Yoshi’s latest adventure takes you through a handcrafted world filled with ‘artsy’ everyday objects!
Few franchises in gaming are as charming as Yoshi, and our dino pal’s latest adventure is a testament to that. Yoshi’s Crafted World, first unveiled by Nintendo during their E3 2017 presentation, is a heartwarming game filled with adorable visuals and playful environments. Just under two years since its inaugural trailer, I’ve now had the chance to play through the entire game and my impressions can be summed up nicely in one familiar phrase—must-have. Yes, as trite as that word sounds Yoshi is another huge hit for Nintendo and another shining beacon for Nintendo Switch, a console absolutely stuffed with stellar titles.
I’ve spent around ten days with Yoshi’s Crafted World and every time I load it up I’m still completely enamoured by the game’s aesthetic. It has a handmade feel, similar to Sony’s highly successful LittleBigPlanet series, and it’s literally bursting at the seams with unbridled charm. Levels are jam-packed with cute arts and crafts, like origami animals, cardboard cutout trees coloured with crayons, and piles of confetti. To reinforce the collaborative, crafting feel, the game supports local two-player cooperative multiplayer, enabling you to buddy up with family and friends.
Kamek and Baby Bowser are causing trouble—again!
This tale begins on Yoshi’s Island—a serene, familiar location for Yoshi veterans—where Yoshis live in harmony. Atop the highest peak sits a sparkling, gem-set wonder known as the Sundream Stone that legend says can make anyone’s wildest dreams come true. Baby Bowser and Kamek catch wind of the magical stone and, as you’d expect, come to the island to nab it. Following a struggle between the Yoshis and the baddies, the Sundream Stone’s five gems get flung far across the land. The many coloured Yoshis on the island agree to head out and recover the gems before Kamek and Baby Bowser get their grubby Koopa paws on them.
While Yoshi games, and Super Mario platforming games for that matter, tend to be light on story, the cutscenes in Yoshi’s Crafted World are surprisingly robust. They are often filled with tons of flashy, custom animations, the camera frequently switches angles, and humour is generally spot on. I genuinely looked forward to each subsequent dialogue sequence, which is a great step forward for the Yoshi franchise as a whole. In particular, I loved the pre-boss fight sequences where Kamek has a habit of “crafting” bosses out of makeshift arts and crafts supplies lying about the area.
You might also like: New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe Review
Accessible controls for everyone—and fun gameplay twists
Yoshi’s Crafted World continues the series tradition of side-scrolling platforming, only this time adds a whole bunch of surprises. Now, not only can you gobble enemies with Yoshi’s tongue and pop out an egg, you can hurl them into the background or foreground. Doing so allows you to knock down hand-crafted objects, like a cardboard bush, and nab collectibles hidden behind them. This effectively transforms the entire stage into one huge playground filled with goodies all over.
Another neat evolution of the series is the 2.5D stages containing multiple planes. You can now walk into the background or step into the foreground to progress through levels or uncover more secrets. This adds a nice pseudo-3D feel to the game and gets your curiosity flowing as you think about what could be “behind” those papercraft houses or trees way off in the distance.
Chill out with Mellow Mode
Continuing down Nintendo’s path of greater accessibility, Yoshi’s Crafted World brings back the easier Mellow Mode from Yoshi’s Woolly World, this time with even more enhancements. For starters, to bolster Yoshi’s signature Flutter Jump, Mellow Mode gives our friend wings for unlimited flying and hovering. Since Yoshi slightly bobs up during each “hover” motion you can actually ascend to the top of stages with relative ease. That means even if you fall down a hole, in this mode, you can easily fly back up.
Other perks include the ability to see which Coins are actually the more valuable Red Coins, and all Question Mark Wings (containing hearts, coins, and other goodies) are now visible. As well, you have a Smiley Flower sensor that alerts you to nearby flowers in your vicinity. Combat is also much easier as eating enemies net you two eggs instead of one, and taking damage dings you one heart and not the usual four. As you can see, there are a lot of perks to using Mellow Mode!
