Poochy & Yoshi’s Wooly World is the latest in Nintendo's Wii U to 3DS porting party. Yoshi’s Woolly World first came out in 2015, and I'm honestly incredibly happy that we've been given a 3DS version.
You don't need to have played the Wii U version to enjoy Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World, in fact you don't even have to have played a Mario game in the last decade to enjoy it. Instead, just take in the bright colours, fantastic level designs and the huggable yarn yoshis.
The story between the two games is the same. The yarn yoshis are having a good time on their island when Kamek, the biggest jerk of all the Magikoopa, kidnaps a bunch of yoshi for Baby Bowser. It's your job to jump, pummel, and eat your way to victory in order to get your friends back.
The yarn world is unique to the two Woolly World games, and in many ways it changes the way in which you see this particular Mario world. Instead of producing eggs after swallowing enemies, Yoshi creates balls of yarn. Playing as a yarn Yoshi just feels right.
You get the choice of two different game modes. There’s Classic, which is hard but doable as with many Mario platformers. There’s also Mellow, which takes away most of the difficulty by giving Yoshi wings. The latter also gives you the fantastic Poochy Pups. These tiny yarn pups follow you around, pointing out secrets and sometimes attacking enemies. I’ve never really wanted a dog, but if I got one, a Poochy Pup would be choice number one.
Sadly the Poochy Pups do make it a lot easier, and as the grown up I am, I struggled more with the thought of playing the game on easy. An extra mode – either more difficult for those who played on the Wii U, or one where you could toggle certain aspect of Mellow Mode on or off – would have been amazing. I want adorable Poochy Pups, but not unlimited wool and wings.
From treetops, to snowy mountains, to castles overridden with moles, you can expect unique and well designed levels. I can't stress the last part enough; I don’t think there was a single level I disliked, regardless of how bad I was at it. Each one allows you to fully explore it without feeling rushed, meaning there’s a real sense of accomplishment when you find all the collectibles.
One of the collectibles found in each level are small spools of wool which make up your friends. Collect five and you’ll be able to reknit a yoshi with a unique design. You can play as any yoshi you've saved or switch it up with an amiibo. My personal favourite was Link yoshi. Zero Suit Samus was slightly terrifying.
Along with the launch of the game, Nintendo released a yarn Poochy amiibo. Aside from being adorable, this amiibo allows Yoshi to ride him as well as giving you time trials in select stages. The 3DS version also has improved amiibo compatibility, so most of the amiibos that have come out over the past two years work with the game. Sadly, my Chibi Robo is not one of them.
If you don't have any amiibos, don't worry. You can design your own yoshi, though expect a sharp learning curve. My first custom Yoshi was N7 themed and he looked absolutely terrible. I love him for it though, so he's still my go to yoshi.
One of the main differences between the two games is the addition of Poochy levels. These are unlocked when you play through the main game. While they should be an amazing attraction to make people buy both the 3DS and Wii U versions, they fall short. They are standard runner levels where you collect as many gems and pups as you can, with Poochy moving at his own pace and you making him jump. They’re not exactly bad, and I enjoyed the change of pace they presented. They don’t pull you in though. There’s no need to collect every little item, and I wasn’t bothered if I didn’t get everything I needed to unlock a Poochy level.
While the Poochy levels aren’t the attraction a title change implies, what’s more disappointing is seeing the multiplayer co-op mode taken away. It kind of makes sense, given the 3DS is a weaker machine built for solo play. Something akin to Mario Party: Star Rush’s multiplayer, which allows people to play mini games together, could have really made Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World stand out from the Wii U version though.
The disappointing Poochy levels and lack of multiplayer aside, I had a lot of fun with Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World. That’s coming from someone who has a love hate relationship with platformers that leans more towards the hate side of things. If you’ve never played Yoshi’s Woolly World before, then you’re in for a treat. If you have, then you know what to expect; It’s still the same great game.