Yoshi’s Crafted World is so cute and adorable I wish it had chubby cheeks I could squish.
Brimming with unquestionable charm, Yoshi’s Crafted World invites players to explore a colourful place made of everyday crafting materials.
If you subscribe to the idea Yoshi games are easy, this game isn’t going to change your mind. Indeed, its difficulty level skews towards a younger audience, an assumption reinforced by its cutesy visuals. Look beyond the surface, however, and you’ll find a fun little platformer built around the spirit of friendship.
Yoshi’s Crafted World Review
Baby Bowser and Kamek are wreaking havoc once again. This time, the devious duo have planned to steal the Sundream Stone; which, legend has it, can grant a person’s wildest dreams.
While trying to steal the Sundream Stone, Baby Bowser, Kamek and the Yoshis become ensnared in a scuffle; causing the Dream Gems powering the Sundream Stone to scatter across the land. To restore the Sundream Stone, the Yoshis set out to collect the five missing Dream Gems.
Yoshi’s Crafted World looks as if it’s made entirely from crafting materials. Everything from the ground, sky, even the adorable animals littering the scenery are made from items like cardboard; paper plates; construction paper, and so on.
Each course finds new and interesting ways to use these crafting materials. From substituting long, green straws for bamboo in the feudal Japan-inspired world, Ninjarama; to constructing sailboats out of a milk carton, pencils and cloth; or spaceships made from empty soda bottles with paper wings haphazardly stuck on using duct tape.
The craft art style definitely imbues Yoshi’s Crafted World with a high-dose of cuteness. Being a child at heart, this endearing cuteness really resonated with me.
It’s a Diorama World
Yoshi’s Crafted World includes 16 worlds, each comprising of two to three courses each.
Presented as huge paper dioramas, these worlds all enjoy their own theme; underwater; a circus carnival; Shogun tower in feudal Japan; even outer space. The variety on display is a step-up from your usual Mario fare; which always follows the same pattern. For this reason, I was always excited to start exploring a new diorama world after opening it; which happens when you hand over a certain number of Smiley Flowers to the resident Blockafeller robot.
The real standout though is the courses themselves. Yoshi’s Crafted World features some truly fantastic courses brimming with creativity; both in respect to their general design and use of everyday crafting materials. What’s more, every course is actually TWO courses in one.
After completing any course for the first time, you’ll unlock its ‘Flip-Side’ version. Flip-side courses are basically the same, but this time you’re going back to front; meaning starting at the end and finishing at the start.
In addition to hosting two or three courses, each world also houses a Gumball Machine. By placing collected golden coins into these oddities you’ll be awarded a random costume. There are 10 costumes to collect per world and follow the theme of that world; i.e., cupcake costume in the cupcake-inspired Pastal Pathway world.
Front Side courses are your typical Yoshi levels. You’ll move left to right, gobbling enemies and throwing eggs, whilst navigating the traditional 2D plane.
This said Yoshi’s Crafted World’s courses feature 3D-like depth, allowing you to move between front, middle and background paths. While this certainly isn’t a new idea, it opens up exploration a whole lot more; thereby making it more difficult to locate all of the collectables.
Front Side courses are brimming with collectables; from Smily Flowers to red coins disguised as gold coins. The further you progress the more difficult it becomes to find every single collectable hidden in each course.
Now, I’m not saying a 10-year-old might have a hard time finding EVERYTHING. But, as a 31-year-old I certainly had a tough time finding more than a few Smiley Flowers. If you’re averse to a challenge and want to make Yoshi’s Crafted World even easier, you can switch on the ‘Mellow Mode’. Essentially easy mode, Mellow Mode gives Yoshi wings allowing him to literally breeze through courses.
Flip Your Perspective
Flip-Side courses literally ‘flip’ your perspective, showing you a whole new side of courses you’ve already completed.
Their main purpose is to facilitate the time-attack inspired Poochy Pup hunt, wherein you must find the three puppies within a set time limit. Doing so rewards you with 4 Smiley Flowers; if you don’t find the pups in time you’ll only get three.
Finding the Poochy Pups is relatively stress-free; just listen to their adorable little bark. Admittedly, however, some of the mischievous canines can be a little hard to collect, especially if they’re obscured by an object.
I mentioned above that I adore Yoshi’s Crafted World‘s level design. Well, Flip-Side courses allowed me to peer behind the curtain, so to speak, and see how they’re put together.
Playing through Flip-Side courses you’ll see Shy Guys hiding behind paper bushes; strips of sticky tape holding clouds in place on clear straws; even see the little stands keeping the vacant-looking cows in place. Certain Flip-Side courses even reveal shortcuts you can use in their Front Side counterpart or hidden pathways you never otherwise could have found.
Fetch That For Me
Once you’ve cleared all the Front Side courses in a world, the resident Blockafeller Robot will start offering up Souvenir Hunt challenges.
Essentially fetch-quests, Souvenir Hunt tasks you with collecting a certain number of a specific item This may involve hunting down three crabs in Yarrctopus Docks’ Many Fish in the Sea stage; or locating a vacationing Shy Guy in Dino Smash’s Flip-Side course.
The problem with Souvenir Hunts is you can repeat certain courses two or three times in a row. After maybe the first or second chances are you’ll start getting tired of the same courses.
I certainly did. While I started playing Yoshi’s Crafted World with the intention to find every Smiley Flower, I quickly abandoned this goal after the first dozen or so Souvenir Hunts. On one hand, Souvenir Hunts provide extra content that keeps players busy; while on the other, they trap you in a repetitious loop of the same courses over again.
The Nintendo Formula
One of the best aspects of Yoshi’s Crafted World‘s courses is they each contain a unique hook.
