Search for ‘craft’, ‘craft ideas’ or ‘craft sayings’ on Pinterest and you’ll easily fall down a hand-woven rabbit hole, complete with spools of colour in every hue adorning the walls. There’s a joke among those who like to craft; they typically buy more than they ever use. But they’re the type of people who have everything. Need a used soup carton to make a fake rocket, or chicken wire to create a paper mache Hedwig for World Book Day? You can bet your sewing needle and thread that they have it in their stockpile. There’s a saying (thanks Pinterest) that goes, ‘In Crafting there are no mistakes, just unique creations’. In Yoshi’s Crafted World, that certainly rings true.
Since it was first unveiled at E3 in 2017, Yoshi’s Crafted World has hit a few development bumps. Originally scheduled for a Nintendo Switch release in 2018, it was pulled from their games line-up and placed into the company’s Spring 2019 slot, with NOA’s Bill Trinen saying that while the game was making good progress, the developers (Good-Feel) wanted to make improvements. Earlier this month, we got our first look into Yoshi’s Crafted World; and it’s shaping up quite nicely.
In our exclusive hands-on session, three levels were available to play and explore. First up was Rail-Yard Run, a tutorial level that’s featured in the Nintendo eShop demo, and is available to download now. As far as introductions go, Rail-Yard Run is a delightful level to ease players into the side-scrolling world of corrugated cardboard, milk cartons and trees held up by wooden pegs. Walk across cardboard bridges and flutter jump over plastic cups to reach collectible red coins, throw eggs (either in the patient or hasty style) at fake Shy Guys in windows to destroy houses and create new paths, and gaze longingly at paper butterflies held by Shy Guys in the distance. You’ll even spot hand-drawn cardboard cows in the background that can be hit via an egg toss for extra gold coins. It’s this attention to detail that makes Yoshi’s Crafted World so interesting to play.
Next, we tried our hands at Poochy’s Tape Trail. In this origami-inspired level, you’ll find leaf vines created from paper ribbon curls, a huge cardboard toad sat in a pond full of paper lily pads, and enemies that roll out pink paper carpets for your arrival. Not only does it look realistic, it’s also aesthetically beautiful too. There’s also references to previous Nintendo games here, with checkpoints presented as upside down super bells from Super Mario 3D World, and rolled up paper trails that can be hit with eggs to unravel paths to new places, as seen in Splatoon. Sometimes it’s fun to just sit and watch Shy Guys roaming around, calmly working on their cardboard cut-out houses, poking their heads out of windows, or delivering coins from above. The tranquility lasts until Poochy appears, at least, and is often seen barrelling into enemies head-first at great speeds like our very own bullet bill.
Since his first appearance in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, Poochy has become an adorable asset to the mainline games, enabling players to reach places – such as hidden Smiley Flowers and sky-high platforms – which are inaccessible to Yoshi. Poochy’s tireless energy is back in Crafted World and comes to the fore in Poochy’s Tape Trail. Appearing roughly halfway through the level, you can hop onto the back of Poochy to knock enemies senseless, or get to places you couldn’t quite reach before. Poochy will even dig into clay to reveal a Smiley Flower. Now, there’s a good boy.
After completing Tape Trail, I had the opportunity to explore its flip side. Here, you’ll be able to explore behind the scenes and capture three Poochy Pups. If you reach the goal within the specified time limit, you’ll also score an additional Smiley Flower on top of the three you gain automatically by collecting the pups. With most stages available in flip side, it’s interesting to see how Good-Feel have purposefully built levels to obscure the player’s vision on the front. If you’ve failed to find all the Smiley Flowers, for example, running through the levels’ flip side will often help you spot secrets, so you’ll know when you’ve missed a collectible. Pups are also hidden in both the foreground and background too. You’ll hear their cute little woofs first, then you’ll easily spot them mesmerised by a paper butterfly, chasing after Shy Guys behind the hedges, or hiding on top of a milk carton. Throw an egg to retrieve the pup and race through to the end of the level, avoiding the enemies as best as you can.
In Yoshi’s Crafted World, every level can be played in drop-in/out co-operative mode. You’ll play with one joy-con each and can choose your individual difficulty level (Mellow or Classic) too. Ideal for younger players or for couch co-op play with friends, each Yoshi can hop onto the back of the other to hitch a free ride in particularly tricky sections, as well as gobble each other to throw at enemies in the foreground, should they run out of eggs. Deceptive Doors is one level that showcases co-op play in its best light. Work together to switch doors, climb on roofs to uncover secrets and bounce together to reach new places. With so many tight spaces in Deceptive Doors, the trick is to ensure you can both help each other progress through the level.
As is the case with many Nintendo platform titles, Yoshi and Kirby included, finding hidden collectibles are often the most rewarding parts. Between discovering Smiley Flowers in hidden question mark clouds to hunting down those special red coins behind regular coins, Crafted World delivers these collectibles in spades. Complete each level with a full heart gauge, by collecting all 20 red coins, getting over 100 regular coins, and finding all the Smiley Flowers to unlock up to four additional Smiley Flowers to your catalogue.
It’s not just finding the collectibles that makes this so satisfying either, it’s where they are positioned in the level. Over by the hedge in Rail-Yard Run, there’s a Shy Guy that’s playing peek-a-boo and deceptively hiding a red coin, or there’s a hidden cloud hiding six red coins right next to sleeping-on-the-job Shy Guys. In Poochy’s Tape Trail and Deceptive Doors, you’ll find blue timer clouds which require you to find and target the mischievous Shy Guys, or hit the floating clouds within the time limit in exchange for a Smiley Flower. Target practice has never felt so good.
From what I’ve played so far, Yoshi’s Crafted World will focus less on challenging platform play and more on shifting the player’s perspective to think outside the box; discovering secrets between the ingeniously built foreground, background and flip side. When you’re genuinely giggling to yourself over a Shy Guy playing peek-a-boo, you know you’re one of two things; going crackers, or you’re so far beyond crackers your breeding Yoshi plushies in your room (for you, not for your children). I guess I’m the latter. Still as cute and cuddly as ever, we’ll patiently wait for Yoshi’s Crafted World and try not to crack any eggs in the meantime.
A special hands-on session of Yoshi’s Crafted World was hosted by Nintendo UK for My Nintendo News. This is a preview of the upcoming game only. A demo of the game is also available to download now on the Nintendo eShop. Yoshi’s Crafted World will be available on March 29th on Nintendo Switch.