Yoshi's Woolly World, the new yarn-themed adventure starring Yoshi, allows two-players to team up for co-op — which can sometimes turn into borderline-trolling competition.
During our hands-on time with the title, we played with a friend in a level set among the clouds. These two Yoshis had to find ways to climb blocks, bridge gaps between floating platforms and take out angry Piranha Plants together. Towards the beginning of the level, we encountered a Paratroopa that we had to knock out of the sky with one of many baby chick-creatures in order to steal its shell.
Throughout each level, Yoshi will amass a following of tiny white chicken-like creatures that will trail him in a straight line. This chicks can be "captured" by stomping on the heads of their mother hens, getting them out of the picture and allowing Yoshi access to their nests of chicks. These nests appear frequently throughout levels, giving Yoshi plenty of opportunities to replenish his line of fluffy living projectiles. To throw them, players must face the direction in which they want to throw and allow a moving cursor to line up with their mark. When ready, players can toss a creature and take out an enemy with the press of a button.
Throwing these creatures also leaves a trail of white clouds through the air for a short period of time. Yoshi can run up along these cloud trails in order to walk over an enemy or bridge the gap between floating platforms. My co-op partner and I used this method to cross several areas of our level, narrowly missing the hungry, snapping mouths of Piranha plants.
After knocking down the Koopa earlier, Yoshi was able to eat its shell and then spit out at a Piranha plant, effectively killing it. This allowed us access to a secret area hidden with the blocks on the lowest level of a floating platform. Within this secret area was a small spool of orange yarn with a smiley face on it; Yoshi will be able to collect more yarn throughout the game, though what special functions this yarn has are still unclear.
From here, the platformer continues to be only mildly challenging but still fairly charming: the level of detail and care that went into crafting a world that looks like it was spun from yarn is evident, down to the animations for when Yoshi's legs turn into tiny wheels (like a Yoshi segway) so he can move faster. The game is fun enough on its own, but having someone else roll and jump along with you — another Yoshi to hold down the fort when you accidentally fall off a cliff and reincarnate as an egg — ramps up the engagement. And the cute factor.
Yoshi's Woolly World will launch for Wii U in the first half of 2015.