NS Review – Yoshi’s Crafted World (Switch)

Yoshis Crafted World Nintendo Switch Review

Yoshi’s Crafted World is the latest in what you’ve come to expect from Mario’s green dinosaur pal; another take on the classic platformer, featuring Yoshi and his friends, traversing through a newly created world in a brand new style. Of course it’s charming, the art style is a delight, there’s not too much in the way of a challenge and it’s a lot fun to play. This time it’s all about paper crafts, and bit’s of wire and tin cans and bottles and things like that, plus there’s the usual Smiley Flowers to collect and a few surprises along the way too.

The game starts off with the usual basic plot introduction – this time, for some non-specific reason, Baby Bowser and Kamek have decided to steal the Sundream Stone from the Island of Yoshis, but it doesn’t go too well and the Dream Gems that form the Stone get scattered across the world and lost in the forest. It’s no Game of Thrones, but we don’t come here for story now do we. It’s just an excuse to get out there, as one of eight different coloured Yoshi’s, perhaps with a friend, and collect some stuff. Loads of stuff.

With the choice of Classic mode of Mellow mode, in which Yoshi is equipped with wings and floats continuously through the air, the encouragement to play with friends, or even young family who need a little bit of help, is clearly the focus. The levels are constructed from cardboard in most cases, with platforms and little toy trains – setups that could have been made by children. And that’s the biggest draw here; progressing to each new stage just to see what wondrous new creation will be found in each. Never short of new ideas there’s so many fresh things to see; the level designers have clearly had a lot of fun putting this game together.

Gameplay is as per previous Yoshi titles; and with Smiley Flowers, red coins, and yellow coins to find in each, the real challenge comes from getting 100% in every stage. With an extra flower available for finishing with full hearts intact too, repeat play is encouraged, and with challenges from cardboard robots to collect even more stuff; souvenirs from stages such as cardboard cows or fish, the game is a full on collect-a-thon. I didn’t finish any stage with everything that was available to collect on any of my first run throughs, missing out by one or two coins, but with items well hidden as they are I wasn’t surprised that I repeatedly failed. Getting EVERYTHING there is to see is an intimidating prospect – but one I enjoyed facing and I loved the fact that items I had already collected didn’t need to be hunted down again on each run through.

One of my favourite changes to Yoshi’s Crafted World is the change to the egg throwing mechanic. This time you simply move a target reticle around the screen and press the button to throw. It’s nice and simple and much more user friendly. Interestingly though you can target things in the background and foreground too, so you’ll constantly be looking carefully around as you progress to see what can be knocked down for those all important coins or flowers. There’s so much detail, so much to look at on every stage. With the ability to walk into the back and foreground too, it would be wrong to describe the game as a flat, traditional 2D adventure by any means, helping to give the game some individuality when compared to previous adventures.

Stages will literally invite you to come back in after your first attempt, but this time, separate to simply playing through the stage again, you’re challenged to run back the way you came, all the way to the start-line, within the the ‘Flip-side’ of the stage. In this form you’re running, jumping and floating past the back side of the stage scenery you just saw. So you’ll see labels on the back of bottles, clips holding things together and little Shy-Guys you didn’t know were there before. It’s the old Nintendo attention to detail. The reason for this extra journey is to collect three well-hidden Poochy pups, and to do so within a set time limit, so It’s a fun gimmick, one you’ll want to be sure to do if 100% completion is what you crave.

The real enjoyment is to be experienced in the main stages, front and centre though. I had a lot of fun and experienced some genuine surprises as i progressed through the game to each new area. You need a specified number of Smiley Flowers that you’ve found to unlock each new section, but you’ll be glad to spend them as you come across freshly themed new areas frequently. Each new stage has a new mechanic so there’s always something new to see – from driving a full screen sized ‘Go Go Yoshi’, where punching cardboard gates and trees that block the path is the aim of the game; to pushing mine carts into position to reach new platforms or being chased by a huge screen filling dinosaur skeleton. Gobbling up and then spitting out small magnets in order to make little ledges on the side of metal cans so that you can climb up them is a fun little mechanic I really enjoyed too.

To mention any more here is to spoil too much, and so I genuinely encourage you to check out this game to experience all of these things yourself. It really is all good stuff. Another favourite surprise, with a little extra level of challenge, is an auto scrolling level where you’re measured on how many monty moles you can take out. It adds something else to the mix, with a fast pace tune that’s a break from the usual, adding pressure to perform well. To wear a Dino skull head is to give Yoshi the ability to smash through rocks too, but you must be careful not to destroy your means of progression on the way, or risk missing a Flower or coin perched up high; It’s a lot of fun.

After every few stages you’ll have the opportunity to spend coins that you have collected to have a little go in a gum ball machine, where you can win costumes. These are cardboard outfits that Yoshi holds to protect himself and give you three or four extra hits. Outfits range from being normal to rare and ultra rare – but there’s a set number of gum-balls, with no repeats, and so you know that if you buy them all you’ll get them all. It’s very reasonable loot boxes really, that feels a little tacked on admittedly, but with the extra hits that you can take from enemies in game you’ll enjoy sporting a new one every time you play, so there’s an incentive to try and get all 176 of them.

Yoshi’s Crafted World is a great new addition to the Switch library; a lot of fun to play through and certainly one that should be picked up by fans of the series. There are elements of challenge to found in there – clearly the game is not a difficult one, but with so much to collect and throw eggs at I often found myself needing to backtrack to get more ammo. Often, some of these collectible items disappear before you can get to them in time, gently reminding you that the premise that the game is a walk in the park is wrongly expected. With the added complication of your co-op buddy stealing your eggs if he accidentally swallows you up (!), that way of playing also adds perhaps more frustration than fun. Well, it did for me anyway. Some may enjoy the camaraderie, but to play the game at my own pace, with the ability to take everything in and know that if i miss anything it’s my fault, was certainly my preference.

Thanks to Nintendo UK for supplying the download code for this one, you guys are the best.

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