After staying woolly and cozy for a couple of years, things were looking up for the Yoshis. The evil wizard Kamek stole their materials and even turned some of them into woolly capsules, spreading them across the world. Some brave Yoshis embarked on an adventure across craft island and reclaimed their friends and their home. Since then they have been lazing about, eating watermelons, rolling around and sleeping between layers of pillows and yarn. Ah, what a time to be a Yoshi.
Well… something is brewing again. Guess who’s back! Yep of course, Kamek and Bowser Jr. have not learned their lesson and think they can mess with the Yoshis again. Well I’ve got one thing to say about that. Y-Y-Yoshi! It’s time for another adventure!
Yoshi’s Crafted World takes place in a brand new hub world with all new stages. The gameplay is styled as a traditional Yoshi platformer much the same as past games, but with a few different ways to interact. While Yoshi’s movement sticks to a 2D plane, the environment is crafted in 3D. This means you can interact with the background and foreground by throwing eggs anywhere you want, with some stages offering multiple paths in both the foreground and background. This has been done before but the crafty theme brings everything together differently with new forms of interaction.
There’s stuff everywhere for you to shoot, from coins to switches to collectibles. The game is just rewarding to do anything in. Even if an object has no coin or material reward, it’s still fun watching the cardboard flop about and hear it thud under Yoshi’s feet. There are quite a few surprises too like doors you can push open or even bonk your head into. The use of craftwork is very creative and extends from normal platforming objects to animals like rhinos and gators. Some you can ride, some you can push, and some you can help out…. only to wear their skins later.
Co-op is back from Woolly World and it really shines in this game. You can play how you want really but when things get dicey the Yoshis can buckle up and have one person focus on platforming while the other jumps on top and throws eggs (unfortunately, no gyro aiming in this game like Woolly World had). There’s so much to do and collect, it helps to have two pairs of eyes. A lot of times I’d miss some red coins in the background my friend would see and it helped us 100% a few stages on the first try. Platforming can get a bit tricky with moving platforms but everything is doable. There are a lot more pros than cons. With one Yoshi riding the other, you also get some extra height with effectively two jumps. Also if one of you die you just float back up and your partner can save you. Getting to the end with 20 health though is a different story.
The game also mixes things up with some gimmicky levels that replace the basic gameplay with themes like a Giant Punching Yoshi or vehicles to ride. I personally thought these were bad in previous Yoshi games, with only a couple of good ones in Woolly World. However I found them to be extremely polished and fun in Crafted World. There’s some that are sort of like shooting galleries where you throw eggs into the background to get points, and because the egg throwing mechanic is so polished, it’s a lot of fun. The game continues to bring crafted creativity in these levels instead of taking you to some bizarre alternate dimension with a black screen. The levels with vehicles also have twists you wouldn’t expect and some clever game design.
Graphical detail is very high in every level in this game in fact. There is a lot of heart and soul put into the visual design and sound effects, with smiley faces and expressions put on things for no reason other than to make you feel good. The sound of cardboard doors opening, objects collapsing, eggs bouncing around is very tactile and satisfying to hear. Every little action you do has good feedback that takes advantage of the fact that everything is crafty, to add even more things you wouldn’t experience in a realistic setting.
The weak point of this game I’m sad to say, is the soundtrack. It’s NOT BAD by any means, but falls very flat compared to other games and is a bit disappointing after the variety of Woolly World. It wasn’t until after finishing the game that I looked some things up and learned they switched composers for this game. The composer behind the Woolly World and Wario Land Shake It soundtracks just up and vanished, supposedly. He became “freelance” but still says he would have done the Crafted World soundtrack if they asked him (not 100% confirmed as his Twitter has some bad English translations), but Good Feel got someone who had never composed a game soundtrack before from within the company. It could have been their big break but unfortunately they did a terrible job. It is serviceable and recognisable Yoshi music but lacks the strong melodies that make Nintendo platformers so iconic. Even objectively speaking, the game only has 20 total songs compared to Woolly World’s 72. That’s a tremendous difference in variety. Even the Unused Woolly World songs are better. The different music was in the back of my mind while playing Crafted World, but didn’t really bother me that much until I started replaying levels to get flowers. I happily 100% completed Yoshi’s Woolly World but it’s going to be a struggle with this game, for one more reason.
The amount of backtracking for collectibles is insane. Assuming you get a perfect 100% on your first playthrough (all flowers, full health and all red coins), you unlock the Poochy Pup playthrough which has 3 pups to find in every level. The rest of the level is kinda stripped out so there isn’t much else to do besides find them and get to the end in a time limit. Then there’s another bonus flower for getting all 3 at once, with a good time. So assuming you get two perfect playthroughs you can 100% complete a level… unless one of these guys asks for another collectible.
Same though mate. This game is a lot of fun when pacing yourself and playing co-op and just looking for all the main flowers, but all the extra stuff they added kinda makes it exhausting to think about full completion. Combined with repetitive music and what could have been the best Yoshi game ever made becomes fairly short-lived. That said, I’m still playing through the special levels and enjoying them with plans to replay a couple at the very least. It’s nice to hear new music in them and the challenge is higher. There is no reason to rush really and I recommend playing slowly, a few levels each play session was my experience and it was nice. You could just ignore the flowers too, if you don’t mind the special stages at the end being locked.
Thankfully the best collectibles are the costumes, which are simply obtained by getting regular coins in any level of the game and will accumulate simply by playing anything. It’s worth having a look at all the different costumes and seeing Yoshi’s little feet and head sticking out of these derpy crafted outfits. There’s more than a hundred and they are all rendered and animated properly. You also get a lil’ health bonus with some, and can scan amiibo to get some pretty good ones too. No DLC or microtransactions thankfully, Yoshi remains wholesome.
Well… there is a gacha machine that you put coins into to get the costumes. No no, come back wholesome Yoshi! You can’t lose so it’s not gambling, right? It’s true luckily, you always get something, and if you just throw all your coins in you’ll get every costume in the area. It’s basically used as a way to exchange coins with a little fanfare as you watch the prizes roll out and your life slip away.
After Yoshi’s Island on SNES exploded onto the scene with a level of platforming creativity not seen in anything else before, we had a few average Yoshi games with New Island and Yoshi’s Island DS for example. It felt like things were getting back on track with Woolly World bringing the richest soundtrack, levels and gameplay since the original. Yoshi’s Crafted World ups the creativity in level design and visual design even further I daresay, with some very impressive and fun stages. Developers Good Feel absolutely knew what they were doing when they switched to the crafted style for this game, it is justified in almost every level. The uninspired music is a big deal for me, but maybe some people won’t care about that either. There are some happy tunes and happy moments no doubt. Yoshi’s Crafted World is a very good game and worth playing for the amazing level design, cute interactions and immense level of graphical polish and charm. It’s a special experience. More importantly, someone has to stop Kamek! Y-Y-Yoshi!