Much ado is being made over Poochy’s inclusion in Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World. I mean, he’s getting top billing over the actual star of the game. After playing the Nintendo 3DS version of the crafty platform, I get it. By putting Poochy, an energetic and helpful dog, first, Nintendo is telling us how this version of the game is intended to be played and hinting at its primary audience. This is an iteration that can be even easier than the original, when the right modes and extras are enjoyed, making it more welcoming for children or people new to video games.
For the most part, Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World is nearly identical to its Nintendo Wii U big brother. The levels are rather intact, though the world map’s layout has been tweaked to fit within the handheld’s constraints. It plays extraordinarily well on a New Nintendo 3DS. If you’re playing on the Normal difficulty level, you’ll experience a faithful recreation of the console game.
When you switch over to Mellow Mode, Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World bombards you with more all the Poochy you can possibly handle. This is the most relaxed version of an already easy mode. In addition to his infinite hover jump, exemplified by angelic wings, the three Poochy Pups join Yoshi on all his excursions. These puppies make every element of the game easier. You no longer need to slurp up enemies or hit blocks to collect balls of yarn. Whenever you need to hit something, you can throw a Poochy Pup instead. If there’s an enemy, like a giant Piranha Plant, nearby, a Poochy Pup will subdue it so you can easily take it out. Whenever there’s a secret hidden away, one of these little dogs will dash to it. You can easily see where everything is.
What’s nice is, while Mellow Mode’s Poochy Pups do make Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World significantly simpler, it doesn’t hand everything to you. Which is why it works so well as an introductory experience. It helps point out areas that would obvious to people more familiar with Yoshi’s Island games, but not for people for whom this might be their first encounter with the dinosaur. The Poochy Pups will help you find things and always have the tools necessary to handle enemies, but they aren’t going to collect or defeat the things for you. You still have to do it for yourself. Combined with the ability to easily switch between the Mellow and Normal modes, it feels like a wonderful way to easy people into the experience.
The supplemental Poochy Dash minigame is another example of Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World attempting to reach out to beginners and more casual players. After completing certain levels in Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World . Poochy Dash courses will appear in the main hub. Each one isn’t unlike a Super Mario Run level, only more brief. Poochy continually runs, with the player choosing when he jumps. The goal is to collect as many gems as possible, as well as reuniting him with the three Poochy Pups. There are the requisite additional challenges to complete for each course, which only appear after completing an area once. It’s a very relaxed experience that can be challenging if you try to 100% complete it or go for a Time Attack mode by scanning the Poochy amiibo, but is mostly low-key.
Even the Yoshi Theater works to make Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World appealing to a younger or beginner mindset. The draw here is how cute Yoshi and Poochy are. These 30 videos give an opportunity for people to step back and enjoy this. People can take breaks from an adorable game to enjoy even cuter animated segments. It further establishes this game as something that’s designed to make you feel as warm and fuzzy inside as those yarn Yoshis.
With this Nintendo 3DS port, Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World is establishing itself further as a kick back and relax game. This is a title designed to make you feel good about yourself and the fluffy world these crafty characters inhabit. The updates to Mellow Mode let you know the Poochy Pups will always help you achieve every goal. Poochy Dash lets you take a moment to focus on the joy that comes from exploring every path and finding every collectible. And, if you didn’t already have a smile on your face, the Yoshi Theater segments will put one there. The overall result is one of the most soothing games you’ll ever play. Which is something everyone, not only beginners, can enjoy.
Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World will come to the Nintendo 3DS on February 3, 2017.