I was happy to learn during last year’s E3 that we would be getting a new game in the Yoshi series. I have a personal connection with the franchise since Yoshi’s Woolly World was my first review that published right here on the website. As we continued to get more information on what is now Yoshi’s Crafted World, I looked forward to seeing how far I had come as a writer. Good-Feel is back with a follow-up to an adventure that they knitted so well. This time, they aim to hone their crafted, but even with strong ties to the series I wasn’t quite entertained this time around.
Yoshi’s Crafted World is rated ‘E’ for “Everyone”. The game involves a great amount of cartoon violence. Players will spend time throwing eggs at enemies and swallowing them to get more eggs. Yoshi must watch out for various obstacles such as pitfalls, spikes, water, lava, and much more. Some enemies wield swords, axes, and throw shurikens at Yoshi as well.
Another content concern worth noting is that one of the villains uses magic often to create enemies out of random objects. In some stages, there are enemies that resemble ghosts within a haunted house. During another stage that carries the same theme but seems to be loosely inspired by horror movies and includes ax-wielding enemies that will chase Yoshi.
Yoshi’s Crafted World also includes “gotcha” style toy capsule machines that players use their collected coins on. This is the method that players will use to collect costumes. However, the concept is an illusion because the machine can be emptied, meaning the player will have collected every costume that was advertised when using it.
Yoshi and his pals are spending a nice typical day on Yoshi’s Island with the Sundream Stone sitting atop the highest mountain. That changes when Kamek and Baby Bowser attempt to steal the gem-laden stone that has the power to grant the wildest dreams of those who use it. As a result of their failure, the gems spread across the world. It is up to the Yoshis to get the gems back before the mischievous duo does.
Yoshi’s Crafted World is a game that everyone can enjoy. It carries the whimsical charm that the series is known for while retaining the handcrafted aesthetic of Woolly World with much less yarn. Instead of the developers using their grandmother’s scarves and blankets for reference, the devs probably looked to their kids’ school projects for this one. We’ll take a look at how this presentation affects gameplay further into the review.
Since Yoshi’s Island, not much has changed about gameplay aside from the fact that you no longer carry around Baby Mario. The basics are all there, such as swallowing enemies and throwing eggs. You’ll still be collecting flowers and red coins. There are no collectible wool and patches this time around. While there isn’t much challenge with enemies and platforming, getting 100% in a level, or even the entire game, is where challenge does exist.
Crafted World introduces an extra layer to the classic formula in the form of “Flip Side” versions of each level. The objective of each flipside level is to search for three Poochie pups. They can be hiding just about anywhere inside a level whether it be in the foreground, under a platform, or hanging around with a group of enemies. You will earn a flower for each pup, and completing the level within a certain time limit will also earn you a fourth one.
The collectible nature of this series lends itself very well to the crafty style it has taken on. Throwing eggs at the cardboard pieces of the environment may reveal a hidden flower or red coins that you may not have thought to look for. The flip side levels also make clever use of the pups in a game of hide-and-seek by having Yoshi look everywhere possible when hearing their bark. This crafted world was built for us to think beyond the 2D plane of movement we know so well.
The Yoshi games are also known to be meant for gamers of all ages, including many accessibility tools to stay true to that reputation. The biggest one, returning from Woolly World, is the “Mellow Mode” in which a post-Red Bull version of Yoshi with wings has infinite health and eggs. A new addition is collectible costumes that will grant the player extra armor and handle some extra damage which can be purchased with the coins you collect in-game. The crafted theme makes for some fun costumes, such as an empty container of coffee creamer, for example.
Players are given an overworld map to search for these gems in and explore some fun environments which don’t get truly interesting until about halfway through the game—some of my favorites are the Ninjarama and Outer Orbit worlds. In this respect, the pacing was also thrown off since it’s divided into three sections. I was near the end of the middle and largest section and thought I was nearly done with the game until they slapped one final set of worlds in front of me before I could confront Baby Bowser.
As a result of the new set of worlds, I began to rush through the rest of the game, which also affected the pace. Each time I wanted to enter a new world I was required to give a specific number of flowers; so I was forced to backtrack if I ran out. Players will run into this wall if they’re not diligent in collecting flowers and playing every flip side level. This is where the collectathon style of gameplay shows its true colors and grew tiresome for me.
That being said, I do admire Crafted World most for the amount of content it holds. I had played over 15 hours before I finished the game, and there was still plenty to do. There are some interesting mini-game type levels that break up the monotony featuring riding a plane, racing on a car, and smashing cardboard buildings. Postgame content also includes a few more worlds, providing a greater challenge that some players may want.
When I look at this game compared to Woolly World on the Wii U, the boss fights are still my favorite experience—they are still easy and a lot of fun. This time around, they added a visually stunning stop motion effect when Kamek forms the bosses that Yoshi is to take down. One thing I dearly miss is the soundtrack; Wolly World‘s contained a strong variety of creativity and style while Crafted World‘s is decidedly lackluster with fewer tracks and contains many variants on the main theme. Though, I would be lying if I said this soundtrack was not an earworm when it came to the catchy jingles.
Ultimately, the situation with the soundtrack sums up how I feel about Crafted World as a whole. It still holds the loveable charm, but lacks any real personality outside the aesthetic that has already been used once before. This is a game that will surely be fun for the whole family, especially with the return of the co-op mode that is perfect for parents to play alongside their children. I strongly recommend this game’s predecessor if you have a Wii U or 3DS, but this is the next best option if you don’t.
The Bottom Line
Yoshi's Crafted World is a great addition for the family, but leaves much to be desired compared to previous entries.