Yoshi has starred in a few games of his own. He is the trustworthy sidekick to Mario in most of the other games but when he embarks on his own adventure, he is incredibly fun to play due to unique abilities. The first Yoshi spin-off started with a game featuring Yoshi and Baby Mario and since then the series has evolved a bit. There are technically two spin-offs for the Yoshi series itself. One is Yoshi’s Island and the other is Yoshi’s World.
Fans who have played Yoshi’s Woolly World on Nintendo Wii U or Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World on Nintendo 3DS will feel right at home with Yoshi’s Crafted World. It plays similarly to these two games while exploring a different theme with a fully interactive 3D world. Arts and Crafts are the central focus of the theme for the visual art style instead of the wool-based nature of the previous games. Yoshi can throw eggs in the background and foreground to hit hidden targets, get collectibles and find missing poochy pups.
My first impressions of Yoshi’s Crafted World were that the game is colorful and bright. I wasn’t aware that it included support for two-player co-op, which ended up becoming a game changer for me. Nintendo is knocking it out of the park when it comes to releasing co-op games on the Nintendo Switch. Almost every major game from Nintendo has offline multiplayer support which goes well with the design of the Nintendo Switch. It is a portable and home console that is heaven for offline co-op games that are fun to play for everyone. No matter if you are a kid or an adult, you will usually find a game that is enjoyable in multiplayer.
The story is kid-friendly that feels like it is from a children’s book, but again most of the Nintendo platformers usually work out like that so it is no big deal. The story simply gives you a purpose and sets up a narrative and villain for you to pursue. Kamek and Baby Bowser are again the big bad guys here who attempt to steal an ancient artifact which could grant the user any wish. This artifact only powers up with five gems which end up getting thrown to various points in Yoshi’s Crafted World thus sending the Yoshi tribe in pursuit of them. Kamek and Baby Bowser are also searching for these gems and as expected, they end up creating a hurdle when you get near a gem leading to a fight with whatever they are able to conjure with their powers.
Yoshi’s Crafted World is a platformer that plays like any side-scrolling game except there is a twist. In every level, you don’t just have to rush from the beginning until the end, but instead, you also have to keep your eyes open to look out for secrets that are anywhere in the foreground or background. Yoshi is able to throw eggs at them to remove obstacles, uncover enemies, grab items or collectibles. The twist is that once you have completely finished a level, you can replay it back but this time the camera angle switches over to the other side of Yoshi, making the level play out in reverse with a completely new perspective. During this time, you have to find three different poochy pups and reach the other end of the level while a timer counts down.
Eggs are the main source of combat and used extensively in exploration. You can throw eggs at basically any point on the screen, whether it is in the foreground, right ahead of your character, or in the background of the level. At a certain point, you will also discover clouds that can lead to secrets or rewards. As you make some progress, you can find other forms of traversal that make the level design feel diverse. Most of the world design goes well with the arts and crafts theme of Yoshi’s Crafted World which applies to the enemies, objects and basically anything that you discover in the game.
Just like the previous games, there is a Mellow mode available here which gives Yoshi wings thus letting him float in the air. This mode goes well with kids who don’t have much experience with complex platformers but even if you play without it, the game is not that difficult to give you a headache. Eggs drop easily by eating enemies or grabbing them from blocks and flowers. Most of the enemies can also be killed by simply jumping on them so eggs are only good for throwing them to get the collectibles or during boss fights.
Level design feels exceptional even if it seems simple. I honestly wouldn’t recommend anyone to rush through them, and the best approach is to take your time and explore each level. You will be pleasantly surprised to see how many secrets are hidden deep within the levels. In every different stage of the world map, you will usually meet some NPC who will end up asking you a favor to look for a certain lost item in one of the levels. Yoshi can also dress up in various costumes which unlock through a vending machine that requires gold coins and rewards randomly, but it is generous enough to only offer new costumes.
The co-op feels quite fun but it ends up making the game far too easy. In the co-op mode, now there is more interactivity possible between the players. You can jump on the back of one player to let them carry you, or use it through creative ways to jump to a higher point. It goes well with the Mellow mode and forces you to think outside the box. Co-op makes the game feel like a completely different experience and most of the boss battles end up like a breeze. Every boss fight is unique and carries the trademark Nintendo charm that we have seen in most of their first-party projects so far.
Yoshi’s Crafted World is a brilliant platformer with a genius level design that encourages you to explore every corner of the level. Every stage on the world map feels diverse and explores a different theme. There is a good amount of replay value with hidden collectibles and secrets that you have to find in the game, and the competition between two players makes it even better. This has the contender to become the best modern Yoshi game easily eclipsing Yoshi’s Woolly World.
Yoshi’s Crafted World Review (Nintendo Switch)
Game Reviewed on: Switch
Game description: Yoshi's Crafted World is a side-scrolling platform video game developed by Good-Feel and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch. The eighth main installment in the Yoshi franchise, the game was revealed at E3 2017, had a delay in 2018 and was released worldwide on March 29, 2019.
Final Score - 8.5/108.5/10
Yoshi's Crafted World is a charming game with a fun co-op that is sure to please kids and their parents. It is incredibly easy, which is one of the side effects of making it more accessible, but it doesn't mean the game is not fun to play at all. It is a gorgeous platformer with incredible visual style and some clever level design.