If you’ve played any Super Mario game in the past decade you’ll be familiar with this concept; a new idea or ‘hook’ is introduced in every stage only to be discarded in the next. It’s what I call the ‘Nintendo Formula’ and it’s used to full effect here.
Take for instance the course, Poochy’s Tape Trail, which plays with the idea of tape as a pathway. It’s a hook introduced right at the start; a furled-up piece of tape in front of a gaping chasm. The only way forward is to figure out that you need to interact with the tape.
Key to the Nintendo Formula is that the hook needs to be developed throughout the stage. So, at first, you’ll use the tape to cross pits; then use the tape to reveal paths along the ground; then used to create puzzle scenarios. While not entirely innovative, Poochy’s Tape Trail demonstrates how the designers leverage the paper theme and incorporate it into the level design.
There are so many other examples to this effect right through Yoshi’s Crafted World. From the Ninjarama world course that uses Shoji to obscure platforms and enemies to mess with you; to the Open, Shut course in Cheery Valley where moving platforms behave like folding boxes that behave like coiled snakes.
The creativity in these courses helps make every new level feel fresh and interesting.
Up to the Challenge
In addition to your standard platforming, Yoshi’s Crafted World features special challenge courses that change up the action. Ranging from courses where you pilot a giant robot Yoshi with boxing gloves, to riding a train through a jungle; challenge courses are all about raking up points to earn the highest score.
Challenge courses are a fun way to break up all the platforming; giving you something a little different now and again. What I especially like about challenge courses is how varied they are; although many adhere to the same basic concept of shooting eggs at differing targets.
One of my favourites is the Cheery Valley world course, Solar Zoom. Here, you participate in a race against Shy Guys using solar-powered cars made from soda bottles. Since these cars are powered by the sun, you need to keep them out of the shade; doing so slows you down.
While you don’t need to come first, it is encouraged (you’re awarded three Smiley Flowers if you do). Steering your car away from the shade isn’t enough to secure victory, however; you’ll also need to chuck eggs at the driving Shy Guys. Who knew Yoshi fought dirty?
Two Yoshi are Better than One
Yoshi’s Crafted World, like many of Nintendo’s platforms, includes local co-op multiplayer. However, unlike Nintendo’s other platformers, Yoshi’s Crafted World actually includes GOOD local co-op multiplayer.
In-line with the Nintendo Switch’s ‘play anywhere, with anyone’ marketing message, Yoshi’s Crafted World promotes a culture of teamwork; namely, allowing Yoshi to ride on each other’s back.
When riding on Yoshi’s back, one player has full control over your collective egg stash; whereas the other assumes command of navigation. This arrangement perfectly negates the issues generally associated with Nintendo’s particular brand of multiplayer.
The same inherent problems still do exist. Both you and partner’s Yoshi will collide together on-screen; the occasional accidental button press will have your Yoshi eat your partner. And when you move too far apart, the game will snap you back together.
If you can put up with these necessary evils, then the benefits will be great. Riding on your partner’s Yoshi’s back provides you with a double capacity of eggs and an incredibly powerful ground pound. The ground-pound is considerably useful, allowing you to dispatch hordes of enemies in a single pound.
Spirit of Friendship
This buddying-up helps to cultivate a spirit of teamwork between you and your partner. I played about half of Yoshi’s Crafted World with my wife, who can be slightly competitive. This makes her super determined to collect all the hidden items in a course on the first try. Her insistence to explore positively every nook and cranny drives me nuts sometimes.
Me on the other hand. I like to move through stages relatively quickly while hunting down as many secrets as I can. Most Nintendo platformers have tell-tale signs telegraphing to players where hidden items are; a far-off platform, a blank space where a secret floating cloud is hidden away, and so on. With almost three decades of playing video games behind me, I like to think I’m acutely aware of these signs.
We also played Yoshi’s Woolly World for Nintendo Wii U together. This caused a few arguments due to the differences in how we play. However, compared to that experience and our experience playing Yoshi’s Crafted World; our arguments saw a sharp decline.
This is due to courses being designed to help reinforce that spirit of teamwork.
Challenge courses are great examples of this, as they often require teamwork in order to attain the highest possible score. Altitude Adjustment, found in the Sky-High Heights world, is perhaps the best example of this. In this course, you navigate a plane by standing on separate panels to direct it either up or down.
While one person can easily navigate the plane on their own, it’s made easier with two; especially since the objective is to pop as many balloons as possible. To this end, you can have one person steering the plane, while the other shoots down balloons and enemies.
Go-Go Yoshi and Solar Zoom are two other notable examples that foster teamwork. While they can be easily completed on your own, though are more enjoyable with a partner. With Go-Go Yoshi in particular, the second person provides a second arm to the giant robot Yoshi you control, meaning not only more destructive power but more chance of obtaining a higher score.
Yoshi’s Crafted World promotes a child-like innocent that’s inescapable and highly palpable. You just feel happier playing it.
But if you’re looking for a platformer to challenge you then better go elsewhere.
Yoshi ain’t interested.
He just wants to flutter jump his way through a series of colourful and cute levels dripping with creativity.
This said, if you’re willing to invest the time and effort into Yoshi’s Crafted World you might be pleasantly surprised by what you find at the end of that pastel-coloured road.
Yoshi’s Crafted World was reviewed on Switch using a code provided by Nintendo.
Adorable Craft Visuals - 10/10
Fantastic Level Design - 9.8/10
Flip-Side Courses are Brilliant - 9.7/10
Multiplayer that Encourages Teamwork - 9.4/10
Souvenir Hunts is Tiresome Work - 6/10