Yoshi’s Crafted World is like a big heaping plate (or bowl) of your favorite comfort food. Sure, it’s not going to blow your mind or redefine the medium, but it’s a consistently solid experience that is easy to digest. Of course, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Nintendo and developer Good-Feel have nailed down their take on the cutesy, admittedly adorable platformer, and Yoshi’s Crafted World delivers on its promise of solid gameplay and hand-crafted aesthetic, even if the overall experience is a tad too easy at times.
Not unlike past games, Yoshi’s Crafted World relies on a tried-and-tested gameplay loop that longtime Nintendo fans will be very familiar with. Yoshi can gobble up his foes to make eggs, which can be thrown to unearth secrets and new paths, assuming your aim is up to par. There are a handful of collectibles strewn throughout each level, though most players will focus on maxing out their health while seeking out hidden flowers and red coins.
Unlike past entries, there’s no need to collect all items in a single run, and impatient gamers can simply blitz through each level as quickly as they want, as long as they collect a few flowers along the way since they’re used to unlock new areas. Still, you’d be doing yourself a grave disservice by completing levels at a breakneck pace — there’s so much to see, do, and discover in each of the game’s carefully-crafted levels, and fully exploring every nook and cranny is half the fun.
That being said, at some point, you’ll probably find yourself revisiting an old stage to track down a few flowers or coins you missed on your first playthrough, and it’s here where you’ll run into Crafted World’s “flip side” levels. This time around, players will traverse a level in reverse (right to left) while hunting down three hidden Poochy Pups. Unlike normal stages, which put an emphasis on exploration and racking up collectibles, “flip side” levels are focused solely on speed, with a time limit in place to tighten up the otherwise leisurely pace. These reversed courses might not be every gamer’s cup of tea, but for the most part, they can be largely ignored, or at least tackled in small doses.
Still, while the core gameplay loop might seem rather “by-the-numbers” for a Yoshi game, Crafted World continually surprises and astounds with its almost childlike visual style. Animals made from cardboard cutouts, pathways composed of tissue paper, levels built from scrap material such as empty soda cans or discarded straws — Yoshi’s Crafted World has style in spades and is easily one of the most inviting and alluring games on the market. While its whimsical soundtrack can be rather hit or miss (longtime fans will undoubtedly miss some of the more catchy tunes from the ’90s), there are still a few noteworthy tracks that will get stuck in your head.
Even though it’s simplicity and gentle difficulty curve might turn off those looking for a meatier challenge, Yoshi’s Crafted World is far from underwhelming. Good-Feel isn’t afraid to introduce unique mechanics in one stage, only to abandon them for an entirely new gimmick in the next. which is enough to keep players young and old from fizzling out before the journey is over.
This review is based on the Nintendo Switch version of the game. A copy was provided by Nintendo.
Yoshi's Crafted World is full of charm and wonder, which more than makes up for its lack of challenge or complexity.