It’s time to get crafty in Yoshi’s latest adventure on the Nintendo Switch. Between the telltale bops, wiggly flutters and the squeals of excitement, Yoshi’s Crafted World unfolds into pure platforming genius. Discover 16 themed islands where you can take flight in a space rocket, fearfully flee for your life when a prehistoric dinosaur tries to gobble you up, or patiently wait for a bus. Full of adorable moments each step of the way, Yoshi fans won’t want to miss this.
With the arrival of the eighth main instalment of the Yoshi series, developer Good-Feel has certainly been busy. Their delightful Nintendo 3DS remake of Kirby’s (Extra) Epic Yarn landed earlier this month, scoring considerably well amongst critics, and placed at number six in the Japanese Media Create charts. And after such success with Yoshi’s Woolly World for the Wii U back in 2015, could Yoshi’s Crafted World mirror that achievement? We certainly hope so.
When Kamek and Baby Bowser launch an attack on the Yoshis’ Sundream Stone in the hopes of making their wildest dreams come true, the five dream gems scatter across Crafted World’s 16 distinct islands, causing utter havoc amongst the Yoshis. They nominate one Yoshi (two if you’re playing in co-op) to bear the burden and bring back all the dream gems, while avoiding Kamek and Baby Bowser’s wizardry along the way. You’ll have to navigate through 45+ stages and collect as many Smiley Flowers as you can in order to progress though – thankfully, there’s ample to find for the newcomer and challenging enough to collect for the veteran.
As a slight nod to Yoshi’s Woolly World, you can choose to play as Yoshi in up to eight different colours from the get-go, either in Mellow or Classic play styles. But as an added bonus, there’s also more than 160 absolutely adorable cardboard cut-out costumes to choose from and wear. Between a Launch Rocket, a Giraffe, a Tin-Can Condor, a Pirate Boat and a Circus Stage, costumes are not only aesthetically pleasing, they’re practical too. Doubling up as a shield, Yoshi can take between three to five hits before the costume breaks and becomes reliant on hearts once again.
Obtained in exchange for 100-250 gold coins, you’ll find each costume hidden inside the island’s designated gumball machine – that is, if you can stand the terribly grating circus-inspired music for long enough. Though unlike Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, you’ll never get a duplicate item. Thank the RNG gods, Crafted World comes up trumps here. A great addition for youngsters or newcomers who need an extra helping hand, costumes are also just plain fun. Plus, certain Mario amiibo unlock additional costumes too. Trust me, the Luigi costume works perfectly with the Haunted Maker Mansion stage in between poor Yoshi’s petrified shaking.
Smiley Flowers and costumes aren’t the only collectibles on offer either, players will also discover the usual red coins, hearts and gold coins within each level, alongside specially crafted items that can be obtained only once you clear a stage. And with 120+ crafted items able to be discovered within the game, there’s a big emphasis on replayability here. Plus, any object and costume you collect can be found in the Scrapbook, as well as cutscenes and collectible music.
As covered quite extensively in our first impressions article, Yoshi’s Crafted World is home to some real hidden treasures. From an island that’s bathed in beauty with ‘Origami Garden’ flowers budding, monty moles hiding and Shy Guys waving hand-drawn paper cut-outs of butterflies in the air, to another that glows under the dazzling stars in ‘Outer Orbit’ and traces shooting stars in the sky, Crafted World pulls out all the stops to create a pop-up tableau of masterful game design. There’s even a little bit of Woolly World in Pastel Pathway, where all the designs are made from yarn. No matter where you look, where you flutter, or where you toss an egg, the foreground and background seamlessly weave together and never fail to make the player smile or let out a gleeful giggle. Between the puzzles, the hidden secrets and the sheer variety that’s on offer, Crafted World manages something not many games can achieve; entirely unique stages.
Some of my personal favourites include; an axe-wielding clown which relentlessly stalks you in Be Afraid of the Dark (thanks for the nightmares ‘IT’); an egg tossing challenge on a train that you’d likely see at a carnival in Jungle Tour Challenge; and the endearing moments seen in Weighing Acorns where Yoshi quite literally hums to himself while he waits patiently for a bus. Besides, if all public transport was as quick and efficient as Crafted World, I think I’d be humming to myself too.
As a neat addition, Crafted World also enables players to run back through the level on its flip side to collect three mischievous Poochy Pups. While it’s not a requirement to play through in the game’s 10-hour storyline, it’s a great way to collect some of those additional crafted items and effectively kill two birds with one stone. Essentially seen as time trials, the Poochy Pup levels award players with up to four Smiley flowers after completing the level. And if you thought those side-scrolling chase sequences were difficult the first time round, they come back to haunt you on the flip side too. It’s no wonder those pups were hiding, I’ve got seven axe-wielding clowns chasing me down!
While the heart-pumping chase sequences are hilarious on the flip side, the majority of the Poochy Pup levels can be quite cumbersome. It’s a good idea to break up the monotony by taking Souvenir Requests on board while playing through these levels, mainly so you don’t have to do them more than once. It’s a shame that Poochy takes more of a backseat in the game too, he only appears in approximately three levels, giving the spotlight to his litter.
If you’re up for a spot of co-operative play using either one joy-con or two, Crafted World will not let you down. Featuring drop-in and drop-out co-op, players will need to work together on one screen to reach the stage goal. With every level playable in co-op, including the boss fights, Crafted World is – quite ironically – often more challenging when there’s two of you. Between gobbling up the other player accidentally to hitching a ride in the back of their boat costume in the more tricky elements of the levels, co-op can be hilariously chaotic.
There’s a moment in ‘Exploring the Animal Kingdom’ where one part of the stage is completely covered in bouncy balloons. All you have to do is gobble up a magnet, attach it to the upholstered can, and avoid the Shy Guys. Easy, right? In my couch co-op, not so much. Between our fits of giggles (seriously, at one point, I was on the floor with laughter), we managed to clear the level. And that’s what’s so great about Crafted World, even if you’ve played it through once in single-player mode, there’s never a dull moment in co-op as each stage has been cleverly designed to adapt to both play styles. Plus, the game runs smoothly and there’s not one framerate drop in sight. It’s a different story if you’re trying to play it in handheld though as it can be very tricky to spot who’s who within the game’s chaotic background and foreground scenery.
Yoshi’s Crafted World is a real joy to play. While it’s monotonous during the flip side levels, its masterful platform design makes up for it in droves. And as Nintendo proved last year, cardboard boxes, bits of string, fuzzy felt and plastic cups can be used to form highly unique creations, suitable for anyone to play. Who knows, perhaps we’ll see Yoshi in Labo VR next – well, one can hope.
A review copy of Yoshi’s Crafted World was provided to My Nintendo News by Nintendo UK.