There's nothing wholly difficult about Yoshi's Crafted World, and that's OK. It does what it does so well that it's hard to fault the game for not having an intense difficulty curve. In fact, it feels like the most content rich Yoshi game since the Super Nintendo's Yoshi's Island. There's just that much packed into the platformer.
Developer Good-Feel brought each and every learning from its history with Nintendo to the table, here. From the stick-to-it art style of games like Wario Land: Shake It! and Kirby's Epic Yarn, to the accessible platforming of Poochy & Yoshi's Wooly World, the gorgeous textures and unique lighting effects in Yoshi's Crafted World shine as the culmination of this team's work with Nintendo. But there's just something about the DIY style of this game that makes it truly stand out. It could be the additional power of the Nintendo Switch over the Nintendo Wii or Wii U, but there's a level of hyper-realism that makes Crafted World more of a Yoshi meets Tearaway than a sequel to any of the aforementioned games.
As far as level-by-level gameplay, Yoshi's Crafted World goes places, from its accessibility options in giving younger or more inexperienced fans a chance to play without fear of failure (in the form of a Yoshi with wings who can fly across every level with ease), to its blatant celebration of years of Yoshi-starring platforming titles. For every new mechanic, there's a Monty Mole or Yoshi car to balance things out.
While the game's story is light, it's easy enough to follow and Yoshi seeks to collect five not-Infinity Stones before Baby Bowser and Kamek get their hands on them and wreak havoc. Let's be real, though, you didn't come here for the story. It's cute, it's simple and it's certainly there. These special gems are littered throughout the game's handful of worlds. Which, after the game's first set of levels, you can choose which order to tackle the middle set. Sure, you'll have to do it all eventually, but it's always nice to have options.
Speaking of options, you can also play the entirety of Yoshi's Crafted World in local co-op, bringing a friend along with to take on each of the game's levels. For parents or older siblings, this is a great option for getting new fans or kids used to the gameplay loop of Nintendo's lighter platformers. Games like Yoshi or Kirby can certainly lead to successful runs in Donkey Kong or Super Mario Bros., but that doesn't mean Yoshi's Crafted World can't stand in its own right.
Its levels are smart and (sorry) crafty, as they occasionally subvert player expectations with hidden passages and collectibles. There is a flip mechanic in some levels, which have the level quite literally change perspective to find a special collectible or new area. Then there are the Poochy levels, which have you run through a level in the game, sometimes backwards, in search of Yoshi's dog-like pals. On especially long level runs, these Poochy levels may feel monotonous, but it's one more thing to do and a chance to see certain levels in a new light.
Yoshi's Crafted World also has a surprising amount of customization options. Funnily enough, there are lootboxes in the game. OK, so they're not really lootboxes, as much as they are gachapon machines where you use in-game currency to unlock adorable costumes for Yoshi and his Yoshi pals. Another game may bring real money into the equation, but this game has fun with it, and there are costumes for different Yoshi or Mario enemy types, inanimate objects and even one for Nintendo Labo. You can also scan in a number of amiibo figures to unlock specific costumes, like Mario, Toad, Princess Peach to unlock costumes for each of them, or a "non-supported" amiibo to unlock an actual amiibo box for Yoshi to run around in.
And the costumes aren't just cosmetic. They act as a sort of armor when you equip them, absorbing damage in levels before you start taking damage head-on. For fans that might not want to go full force into the game's easy mode, this is a bit of middle ground in making the game easier.
These little touches go a long to make sure players know that Yoshi's Crafted World isn't a game that's going to keep anyone from playing it. From top to bottom, it is a lovely, enjoyable little platformer that certainly stands tall next to its more difficult counterparts. Looking for a palette cleanser or a game to play in short bursts on the go? You got it. Want to sink eight hours into colorful worlds and cardboard cut outs? It's all here.
It may not be groundbreaking or wholly unique, but Yoshi's Crafted World states its case proudly for more and more Nintendo platformers on the Switch. And after a handful of not-so-great Yoshi titles before Wooly World, its nice to see the character on a hot streak,
Yoshi's Wooly World is now available for the Nintendo Switch. A review copy was provided by the publisher.