Following on from the massive success of Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Nintendo and game developers Good-Feel have been working together once again, and this time around it’s Mario’s little green dinosaur pal that’s getting the fabric-based re-imagining. Yoshi’s Woolly World was officially announced as a part of the big N’s press briefing at E3 2014, and it looks set to go toe-to-toe with Sony PlayStation as Little Big Planet 3 was also confirmed for the PS4 at the annual computer games conference.
Yoshi will be going all wooly in the new adventure, which will be the first time he takes a starring role in a Wii U game and the latest in the Yoshi series, building on last year’s Yoshi’s New Island on the Nintendo 3DS. While the game series has had six releases in the past, Yoshi’s Woolly World is the first since Yoshi’s Story on the Nintendo 64 in 1998 to appear on a home console, so it’s starting to build a fair bit of anticipation.
The game has been slated by Nintendo for a release date in the first half of 2015, which we realise is quite a big window of potential, but if we had to guess when it’ll be hitting the shelves we’d put our money on Easter, so it should be out around the end of March or early April next year. A lot will depend on how quickly Good-Feel can complete development and whether or not gameplay tests mean that any tweaks are needed for the final game before its release.
While the full setup for Yoshi’s woollen based incarnation hasn’t been announced as of yet, what we do know is that his conventional powers of egg making have been suspended as he and everything around him has been transformed into the crimped and stretchy fibre. It’s a very similar situation to Good-Feel’s previous Nintendo collaboration, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, so we’re not entirely ruling out the potential of Yin-Yarn or some other force controlling a magical fabric-powered sock that’s behind everything.
While there are inevitably a few differences as a result of the wooly aspect of the game, the gameplay itself still lends a lot to the origins of the Yoshi series with the green dino using his tongue to catch and swallow anything in his path and fire his way through the side scrolling levels. The most significant difference is that instead of dropping eggs to blast around the place, he converts enemies he swallows into little balls of wool to help him get through the 2D environments.
What this means is that Yoshi can make a range of different types of woolen balls by catching and swallowing small enemies that he can fire at larger enemies to tie them up, before jumping on them Mario-style to finish them off. He can also use the balls to create platforms to walk on and climb up, as well as to target items to create things like wooly plants to maneouvre over.
Because the entire place is made out of wool, Yoshi can use his tongue to grab onto loose threads to unravel seemingly solid areas of the world to find the path to the end of the level or hidden sections. You can also find items like larger balls of wool to roll through a level to clear out the enemies or make a path for yourself, so there’s going to be a lot of environmental interaction in the gameplay of Yoshi’s Woolly World.
From the look of the trailer below, eggs aren’t entirely out of the equation in the game, but they’re not eggs as you might have known them previously. They’re more like little egg creatures with faces that you can fire at fluffy tufts of wool to blast it out of the way or use them to make little cloud bridges to cross.
There are a few other moves that Yoshi has at his disposal during the game and the first of these is an adaptation of his previous flutter jump, but this time around he uses a swirl of woolen yarn to boost his jumping capabilities. There’s also a little section in the trailer that seems to imply that Yoshi can transform his newly fabricated legs into little wheels, but we’ll have to see how much that features in the game, along with any other transformations that he’ll be able to perform.
As with the majority of modern day platformers, 2 player co-op will feature in Yoshi’s Woolly World as you’ll be able to enter the fray as you can choose between the standard green Yoshi and his red cousin to make it through the game. This also gives you the ability to gulp down your fellow Yoshi and fire him wherever you need to, creating an element of interaction between the co-op players and more options for progression through the game.
The graphics are super cute and filled with colour, as you’d expect from a Nintendo and Good-Feel collaboration. There’s also a good level of detail to everything to give it an impressively accurate texture that looks and feels like you’re playing with woolen characters in a world made of wool. They may not be groundbreaking graphics, but they definitely work well in the confines of side-scrolling platform beauty.
From the look of things, Yoshi’s Woolly World is going to be a solid 2D platformer with a lot of fun built into the knit-work. It’s got a cool visual style that isn’t necessarily unique as such with Little Big Planet and Kirby’s Epic Yarn preceding it, but it is probably the best looking we’ve seen this type of textured approach.
In terms of the trailer below, there’s a lot to look forward to, but from our point of view, the element that gives us most hope is the lion dog boss that’s featured at the end of the video. If every area has a boss as cool as that to take down, and they’re well designed from a gameplay point of view, then we should be in for some pretty epic battles before the game is through.