So why would you want to use Mellow Mode? Well, for starters it’s great for young gamers in the house as it’s a forgiving mode that will let them more easily complete stages and find collectibles. Secondly, if you’re just looking for an easy breezy gameplay experience, Mellow Mode lets you see the whole game with minimal challenge. And lastly, say you’ve gone through a level several times and just can’t find that last Smiley Flower; well, using Mellow Mode you’ll quickly discover where it’s hiding with the sensor pointing to its location.
See you on the flip side
Yoshi’s Crafted World is a pretty sizable game—over 40 stages in all—with each one having its own “flip-side” version. Here you’ll play levels in reverse and need to rescue three Poochy pups along the way. In addition to extending the game’s replay extensively, running through levels in reverse really drives home how much thought went into building every level. Flip-side levels allowed me to appreciate these colourful worlds from a novel and unique new perspective. Best of all, reverse stages never felt like a bore, but rather they’re a fun, extra challenge with valuable rewards.
Smiley Flowers everywhere
As any Yoshi fan can tell you, the true challenge to these games isn’t completing the game—it’s discovering all the collectibles. The most coveted goodie is the Smiley Flowers, of which there are usually 5-8 hidden in each level. Why they’re so valuable is you’ll need a specified number of flowers to unlock each of the game’s 17 worlds.
Thankfully, there are ways to nab bonus Smiley Flowers on top of those already tucked away inside levels. To begin with, if you collect 100 regular Coins or find 20 hidden Red Coins you’ll be awarded post-level with extra flowers. Additionally, complete stages with 20 hearts (full health, meaning don’t get hit) and you can earn one more flower. Finally, as mentioned, collecting Poochy pups on flip-side levels nets you one flower for each, and if you complete the stage within a pre-determined time you can nab yet one more flower.
You didn’t think collecting all those Coins was for naught, did you? Each world contains a coin-operated vending machine dispensing capsule toys you can wear. There are 173 in all to collect, ranging from cupcakes to Bullet Bill to my personal favourite, a clown fish (Finding Nemo fan here!) There’s also an obligatory Nintendo Labo suit, which goes hand-in-hand with the game’s crafty nature.
On top of making Yoshi look super stylish, the suits act as body armour protection from enemy damage. Suits come in three tiers, common, rare, and super rare, and offer three, four, and five “shields” of damage respectively. Collecting all those costumes will take some time, and for amiibo collectors there are ten more costumes you can unlock!
Two-player local co-op fun
Playing solo is a ton of fun, but together with family is even better. Much like Yoshi’s Woolly World for Wii U, this latest Yoshi games contains two-player local cooperative multiplayer. My son is too young to play coop with me (he’s 1 year old!) but I did have time to play together with my wife and we both had a blast. You’re able to work together to defeat enemies, find hidden goodies, and support each other along the journey.
Yoshi’s Crafted World is a joyful platformer bursting at the seams with handcrafted charm
Yoshi’s Crafted World is a blast to play and it’s easily one of the best Yoshi games yet. It’s even better played locally with friends or family, if you have other gamers in the house or neighbourhood. The wonderful, handcrafted visuals are a real treat on the eyes, and it’s just as fun playing levels on the reverse “flip-side”. Toss in a huge number of collectibles and 180+ costumes and you’ve got extremely high replay value.
The bottom line—and this seems to be a common theme among Nintendo’s releases—is once again we have another must-have game to add to your Switch library.
Yoshi’s Crafted World – Pros:
- Fun story with witty cutscenes
- Wonderful handcrafted visually
- Tons of collectibles to find and secrets to uncover
- Mellow Mode is great for younger players
- Nice implementation of local two-player coop
- Graphically impressive bosses
- Flip-side levels add tremendous replayability
Yoshi’s Crafted World – Cons:
- Fairly easy game that doesn’t present much of a challenge
- Some worlds require a high number of Smiley Flowers to unlock
- Gameplay: 8.5/10
- Graphics: 9/10
- Sound: 8/10
- Replayability: 8.5/10
See also: Best Switch Games 2018