Author’s Note: You can find the video version here.
It’s a-me, Yoshi.
Not since Yoshi’s Story on the N64 have I played a Yoshi game. I couldn’t tell you exactly why I decided to pick up Yoshi’s Crafted World but, if I had to guess, it was probably for the art style. It is, in short, adorable. The visual style reminds me of those old TV Christmas specials (think Rudolf or The Year Without a Santa Claus) and also the game Tearaway Unfolded by Media Molecule (also a good game in case you were wondering). As a result, the cutscenes are really beautiful and made the game all the more enjoyable. In fact, the whole game, not just the cutscenes, is enjoyable.
The story is simple enough (as would be expected). The Yoshis are all living peacefully on an island with the Sundream Stone. The Stone contains five gemstones and it can supposedly grant any wish. The Yoshis’ peaceful existence is disturbed when Kamek and Baby Bowser come to steal the Sundream Stone. After a brief struggle, the Sundream Stone is flung across the world causing its gemstones to be thrown everywhere. It’s up to Yoshi to get them back. The best part about the story is all the scenes with Kamek and Baby Bowser. Their interactions, although obviously written for a much younger audience than yours truly, were hilarious and fun.
The gameplay is what is expected of a Yoshi title, I believe. Crafted World is a side-scrolling adventure featuring 3D characters in a 2.5D world. Yoshi (you can pick whichever color Yoshi you want by the way) can lick up enemies and turn them into eggs, can throw those eggs at enemies, and can hop using his signature floating jump.
Crafted World is ultimately a collectathon. Each level features flowers, red coins, and regular coins that can be collected to get even more flowers in the post-level rundown screen. It can be quite the challenge finding all of the flowers and red coins since they can be hidden in secret areas or in the backgrounds of the levels. I personally had trouble with the timed challenges (because I’m slow and uncoordinated). This fact didn’t make them any less fun, however.
The flowers you collect are used as a currency to unlock new sets of levels. The cost to unlock new levels was never so high that I had to backtrack to find additional flowers so you shouldn’t worry about not having enough flowers to advance. Each set of levels has its own theme and all the themes were fantastic in my humble opinion. My personal favorites were the ones themed after a haunted house because it was so at odds with the overall mood of the game. The themes are made to stand out even more than usual because the levels look like they were made with handmade arts and crafts. It gives the game a unique charm.
In addition to the normal levels, there are also boss fights and a few levels with special conditions (like a time limit, something is chasing you, or you must control a vehicle). The boss fights, just like everything else, aren’t the most challenging in the world but that didn’t stop them from being a good time. The levels with special conditions or vehicles were a joy to play because they added an additional layer to the already fun gameplay.
Each section of the game also has its own themed costumes. Yoshi can wear these costumes in any level. Their purpose is to absorb damage and to make Yoshi adorable. These costumes can be purchased from a coin-operated machine at the end of each section using the in-game coins. Don’t worry, none of that lootbox crap can be found here.
Not only can you collect flowers and coins on your first playthrough but you gain additional objectives once you complete a level for the first time. A character in each themed area will give you an object or item to search for in the levels. Your objective is to find that item and, in the words of all the characters who give these quests, “throw an egg at that sucker.”
In addition, after completing a level, it can be completed in reverse. Known as the “flip side” in Nintendo jargon, this was the most disappointing part of the whole game to be honest. In the trailers leading up to the game’s release, Nintendo made it seem like each level could be flipped around at any time and played backwards. That isn’t the case in the final product. The flip side only consists of finding the three Poochy pups and escorting them out of the level. It wasn’t bad per se but it also didn’t add much to the game either. It certainly doesn’t live up to the promise in the original marketing pitch.
Crafted World isn’t too challenging if I’m being honest (except for the Hidden Hills which are unlocked after finishing the main game). A few levels do offer some challenge but they’re not so bad that you’ll stop playing. If you find yourself having trouble, you can always change the difficulty from Classic to Mellow Mode (this lower difficulty is good for the younger folks among us as well). As I said, my general thinking was that the game was kind of easy. That is until I watched my brother and sister play co-op together. Spoiler alert: they weren’t very good at the game.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment of Crafted World is the soundtrack. Nintendo’s games are known for having memorable, catchy tunes. Crafted World’s soundtrack mostly consists of remixed versions of the main theme. Let me be clear here: I enjoy the main theme but I didn’t want to hear a hundred versions of it throughout the game. It got boring after a while. I wish Crafted World had more new and original tracks to go along with the gameplay. A I said, Nintendo’s games are known for their soundtracks and it would have been nice if Crafted World had a wide variety of new tracks.
Yoshi’s Crafted World is a fun, adorable, and mostly laid-back game. The OST and flip side of levels are disappointing but the characters, visual style, and time-tested gameplay more than make up for them. Yes, there isn’t much challenge to be found within the game (except for a few levels) but it doesn’t detract from the overall experience in my mind. If you’re looking for a hard-as-nails trial and error sort of game then this isn’t the one for you. If, however, you’re searching for a game to play on a relaxing weekend then Yoshi’s Crafted World would certainly fit the bill.
Final Score: 8.5/10
- Charming visual style
- Easy yet offers a little challenge for those who seek it
- Variety of levels
- Kamek & Baby Bowser
- Flip side of levels
Thanks for reading!