Hands-On: Yoshi’s Woolly World

July 28, 2014 1 comment

Yoshi's Woolly WorldThere’s one word that can summarise Yoshi’s Woolly World – adorable. Created from a mixture of wool, fabric, and all sorts of arts and crafts materials, Yoshi’s latest adventure feels like a game you could create physically given you had enough time. Strip away the brightly coloured worlds and fluffy exterior though, and Woolly World reveals itself to be largely the same as previous Yoshi games – run, jump, eat and throw things all in the name of collecting smiling flowers. It’s a tried and tested concept, and one that has become Yoshi’s staple over the years, but off the back of the indifferently received Yoshi’s New Island, it’s a concept that is in danger of becoming stale. But if you don’t want to reinvent the wheel, what do you do? A new lick of paint is the answer.

Mechanics aside, it is hard to not instantly fall in love with Yoshi’s Woolly World. Partnering with Good Feel Inc. and borrowing the woollen themes of Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Yoshi’s latest adventure oozes charm. It’s no mean feat creating an entire world out of fabric and upholstery, but it’s a challenge that the design team have completed in what appears to be relative ease. Every world is created top to bottom with stitched and knitted elements – Yoshi's Woolly Worldbe it the woollen Koopa Troopas and Shy Guys, to the balls of wool that stand in for Yoshi’s eggs, everything feels like it is fresh out of a knitting box.

Presented in HD, the game looks absolutely gorgeous, and the art style also allows for a bit of a remix on some traditional Yoshi themes. Woollen balls replace Yoshi’s eggs, while elements of the landscape can be unravelled to unlock secret areas; alternatively, ledges can be knitted to provide an alternate route. The woollen theme also allows for some cute animations for Yoshi himself, with his nose squishing up against heavy objects, and his knitted legs turning into wheels when he runs fast.

During my demo, I tackled three levels – two set in what appears to be the opening world, with another set in the sky. While the first two levels felt the most like ‘classic’ Yoshi’s Island with added woollen challenges, the level in the sky offered the first of Yoshi’s Woolly World’s new mechanics – cotton wool birds. Yet another riff on the crafts theme, these birds replace wool balls for the level; when thrown, they leave a path of cotton wool, which is fortunate as the level is largely comprised of empty space. Perhaps more importantly, despite its look, Woolly World offers up a decent challenge, especially when compared to Yoshi’s recent games.

Yoshi's Woolly WorldWhile there’s still plenty of time until Yoshi’s Woolly World hits stores, my playtime with it left me with the feeling that this is going to be the best Yoshi game since the original on the SNES. Aside from its adorable presentation, the developers have taken the woollen theme to heart, and created inventive, and fun, puzzles around the knitted world they have created. With 2-player co-op and amiibo support included, this will surely be another platforming hit for Nintendo.

Hands-On: Hyrule Warriors

July 28, 2014 Leave a comment

Hyrule WarriorsLike many of you, I’m a huge Zelda fan, but having never played a Dynasty Warriors game, the idea of a crossover had me worried. We’ve seen first hand the problems with overexposing a brand with the recent influx of Mario titles, and with The Legend of Zelda attaining almost mystical status due to its infrequent release schedule, the idea of a spin-off based on another franchise was seen as a bad idea to many.

Thankfully, my fears were put to rest as soon as I picked up the game. Say what you will about the gameplay depth of Dynasty Warriors games, but one thing is clear right from the start of Hyrule Warriors – there is a deep love and affection for the franchise in this game.

Be it the NES Zelda-styled loading screen, or the wealth of characters from different time periods available to play as, there’s a real knowledge of the franchise in here, and while Aonuma has decreed Hyrule Warriors non-canon, this feels like the team-up crossover we’ve been waiting for. Hyrule Warriors is The Legend of Zelda universe’s Avengers.

But no amount of fan service will make up for poor gameplay, and this is where personal taste will come into play. While Hyrule Warriors looks like a Zelda game on the surface, the gameplay is anything but. Based around a given battlefield, the aim is to cut your way through swathes of enemies (and we’re talking thousands here) as you make it to areas, known as Keeps, that bolster your defences (think Star Wars Battlefront but with thousands of battle droids). Beating the boss of that keep, a giant Moblin or aHyrule Warriors Lizalfos for example, earns your side reinforcements. And that’s the extent of the gameplay.

Of course, the battlefield exists while you are in it, so there will be times you are called from your path of destruction for a more focussed task. In my demo, set outside Hyrule Castle from Twilight Princess, I was called away to protect Impa, collect bombs to clear a pathway, and ultimately take down the stage’s big bad, King Dodongo.

