It’s somewhat weird to think it, but Yoshi himself has had more consistent releases on Nintendo platforms in the past decade than more prominent leading stars, including Samus Aran, Fox McCloud and even Donkey Kong.
Despite Yoshi’s original sidekick status, the green dinosaur sells, resulting in the most recent title: Yoshi’s Crafted World for the Nintendo Switch. Developed by Good Feel, this game expands upon the idea of an aesthetic of realistic materials. More so than Kirby’s Epic Yarn and Yoshi’s Woolly World before it, Yoshi’s Crafted World shows off its visual creativity in spades while delivering on the mostly expected 2D platforming formula we’ve come to expect from the character.
There’s not a whole lot new added to the core mechanics of gobbling enemies, throwing eggs and flutter jumping around colorful levels. That being said, it’s not as ironically old-fashioned like Yoshi’s New Island for the Nintendo 3DS. Almost every single level in Yoshi’s Crafted World has a new gimmick that spices up the normal hum drum of collecting smiley flowers and just generally being cute.
One level features Yoshi eating and spitting up horseshoe magnets onto realistic metallic surfaces like pop cans to use as weights and platforms. A few hours later into the adventure, the mechanic shows up again, forcing the player to think about how magnets will affect constantly moving elevators and switches.
Some levels in Yoshi’s Crafted World even opt for an entirely new gameplay style, such as when a diorama Yoshi mech is piloted. Every obstacle is treated like a punching bag; vehicle-based levels are treated very differently from the typical Yoshi fare.
Creativity in visual context is where this game is most impressive, by a longshot. This proponent of the game is also the most obvious, as all trailers and advertisements for this adventure have clearly shown off how well-thought-out the art style is in this title.
“Crafted World” as a name is spot-on. Literally every single object in the foreground and background is composed of some sort of real-world material. Unreal Engine helps bring objects like paper mâché clownfish and space rockets made out of bottles to life.
Resolution is noticeably a bit pixelated in handheld mode, but on the TV, I never noticed a glaring flaw in performance or design. Every level is handled with care; each one looks like an expert-made diorama, and I sincerely hope some fans create certain levels in the real world too.
The biggest flaw with Yoshi’s Crafted World is its soundtrack. It’s no exaggeration to say that it’s awful and awfully lazy. Rarely am I ever disappointed with music in Nintendo games, but lately, the Yoshi series has dropped the ball two of three times this decade. Yoshi’s Crafted World’s music is only slightly better than that of Yoshi’s New Island, which straight-up has some of the worst songs I’ve ever heard in video games. The thing about Yoshi’s Crafted World’s “soundtrack,” however, is that it can barely qualify as one since almost every song of a measly 20 recorded in-game tracks is a remix of the same jarring, annoying and generic main theme.
It’s beyond puzzling what happened with the scoring of this game this time around. Yoshi’s Woolly World’s music didn’t blow my minds by any means, but I can’t say it was bad. There are some musical gems in that game. It feels like, in comparison, there was next to nothing in the budget for the music in the sequel, and this game honestly left me feeling like developers are making Yoshi games have poor musical compositions on purpose, like it’s part of Yoshi’s identity to be associated with the worst auditory content Nintendo has to offer.
Whatever happened to the days of 1990s Yoshi music? Some of the tracks from the original Yoshi’s Island and Yoshi’s Story are some of the most daring and creative of first-party Nintendo music that decade. If I gave review scores, I’d dock points for how unfortunately lackluster Yoshi’s Crafted World’s music is.
I suggest that you listen to the banter between you and a friend while playing this game instead of the poor musical variety. Yoshi’s Crafted World is one of the better co-op platformers out there, due in part to the slower nature of Yoshi games. As with New Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong Country and Kirby games before it, there are always going to be times in which you and your friend screw each other over, whether purposefully or accidentally. But to be honest, that’s part of the fun if you’re playing with someone who can take mistakes in stride and laugh with you.
Playing the majority of this game with my boyfriend was a delight. I felt like it made the experience a heck of a lot better than when I was playing levels by myself. Now, a game like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, with an absorbing soundtrack and more exhilarating momentum, is better off experienced single-player first. But Yoshi games truly work with two people, and I’m glad co-op has become a staple of the series with the past two Yoshi games.
Overall, Yoshi’s Crafted World is a game worth picking up at full-price if you like 2D platformers. If that genre isn’t your thing, weigh how much you adore the art style and make a decision based off that. As I mentioned, the music isn’t part of the charm this time around. Part of me wants to say this is a contender for the best Yoshi game ever crafted, but a few flaws hold it back.
That brings me to my final recommendation: do not attempt to 100% this game unless you are really, REALLY obsessed with it. In order to obtain every smiley flower, one would have to play every level a minimum of five times and likely more. Replay value is one thing, but to make completion this tedious is a bit ridiculous. There’s simply too many collectibles, and starting to get them all really sucked the life out of the game for me. I suggest getting enough smiley flowers to play the post-game levels and then call it a game. Keep in mind that I am a completionist, but I just couldn’t find it in myself to care about doing everything in this platformer. Even playing the levels flipped around and backwards isn’t that great; let’s just say these levels are meant to be played from left to right and not the other way around. When the novelty wares off, you’ll want to go back to the best method of enjoying this game with a friend and drowning out the awful tunes with the addicting, satisfying nature of the gameplay and the top-notch visual style.
I’ve been playing Nintendo games since I was 3 years old, and my earliest memory is watching my dad play Super Mario 64.
Since then, I’ve become as big of a fan as you might imagine: YouTube video projects, fan fiction, owning just about every amiibo — you name it!
I’m also a stalwart defender of underappreciated games like Skyward Sword, Other M, Super Paper Mario, Star Fox Adventures, Star Fox Zero and more. I love to see passion in a gaming product, and my desire on this site is to share a similar passion in what I write.