Finally, Mario’s faithful, if sometimes mistreated, pal has his own entry in the Nintendo Switch library. Yoshi’s Crafted World marks the eighth entry of Yoshi’s game-starring career, as well as quite possibly the cutest title on the Switch to date.
Dino Friendly Arts and Crafts
It is not possible to talk about Yoshi’s Crafted World, or any Yoshi-based game for that matter, without addressing the art style. The arts and craft vibe of this game exudes as soon as you start it up, but in the best possible way. Some stylized games seem to try too hard to make the style work, resulting in a feeling of having style shoved down your throat rather than enjoying the game play. This was never a concern during my time with the game at least. Every detail seemed to just fit together so perfectly that it gave off an immersive experience instead of the “hey, look at me!” experience I just mentioned. And while this has been a feature of previous games, such as the woolen aspect of Yoshi’s Wooly World, the arts and crafts ambience of the different zones can even follow the player later in the game. By collecting coins and trading them in at gumball machines around the map, special costumes consisting of scenery elements and characters can be unlocked. Not only do these costumes look great (my favorite so far is a yellow cat with purple ears), they act as temporary health/armor for Yoshi during game play.
Yoshi’s Crafted World’s game play, like its art style, is at least partly reminiscent of his earlier games. As is customary in any game involving Yoshi, eating enemies and other random objects abounds here, along with subsequent…creation…of eggs. For many levels the most readily available commodity to accomplish this biological feat consists of Shy Guys or simply blocks that pop out extra eggs when hit. Various levels toss in their own variations keep things interesting, ranging from Monty Moles, Little Mousers, and other Mario universe staples, to SO many different versions of Shy Guys.
The eggs themselves are, of course, used for smacking things with eggs. Many enemies can be defeated by said smacking, though the usual step-on-something’s-head-to-defeat-it maneuver is mostly effective as well. Apart from defeating enemies, eggs can also be tossed to collect coins, knock down certain things in the scenery (both in foreground and background), and activate special floating cloud actions. These actions can be a quick refill of hearts, a chunk of coins, or even a mid-level mini game of sorts to either acquire the much-sought red coins or Smiley Flowers.
While this is enjoyable by itself, I was pleased to find that the levels each offer their own unique mechanic that makes them distinct and motivating for the player to keep going. The different zones in the game add in new mechanics, such as throwing magnets at soda cans to reach previously unreachable areas, weird birds named Goonies to jump on to get across gaps, and, my personal favorite, Yoshi getting a giant dinosaur skull stuck on his head to ram enemies and walls. Some mechanics are more level-changing than others, such as flying on an airplane that is controlled by moving from the front to the back depending on if you want to fly up or down, riding on a train and having to hit moving targets to collect items, or hilariously getting into a giant robotic Yoshi and punching everything in sight to score points.
More Game Play!
While the levels in Yoshi’s Crafted World are basically linear in nature, this does not mean that players will be barreling through, never looking back, on a path to the end of the game. I suppose you could play the game in this manner, but so much would be missed! Each level has a certain number of Smiley Flowers to be found or earned through collection of enough hearts, coins, or red coins. While you do not need to collect all these flowers to move on, if you do choose to 100% this game there will be lots of backtracking in your future. Sometimes the player needs to go further in a level to collect more eggs, and go back to collect items, and then go back again. Thankfully, this does not have to be done the first play through of a level thanks to another replayability mechanic: the Blockafellers.
The Blockafellers are robotic characters that greet Yoshi upon entering each new section of the map. In fact, the only way of progressing into further parts of the map is by offering up Smiley Flowers to the Blockafeller from that zone to help “power” them up. To make up for having to pay them, though, these Blockafellers offer the player a set of extra quests after beating a level similar to a scavenger hunt. In exchange for finding (hitting with an egg) the items in the scenery that the Blockafeller requests, they give you a Smiley Flower to add to your collection. And since you are replaying the levels a few times to complete these quests, anyway, might as well 100% the other stuff while you are at it!
Need even more ways of playing a previously completed again? Never fear! Yoshi’s Crafted World also gives you the option of flipping the levels around to the backside in order to search for those pesky Poochy Pups playing hide and seek. Even this might have you repeating the level a few times in order to get all the Smiley Flowers as they are based on how quickly the level is completed. However, in my experience at least, these flipped levels are not that tough if you just keep moving forward.
Yoshi’s Crafted World is quite possibly the most charming, full of genuine character game that I have played in quite some time. While some of the game play is a bit simplistic (read as easy), this aspect did not diminish my enjoyment of the game at all. It certainly will not be the go-to game for every gamer out there, but for anyone looking for a fun, family-friendly, low stress outing this is a solid title.