Video Game Review – Yoshi’s Woolly World

Our pal Kit writes and reviews stuff sometimes! This is one of those times.

So… Incredibly… Cute…

Lately I’ve been keeping myself busy with Yoshi’s Woolly World. I played the earlier Yoshi games when I was younger and thought it’d be fun to give the latest one a crack. I mean who wouldn’t want to be a green dinosaur that consumes nearly every living being in its path, digest them and then throws the waste product at its enemies? Oh, and it can also defy gravity, transform into vehicles, a giant Godzilla-like version of itself and there’s two of them at any one time in this game. Yeah, Yoshi sounds pretty terrifying on paper, but this is still very much a family game, aimed at everyone from kids to their parents, and even nostalgic 20-somethings happy to run around a bright and colourful world to take a break from the gritty realism or hyper violence that so many games offer (yes, this is me, still a 20-something for two more years and desperately trying to ignore the passage of time!).

Anyway, I’ll run through this review in the same way I have other games before! I won’t be including things like plot as I’m still just a couple of worlds in so can’t judge on that front.

 

External Bits!

Packaging/Design: This really sets the tone for the game, it’s bright and colourful and oh so damn cute. Get used to that word; it’ll appear a lot in the rest of this review. I picked the special edition with a woolly Amiibo. The game looks fun, but there’s nothing truly outstanding about this I’d argue, it wasn’t a box I thought was worth keeping. 7/10.

woolly world 3

Woolly Amiibo: This, I like. I have a couple of the normal plastic Amiibos and I love what they’ve done with this woolly one. It’s basically a little soft toy, it added £10 to the cost of the game for the special edition, considering most Amiibos are £11+ I’d call that a pretty good deal. There is no base to the Amiibo and the data chip is in its butt. It works perfectly well with other games such as Smash Bros. as well and in this game gives a single player a duplicate helper who runs around after them, so if you’re a single child or have no friends you get to pretend you have your very own sibling or best buddy now! 8/10.

woolly world 2

Overall: 7.5/10.

 

Game!

Graphics: Cute. So. Damn. Cute. The game starts with an image of Yoshi and Poochie the dog holding hands. EVERYTHING is yarn… and cute… yeah… this will either make you love or hate the game I think, some people are put off by the cute graphics, they are clearly designed to engage kids more than anything, but as an adult I still kinda like them. They do lose a couple of marks though as some people won’t pick the game up thanks to its overly cutsie feel. 8.5/10.

Sound: Cute sounds too, songs that blend into the background as such but seem to be stuck in your head hours later, they’re fine but nothing special. 7.5/10.

Gameplay: There are a few things to take into account here, as this is a two player game I’ve been playing this game with my (much) better half, who’s still fairly new to video games and hasn’t played a platformer like this before.

I picked the game up very easily, I’ve completed the previous Yoshi games so this wasn’t much new to get the hang of, I find it fun and I like the fact there is a more challenging element to the game. True, you can run through the levels in five minutes, you can’t really die as you have infinite lives and literally a kid with some practice could do this. But, if you want to pick up everything on the way, all the hidden bits it’s a bit harder, so far it’s still fairly easy to do, but I can see this being tricky in later levels. When I asked her how she found it, she said it did take her a little while to get used to if you have zero experience with this sort of game, but she’s picked it up and enjoys playing it.

I’ve also given this game a go in its one player form. Same levels and challenges, but if you scan a Yoshi Amiibo you get a buddy! He stands behind you and you control both at once, press right they both go right, jump and they both jump. I like this mechanic, it takes a moment to get used to and it’s easy to get one of them hurt or killed by accident sometimes, but it gives you an interesting way to solve puzzles and be in two places at once.

Still, once I’m done with this game I’m not sure it’ll have much replay value and I don’t see it as something everyone will engage with. 8/10.

Overall: 8.5/10.

If you want a cute, fun game this is pretty much perfect.

Overall-Overall: 8.0/10

Kit

 

Toys to Life: It’s Aliiiiive!

Kii talks about the joys of playing with toys and videogames AT THE SAME TIME!

Today I’m going to discuss with you one of the newest genres of game. Yes, it’s for children. No, I do not have any children and yes, I have spent a significant portion of my adult earnings on it. I present to you ‘Toys to Life’.

Toys to life means just that, you have a toy and via the wonders of technology that toy can be animated and move around all of its own accord. The catch being, that it needs to happen via a videogame system that usually has an added ‘portal’ attachment (handily sold alongside the games). When I was a child the idea of my toys being able to frolic and converse was the stuff of dreams but for the children of today, you can almost expect them to do it.

