To be or knot to be - hands on with Yoshi's Woolly World

When Louis Armstrong thought to himself 'what a wonderful world', he could easily have been thinking about somewhere like Craft Island, home of the Yoshi clan. I’ve played through two full areas and it's so goddamn pleasant I want to explode. Or passionately play the trumpet.



When evil koopa Kamek swoops down and bundles some Yoshis in a sack, it's up to the green (and therefore best) one to rescue them. The red guy too, if you fancy co-op. While Yoshi's Woolly World plays a lot like 1995’s enemy-gobbling, projectile-lobbing, flutter-jumping Yoshi's Island, it's fun to see everything rendered through the eyes of an Etsy obsessive.

The soft ground compresses like a mattress, knitting needle bridges tilt and sway, and felt clouds bob in front of curtain backdrops on bits of string. And for those who refuse to buy games that lack a variety of craft materials - good news! There are cork caverns to plunder, sponge beaches to splash through, and ACTUAL FIRE. Because it turns out there is no yarn substitute for fire.



Multiple themed worlds in Craft Island all contain eight stages, each more yarny than the last. The fairly simple Bounceabout Woods has you cavorting across a springy canopy, but it's not long until the tactile aesthetic weaves its way into puzzles: one sees you pacify a chainchomp by spitting wool and rolling it like a wrecking ball; another requires the mastery of reverse perspective as you head through cotton doorways and spin the level 180 degrees.

Against one big-bottomed boss called Burt you must unravel his trousers by whipping your tongue.

Like the world, Yoshi's changed too. Enter special zipper flaps to morph him into Moto Yoshi and speed across walls and ceilings, Mega Yoshi to stomp on fools, and Mole Yoshi to dig through scenery. To prevent completely busting the game's balance, though, these sections are consigned to thrillingly fleeting bonus levels.


Beneath irresistible visuals lies a robust - if straightforward - platformer, but against this year's adult releases Nintendo's familiar formula feels downright refreshing. After the brilliantly brutal gore stream of Bloodborne, Mortal Kombat, and The Order, playing Yoshi's Woolly World is like curling up on a memory foam mattress after lying on a bed of nails.