[Yoshi’s Crafted World]Yoshi’s Crafted World review： Pour some sugar on me ｜ Technobubble
Yoshi’s Crafted World is the kind of game that restores your faith in humanity. Well, that and bring balance back to your frayed and frazzled mind after hours of playing Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Spoiler alert: I died more than twice while playing Sekiro. W-What is that light on yonder side? And should I walk toward it? Grandfather, is that you?
Seriously, though. As someone who works in journalism and gets exposed to a plethora of bad and even badder news on a daily basis from across the globe (not to mention, Facebook news comments), it’s nice to occasionally enjoy something that reminds you that there’s still a lot of good in this world — that everything is gonna be OK. At least that’s the sense I get when playing Yoshi’s Crafted World for the Nintendo Switch. Talk about a sugary sweet delight. It’s like a ray of sunshine surrounded by double rainbows and flowers wrapped in colorful papercraft.
It’s also the type of game that some self-professed “hardcore” gamers decry as kiddie Nintendo fluff. Never mind that it’s the kind of fluff they used to love when they were kids, too. And just wait till they have children of their own. That’s when a lot of wannabe edgelords rediscover religion, so to speak, and realize that there is a place for games they could play with their kids. Basically, just because a game is geared toward children and families does not mean it’s a bad game for filthy casuals that’s ruining the industry. It’s just a game that’s, you know, geared toward children and families. I mean, heaven help us if retail stores only sold checkered shirts and skinny jeans for folks ages 13 to 30.
But I digress.
Yoshi’s Crafted World is the exact kind of game in Nintendo’s proverbial wheelhouse. Or is that treehouse? Like many Yoshi games before it, you’ve got a gaggle of cute Yoshi dinosaurs chilling together in peace until professional peace wrecker Kamek swoops in to ruin everything. Riding shotgun with the broom-riding Koopa wizard is none other than the mischievous Baby Bowser (not to be confused with Bowser Jr.), who hatches a plan with Kamek to steal the Yoshis’ prized gem-set stone. The Yoshis’ then embark on an adventure to regain the lost pieces of their precious stone, leading to the meat of Yoshi’s Crafted World.
Admittedly, that narrative ain’t God of War or The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince. As far as Nintendo games go, this story is less Legend of Zelda and more classic Super Mario Bros., where you have a simple and whimsical tale serving as a quick setup to the gameplay. That being said, it still has its share of hilarious moments, most of which involve interactions with the future Koopa king, “His Spikiness.” The simpler narrative also doesn’t detract from the things that the game does well, which are mainly its unique, colorful presentation and, of course, traditional Yoshi-style platforming.
Like Yoshi’s Wooly World before it, Yoshi’s Crafted World uses distinct materials to craft its unique look, pun so totally intended. This time, it’s crafts and everyday objects — so cardboard, cups, boxes, cloth, that kind of stuff.
The result is a fun and warm aesthetic on top of the Yoshi series’ trademark charm. Certain scenes also have a stop-motion quality to them, adding even more of a kid’s show vibe to the process. I personally think that the developers did a great job in designing the stages and their various gimmicks to fully leverage that crafted aesthetic. While Wooly World used a lot of spooling or unspooling effects, for example, Yoshi’s Crafted World has a lot of flipping and toppling gimmicks that reveal hidden areas and objects. Stages are also designed to be experienced not just on?one side, featuring reverse paths that allow you to literally experience them on the flip side. One plus for families is the ability to play the game in co-op by handing a second controller or Joycon to your partner. Speaking of controls, I’d also just like to say thank you to whoever’s responsible for enabling Pro Controller support. You da real MVP, as the cool kids say in texts or online comments these days.
Gameplay will be familiar to veterans of Yoshi games. Eggs serve as your primary weapon once more and you can stock up on them by either gobbling foes or smacking egg boxes. You can then use these eggs to hit enemies, items, structures, flowers and all sorts of other stuff, and I definitely encourage you to just aim that cursor at whatever catches your fancy. Interaction is a key focus in the game and Yoshi’s Crafted World encourages you to use those eggs to uncover what its various settings have to offer. It also likes to play up creativity, including crafting solutions like a makeshift train whose parts you have to find, for example. It basically imbues a sense of wonder within its world, which is especially great for younger players.
The game’s family friendliness is also reflected in the difficulty, which — like Kirby games — isn’t all that hard. Like other games before it, Yoshi’s Crafted World is very forgiving, especially with the addition of new costumes that help you absorb even more punishment. These costumes, which just look adorable, can typically be acquired by using coins that you earn in stages to feed a “gacha” or prize machine with random goodies. Thankfully, these don’t require real money and rely solely on in-game currency, just like how old games used to be.
For folks looking for a challenge, the main source for that would be finishing each stage with complete marks, including a full set of hearts while making sure you find every hidden secret in each stage, including all the flower symbols. By adding that to your to-do list, you get a bit more engagement in your adventure and might even have to repeat stages a few times if you miss them during your first playthrough. Since these are optional, though, it also means that kids don’t have to get frustrated about getting stuck because they can still finish stages without finding all the secrets.
Bosses, meanwhile, reflect the game’s charming aesthetic and require some creative approaches that aren’t limited to egg throwing. These bosses typically reflect Nintendo’s classic mechanic of requiring three solid hits on a weak point to take them down once you figure out their different phases. They also include a bunch of kooky misfits with hilarious designs, from a pirate octopus that chucks balls, a condor with a tin can as a body and a giant inflatable beach ball named “Burt the Ball” whose weak point is a makeshift Band-Aid on its butt where its air valve is located. Seriously. It’s this kind of goofiness that makes Yoshi’s Crafted World a treat to play, especially around younger kids. Yes, the game leans a bit on the easy side. The base gameplay also doesn’t quite advance the series nor does it add anything that’s much different from the familiar Yoshi formula we’ve seen over the years. But its level of polish and oodles of charm give Yoshi’s Crafted World a lot of heart. It’s the kind of game that you can enjoy with your kids, younger cousins, nephews or even adults who still remember what it’s like to be a child. As someone who has always liked “kiddie” games like this, there are definitely times when it’s OK not to grow up.
Wait, is that boss’ weak point a MacGyvered Band-Aid on its butt? Why, yes. Yes, it is! That’s the exact kind of kookiness to expect when playing Yoshi’s Crafted World for the Nintendo Switch. Admittedly, the platforming leans toward the easy side and the mechanics don’t add anything revolutionary to the Yoshi formula. What Yoshi’s Crafted World has, however, is a?wonderfully creative world, plenty of charm, lots of polish and family-friendly fun for co-op lovers. It’s an egg-cellent addition to the Yoshi franchise.
Rating: 8 out of 10Cost: $59.99, Nintendo Switchhttps://yoshiscraftedworld.nintendo.com/
Jason Hidalgo covers business?and technology for the Reno Gazette Journal, and also reviews video games as part of his Technobubble?features. Follow him on Twitter @jasonhidalgo. Like this contentSupport local journalism with an?RGJ digital subscription.
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