Yoshi’s Crafted World (Switch) Review
After Yoshi’s Wooly World, Nintendo gave themselves a hard act to follow. How could you get much cuter and stylised than yarn Yoshi and his knitted world? Instead of just going back to a more traditional looking Yoshi game, Good-Feel have decided to take it one step further and make Yoshi’s Crafted World. Imagine taking lots of very creative and crafty dioramas, turning it into a video game world, and throwing in Yoshi and his usual foes. Let’s see if it’s the usual Yoshi game.
To begin, the story is quite thin. But that’s not important for a Yoshi game. The Yoshis look after the Sundream Stone on their island. This gem-encrusted Stone carries the power to make your dreams come true, so of course Baby Bowser wants it all to himself. With Kamek doing the dirty work, they try and wrestle the Stone from the Yoshi’s, only to send it flying with the gems that power it scattered across the world. Now it’s a race for the gems to restore the Sundream Stone to its former glory. While I say there isn’t much story, the moments there are as cute as everything else in this game. Every time Kamek and Baby Bowser show up with their muppet-looking exclamations, the bosses, really just everything is super cute. If this game can’t make you smile then I don’t know if anything will.
Yoshi’s Crafted World like the other Yoshi Story/Island/World games is a side scrolling platformer, but for this outing there is a degree of 3D. No longer confined to the second dimension, Yoshi can now fire eggs into the foreground and background. Yoshi is also less restricted to just moving back and forth, and paths can now take you in other directions. This isn’t free roaming Yoshi though, you can only move along where there’s a path. Really it’s all about the free range egg throwing. Flowers and red coins can often be hidden away in the foreground and background, whether it’s a present box hidden in plain sight or Shy Guys carrying coins amongst the scenery. It’s nothing that big, but it helps draw attention to the level of effort the developers went to, making these worlds look like they were made for art and craft.
The World map doesn’t work quite the same as it has in the past. Instead of just going through the worlds in order, after the initial
Introduced in Crafted World are Flip Side levels. These levels are back to front from the normal version of the levels, and you’re on the other side of the background looking behind. This shows the materials used to build these ‘dioramas’, such as cereal and cookie boxes. It’s a neat alternative look on levels you’ve already explored. The goal in these levels is to collect 3 poochy pups and finish the level within a time limit to get the maximum amount of flowers. It’s not as involved as the normal versions, as you’re just seeking out the pups and moving on quick as you can. These levels almost serve as ‘speed runs’ and will keep you going after the final credits have rolled.
As well as the Flip Side levels, you’ll also be tasked by the area’s Blockafeller to find items for them. It is usually an item in the background, or several dotted throughout the level. This doesn’t add the same amount of extra game time as the Flip Sides, but it does help give something extra to do when going back and getting the collectables you’ve missed. Fortunately, once you’ve found what you need it gives you the option to exit the level so you don’t have to go the whole way through again. Finding these items not only earns you extra flowers, but it also adds the item to your scrapbook, where you can look at the different crafty pieces you’ve found throughout the worlds.
It doesn’t need saying but Crafted World looks great. The cuteness levels on this Yoshi outing are even higher than Wooly World. Practically every level contains some new way to turn the traditional Yoshi levels into works of art (and craft). Most of the diorama-esque levels are different from one another, rarely will you come across the same level gimmicks twice. Throughout the 8-10 hours of gameplay, you’ll still be noticing the little details. While the worlds have some variety, I wish I could say the same about the music. Don’t get me wrong, it’s just as pleasant as the visuals, but you’ll be hearing some of the same tunes over and over.
Yoshi games over the years have really alternated in their difficulty. Crafted World manages to keep the game accessible while providing plenty of opportunities to swear out loud when you miss that flower or coin. Keeping with other Nintendo games, there is also the option to play on ‘mellow mode’. This gives Yoshi wings and allows for a more relaxed outing, great for people who want to enjoy the beautifully designed levels. Because progression is tied to the collectables this time around, there is much more incentive to scour the levels for flowers and red coins while trying to hold onto your health. If you’re not a fan of the ‘collectathon’ part of Yoshi games, Crafted World isn’t likely to change your mind.
In each area you can also find Gachapon machines, where you can spend your hard earned coins. In these machines you’ll be able to unlock outfits for Yoshi to wear through the level. Each machine is themed to each area. Some are more basic like Yoshi wearing a coffee creamer capsule, or more rare like a train. While there are rarity levels, you can’t get doubles so you’ll eventually wind up getting all the outfits long as you have the coins. There is also limited Amiibo functionality to get some extra Mario-themed outfits, but it’s a far cry from the amount of Amiibo’s that worked with Wooly World. The outfits aren’t just for novelty either, they also serve as armour. The bigger they are, the more hits you can take before losing hearts. It is a handy way to ensure you can finish a level with full health.
You don’t have to be the only Yoshi on this grand adventure. Co op mode is back so everyone can walk the dinosaur. I trust that it’s possible to be a well coordinated duo, yet every time I’ve played co op it’s been chaos. Yoshi grabbing Yoshi, or one dragging the other along by forcing the screen forward. The mode works, just choose your friends wisely when you play.
Yoshi’s Crafted World is a game overflowing with charm. While it feels very much like another game in the Yoshi’s Island series, it makes enough changes here and there to freshen it up. Nintendo has made another fun and charming platformer that is just as fun for all ages, as it melts even the coldest hearts. Between Wooly and Crafted Yoshi’s, I look forward to seeing what they can do with the series next.
- Looks and sounds lovely
- Flip Side levels add extra playability
- More open level selection
- Same music is reused a little too often