Yoshi’s Crafted World: Nintendo’s Successful Return to the Diorama Aesthetic
Number of players: 1 or 2
Developer: Good Feel
Release date: March 29, 2019
Industry rating: Everyone
Nintendo has continued with the handcrafted feel of some of the newer franchises in Yoshi’s Crafted World. Developed by Good-Feel and published by Nintendo, Yoshi’s Crafted World was released in March of 2019 four years after it’s predecessor, following some delays. Despite that, it was released to reasonably solid reviews, ranging from 7.8 to a 9, depending on the reviewer. If you’re still not sure yet whether you want to pick up this game, here’s a quick rundown of Yoshi’s Crafted World to help you decide.
The story here is straight forward and doesn’t require much effort. Kamek and Baby Bowser have stolen the Yoshi’s precious Sundream Stone. The stone is said to make anyone’s wildest dreams come true, so you know that there will be trouble brewing until you can hide it away. Your Yoshi has been selected to go and get all the piece of the stone that has been scattered across the world all while stopping the army that invades along the way. This wild adventure culminates in you battling a mech-Koopa and a mega baby, so it’s about par for the course in a Yoshi adventure.
Unraveling a Great Time
When you start to jump into the gameplay, everything feels natural and close to the gameplay of the previous game in the series. While you don’t feel too floaty while in the air, it does take a try or two to get used to the distance. It doesn’t take too long before you’re off and playing like a pro.
The egg launching mechanic has been retained, with the added bonus of being able to throw the egg on a 3D plane, rather than just within the 2D platforming areas. This adds a new dimension to the game, giving Yoshi more territory to explore. This is expanded upon even further when you “flip” the levels, taking on new enemies or offering up new objectives for Yoshi to beat.
Collectathon-type games are nothing new to Nintendo. Their latest installments have had this sort of filler that masks the places that could have been filled with more gameplay. Breath of the Wild hid the collection elements behind a little more gameplay. Between the shrines, the picture hunts (which you could just buy if you aren’t a cheapskate), and Korok seeds, you can fill the space with exploration, exciting quests, and whacking away at enemies.
The linear, platforming nature of Yoshi’s Crafted World both helps and hinders here. There aren’t too many more places that you can tuck things, but there are times when it seems like Yoshi’s potential was glossed over. Bringing back some previously established abilities, like from the spiritual successor, Yoshi’s Island, would have been a great choice. While this isn’t necessarily bad, it just seems more egregious that Nintendo has proven that they know how to work every nook and cranny in a world.
The Great Diorama that is Yoshi’s Island
Like many of the more recent series, Nintendo has been doling out a wonderfully, well, crafted, aesthetic that envokes whimsy and a sense of childlike nostalgia. It retains some of the visual elements from Yoshi’s Island. My personal favorite set pieces are anything with the water elements in the Chilly-Hot Isles. They’re striking and stand out distinctly from the paper-craft elements without seeming too far outside the visual theme. It sort of looks like resin poured around everything and glints in any light, which fits well overall. Good-Feel perfected this style with Yoshi’s Crafted World, and it’s easy to see why it was such a hit in this area.
For those completionists out there, once you’ve collected everything, there isn’t much more to do, other than play through it again. The flipping mechanic can offer some diversity, especially if you just ran around most of the action in the first playthrough. Otherwise, you can probably forgo an instant replay. You’ll more likely want to dig it out after a few months and give it a go again when the mood strikes.
For me, the only reason why I would come back is for the distinct art style (that’s why I still pick up my Paper Mario game every once in a while) and the relaxed nature of the game. I don’t feel like I have to start over entirely to jump back in. Just make a few crappy jumps and recalibrate my aim on my throws and I’m all set. Overall, the replayability is low to medium, depending on your playstyle, but no one would blame you if you decided to come back to it.
Overall, this was a great game. Not only did I enjoy it, but my kiddos did as well. The challenge is reasonably low, so anything can pretty much be navigated around, but it does offer a bit of a challenge to those looking for it. If you enjoy platformers and like the unique aesthetic of the series, definitely grab it. It’ll keep you entertained for a while, especially if you decide to jump at all the collectibles. If those don’t seem to appeal to you, you should grab something with more substance instead.