Friday, March 1, 2024

Yoshi’s Crafted World

Yoshi is quite the underrated video game character, if you ask me.

Despite technically being a part of the Super Mario Universe, the green dinosaur who can kind of fly and swallow enemies with his enormous tongue hasn’t been the recipient of his own video game since 2015. Even worse on my end, I haven’t owned a Yoshi-centered adventure since Yoshi’s Story on the Nintendo 64. With sales on the Nintendo Switch far exceeding their expectations, Good-Feel developed Yoshi’s Crafted World and released it worldwide on March 29, 2019.

A side-scrolling game with 3D characters on a 2.5D plane, Yoshi’s Crafted World finds a tribe of Yoshi’s living in harmony on a small island. The atoll is also home to the Sundream Stone, a mystical rock containing colored gems that make your wildest wishes come true. Of course, with such a powerful artifact in their possession, it isn’t long before Kamek and Baby Bowser converge on the island in an attempt to steal the Sundream Stone. The gems scatter, protected for now, but Yoshi and his friends are forced to leave the safety of the island to locate the gems before their enemies do. Who knows what dastardly wishes Baby Bowser might come up with!

I was late to pick up a Nintendo Switch console; having received it as an early wedding gift from my brother-in-law just before Christmas. I had a lot of games I needed to catch up on, and Yoshi’s Crafted World is the first game I was able to enjoy on my leisure. The reason for picking up this new story falls into the realm of nostalgia alone because I vividly remember playing Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island on the Super Nintendo and Yoshi’s Story on Nintendo 64 when I was in elementary school. I wanted to see if the little green machine was still the same lovable character that he was almost two decades ago.

And he is! He looks the same, he sounds the same, he moves the same and he makes all the adorable noises like he never missed a beat. In a world where developers are constantly changing the look and appeal of their mascot-like characters, I’m glad to see that Yoshi has retained his prehistoric charm and infantile personality.

The only aspect that’s really changed is that you can purchase costumes with in-game currency; although, they’re just a little too baby-ish for me. Play as a mouse. Play as a bumblebee. Play as a milk carton. Play as a can of tuna. Play as whatever random item or creature you’d find in and around a house. No thank you on that wasted opportunity.

The game itself is very cutesy, maybe in attempt to throw the game player back to that early stage in life when coloring books, block building and toy car racing were the best things since sliced bread. Every level is constructed from household toys, arts and crafts, and general items that would exist in a home filled with children. There isn’t a terrain like most games, and the floor is almost always made out of several layers of constructed materials.

Probably one of the best aspects of Yoshi’s Crafted World is the texture. Everything is digitally made to resemble authentic crafts, and the 3D models give off the allure of real texture. I’ve never seen a video game this detailed on a non Xbox and PlayStation 4 console before, and it’s inspiring and awesome to see what Nintendo Switch can do next.

Yoshi’s Crafted World is longer than you’d expect, too. There’s about a dozen different levels, consisting of two or three sub-levels and a robot that assigns you two to five side quests each time you encounter him. The successful completion of each level and side-quest rewards you with flowers that unlock the next realm, surprise bosses and more.

I’m a gamer who loves getting every reward and bonus a story has to offer, so playing Yoshi’s Crafted World almost took me an entire month to complete. Working in conjunction with this point, the difficulty of each level varies at random, giving players a longer, more task-worthy experience even with game-play set to easy.

A brightly colored, toy box scored adventure that brings a classic character to a new console, Yoshi’s Crafted World was a little hokey but still a ton of fun. Heavy replay value activated!

Final Score: 8 out of 10

Michael Therkelsen

[He/Him] Michael was born and raised at the Jersey Shore and he loves love horror films, video games, hiking and cooking. He auditioned for American Idol in season 6 and worked as a vet tech before finally discovering his passion for writing. He has several short stories available for purchase on e-readers, and is obsessed with UFC, American Ninja Warrior and running half-marathons. With a wide area of interests and hobbies, he's excited to help other people in the LGBT community discovery the world of gaming.