Yoshi’s Crafted World is Charming, if Underwhelming
By Kaitlin Konecke
Yoshi’s crafted world is charming, If uNderwhelminG
Yoshi’s Crafted World, the newest Yoshi installment, brings the character’s signature delightfulness to the Nintendo Switch. This time, the world is made up of construction paper, straws, paper plates, and other craft materials. It’s charming, yet it underwhelms.
The story is the typical plot: Baby Bowser steals something (in this case, gems), and Yoshi must go off to recover them. Along the way, there are smiley flowers, red coins, and healing hearts to grab in each stage.
To play, you can choose from one of several different solid-colored Yoshi’s. A gumball machine of plastic Yoshi eggs in each world provides this game’s novelty: Different cardboard-crafted costumes. The costumes are cute and match the theme of the world you are currently playing in (fish for water areas, a popcorn machine near carnival stages, etc.) and they protect Yoshi from doing damage in stages. The costumes do not make Yoshi invincible, as they eventually break after a certain number of hits. But you get the costume back good as new after exiting the stage (this is not a game of high stakes). Ultimately, the costumes become cumbersome and distracting.
The other major feature of this game is the flip side of stages. For each stage, you can replay it flipped around, so you’re “behind the scenes,” so to speak. On the flip side, you are searching for three hidden Poochy puppies, though they’re not hard to find, as they will bark at you when you’re near. This is particularly adorable, honestly—the Poochies interact with the items in the stage; riding on robots, sitting in bottles, popping out of a garden.
In addition to the flip side and the cardboard costumes, stationary robot characters who unlock and oversee each world ask you to find souvenirs for them in each stage. It might be 6 cows, or one giant octopus, or several cabbages, etc. You have to go through the stage and look for them (either in the foreground or background), and throw an egg when you find what you’re looking for. You then have the option to immediately exit the stage, or finish it to completion. Regardless of what you choose, the robot gives you a smiley flower for your troubles. In order to 100% each world, you must complete all the stages, the Poochy flip-side, and the robot requests.
The problem with this is that it quickly gets tedious. The flip side is a cool concept, but not enough of one to not get bored. The robots request their souvenirs one at a time so you’ll be playing the same stage four to six times to collect everything. And there is little variety in the kinds of stages you play. Swinging balloon fish and swaying paper flowers are undeniably adorable, but the game relies too heavily on the construction crafts in the foreground and background, instead of being more creative with the gameplay. Also, there’s not even that many different colored eggs to throw (most are green)! The color of the eggs might seem inconsequential, but it adds to the whimsy and fun, and the game is already lacking variety in almost every department.
In addition, the game is simply just not that challenging. It’s not hard to locate all of the smiley flowers or red coins per stage, none of the souvenirs are very hidden, and if you miss something, you can just turn around and go back. It’s too easy.
That’s not to say that there aren’t some really fun stages. In “Go-Go Yoshi,” you control a giant Yoshi-mobile and must punch everything in your path. “Poochy’s Sweet Run,” is deliciously dessert-themed, with fat shy guys who provide the full six eggs upon swallowing just one. “Hoop-Jump Hop” is a carnival of bouncing tightropes and swinging trapezes with a time-limit to jump through as many hoops as you can. All three stages in the ”Ninjarama” world are clever, with samurai shy guys and shoji screens. And in “Be Afraid of the Dark,” you are literally hunted by an axe-wielding clown (which is surprisingly terrifying for a Yoshi game).
In the end, the game just felt like a lot of missed potential, especially following the fantastic Yoshi’s Wooly World (the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS Yoshi installment). In that game, you could craft a different Yoshi for each stage, pull on different pieces of yarn throughout the stages to reveal hidden items, toss different sized (and colored) yarn balls at enemies, and transform into Yoshi objects (an umbrella, a mermaid, an airplane) at certain intervals in select stages. It was immensely fun from start to finish, with a wide variety of stages and an appropriate level of difficulty.
In comparison, and even on its own, Yoshi’s Crafted World is just blah. It truly could have been so much more.