When I got a hold of Yoshi’s Crafted World, in some ways the game was exactly what I expected. Yet, by the end of the main storyline, I realised I had a lot more to say about this wonderful yet limited game. Yoshi last made an appearance in Yoshi and Poochy’s Wooly World – a 3DS port of Yoshi’s Wooly World.
Yoshi’s Crafted World makes its way onto Switch and reinvents some previous conceptions I had around Yoshi games. Yoshi’s Crafted World is still, in essence, a Yoshi game, and as expected is a visually pleasing and easy 2D platformer – but, some core elements of what makes a Yoshi game are challenged – for better and for worse.
You can purchase Yoshi’s Crafted World on Nintendo’s Eshop digitally for your regional price.
This Little Big Planet-esque platformer builds upon previous Yoshi titles with a host of new collectathon elements. The core gameplay involves traversing these crafted worlds and finding smiley flowers in order to progress. All of the additional collectathon objectives reward Yoshi with smiley flowers – which are the key to progressing to new levels and post-game content in the form of 4 extra levels. This encourages players to get the most out of each level – as well as reminding them to check out the flip sides, which are never really a requirement otherwise.
The player is also given agency in how they want to explore the levels and in what order, seeing as numerous paths open up at once – similarly to in another recently released Switch title – Baba is You, where multiple levels are accessible at once.
Within the levels, smiley flowers are hidden and earned. Time clouds provide short challenges where the player must identify the real smiley flower from a number of fakes, collect timed blue coins, or eat a certain amount of fruit. These time clouds provide a nice minigame aspect to provide some downtime from collecting. This makes the collection aspect a bit more lively and active for the player.
Yoshi’s Crafted World builds upon its predecessor and does a lot more right than a first glance would tell you. Yoshi’s Crafted World, introduces ‘flip sides’ of levels. These alternative ‘flipped’ versions work from end to start and ask Yoshi to find the three poochy pups and bring them back in a certain time limit. The poochy pups are typically easy to find, in a way similar to prop hunt game modes, the poochy pups bark loudly, so it’s easy to tell when one is nearby. These poochy pups follow Yoshi, and they can be thrown like eggs, but always return afterwards like materials used to fix bridges/trains etc.
Getting from point A to B is still the primary objective in the 43 main levels. Collecting a handful of smiley flowers and 20 red coins is where the challenge lies. Levels also feature a hide and seek game where you find Sprout – a cardboard jack-in-the-box like character hidden in a box discreetly placed around each level.
Hidden features in the background of the map such as cardboard cows can be tipped over – sometimes rewarding the player with coins/red coins or revealing enemies behind. These objects also feature as ‘souvenir requests’ which reward the player with one smiley flower per request. Being able to leave the level after getting a souvenir is a great addition, but does not make up for one of Yoshi’s Crafted World’s biggest faults.
Only one souvenir objective can be completed at once, meaning you may have to collect 7 cows in one level, leave, then return to find 5 sheep in that same level – even though those items were visible in your first journey to collect the initial souvenier.
Overall this adds up to around 5 playthroughs per level at least in order to 100% the game. Motivating myself to play a level again for the 4th or 5th time was agonising and felt really pointless. I would only be doing so to gather the next 50 smiley flowers I needed to reach the last post-game level. After fully completing a handful of levels, I decided to stop collecting these souvenirs on levels I’d played enough times. Despite how fun collecting these souvenirs is, repeating a level with no added challenge becomes unavoidably tedious. This raised the age-old question surrounding the Super Mario games such as Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy – in which returning to levels repeatedly to find stars and collectables is a requirement. With the flipped sides also containing the poochy pups to find within a time limit, I found myself re-entering levels repeatedly, and with the repetition in soundtracks between flipped and normal, this became a bit boring.
Items in the world’s environment make references to the wider Mario universe. Milk cartons refer to Moo Moo Meadows and such. This makes an already detailed world a bit more special for fans of previous games. One rocket launch looked to be imitating ‘A Trip to the Moon’ which was entertaining but may pass over most of the younger audience.
Four post-credits levels provide the boost in difficulty most players desire and I only wish there were more of them. The fact is, Nintendo clearly has a different audience in mind.
Some levels switch things up a bit and introduce clever mechanics. For example, one level has Yoshi wear a triceratops skull, allowing him to run into walls and destroy them as well as any Shy Guys. One particularly unique level follows Yoshi directing a solar-powered cart across three lanes while trying to maximise sunlight by driving in the correct lane with the intention of out-racing the other carts. Directing a plane by walking to its front or back in order to angle it away from any obstacles was also a delight. Hitting moving targets on the train in a safari-hunt was also one of the more unique levels. One of my favourite levels is overlayed by a shoji screen which shifts across the screen from time to time allowing the player to only see the shadows of assets on screen.