There’s also an element of skill in the battle itself, albeit against a mindless army that seems less interested in attacking you than watching you kill their friends. Special attacks, and charge attacks, are built up using a magic meter, and items can be found and equipped on the battlefield (which can also be charged, resulting in a giant bomb for example).

While the roster continues to grow, my demo only included time playing as Link and Zelda, with a sword and rapier respectively. While both control similarly, there’s a distinct difference in their abilities. Link is far more of a brawler, with his sword unsurprisingly being most effective at close range, requiring you to really get in amongst enemies. Zelda however, had a much larger range with the rapier, and special moves such as light arrows allowed for a more tactical approach to battle.

Hyrule WarriorsThe demo I played was just a snippet of the finished thing, and while this section did seem more about the spectacle than the tactics, there are definite hints at a more in-depth game beneath the surface. For Dynasty Warriors fans, it’s the same gameplay but with the classic Zelda touch. For Zelda fans, it’s a love letter to the franchise and a way to celebrate everything about it in a new format. And that seems like as good a reason as any to give it a go.

Nintendo Okie Podcast – Episode 224

podcast logo 2-2-14Get ready for a four-man royal rumble as the Nintendo Okie Podcast erupts into chaos. By chaos, I mean Sonic, and by Sonic, I mean Boom. Shannon makes his triumphant return and talks about all these Spikes he found. Tony won’t stop talking about how his Second Son won’t give him his trophies while Micah watches people Attack some big guy. As for Shelby, he tries to Default but has to end up Braving instead. If you like cute things being very competitive and extremely angry, you should listen to this show.

episode-224
Starring – Tony, Shannon, Micah, Shelby
Run time – 1:50:04

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I See What you Did There, Archie

archie comics mega man banner

I’ve been doing my best to champion Archie’s Mega Man and Sonic the Hedgehog comics for a while now. It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of anything Mega Man and when I first heard of Archie starting a Mega Man comic series, I figured I would wait and see if it was any good. A year later I had heard nothing but praise for the series and every cover I saw looked pretty awesome. Fast forward to today and the series is still running strong. There’s a real attention to detail that proves the people behind these comics love Mega Man just as you and I do. Check out these cover to see what I mean. Read more…

Tony’s Time: 2014 – The First Half Bests

Tonys Time Purple

On the podcast this week we were asked about what our favorite games of the year had been so far. I mentioned a couple of titles, but I didn’t have a list of the games that I had played in front of me. Now I have the list of all the games I’ve played this year and I thought I’d give you my thoughts on the first half of the year. I haven’t played all of the big name titles out this year so this isn’t a comprehensive list of the best games of the year; just the best ones that I’ve played so far.

The Wii U has had a good year so far and there are a number of titles coming out throughout the rest of the year that I’m looking for. I also bought two new systems, the PS4 and the Vita, so I’ve had a lot of new stuff to play. These are some of the games I’ve played so far this year that I’ve really enjoyed. These games are listed in no particular order and, unlike our end of the year lists, it only comprises of games that came out this year.

Mario Kart 8 (Wii U) – After the last three Mario Kart games (Wii, DS and 7) I was beginning to sour on the franchise. I played all of those games and had a fun time with them for a while, but things begin hampering the experiences. I thought maybe I was growing past my love of the franchise and it wasn’t going to be something I was interested in much longer. I went into Mario Kart 8 with a little bit of hesitation and tempered my expectations and because of that I’ve been incredibly happy with the experience. My family has gotten to the point where it’s a huge competition amongst all of us and everyone has a chance to win every race. There’s no more intentional throwing of races to let the younger kids win. There’s no incredibly broken rubber banding of the AI. There’s no snaking or cheater online. It’s just been great fun for everyone that I play the game with.

Read more…

Go Round – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2013)

Hot garbage, you say? We’ll be the judge of that. Or rather you will with this week’s Go Round of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the Xbox 360. We could only find three controllers before we recorded this video, so one of us used a Rock Band drum set. Why? It made us laugh when the idea was suggested. We found a fourth controller after the video was over, by the way. Obviously we didn’t look very hard.

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Nintendo Okie Podcast – Episode 223

podcast logo 2-2-14OVGE is just around the corner and to make sure everyone is aware we have brought is friends of the site, Jesse Hardesty and Greg Little, to let everyone know what they can expect from OVGE 2014; friends, games and good times. Worry not as we still get down to the same nonsense we normally do. Thanks to Shannon, who left something in my fridge, we have a special taste test as well. Enjoy the show.

episode-223
Starring – Tony, Micah, Greg, Jesse, Shelby
Run time – 2:27:02

If you want to learn more about OVGE, check out OVGE.com or the OVGE Facebook group. It always polite to put the guest’s plugs first. As for ours, you can email the show by using podcast@nintendo-okie.com. You can join our Facebook group, follow us on Twitter and Subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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