You read that right: We’re talking about the whimsical and the wonderful this week, in honour of Gavin finally opening his copy of Yoshi’s Woolly World. There’s something extra fun about a cute and cuddly Yoshi and his world made out of yarn. I never played the Kirby version, but this one looks great.

Other adorable, magical and whimsical games I’ll accept: Okami, and the cow level from Diablo 3.

Monday, 10:24 am – Gavin

Yep, I finally took the plunge and got into Yoshi’s Woolly World on Saturday.  It was my birthday and this was my birthday gift to myself.  HBD me!

My parents bought me Yoshi’s Island for my birthday in 1995, and if you’ve spent even a minute reading this site, you know how much I adored that game.  So, I suppose it seems fitting that 20 years later to the day, I crack open my next entry in the Yoshi series (since I skipped out on Yoshi’s New Island).  I played it for a few hours over the weekend, getting through about 12 levels or so.  Initial impressions?  As I repeatedly told Ricky over the weekend, this game is adorable.  Everything about this game was designed, from the ground up, to be delightful.

The premise of the game is irrelevant.  It’s a platforming game – traverse the levels and defeat the enemies to save your friends, same as usual.  The conceit of the game is that, as the name implies, everything is made from wool or fabric.  Not just Yoshi, the enemies and the items, but every setpiece is well, and that’s where the attention to detail really shines.  Clouds made from cotton batting and hanging from threads, shiny underground crystals made from sequins, mountains made from tweed, etc.  It helps significantly to have played Yoshi’s Island so much, but seeing the callbacks all integrated with the new aesthetic is really sweet and fun.

It’s a game that just wants you to have fun and relax.  Yes, it’s very challenging to find all of the collectibles, but to just proceed through the level, it’s very relaxing and calm.  I can see myself playing this not only for fun, but just as a way to decompress.

I do acknowledge the criticism of it – the core levels are fairly easy to work through, and there doesn’t really seem to be any deeper gameplay.  What you see is what you get – mechanically, it’s more iteration than innovation.  But if you thought that Yoshi’s Island was a great game, which you did because you aren’t stupid, then you’ll love Woolly World.

I was also gifted a copy of Helldivers and played that for a bit.  It’s Magicka with guns and grenades.  Fun, challenging, but with a relatively high learning curve – there’s a lot happening on screen at any given time, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed.  I played it with a friend who knew what he was doing, so I was definitely the weak link in this equation.  For those who haven’t played Magicka, it’s an isometric multiplayer task-oriented shooter with basic combat and stealth systems.  It definitely has an air of Left 4 Dead to it, as each mission ends with an extraction where you have to wait while the enemies swarm you.

Monday, 8:47 am – Ricky

Get your cute on.