Wait, you haven't played one of the most adorable games on Wii U? Well, this portable version is fine, too!
Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World takes one of most beloved games on Wii U and tries to create a portable version out of it. At first, this can be a cause for worry. Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS was pretty stripped down and Hyrule Warriors Legends felt like the lesser experience. Nintendo's track record of Wii U ports is nothing to truly shout about, so you can understand why people would be cynical. But then you start playing Poochy & Yoshi and realize that it doesn't matter anymore. The experience might not be perfect, but this entry is a perfectly fine substitute for the Wii U game.
Outside of the lesser visual fidelity, all the things you liked and disliked about Yoshi's Woolly World are here. The adorable story is of a clan of Yoshi (and Poochy!) living peacefully on Craft Island, a small island in the Handmade Ocean, whose peace comes abruptly to an end when Kamek shows up and turns most of the dinosaurs into various sets of yarn. Two Yoshis and Poochy manage to escape and pursue the trickster with all their might. As Kamek finally manages to escape, he drops yarn everywhere, and the fluffy friends go in at once to save their friends. It isn't deep, but is quite charming nonetheless. Due to graphical changes, it is told with a 2D world map, instead of the 3D hub that was on Wii U.
The 2D world map is where you see the first big change in the game. As you go forth from level to level, you can no longer freely roam the environment and will simply move to what's next on the road map. While some might miss it, I actually think it is better to instantly keep going and give the next level a gander. The change helps streamline the game for on the go as you can hop in, play a level and close the system. The levels might be slightly long in the tooth, but the 50+ stage package is impressive, and it doesn't make any compromises. I found myself enthralled by walking, running, jumping, pulling bows in the environments, transforming in different forms and so much more. Sadly, the load times haven't really seen a clean up for the Wii U and feel a little lengthy at times.
Throwing yarn balls is still what you do most in stages. You will need to attack enemies, destroy question bubbles and even use them to create platforms. The Wii U game would let you use a Wii Remote in the sideways position, which allowed you to tilt the controller for more precision. For the Nintendo 3DS, they found a solution to replicate this freedom of control: you can now tilt the system to accurately throw your eggs while performing other moves with the buttons. The possibility to flutter jump while you aim and press the R-button creates a solid flow. You can opt out of this by simply using the buttons which makes it more play like a traditional Yoshi game. The solution they have come up with isn't ideal, but I do see the appeal and used it more than I would like to admit.
For younger players, they found enough of a reason to revamp the Mellow Mode option, offering a more robust guided experience. Alongside the wings of the Wii U entry, you are helped by the Poochy Pups. These adorable critters will automatically run towards harsh enemies or secrets soyou can deal with them effectively. This helps players find more hidden trinkets within the levels and fully finish levels at a quicker rate. While I don't see much personal use for it, I can understand why people would like that option available to them. Many people found 100%'ing the original a frustrating ordeal, but that’s fixed right here and now. It doesn't make some of the recycled bosses throughout the adventure any better, though.
The collectibles have seen changes as well. Instead of the challenge minigames, there is now the brand new Poochy Dash mode, which sees Yoshi's best friend running automatically to a goal. It is up to you to collect beads, jump off enemies in quick succession, pop a bunch of balloons and collect the Poochy pups that are scattered around. While they are cute at first glance, there aren't many Dash levels, even when you purchase a Poochy amiibo. You will only get additional missions, which unlocks costumes for the puppy. While the roles of the beads and Wonder Wools haven't changed, the other major difference can be found with the Stamp Patches. Those have been replaced by Pencil Stamps, which grant you access to crafting materials that can benefit the creation of your own Yoshi. This is way deeper than it sounds, and I found myself trying to create something abstract. The tools are straightforward to use, which makes it more fun to toy around with the feature. Sadly, there aren't many sharing options as only StreetPass is available to you.
The last new inclusion are the 31 Poochy and Yoshi short videos. They depict the every day lives of the pair as they play, interact and go about their day. The videos don’t last long, but end with a trivia question that will earn you beads. Now I would love to say that they are incredible, but the quality is rather inconsistent. Some are charming, while others leave a lot to be desired. As they unlock every 24 hours, I don't exactly feel that they are a great reward for visiting the game every day. You can constantly skip the clock a day and unlock them, but that isn't worth the hassle. What doesn't help matters is that these shorts aren't even in 3D, which would have made it a lot better. The regular game does support this, despite it being not exactly build for the Nintendo 3DS. While the quality can't exactly compare with a console release, 60 frames per second on the New Nintendo 3DS is an impressive feat to be seen. In its own right, Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World performs beyond expectations on the handheld.
Who is Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World meant for? Well, the people who haven't played the game yet. With the Wii U’s well-known fate, there are likely plenty of newcomers out there. This particular crowd is getting an incredibly solid 2D Yoshi platformer --one that not only performs quite well, but also offers additional trinkets over its original entry. The veteran will, however, more than likely skim over this one as the new stuff doesn't entice a secondary purchase. Next to that, the developers didn't exactly fix many problems, outside of making Mellow Mode more useful. Personally, I also slightly prefer to play it with a Wii Remote. The attention is on the ''slightly'' part of that sentence, because I still found the same enjoyment as before. If you are up for a meaty platformer, Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World will keep you entertained throughout February.