If there's one thing that stands out amongst the current console generation - on the Playstation 4 and Xbox One particularly - it's the sheer amount of remakes, definitive editions and HD remasters we've had. Having seen other companies are onto a winner, even Nintendo are at it now, deciding to tread water until the launch of their brand new home console, the Switch, by releasing 3DS versions of popular Wii U games. First came Mario Maker, a game which was fun, but not quite as fully featured as its console bigger brother (as we found in our review) - and now, the incredible Yoshi's Woolly World has got itself a 3DS outing to boot.
A remake of what is perhaps one of our favourite Wii U games of all time (up there with the likes of LEGO City Undercover and Super Mario 3D World), with exactly the same collection of levels, Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World brings everyone's favourite green dinosaur thing to the 3DS, in an epically woolderful adventure. Sadly missing the co-operative multiplayer that made the original so great, but with a number of new features to boot, it's game that's great to have a quick blast on if you're out and about, but one that probably isn't worth buying again if you already own the Wii U version.
Much like the original, Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World is Nintendo at their finest, creating a simple platformer that's choc full of collectibles, puzzles and cutesy craft-themed charm. From the adorably knitted Yoshi, to Shy Guys that proudly brandish crocheting hooks, to the ability to defeat an enemy by unravelling its trousers with your sticky tongue, the titular Woolly World is more than just a name. Set on Craft Island, a paradise where the woollen Yoshis live, a knitwitted Kamek sweeps through the skies and unravels 99% of the population, turning them into wool balls and scattering them across the land. Fortunately, a plucky young Yoshi survived, and heads after Kamek, determined to put all his friends back together - and that Yoshi is you.
Not one to go in unprepared, Yoshi has a whole arsenal of moves at his disposal, and you'll need to make use of all of them if you ever hope to rescue your friends. Alongside Yoshi's trademark flutter jump, which nets you a bit of extra air time after each leap, Yoshi can also unravel enemies with his tongue, before pooping/laying/who-knows-what-ing them out as balls of wool. These woollen 'egg' balls will trundle behind you through the levels, and can be thrown at other enemies to defeat them, used to knit in missing platforms, or as a convenient way to pick up out of reach collectibles.
As with Woolly World's spiritual predecessor, Kirby's Epic Yarn, Yoshi has a few unique transformations up his sleeves too, which see the knitted protagonist completing short "bonus" segments having knitted himself into a vehicle of some sort. Whether you're gliding through a course as an umbrella, looping the loop as a motorcycle or smashing up everything in sight as the Yoshi equivalent of Godzilla, things happen at a much faster pace here, as you have a time limit to contend with too - but they do serve to break up the more slow-paced, puzzle-focused platforming fun. Be warned, though - beating the time limit and picking up every last bead and collectible along the way can be a bit of a challenge!
To add a little bit of replay value, each stage also has four separate bonus objectives for you to complete - on the collectible front, there's five balls of wool hidden in every stage (which can be reknitted into alternate colour Yoshis), and five Smiley Flowers to find too. Twenty 'Pencil Patches' can be earned too, by completing various mini-objectives, such as collecting a set of beads or defeating a particular group of enemies, while the final bonus mission simply involves finishing a level with full health. Its the kind of thing that will see you going back to past stages to try and 100% them, particularly in the case of the Yoshi wool balls and Smiley Flowers - with the former giving you new Yoshi outfits to use, and the latter opening up a bonus stage in each world if you get them all.
If, like us, your platforming skills leave much to be desired, then Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World has just the thing for you - Mellow Mode, an easier difficulty with a number of assists, now with a number of improvements over the Wii U original. Granting Yoshi a permanent pair of wings, it powers up his flutter jump to eleven, letting you hover in mid-air pretty much indefinitely; just the thing for lining up a tricky leap, or waiting for a moving platform to slide back your way. New for the 3DS version are the Poochy Pups, three adorably miniature versions of our new favourite Nintendo character, who, in addition to sniffing out any collectibles along the way, also double up as an infinite supply of wool balls for Yoshi, so you never have to worry about missing out on something because you've used up all your wool. Mellow Mode also comes in handy if you're struggling with a particularly tricky platforming section, as it can be switched on and off at any time, as and when you need it - ditto for the Poochy Pups, who you might not want spoiling the collectible hunt.
There's a couple of other nice additions to the 3DS game that almost make up for the lack of co-op - almost. Poochy Dash gives you a number of short "infinite runner" style stages in which Poochy simply legs it across the screen, and you only need to tell him when to jump in order to collect beads, jump on enemies and rescue your puppies along the way, while the new Craft Mode lets you design your own Yoshi 'costume' for use in the levels, either by choosing from a selection of predetermined prints for each part, or designing your own from scratch through a funky makeshift paint program. But arguably the cutest new feature is the Yoshi Theatre, in which you can watch a number of adorably animated Yoshi and Poochy shorts, which cover everything from teaching Poochy to fetch, to his love of cake, with a quiz at the end earning you bonus beads if you get the question correct.
In all, Yoshi and Poochy's Woolly World is an adorably brilliant platformer that mixes a cute knitted world with some solid puzzle-filled platforming and oodles of collectibles to keep you coming back. However, it is still very much the same game that hit the Wii U, missing the co-operative multiplayer, but with a few nice new additions to make up, in particular the Yoshi Theatre animated shorts. In the end, it boils down to what's important to you - if you want the option to play with a friend, the Wii U version is still the way to go, but for those that want some portable Yoshi fun, or those who've not played the original, then Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World for the 3DS isn't going to disappoint either.
Format Reviewed: Nintendo 3DS