One of the best surprises of E3 2014 was that Yoshi’s Woolly World, a game revealed in January of 2013 and one I thought was a known commodity, would have two player co-op gaming. The game allows each player to control a Yoshi and run through the level together. After getting hands-on time with the game I came away with a smile and very impressed. Its the best co-op I’ve seen in a platformer yet.
Some of my fondest memories in gaming involve playing 2D platformers cooperatively. From Sonic 2 as a child to New Super Mario Bros. U, I’ve always enjoyed jumping on the heads of my allies to cross gaps and reach high ledges all while causing chaos on-screen. Yoshi’s Woolly World brings a new brand of disarray into the genre due to a staple of the series: eggs.
The key mechanic in the Yoshi series has always been the usage of eggs. Yoshi is able to throw eggs at enemies and even swallow enemies to produce more eggs. When you apply these mechanics to cooperative play it creates a special play environment. Trust me, you’ll never forget the first time you poop out your friend into a bottomless pit. It will happen, the first time it might even be an accident. Regardless, it will inevitably set off a chain of events that leads to each playing getting the other back for their past and future indiscretions. It’s a lot of fun and something that couldn’t happen in more serious platformers like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze where lives are too valuable to waste.
The co-op shines in other places than just childish tomfoolery since one of the main draws is finding all the collectibles in a level. The game is full of hidden items tucked away in hard to reach corners. This is when having a partner comes in handy. After swallowing up your fellow yoshi you can then throw him to hard to reach places. This can really speed up the process of finding items and it always helps to have a second pair of eyes when searching high and low for gems.
So while there are two ways to play the game cooperatively, be it recklessly or seriously, both ways are a lot of fun. Yoshi’s Woolly World was impressive both visually and mechanically during my short hands-on time and I can’t wait to play more of it when it releases exclusively on the Wii U in 2015.