Nintendo’s been derided for some time as a “kid’s company,” the idea being that they make games that are explicitly for children. And, well, they do. So do the other members of the Big 3. Nintendo gets a particularly bad rap for it, though, because in the world of the gaming fandom if something’s not explicitly made for and marketed to the hardcore set it doesn’t have any reason to exist. Yoshi’s Crafted World is definitely not made for and marketed to the hardcore set…but it’s not actually all that bad. Shocking!
You played Kirby’s Epic Yarn, right? How about Yoshi’s Wooly World? Well, Yoshi’s Crafted World is another in that pseudo-series, this time with Nintendo’s lovable dinosaur hero (not to be confused with Popzara’s lovable dinosaur hero!) exploring DIY worlds made from cardboard, paper and yarn. When the magical Sundream Stone is broken to bits by Kamek and Baby Bowser, it’s up to the Yoshis to find the Dream Gems that power it and put everything back together.
Crafted World plays a lot like the classic Yoshi series going all the way back to Yoshi’s Island on the SNES. Yoshi can jump, float, butt-stomp and eat enemies to turn them into eggs that can be thrown as projectiles. The most significant change in terms of basic gameplay is the fact that you can now throw eggs into the foreground or background. This might sound confusing, but in reality it’s all about just aiming where you want your egg to fly, and it offers a lot of unique ways to hide goodies.
You’ve got a health bar that can, in fact, be depleted, but for the most part you aren’t in a whole lot of danger. Instead, the fun of these titles comes from exploring the world and trying to find its many hidden secrets. Each of the 35+ levels has multiple flowers, coins and hearts to dig up. Later, you can even play the stages in reverse and see the backside of the craftwork used to make them, which is a nice touch. All those coins you find yourself gathering can be spent on a lottery to win new and adorable costumes.
Naturally, Yoshi’s Crafted World looks and sounds stunning. Nintendo knows what they’re doing with this aesthetic by now and they put that experience to work here. Every stage offers a new and creative take on hand-crafted level design, and you’ll constantly unfold and reveal new bits as you progress. It’s going to be especially appealing to kids, but anyone should be able to get something out of this. It’s even got a multiplayer mode available if you want to grab a friend or play with kids of your own.
Don’t come into this one expecting the new (insert Dark Souls, Bloodborne or Sekiro here), but you probably knew that already. Rather, Yoshi’s Crafted World is a cute and cuddly platformer that makes for a relaxing collectathon experience. It doesn’t do much to shake up the formula, but it does serve as a nice, concentrated chunk of Nintendo goodness that looks and sounds great on the Switch. Kids and grown-ups alike can appreciate that, and sometimes that’s all you really need.