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"Yoshi's Crafted World" provides carefree casual fun

4-16-2019

Francesco Corso, Staff Writer

It’s been over two decades since Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island was originally released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), since then Yoshi has carved out his own sub-series of games completely independent of famous Italian plumber who made him famous in the first place. Serving as a direct sequel to Yoshi’s Wooly World on the Nintendo Wii U, Yoshi’s Crafted World on the Nintendo Switch, offers a great array of unique puzzles and challenge that will delight gamers of all ages.

Like all other games in the series, Yoshi’s Crafted World is a side-scrolling platformer where the player controls its titular character through a series of levels in order to retrieve the Dream Gems, which were dislodged from the Sundream Stone by Baby Bowser and his caretaker Kamek. Yoshi is able to flutter jump, allowing him to briefly float in the air, making it easier to cross large gaps.

In addition, Yoshi is able to eat his enemies and turn them into eggs, which then can be thrown at in order to get past obstacles, defeat enemies or pick up collectibles. The enemies in this game are your typical fare for a Yoshi game, with Shy Guys, Blargs, Rafaels and other making an appearance. Enemies are not necessarily hard to take out but can cause Yoshi to take unnecessary damage if jumps aren’t timed correctly.

New to Yoshi’s World is the introduction of a full 2.5D Perspective, that being the player largely moves in a side to side fashion, but occasionally branching paths will appear allowing Yoshi to quickly move either closer to further away from the camera. In addition, Yoshi can also throw eggs at objects in both the foreground and the background, both of which are often hiding secrets.

In terms of sheer difficulty, just playing the game normally, that is just getting to the end of the stage, yields very little in terms of an actual challenge. I rarely if ever received death in my time with the game, especially since the player now respawns if they fall into a pit, if they have more than one heart remaining.

The true challenge of this game comes from trying to collect all of the Smiley Flowers and Red Coins are hidden throughout each level, all while finishing with full hearts and obtaining at least 100 regular coins. While many of the Smiley Flowers are easily locatable in each level, a number of them require Yoshi to uncover hidden clouds or complete timed challenges to obtain. The Red Coins are a completely different type of challenge, however.

Like in previous games, Red Coins are indistinguishable from regular coins until they are collected, making them very easy to miss if the player isn’t careful. In addition to the regular collectibles, each level has a flip side, where the player traverses the level in reverse, with the camera pointing the opposite direction. This time the player is tasked with locating the children of Yoshi’s pet Poochy, referred to as the Poochy Pups, all while finishing under a certain time.

While these levels do provide a new perspective on a given level, it doesn’t alleviate the fact that there really isn’t that much variance in these new levels, as the player literally follows the same route in reverse.

Unlike Yoshi’s Wooly World, Smiley Flowers actually serve a purpose in the main quest, requiring the player to use them as a form of currency in order to advance to each new world, which the player is now given a little more freedom to tackle in whatever order they desire, with the exception of the first and last bosses, the player has complete freedom in which one they want to go for first.

The bosses in this game, provide a nice change of pace when compared to the other levels, but they are a bit on the easy side when compared to previous installments. In addition, to the players can use the coins they collect in order to obtain a variety of costumes, that Yoshi can wear into each level, which allow the player to sustain a few more hits before dying.

Furthermore, if the player wants a bit of an easier time, they can switch over the Mellow Mode, which gives Yoshi wings, allowing him to flutter jump indefinitely. This, unfortunately, makes the game way too easy to offer any sort of challenge, as shown by a video where someone completed a level in Mellow Mode, by placing a set of rocks on top the controller.

Stylistically speaking, just like its predecessor where everything was made out of Yarn, all of the environments in Yoshi’s Crafted World are made out of cardboard and other various crafting materials. This gives the game a very distinct visual style that is used to justify the player’s ability to knock over objects in the environment.

The art style also is a continuation of Nintendo’s trend of using stylized graphics in order to compensate for the lesser graphical capabilities of the Nintendo Switch. Musically, speaking, however, the game is lacking when compared to Yoshi’s Woolly World, as the game seems to only use the same few songs repeatedly for every level, which makes for a soundtrack that is very bland, to say the least.

In the end, Yoshi’s Crafted World is a very fun time for anyone who enjoys platformers. It may not satisfy the most hardcore of gamers, who will most definitely find the game to be too easy. Overall, the game has a strong sense of visual style and a very tight control scheme that makes the game very approachable to play.