Yoshi’s Crafted World is the latest in the spin-off platforming series that began with Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island. Since that entry, Yoshi has ditched Baby Mario (thank God) and is off doing his own thing. The gameplay that remained much the same, though. You shoot eggs, turn enemies into eggs, and generally do a lot of egg-related stuff.
The hook in Yoshi’s Crafted World is that it’s… well… crafted. Yoshi’s whole universe is made out of paper mache, bottle caps, empty cans, macaroni, and whatnot. Instead of the Mushroom Kingdom, the Yoshis of this game live in a world straight out of a kindergarten art class, and it’s absolutely adorable.
Yoshi’s Crafted World Review | The same with a twist
Yoshi’s Crafted World begins with Kamek and Baby Bowser wrecking the Sundream Stone and scattering its gems everywhere. The Sundream Stone is one of the Yoshi’s best friends, so they’re obviously upset. Your quest is to gather the five missing gems and restore the Sundream Stone to full power.
To find the gems you have to traverse a linear world map, passing through levels as you go. Most of the enemies you encounter are crafted versions of familiar faces. You’ll meet Shy Guys and Koopa Troopas and old allies like Poochy. There are a few new enemies and characters, but for the most part, the cast remains the same as it has been since Yoshi’s Island.
The gameplay loop also comes straight from previous entries in the Yoshi series. It’s a 2D platformer, and you defeat enemies by stomping on their heads or shooting them with eggs. Crafted World also hides things in the foreground and background, and you can interact with items that aren’t on your plane of movement by shooting them with eggs. There are also branching paths now and again that allows you to take alternate routes. Sometimes these let you bypass part of a level or work to make a puzzle more complicated.
Yoshi’s Crafted World Review | Crafting some fun
For the most part, you’re not going to find a lot of challenge in Yoshi’s Crafted World. This is a game that’s suited for all ages, so expect a relaxing time through colorful levels more than a grinding twitch platformer. Enough is going on here to keep the most hardened gamer’s attention, though.
Shooting eggs is a 2.5D affair in Yoshi’s Crafted World, and progressing through levels isn’t so much a point A to B affair. To advance in the game, you need to collect flowers, which can be exchanged for access to new levels. You can find these flowers scattered throughout the level, but you also get them for finding all the hidden red coins in a level or reaching a certain amount of little hearts.
Since you can toss your eggs into the foreground and background, as well as horizontally, it opens up a lot more possibilities for exploration and discovery. Knocking over a little paper bush with an egg might reveal a flower or alternate path. It makes the levels feel a lot more dynamic than in the past Yoshi games and keeps the gameplay from getting stale.
Yoshi’s Crafted World Review | Playing dress-up
Levels in Yoshi’s Crafted World have quite a bit more replay value than you’d think at first glance. Most major levels have collectibles you’ll want to keep coming back for. In particular, there are a ton of costumes you can earn that let you dress Yoshi up, which is pretty much the best idea ever.
When you complete certain levels, a capsule machine will become available. For 100 coins you can have it dispense a costume at random. Some costumes are common, while others are rare, and to collect them all takes some doing. As cool as dressing Yoshi up as a boat or a fish is, costumes also have some effect on gameplay.
Each outfit has a defensive rating which lets you take extra hits before Yoshi gives up the ghost. As a rule, the rarer the gear, the more extra hitpoints you’ll get. You can also scan certain amiibo to unlock costumes, which is a great excuse to drag them out of storage.
Also adding replay value is the ability to traverse most levels in reverse to help Poochy look for her puppies. After completing a level, you may be presented with the opportunity to look for the puppies in exchange for an extra flower. Sometimes the puppies are difficult to find, and it adds a fun little hide-and-seek factor to the game.
Yoshi’s Crafted World Review | Hope you weren’t interested in the multiplayer
I love me a relaxing couch co-op game, and in an era where that feature is getting rarer and rarer, Nintendo usually delivers. Yoshi features two-player co-op, but it takes a form that’s almost guaranteed to make you throw down your controller in anger.
When you’re in co-op mode, you can interact with the other player. You can swallow them and spit them out, ride on their backs, or steal their eggs. However, there’s no damn way to specify when you want this to happen. Get near your partner, and you WILL end up on their back or in their gullet, and unlike in real life, neither of those things are fun for very long.
If there were only a button you needed to hold first before you could interact with another player, co-op would have been saved. Given the extreme amount of frustration caused by constantly swallowing each other, someone ending up with no eggs, or losing mobility because someone’s Yoshi inexplicably ended up on the other’s back for the 300th time in a level, my fiancee and I just started taking turns.
Even without the significant control issues in co-op, you never get a chance to really explore in co-op. If you go too far, you get rubberbanded right back to the other player. This is super frustrating because it’s a 2D platformer and this could have easily been solved by allowing split-screen when players get too far from each other. It’s not like Yoshi’s Crafted World is taking the Switch to its limits or anything, so this shouldn’t be an issue.
Given all its issues, co-op seems tacked on more than a fully developed feature, and it’s a shame. This should be a great, low-stress game to play with your loved ones, but lousy co-op design makes it a single-player only endeavor for me.
Yoshi’s Crafted World Review | Hey, it’s Yoshi
Yoshi’s Crafted World is an excellent Yoshi game. It doesn’t do a lot to break new ground for the series, but it doesn’t have to. It’s a lot of fun, it’s cute, and it’s inviting for gamers of any age. Nintendo is the one developer that continues to be reliable when it comes to their franchises. I wanted a Yoshi game with Crafted World, and that’s what I got.
There’s plenty of replayability with Yoshi’s Crafted World as well. The costumes and reversed levels give you plenty of reason to play through each world multiple times, and it’s just a lot of good ol’ Nintendo fun.
However, the co-op is absolutely broken and made me want to just quit playing. I sincerely hope that Nintendo patches those issues because anyone who wants this game for its multiplayer is going to be incredibly disappointed.