It’s hard not to love Yoshi. Seeing Nintendo’s other mascot in any game brings about excitement. As did the initial reveal at E3 2017, where Nintendo revealed the gorgeous platformer with an art style reminiscent of Little Big Planet, and gameplay I’m head over heels about. And so, while the free demo includes the first level of Yoshi’s Crafted World, it’s fun if not a bit easy. Normally Yoshi titles are platformers with their own gimmicks thrown in. With Yoshi’s Crafted World, everything you see looks crafted – enemies, friends, and anything in between looks like cardboard and construction paper.
Crafted by Design
As a child, I spent hours at school and home with Bristol board, construction paper, yarn and glue making anything I could think of. Of course, nothing came out looking nearly as good as Yoshi’s Crafted World. The game’s unique art style draws you in. In a remarkable way, I felt like a child again, only now I was playing with Yoshi.
Also, as you proceed through the various stages, any collected coins found are used to earn new costumes for Yoshi. Many of them incorporate ideas from each level in the game, and costumes like a milk bottle, juice box, mouser, buffalo and so on allow you the opportunity to dress up Yoshi. Through a vending machine found in each world, each one offers themed costumes based on the level you are in. Amiibo costumes are also available, so far, I’ve unlocked only Poochy.
Playing Yoshi’s Crafted World in either docked or handheld mode is a visual treat. In fact, this is one of the best-looking titles the Nintendo Switch has to offer. Each level feels like a diorama, full detail you may miss when playing handheld, but on your TV – everything from the lighting to the texture stands out. The richness each level exudes brings a smile to my face and is far and few video games can do what this game does so well.
Also, gameplay is largely traditional and incorporates many aspects of a Yoshi game. Yoshi’s flutter jump is here, as is the ability to create eggs out of enemies. Throwing eggs at obstacles or items placed throughout the level returns as well and you’re even able to throw eggs between the different planes in a level (essentially front and background of any level).
Speaking of levels, each level in Yoshi’s Crafted World offers a B-Side version wherein Yoshi is on the hunt for three Poochy puppies. Essentially, a regular level played backwards offers a new look on an existing level. The flipped perspective offers a fresh but not repetitive spin with several secrets not available on the first go-round. But, while these levels are not as deep as their original counterparts since a time limit rushes you back to the start in search of those Poochy pups.
Each world includes distinct and entertaining boss battles. Each encounter is a memorable experience. Their introduction and demise are often some of the best moments, and overcoming each boss is a wild thrill.
A Tale of two Yoshi
Of course, Yoshi’s Crafted World isn’t a solo-only adventure. Co-op offers two people the chance to tackle the various worlds of Yoshi’s Crafted World. Playing with someone else is fun but also hectic. Have you ever seen a Yoshi ride another Yoshi? What a sight! Furthermore, playing off each other opens opportunities to discover hidden secrets. While I only spent a small amount of time playing with someone else, the opportunity offers an exciting way to bring two people together.
Subsequently, while gameplay plays like classical Yoshi, there is little in terms of difficulty. At no time during my time with Yoshi’s Crafted World, did I find myself at a disadvantage? Enemies and obstacles stand in front of Yoshi, but their pacing and movements offer little challenge. Your biggest hurdles come from exploration – finding red coins, hidden flowers, and hidden Poochy. Things get relatively easier by choosing the returning Mellow Mode, in which Yoshi even more health and abilities.
Presentation is Everything
My biggest gripe is the music presentation. I thoroughly enjoyed Woolly World and its soundtrack, and most Yoshi titles feature catchy tunes. Playing through Crafted World often ends up repeating the same melody. At the the time, what I thought were visual cues for items or secrets ended up being nothing more than the background music. In a game so full of creativity, it’s ironic the music inspires so little of it.
Ultimately, Yoshi’s Crafted World is full of charm, personality, and warmth. The platforming is excellent, and each world is an exciting, varied experience. Granted, the game isn’t hard by any means but that should deter you from missing out. Satisfying exploration, hidden treasures and secrets, Yoshi’s Crafted World is a strong game on a strong platform.