By Isaac Espinosa
It’s Nintendo at its purest. As Kamek and Baby Bowser set out on a quest to steal the dream stones on Yoshi’s Island, it’s up to the Yoshi to ensure that the duo cannot fulfill their evil plans. Yoshi’s Crafted World, a side-scrolling platformer developed by Good-Feel, is the eighth and newest installment in the series. So with introductions out of the way, let us take part in this new Nintendo Switch adventure!
The story begins as the Yoshi are relaxing and admiring the Sundream Stone, an artifact that contains five magical stones named Dream Stones. These relics are known to grant the wishes of anyone, no matter what the wish may be. However, when Baby Bowser and Kamek attempt to steal them for themselves, the dream stones scatter across the world, and it’s up to the Yoshi Tribe to get them back. Even more importantly, Yoshi and his friends must retrieve each dream stone before Baby Bowser and Kamek, who are also on the hunt for the magical items to grant Baby Bowser immense power, can find them.
Yoshi’s Crafted World follows the same formula as every other “Yoshi” title, but its unique and seemingly simple level design sets it apart from the other games. Yoshi can still use his elastic tongue to gulp up enemies and turn them into eggs – before flinging them at other enemies. However, in Yoshi’s Crafted World, the fast-moving dinosaur is able to enter both the foreground and the background of the levels, and he’s able to throw eggs into the background as well. This allows for a lot of intricacy in the level design – and play. When Kamek obstructs the main path, it is up to Yoshi to enter the foreground and background to find certain objects that will help to get rid of obstacles that keep Yoshi from moving forward. Exploring the foreground and background also makes it possible to discover many new secrets, like Shy Guys holding red coins, or certain smiley flowers that must be caught quickly.
One of the best aspects of Yoshi’s Crafted World is its aesthetic. Since all the worlds are made of household and crafting objects such as cardboard boxes, pencils and paper, the game looks like it was created by a kid in art class. Unlike Yoshi’s Woolly World, which uses mostly a yarn aesthetic, Yoshi’s Crafted World uses a variety of materials to achieve its artsy look, making this game even more charming than its predecessors. It’s so welcoming, it can allow players to immerse themselves into this new world in a friendly and calming way. The music is happier, less bombastic and energetic than the music in Yoshi’s Woolly World. It wasn’t to my taste, but it did enhance the game’s overall beauty.
In conclusion, Yoshi’s Crafted World is a wonderful addition to the Yoshi franchise of games and very much deserving of praise. While the level design may seem simple, it challenges players’ observational skills, so that they can find secrets and solve many kinds of puzzles while enjoying this wonderful game. It’s classic Nintendo with a twist.
Isaac Espinosa is a New York Videogame Critics Circle intern. He’s the founder of the Lehman College Videogame Critics Circle.