If you like cute, family friendly platform fun then Poochy And Yoshi’s Woolly World is bound to be a winner. It looks as though it’s going to be a fairly decent continuation of the Yoshi gaming series with a lot of new features to help it stand out a little from it’s predecessor on the Wii U.