REVIEW: Yoshi’s Crafted World

Thursday, April 11th, 2019

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While the general flow of the game is play a stage, get Flowers, unlock more stages, rinse and repeat, there are some elements that keep things fresh. There are what I call event stages. They all have some gimmick and a set point goal you’re trying to reach in a limited time frame. A good example is the Go-Go Yoshi stage, where you climb into a cardboard mega Yoshi and try and break everything in sight with a giant fist. Another is when you pilot a plane by running up and down its length, or guide a solar powered car by steering it into beams of sunlight. These are all good fun, and fairly challenging to boot. I’m glad they are there to keep things interesting, though perhaps the game could have used a few more of them.

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One way Crafted World improves upon Woolly is with their boss fights. Unlike in Woolly World, here you never face the same boss more than once. Each encounter, whether against a main boss or mini boss, is totally unique, and challenging enough that you can’t get too cocky. Some of them are new takes on classic foes, like a giant Piranha Plant, but some are very unique and highly enjoyable. My personal favorite is the Gator Train, but the final boss also gives the one from the original Yoshi’s Island a run for their money. I just wish there were more boss fights, since in the SNES original there were a ton of them, and here there are only 5. That said, I’d rather have less bosses than rehash or uninspired battles. But with that in mind, I absolutely miss the Castle and Fort stages. Those did a great job of building up the tension until you reach the boss fight, whereas here, each boss fight is just its own stage that you unlock.

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Visually speaking, this is a wonderful game and is dripping with creativity. There’s a lot of small moments of genius here, and each level is utterly packed with things to admire. My personal favorites were the Rumble Jungle, Ninjarama and Shadowville stages. One of which includes the first survival horror level I’ve ever played in a Yoshi game. And though I didn’t use them much, the many costumes you can unlock with coins in the game are a treat, especially the weird stuff like Cow Yoshi. One of my favorite parts visually were the cutscenes that occur when Kamek uses his magic to make each boss. These are totally trippy and I highly approve of them. Musically, Crafted World takes a hit. Much like in the last Good-Feel game, here the music is overly mellow and frankly underwhelming. There’s some variety, such as the music in the haunted mansion and ninja stages, but I just wanted a bit more punch. Seeing as how the original game had a bunch of wonderful tunes, I almost wish Good-Feel would just focus on the visual side and hire another team to do their music. Thankfully, the sound effects are all pitch perfect, which helps ease my frustration.

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Thus far I’ve been mostly sticking to the positive stuff, but now I have to cover areas I felt the game could have improved. One involves the gameplay variety, which was overall a bit disappointing. I say that because mechanically speaking, Yoshi’s Crafted World feels a lot less innovative than Woolly World. In that game, there was constantly something crazy happening. Here they mostly play it safe, other than with the visual style. And while I do love the classic Yoshi’s Island mechanics, that game was also known for being very innovative and not resting on its laurels. In many ways, I feel Good-Feel played it safe with Crafted World. Sure, there’s lots of stuff to do, but doing it is mostly the same, and can start to feel repetitive. This goes double when you’re trying to grind through levels to find everything, which really takes a lot of the charm out of it. I don’t mind finding the basic stuff, but going through the same stage for the umpteenth time to find a deviously hidden souvenir started to wear on me.

Another minor frustration is with the egg toss aiming. Since each stage is 3D, even in 2D looking sections, aiming can be a challenge. You’ll be aiming down and might instead hit something in the foreground. This wasn’t game breaking by any means, but it was really irritating in the faster paced moving sections. More of a problem, at least for me, is that I really wanted more to unlock. Sure, each stage is dense, but besides what I’ve already mentioned, the only other things you unlock happen after you beat the game. You unlock a series of stages called the Hidden Hills, and it’s no exaggeration that these are brutally hard platforming challenges. Other than that, you’ll unlock a hide and seek character that will show up in every stage and challenges for boss battles, and that’s it. I really wanted something more, though to be fair we didn’t get much more in Woolly World.

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In the end, I did enjoy Yoshi’s Crafted World, though that was never really in doubt. But unfortunately, in many ways Yoshi’s Crafted World felt like a step back from Woolly World, which in many ways felt like the better game. It’s far from bad, and even is challenging enough that I died a handful of times, but it just felt like it was playing things too safe. It might be better if I had tried the two player mode, though I tend to doubt that would have influenced me much. For $59.99, I do feel you’ll get your money’s worth, as I easily spent 10 hours beating it and many more trying to unlock everything. But your mileage may vary for how motivated you feel to unlock everything the game has to offer. If you’re a fan of Yoshi, I’d say it’s worth buying, but if not, you may want to try another Switch platformer.

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Review Score

Review Copy Purchased by Author

About Josh Speer

Josh is a passionate gamer, finding time to clock in around 30-40 hours of gaming a week. He discovered Operation Rainfall while avidly following the localization of the Big 3 Wii RPGs. He enjoys SHMUPS, Platformers, RPGs, Roguelikes and the occasional Fighter. He’s also an unashamedly giant Mega Man fan, having played the series since he was eight. As Head Editor and Review Manager, he spends far too much time editing reviews and random articles. In his limited spare time he devours indies whole and anticipates the release of quirky, unpredictable and innovative games.

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