Wonderfully Crafted To Make Your Inner Child Smile, Even If It’s A Bit Cookie Cutter
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch
Edward Varnell – Twitter: @thatretrocode
The latest title in the long running Yoshi series is a wonderful reminder of what it means to be a kid at heart. It brought back many memories of the adventures I would go on with my friends and the way we let our imaginations fly. The developers at Good-Feel brought their own imaginations to life, and like their previous titles, Yoshi’s Woolly World and Kirby’s Epic Yarn, they took a really fun visual aesthetic and ran with it, giving us this paper-crafted masterpiece in Yoshi’s Crafted World.
The story opens with the Yoshi clan gathering around The Sundream Stone. This five gem-stone statue is said to “make anyone’s wildest dreams come true.” But as the Yoshis are enjoying themselves, they are caught off guard by Bowser Jr. and Kamek. Their attempt to steal the the precious gems from the Yoshis results a tug-of-war between the two sides, with all of the stones lost among the chaos. At this point, players are able to choose their favorite colored dino to track them down.
(Paper) Rolling out the Carpet
The presentation of Yoshi’s Crafted World is quite charming, with 16 lands across the board, each having a distinct theme. Good-Feel crafted some incredible levels by using massive art supplies to create masterful dioramas. As you move forward through each stage, you’ll see cardboard cutouts, strings, ribbons, balloons, toilet paper rolls, egg cartons, and more produce anything from roads to trains, animals, toys, houses, etc. Basically anything you see is created by some sort of paper craft. You’ll even be able to interact with many of these items in the foreground and background by throwing your eggs, revealing unique items, collectibles, and coins behind each object.
Each level you are presented with is rarely the same, consisting of traditional platforming, auto-scrolling, and racing levels. The goal of each coarse is simple enough: get to the end. The real challenge comes into play when you are trying to one hundred percent each stage, where you must collect all of the gold and red coins, Smiley Flowers, and a complete heart wheel. Though with no time limit to race against, you can approach each level at your leisure. Even with 2 player co-op, working with other players can be a joy, unless you go out of your way to make it insufferable for each other.
Each stage can also be played backwards, adding a collect-a-thon of Poochie Pups to your checklist. The layout of each level flips on a dime and getting through areas require different steps. For example, some doors you couldn’t get through are now visible and show new pathways and secrets. When all of these requirements are met, you are again rewarded with a Smiley Flower.
The auto-scrolling levels are worth a replay, too. Whether you’re controlling a gigantic cardboard cutout Yoshi, leaning on an airplane to move up or down, or riding a train while playing a shooting gallery to meet certain point requirements, each one is distinct enough and always feels fresh.
Eggs to the Face
Your main encounters will be with some very familiar foes: the shy guys. Yoshi can engulf them with his tongue attack, giving the player two options: spitting them out at other enemies or converting them into eggs by swallowing them. With a maximum arsenal of seven eggs, players can throw them at enemies in either the background or foreground, shoot them into question clouds, or lock onto coins to collect them.
Not all enemies are edible. You’ll meet up with one-of-a-kind challengers in certain stages, like ax-wielding robots, a gigantic red-lipped fish who will try to swallow you, knighted shy guys, dinosaurs, and more. As they will try everything to stop you, you’ll have to figure the right way to defeat them or avoid them.
Luckily, you have the familiar butt-stomp and hover jumps Yoshi is known for. Since there isn’t a run function, your normal pacing will get you through the level. With tricky jumps and smart enemy placement, you’ll need to strategically time your butt-stomps and hover jumps. Though it isn’t difficult, the challenge does increase as you progress through the game.
Shoe String Showdowns
The boss battles are amusing. They don’t follow any sort of patterns, so you will always have to be aware of what’s going on around you. Kamek will spread her magic over some of the area’s art supplies to create the boss of that world. A stop-motion cutscene will show you how the boss is created and reveal it’s weak spot. Although the bosses don’t have checkpoints, the typical three hit mechanic found in most Mario games is still intact so battles usually won’t take too long.
What is troubling though is that the game doesn’t have many mid-boss levels. Bosses are few and far between. With only 6 major bosses in the entire game, it would have been nice to have a mid-boss once in a while to break things up.
Nintendo and Good-Feel continue to deliver their expertise when it comes to platformers with creative and imaginative worlds, tight controls with a solid frame rate, delightful music, expressive bosses, and outlandish yet sweet moments that’ll make you laugh. If you’re going for a 100% run, you’re going to need to work for it. All in all, Yoshi’s Crafted World is a wonderfully crafted one that will continue to make you and others smile.
5 Stars (Yoshi Coins)
To celebrate our new Five Star Rating System, this will be my final use of the Yoshi Coins. What a better way to send them off than on a Yoshi game?