Let’s take the newest venture into this field, Nintendo’s Amiibos. Amiibos are small models of your favourite Nintendo characters which work with a variety of games. You can get your Pikachu and teach him how to murder everyone swiftly in Smash Bros and his little programmable AI will remember. You can then pop him into your pocket, go over to your friend’s house and watch them cry as your adorable electric mouse cuts them a new one. Link can unlock new weapons in Hyrule Warriors and the Mario crew will all have their own game boards for the upcoming Mario Party 10.

01Amiibos

Samus, Link and Pikachu

What surprised me most was not the vast game coverage that one Amiibo can give you but the advanced planning that Nintendo themselves have had. With the Amiibos there are no portals or stands, the NFC (Near Field Communication) reader needed to port your long-loved friends into your system is already built into the Wii-U. They built the tech into the console in 2012 for stuff that they weren’t releasing until 2014. They sat on that announcement for two years and in a tech industry that’s a helluva long time.

02DisneyInfinity

Stitch, Elsa, Gamora and Vanellope

Our next big hitter in the Toys to Life category is Disney Infinity. DI heavily pushes the ‘Toy Box’ aspect of their game where players can build their own environments for their hoard of characters to run around in. Because of this, the core game itself doesn’t really have much in the way of gameplay without purchasing a character that comes with its own stage and it was this marketing style that initially put me off the franchise. However, since playing Disney Infinity I feel that it definitely wants to be more ‘Minecraft’ about its experience. In the instructional early game, I played a mini game where I was taught some basic coding via the use of a Disney ‘Magic Wand’ which made the concept of different parts of the stage I was building ‘talking’ to each other much more accessible. Anything that teaches you how to code in an easy way always wins some brownie points no matter what age it’s aimed at.

Trap Shadow, Eye Brawl, Rattle Shake, Stealth Elf and Hot Dog

Trap Shadow, Eye Brawl, Rattle Shake, Stealth Elf and Hot Dog

Then we have the game series that arguably created the genre and in my opinion a shining example of what to do with a licence acquisition, Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure. Skylanders has the widest variety of models and the most games under its belt with currently four incarnations. Each evolution of the series adds a new type of model, so there are even more to collect, but thankfully all of the older models will still function in the newer games. Something which I’m sure made some parent/child arguments much easier. The following is a re-enactment.

“But you already have lots of Skylanders, dear”

“Yeah, but I can use all the ones I already have in this shiny new game which gives me something new to play with whilst not incurring further costs AND it means I won’t abandon the old toys, thus wasting your previous expenses”

“Oh well that makes perfect sense, here’s my credit card”

Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s what kids talk like. Though, it’s really a lie because you have to have all of them. The game design in itself is very clever in making sure that you have more models than you need. For example, the second game is called ‘Giants’ hence the new models were much larger than the standard ones. In the third game ‘Swap Force’ there are areas within the levels that are only accessible by Giant Skylanders and so you can never sell your previous collection for the new one just in case you need it. The story of the Skylanders games follows a traditional action/adventure style like the original Spyro and so you want to 100% every damn level to make sure that you have every damn piece of treasure and magical ship part there is. Hence, you need every single model in case of a mystical ‘limited access’ door emergency.

04SwapForce

As you may have gathered, the gimmick for 'Swap Force' in that they can swap. Pictured are Trap Shadow and Rattle Shake who swap to become Trap Shake and Rattle Shadow.

As you may have gathered, the gimmick for ‘Swap Force’ in that they can swap. Pictured are Trap Shadow and Rattle Shake who swap to become Trap Shake and Rattle Shadow.

So, is there a superior game? I don’t think so. Nintendo and Disney have their lineage to back them up and Skylanders pretty much invented the concept. If you ask a child if they want a Pikachu, Elsa from Frozen and a molten puppy they (And I) will say ‘Of course I do, gimme!’

06Gimme

Ok, but why does this appeal to adults so hard? Well, a gripe that I have with many children’s games is when they’re designed as ‘Children’s games’ as opposed to ‘Games that happen to be fine for children’ by which I mean, when developers put in less effort because they patronise their audience in assuming that being a child means being an idiot. This is something that these three franchises don’t do and instead they focus on making their games actually enjoyable, thus they have gained an additional adult audience. This is something the developers obviously want and encourage because lets be serious, you need a damn good wage to be able to buy all this shit.

If you need me, I’ll be with my toys.

Kii

Kii3: An E3 Round Up

Kii brings us her round up of last week’s E3 expo!