In Yoshi’s Crafted World, coins can be used to buy 180 costumes found in various gatcha machines across the world. Costumes are contained in colour coded eggs. Green for common, red for rare and gold for super rare. These colours correspond to the amount of protection given when worn. Do not fear, this randomised element may feel like loot boxes or similar, but each time you play you are guaranteed a new costume, as there are no duplicates. There are also no microtransactions of course, and in-game coins can only be used for these cosmetics. Unique costumes can also be obtained using amiibo, such as the Mario amiibo.
Costumes are a delightful addition, and I loved a lot of the costumes I earned. However, I eventually stopped wearing them, as these costumes serve as armour too – making an already easy game even easier. Green costumes take 3 extra hits, rare take 4, and super rare take 5. It’s clear that on top of Yoshi’s already decent health this armour makes a big difference. This made the game feel a bit stagnant – especially since my favourite costumes were mostly rare or super rare (thus they provided more protection). I found that removing costumes brought the difficulty up just enough to make a worthwhile difference in difficulty – although the game still had me wishing for more challenge.
The game’s controls are superb, as you’d expect from a mainline Nintendo title. Aiming eggs feels natural and accurate and Yoshi’s flutter jump is as smooth as ever. I never experienced any frustrations with these controls.
If you liked Yoshi’s Wooly World and maybe Yoshi’s Island, then Yoshi’s Crafted World is filled with smooth, colourful and endearing gameplay from start to finish. Collectables and Costumes bring the most to the table, yet acquiring them after the main storyline is complete can be tedious. Munching up enemies is still as fun as it was 20 years ago, and traversing the levels feels familiar.
The story is a secondary aspect of Yoshi’s Crafted World. The yoshis must return all 5 dream gems to the sundream stone – a stone said to make anyone’s wildest dreams come true. Kamek and Bowser Jr. are also after this stone and these gems and act as the villains of the game.
No spoilers, although the ending is simple yet heartwarming, and although there isn’t much investment in the personalities of the yoshis – in that they all act the same way and sound the same way – the ending still provides a charming end to a simple story.
The main enemies in the game are Shy Guys, and I was surprised to see a variety in the enemy types as the game went on. The shy guys do vary in style by level, and I even briefly saw them holding what looked like lightsabers as they came rushing out of a spaceship – which was a nice touch.
Other enemies include Flutters, piranha plants, goonies, mousers, monty moles and more. One initial criticism I had was that there was not a lot of variation in the enemies, but looking back there is actually a ton, and this seems to pick up as the game goes on.
Kamek and Bowser Jr team up again to take the dream gems and sundream stone, and they bring some lighthearted humour with them.
One flaw I had with the game was that the same soundtrack would often play for two levels in a row, this meant that these levels usually shared the same visual theme but also the same musical theme, making them feel very similar. This didn’t seem to bother me until I was working towards the last two dream gems, but after the fact became a bit irritating as a theme that was once pretty good had been overplayed.
From what I could tell, a number of levels soundtracks were variants of the main theme or of one same song. This is disappointing because the main theme is great, and has far more potential than just being altered depending on the levels mood. For example, a space level or underwater level is just a more mellow variant of this. Which again, is fine, but was all too frequent.
Yoshi’s voice is also almost the exact same as it was in Wooly world, and although these sounds are adorable, it’s about time Yoshi got some new lines.
The DIY style has been explored by previous titles and thus does not leave a lot of room for truly unique gameplay. Although arguably this is an improvement as Yoshi’s Wooly World felt a lot like Kirby’s Epic Yarn visually. Yoshi’s Crafted World does not break the mould. This is what prevents a very good game from becoming a great one. Although the game greatly experiments with gameplay mechanics on some levels and for the most part keeps things fresh, there is still something missing from making it a truly great game.
To contrast, Super Mario Odyssey is a masterpiece which is also suitable for young children – without a true co-op mode although – that is playable by young children yet allows levels to be traversed and completed in more complex ways, with Mario’s companion Cappy opening up a whole range of moves. Yoshi’s Crafted World hits the mark in its visual creativity and level design, but not quite in its raw gameplay.
Yoshi’s Crafted World’s final levels introduced a nice element of challenge – although not a lot of challenge – to the post-game content. There are only four of these levels though, and these end levels were some of my favourites in the game. Challenge can be found within the collectathon elements, as I work towards collecting every smiley flower and red coin in the game I find myself puzzled now and again.
Yoshi’s crafted world prides itself on its reliability of solid and fun gameplay – Nintendo plays it safe with this title and its predecessor Wooly World, despite missing the mark on a number of elements. Ultimately the game carves a space for itself within the Switch’s library as a good title. The game is most suited to casual players or those who really love the style and collectathon aspects, as long as they can handle repetition when going for 100% completion.
|+ Great level design||– Lack of difficulty|
|+ More collectables||– Soundtrack is underwhelming|
|+ Charming visuals and story||– Re-entering levels gets boring|