Disability Game Review: Yoshi’s Woolly World
Last year Nintendo released an accessibly adorable platformer in the form of Yoshi’s Woolly World and while we weren’t able to review it as soon as it came out DAGERS has turned its attention to covering some of the games we have missed this fall and are pleasantly surprised how accessible this game is compared to other first party Nintendo platformers.
To begin with Yoshi’s Woolly World is barrier free both for players with visual and those with auditory disabilities. The visual accessibility stems from the overstated art style and the lack of reliance on color to communicate any vital information. While it is true that yarn balls and gems are color coded the object of the game is to collect as many of these as possible regardless of their color. Similarly this games auditory accessibility stems from the fact that there is no story of any kind to worry about being subtitled and any dialogue is nonsense noise subtitled in clearly readable text boxes. Beyond this there are no important audio cues that the hearing impaired may be missing if they pick up this game. Bottom line is Yoshi’s Woolly World is completely barrier free for any gamer with impairments to their senses as long as they can access the Wii U hardware.
Where this game really shines is in its accessibility for those with fine-motor impairments. Long time readers of DAGERS will know two things when it comes to my reviews of platformers. One is that I thoroughly enjoy them and two is that I thoroughly stink at them. The barriers I encountered within Yoshi’s Woolly World were due to a lack of skill and not lack to physical access. Yoshi’s Woolly World gives players 4 different controllers to pick from that can be adjusted on the fly. They are; the Wii U’s gamepad, the Wiimote by itself or with a classic controller, and the Wii U pro controller. This kind of flexibility makes it much easier for players that are interested in playing platformers to find a setup that is easiest for them to access although it is no substitute for fully remappable controls. Beyond this Yoshi’s Woolly World gives the option for players to choose between “classic mode” which is a more challenging experience and “mellow mode” in which Yoshi has a pair of wings that allow him to glide over gaps and eliminate much of the need for precise timing. While not fully barrier free for the fine-motor impaired due to a lack of adequate controller customization Yoshi’s Woolly World does do more to make the genre accessible than many games I have seen released from Nintendo and as such it is a good choice for any disabled Nintendo fans as long as they’re prepared to put up with the barriers inherent in the platform genre.
Overall Rating: Thoroughly Accessible
Visual Rating: Barrier Free
Fine-Motor Rating: Thoroughly Accessible
Auditory Rating: Barrier Free
Released For: Wii U
ESRB Rating: E
GameInformer Score: 8.5