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Yoshi's Crafted World

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Genre: Platformer
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: March 29, 2019


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Switch Review - 'Yoshi's Crafted World'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on April 2, 2019 @ 1:00 a.m. PDT

Play as an adorable Yoshi traveling through a world crafted from household items like boxes and paper cups in this new Nintendo Switch platforming adventure.

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As a company, Nintendo has a not-so-subtle desire to focus on arts and crafts. There's the Labo, which is based entirely around that, but even video games can be that way. It began when Mario was turned into paper, and since then, we've seen Kirby as yarn and Yoshi as wool. The darling dinosaur is taking another spin in the land of creation with Yoshi's Crafted World, this time based around the idea of a childlike arts-and-craft diorama world.

The idea behind Yoshi's Crafted World is that there are magic gems that get scattered across the world due to the antics of Baby Bowser and his magician Kamek. The Yoshis of the island must set out to recover the magic gems before Bowser and Kamek unleash dastardly deeds. Like most Nintendo games, it's light on the plot and heavy on the charm. You'll meet a wacky cast of craftwork characters who add a delightful sense of charm to what is otherwise a straightforward platformer.

Yoshi's Crafted World plays like any Yoshi game since Yoshi's Island. Everyone's favorite disposable dinosaur has all of his classic abilities, so he can hop, flutter-jump, eat enemies to create eggs, and toss eggs at enemies. If you've ever played a game where Yoshi is the protagonist, you know exactly how to pick up and play Yoshi's Crafted World. The gameplay is polished and accessible for all ages, and this is one of the better variations on the Yoshi's Island gameplay style. I wouldn't say it's as good as the SNES classic, but it's a strong contender for second place.

A major aspect of Yoshi's Crafted World is that while it is primarily a 2D platformer, it isn't only 2D. Yoshi can attack enemies in the background and foreground, and he can even find paths that let him travel there. You need to use these abilities to defeat enemies and solve puzzles. Yoshi may need to hit an object in the background to force a bridge to close, ferret out hidden pieces to fix a bridge, or throw magnets on soda cans to create platforms. Regardless of what you need, it's all very accessible and easy to figure out.

Each stage tends to have its own distinctive gameplay mechanic. You might sneak around like a ninja, pilot a giant Yoshi robot, or push around minecarts. The game moves along at an excellent pace. You don't stay in any stage for too long. If anything, I wished I could see certain mechanics fleshed out more. On the flip side, it keeps the game feeling fresh. At no point did I get tired of a specific stage or idea, and the overall pacing of new mechanics is top-notch.

Your overall goal in Yoshi's Crafted World is to collect flowers. You do this by completing objectives throughout the stages. Each stage has a bevy of flowers hidden within that you have to discover either by finding hidden passages, completing timed challenges, or winning minigames. You also can obtain flowers by finishing a stage without taking damage or by collecting coins. Each stage has a certain number of flowers, but you can usually get two or three for just finishing the level.

This is genuinely the most enjoyable part of the game, and it'll make or break it for people. The game is based around exploration, solving puzzles, and some light twitch action. Don't expect it to be as punishing as a Mario title, though. While the game has a good difficulty curve, you'll seldom encounter a roadblock. You need a certain number of flowers to progress in the game, but as long as you're making a token attempt to collect them, you'll almost always have enough to progress without grinding. It's a good balance of progression and advancement.

The other big thing to do in Yoshi's Crafted World is to collect costumes. The costumes are adorable craftwork that let Yoshi dress up as a cat, milk carton, steamboat, trashcan — basically anything you can imagine. They give Yoshi some extra defense, so it's easier to collect on the "don't take damage" challenges. Honestly, the real reason they appear is to be painfully adorable. I've always been of the opinion that Yoshi isn't Nintendo's most adorable character, but the costumes are making me reconsider. Seeing Yoshi cheerfully walking along while holding up his fake cow costume or ducking down to look like a Mouser is absurdly adorable.

Yoshi's Crafted World's only big flaw is that it's rather safe. It has a little more bite than Kirby's Epic Yarn, but it's still a very easy title, even on the tougher settings. Platforming is so simple that you can effectively float across stages by timing Yoshi's flutter-jump correctly, and the challenge mostly comes from collecting the various items within the stage. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it can make some parts of the game, especially the early levels, feel kind of bland. The fact that the adorable costumes make the game easier is also a bit disappointing.

The other way Yoshi's Crafted World feels overly safe is that it feels like another Yoshi game. Kirby's Epic Yarn tied the yarn mechanic to the gameplay, but there's not a lot in Yoshi that feels like it plays off of the craft mechanic, except for the general aesthetic. The core mechanics are based in Yoshi's traditional skills, and I rarely felt like anything needed to be in a craft-focused title. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it means that the crafting aspect is almost entirely visual.

Fortunately, that aesthetic is delightful. Yoshi's Crafted World is a wonderful-looking game from start to finish. The entire world looks like it was made with hand-crafted material, and the level of detail is fantastic. From the fluffy characters to the adorable costumes and the occasional moment when the game "turns" the camera and lets you see the other side of the diorama world, it all comes together perfectly. Honestly, the game is worth playing just to see the sheer amount of detail that goes into the world. This works as well, if not better, than Epic Yarn and comes together significantly better than Wooly World. The soundtrack is also top-notch. The only real objection is that Yoshi's noises become annoying after a while.

All in all, Yoshi's Crafted World is a delightful adventure that is held back only by being a bit too predictable. It's a solid platformer for gamers of all ages, and it's easy enough for the youngest players but has enough charm to keep adults playing. It's also easily the best Yoshi game since the SNES original, and while it's difficult to live up to a classic, Crafted World does a good job on its own merits. Even if you're not a fan of Nintendo's multicolored dino-horse, it's worth giving Crafted World a shot. You might be charmed and surprised.

Score: 8.5/10

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