So, the huge event of the summer is here. I am, of course talking about E3 and not the other thing with the kicking. There is an awful lot to cover and people will obviously look into the areas that they care about most; however, I’m going to sum up the conferences and announcements that were my favourites or that I feel need mentioning. Compared to last year the only conference that stayed steady was Ubisoft, everyone else has fluctuated from massive improvement to down right ‘Why did you guys turn up?’

  • Ubisoft:

Ubi have had a very strong conference every year since they picked up Aisha Tyler as a show host. Most of their on stage team don’t read from autocue and appear to be genuinely passionate about what they’re doing.

  • Sony:

Sony… What? The brotherly spats between Sony and Microsoft have always irked me as in my opinion; the joys of your company should speak loud enough without having to shit on your competitors during press conferences in the hopes of gaining more sales. Last year, Sony were not quiet about how little Microsoft talked about games compared to the other entertainment functions of the Xbox One. But this year they have a conference that is almost exactly that, very little time given to games and the game announcements they made were either not Sony exclusives or timed exclusives at best. Disappointing.

  • Microsoft:

Actually talked about games! And quite a variety of them! I was impressed by the range of genres covered in the MS conference instead of just shooty, shooty, halo halo. Also there was Halo. I’m not enthralled by the Super Master Chief Boner Collection but I would rather they do that instead of releasing an anniversary edition of every friggin game before releasing Halo 5. Some of the speakers for games were clearly on their first day out of the office and I really want to find a video of the guy turning WAY before camera cues to some sweet techno.

  • Nintendo:

Mother. Fucking. Zelda. Reddit has already exploded with conspiracy theories. Nintendo really showed up in comparison to last year. I feel like they’ve found their legs as a company now that they’ve realised that the gaming market has changed significantly since they started out. They made a bunch of great game announcements, specifically ones that people really care about and really wanted to see, though there were a couple of announcements that maybe should have been made in the main Nintendo direct instead of in their ‘Tree house’ event afterwards. A new Starfox game being mentioned off-hand took the entire audience by surprise.

  • EA:

EA seemed to forget it was E3? It’s like they flipped the calendar and suddenly went ‘SHIT!’ Barely anything they showed was beyond concept art including an announcement of Bioware’s new IP which seemed to be ‘Hey look, we rendered a tree’. If you’re going to tease, give me a teaser, if you’re going to announce, make a proper announcement. What was delivered instead just felt unprepared.

 

And now, what we really care about: VIDJA GAMES.

 

  • Scalebound:

DMC meets How to Train your Dragon. Sassy Punk kid with Dragon BFF fighting giant monsters. Oh, he can also ‘Flame on’ with matching dragon scale armour at will. It looks pretty, looks fun, seems to have a good sense of humour and also hints at multiple dragon classes and Co-Op/Multiplayer. My friend Timber literally threw his wallet at my TV.

  • Assassins Creed Unity:

It’s in France, looks fluid and you can have some good times with your chums in four-player co-op. The new Assassin sounds pretty good though the controversy of how much work it would have been to render some playable ‘Wimens’ I think they’re called, is tainting it a bit for me. Personally, it’s the first time I’ve cared for AC since Ezio’s introduction game but Ubi, don’t tell me that you can’t even be bothered to reuse your female multiplayer model to make one of the four assassins a Lady-face. Though they would probably give her Assassin garb a Boob Window.

  • Shape up:

Fitness disguised as a game is the right amount of psychological manipulation and competitiveness to trick me into doing cardio. It looks hilarious with things such as graphics of heavier and heavier items being put onto your back during a push-up challenge and a DDR cardio work out.

  • Sunset overdrive:

The humour of Saints Row, numerous ways of killing people of dead rising and the fluidity of movement of a Tony Hawk with some kick ass tunes. I was flagging on Sunset Overdrive due to it not being released after being announced at 2013 E3, however, the development team arrived in costume on a giant bus with a zombie/mutant on the fender. Yes. It’s bright, colourful and has comic book-esque POW, OUCH and BOOM graphics. Yes. Yes. Yes.

  • Amiibos:

Nintendo are very good at manipulating our addictive personalities hence why Pokemon has been going for so many years. Nintendo’s new idea is Amiibo, which are small models (similar to Skylanders) that you can add into various Nintendo games. Your little Amiibo is an A.I that you train yourself and thus even if you and your friend have the same one, they will fight completely differently. Oh yeah, you can make them fight each other and your friends. You can also fight them yourself by popping them into Super Smash Bros which is meant to provide a harder challenge than the Wii-U A.I. Essentially, you have your own friggin pokemon. A POKEMON THAT CAN LOOK LIKE LINK. I’M CALLING MINE WIGGLES.

Kii