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‘Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World’ is More Than Just Ridiculously Cute

The new-to-3DS platformer is also tightly designed, with secrets popping from under every button.

I love cute things. I have two fluffy kitties and a puppy at home, and showing me a picture of your cute baby/pet/adorable grandma making tea will probably elicit a small squeal. Yoshi's Woolly World is an adorable game, a 2D Yoshi's Island platformer set on "Craft Island," an entire world of yarn, buttons, and patchwork. It's so sweet and colorful and baby-soft that it's hard not to enjoy it on aesthetic merits alone. The game just arrived on the 3DS, with a few puppy-themed additions, after about a year on the Wii U.

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Underneath all the fluff is platformer that's well-designed, tight and even challenging (at least if you want to see the good stuff). Levels are smartly designed around the conceit that's kept Yoshi (and some of the recent Kirby) platformers interesting for some time: There are lots of hidden goodies to find, and all of them are actually fun to discover. You can totally just blast through levels to get to the end (and if you have trouble, you can activate the game's "mellow mode"), but when the secret stuff is hidden behind bits of scenery that unravels at the touch of the tongue (I mean all of this literally), or lurks just offscreen, it's a pleasure to go on a treasure hunt.

It's paced well, too, with shorter stages and "transformation" levels that see Yoshi turning into a too-cute-to-deal-with yarn umbrella or airplane or even a mermaid (merman? Mer-Dino?), all of which play with the movement just enough.

That ties into the game's greatest feature: It feels amazing to play. Yoshi has that pleasant heft to him, with the weird-sounding double jump ability always allowing you to get just that extra inch of height needed to reach something special, or life-saving. Throwing eggs feels as easy—and necessarily strategic—as ever, and the transformation stages mess with the weight and speed of the lil guy in delightful ways. This is the best-designed, most fun, most solid-feeling Yoshi platformer since the original Yoshi's Island, and you don't even need to listen to a screaming baby Mario this time.

The 3DS version has a few significant additions, but none that I actually poked around in more than the Super Mario Run-esque Poochy run mode, which has you—as a Yarny-looking Poochy—blast through levels, only using the jump button. It's sweet, it's fun, and it's actually a really nice conceit to the clever level design and success of another recent platformer.

Of course, I'm most tickled by the fact that I can play this on my 3DS, which has basically become my platform of choice lately, with my weirdo hours and various activities (it's a lot easier to play this game on the back of an ambulance between calls than, say, the Wii U version, though I suppose that wouldn't be strictly impossible).

Alongside Mario Maker 3DS, Yoshi's Woolly World is another great Wii U game getting a little extra chance at success on the handheld. I'm hoping for a Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze port next. And a little Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker on the side, too. You know what? Just bring every colorful platformer to 3DS, please and thanks, Nintendo.