Yoshi’s Crafted World Review
There are few games in the video game marketplace that pack as much charm as Yoshi titles, and with each subsequent release, Nintendo pushes the boundaries just a little bit further. I thought they had hit the top when they launch Yoshi’s Wooly World; how could that creativity and cuteness be topped! I know how: Yoshi’s Crafted World, an all ages accessible title that will be enjoyed by everyone. But just because we think it could have universal appeal, doesn’t mean it will. Does Yoshi’s Crafted World hold up to the green dinosaur’s high bar of expectations? Let’s dive in!
There is plenty to do in Yoshi’s Crafted World with over a dozen worlds to explore and 40+ levels to interact with, further added to by a secret final few levels after the game concludes. There is a ton of content here, and by limiting each world to only 2 or 3 levels, you get to see plenty of variety that you normally wouldn’t see in a 6-8 world game that has been so typical of Nintendo in the past. This approach limits each world, but also makes the game more interesting throughout. During my 8 or so hours with the campaign – that is just getting from A to B on each world – I enjoyed the variety.
It is all about accessibility with Yoshi’s Crafted World. In fact, across the entire Nintendo Switch lineup, it has been accessibility first and foremost. Building a game from the ground up that will appeal as much to a 9 year old as it will a 30 year old, as much to older teens and young adults as it would to married couples with kids. And Nintendo nails it here, yet again. Even on normal mode, getting from A to B is rarely that difficult, but for those finding some levels more challenging than others, Nintendo has built in a mellow mode that gives even the most casual gamer a chance at seeing each and every gamer reach the end.
But for those looking to find everything, and 100% the game, a stiff challenge awaits, which could be controller throwing inducing during more than a few moments. It’s the perfect balance between hardcore and casual that Nintendo so often perfects. But while the game play can adapt to all audiences, what about the story?
Yoshi titles have never particularly had a strong story component, and that has not really changed here, for better or for worse. You’ll be tasked with travelling around the various worlds and collecting the gems that were stolen from Yoshi’s Island. If you’ve played a Yoshi’s Island game in the past, this will all feel very familiar. Progression through the world’s and beating bosses will lead to each one of the gems. Find one, rinse and repeat for two, and so on. The story variety is lacking, as it always is, but yet Nintendo has created something I don’t want to miss.
The game lives on more than its charm, though, as it’s backed by strong game play. While attempting to find all 20 red coins in a level can be infuriating – as can the other collectibles, including the flowers – it was a way to make me explore every corner of the game, and not missing a single bit of what has been so excellently crafted. Visually, nothing should be missed. So much love and care and thought was put into this game, and I hope we see a developer diary or two like we did when Yoshi’s Wooly World originally launched on the Wii U. I want to see how the team put this together!
The cardboard crafty nature of Yoshi is enough to keep you pressing forward as you attempt to see what crafty awesomeness Nintendo has for you around the next corner. It’s almost as exhilarating as the game play itself. I could never wait to see what was next, and fell into the one-more-hour problem. And while you think there are limitations on what aesthetically can be done with cardboard, think again. Every level was more impressive than the last, with the cardboard not only providing a specific look to each world and level, but played heavily into the various puzzles as well, each as interesting to figure out as the last.
But the game goes even deeper than that. When you look closer at each level, you quickly begin to see the multitude of 3D elements. Doors that lead to secret behind-the-scenes areas, walkways that take you into the foreground, and so much more. On the surface you have a side scrolling platforms that quickly falls away to a much deeper experience. All of this buried behind a cutesy cardboard world.
The game is not without its share of problems however, most of which could be fixed with quality of life improvements. Each level needs to be played a minimum of 4 times to get that 100% target, and even then you could play it 7, 8, perhaps even 10 times. There are too many steps involved in getting, for example, the souvenir in each level: receiving the request, fulfilling the request, returning to the quest giver. Even if you had technically completed that request in a previous run, it doesn’t register or count, meaning you’ll have to complete it again.
Ultimately, though, when you get tired of the aesthetics, tired of the collecting, and may be even tired of Yoshi himself, you can bring along a friend and do all those things in a slightly different way. With each of you controlling a Yoshi, you’ll need to find 3 Poochy’s within the world and make it to the end of the level, within the time frame. I never found this overly difficult, but experiencing the uniqueness of this title with a friend was a great experience overall.
Overall, Yoshi’s Crafted World is a fantastic experience that I’m glad I played through. While collecting everything ratchets up the difficulty, it can also become a severe chore as well. And unfortunately, a lot of the things you unlock for your efforts – whether using coins for outfits in the candy machine, or even the 100% completion prize – it all feels a bit weak, and a letdown overall. Is this game worth it? Definitely. Should you feel the needs to get 100%? Not really, unless you really want to maximize your experience with the game.