A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World is essentially a port of Yoshi's Woolly World, a side-scrolling platformer game that was originally released for Wii U. It features a cartoonish dinosaur made of yarn who adventures through crafty, textile worlds to save his woolly friends, who were unraveled by the evil Magikoopa Kamek. Virtually everything in the game -- including the characters -- is made of yarn. The textile theme lessens the already mild cartoon violence, which sees Yoshi swallowing some enemies and turning them into balls of yarn to be thrown at other enemies. It's an easy game with simple controls, and the "Mellow" mode gives Yoshi the ability to fly, making it possible for kids to bypass harder platforming areas by simply flying over them.
What's it about?
POOCHY & YOSHI'S WOOLLY WORLD for Nintendo 3DS is largely the same as the Wii U game Yoshi's Woolly World. Players take on the role of a cute green yarn dinosaur named Yoshi as he goes on an adventure through a world made of textiles to save other woolen dinos who have been unraveled by the evil Magikoopa Kemik. As usual, our reptilian hero can gobble up enemies, sucking them in with his tongue, then squat to turn them into eggs that he can toss at other enemies. The yarn theme permeates the experience, allowing Yoshi to do things such as tug on loose threads to unravel walls, revealing hidden areas. He can also toss yarn eggs at cutout patterns in the environment to instantly knit platforms that he can stand on. This edition of the game adds several new features, including Poochy Dash, a new mode starring Yoshi's canine pal, who speedily runs and jumps to pop balloons and collect beads. There's also a new theater mode showcasing a series of stop-motion animated videos starring Poochy and Yoshi, cute little Poochy Pups who follow Yoshi and show players the locations of secret items, and the ability for Yoshi to ride Poochy by using the Poochy amiibo to summon the woolly pup into the game. This version of the game has also lost a feature found in the Wii U edition: cooperative multiplayer.
Is it any good?
Though not quite on par with Nintendo's best platformers, Yoshi's first yarn-themed adventure should prove plenty of fun for most players on Nintendo 3DS. Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World looks lovely on the handheld's diminutive screen, losing little of the vibrancy and texture of the Wii U edition. Its intuitive interface is more or less the same, which means kids familiar with any Nintendo platformer game should be instantly at home. The new Poochy features, meanwhile, are a treat. The Poochy Dash levels are short but fun, and the Poochy Pups make it much easier to find hidden Wonder Wool and Smiley Flowers. And with the quality stop-animation shorts revealed at a pace of only one per day, kids will have plenty of reason to keep coming back to the game for at least a month.
That said, the value proposition decreases significantly if you already own Yoshi's Woolly World for Wii U. The new modes and features to do with Poochy are great, but they don't provide enough reason to buy the game a second time. Also, while the multiplayer mode in the original was flawed, it still provided a way for groups of kids to play together without someone left sitting on the couch. But if you and your family have yet to play this little gem (and you don't anticipate the need to have more than one person playing at a time), the Nintendo 3DS edition of Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World is a pretty safe bet for hours of fun.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about screen time. Most levels in Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World are around 10 minutes long, so how might parents consider creating time limits based on the number of levels their kids can play?
Talk about what a world made entirely of yarn and string -- such as the one in this game -- might be like. What would it be like to have a body made of wool? What sorts of unusual things would you be able to do? What things couldn't you do?
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