It's been a long time since we last had a solo adventure for Yoshi on home consoles. The last game in the series for consoles was the Nintendo 64 release of Yoshi's Story. With the upcoming release of Yoshi's Woolly World, it seems as though Mario's favorite pal is coming back in full force on the Nintendo Wii U. While there's no specific release date yet, most expect the game to hit store shelves sometime in the first half of 2015.

As with the other Yoshi games, you take control of Yoshi in a platforming adventure scenario. If you've played Kirby's Epic Yarn on the original Wii, you have an idea what the game looks like. It borrows and expands on the yarn graphics in Kirby's Epic Yarn, and uses the power of the Wii U to take the gameplay and visuals to new heights.



Think of Yoshi's Woolly World as a happy mixture of Yoshi's Story and Kirby's Epic Yarn. Most of Yoshi's abilities from Yoshi's Story have returned for Woolly World. Everything about this game feels like a direct sequel of Yoshi's Story aside from the new yarn-like visual approach. As you might expect, Yoshi can swallow enemies to create balls of yarn (instead of the eggs from the previous game) that can be used as a projectile attack.

If you've never played Yoshi's Story, the basic gameplay revolves around Yoshi swallowing enemies to create eggs, then throwing those eggs with varying results. A line emits from Yoshi that serves as a target so you can easily direct the eggs wherever you wish. The same goes for Yoshi's Woolly World, in which a line is used as a target to direct the balls of yarn. In some cases the yarn will tie up enemies, while in others it will transform platforms to make them more accessible. Yoshi can even unravel walls and other objects in order to reveal hidden areas and create larger balls of yarn.

The balls of yarn have more uses than just defeating (tying up) enemies and transforming platforms. They come into play when you need to cross open gaps or reach new heights. You can use the balls of yarn to fill in these gaps, giving Yoshi a platform to walk over. In a similar fashion, you can gather white chicks which are used to create floating cloud-like platforms so Yoshi can traverse certain areas or reach platforms that were previously too high to access. These abilities add new elements to the Yoshi's Story formula that give the new game a more strategic presentation closer to that of the Legend of Zelda game series.

You won't have to go at it alone. Yoshi's Woolly World supports two-player cooperative play. When two Yoshi characters are available, one can swallow the other, then throw them to make it easier to access previously unreachable platforms. You'll have to carefully decide when and where to swallow and eat your partner in order to reach these areas, which adds yet another strategic element to the gameplay.

Nintendo has hit it big lately with the release of the Amiibo figures. To make the most of that success, Yoshi's Woolly World will offer full Amiibo support. Depending on the figure used, Yoshi will be able to transform into that character or some variant of that character to obtain new abilities. One example given was the ability to transform Yoshi's legs into wheels to move through an area faster.

Late last year Nintendo confirmed that Yoshi's Woolly World would release in early 2015. With that in mind most expect an official release date to be announced very soon. Stay tuned to Prima Games as we offer continued coverage of Yoshi's Woolly World as more information becomes available.