The Nintendo Switch already has some killer first-party titles like "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild" and "Super Mario Odyssey" (along with a boatload of great downloadable indie titles), but if you still don't have one, perhaps "Yoshi's Crafted World," a bright and sunshine-y platformer, will warm your heart and open your wallet. Here's what the reviews have to say:
First, Don't Go In Expecting A Total Yoshi Reinvention
Sweet and competent though they were, there was something missing from the earlier sidescrollers from longtime Nintendo partner studio Good-Feel, Yoshi's Woolly World and Kirby's Epic Yarn. Their presentation was faultless, with their knitted adversaries, sewn-together scenery and cute yarn gimmicks, but their design was conservative; after a couple of hours, you'd seen every new idea that they had[…] Yoshi's Crafted World, combines that touchably gorgeous aesthetic with a game that feels more focused, memorable and varied.
If you're expecting Crafted World to single-handedly break down Yoshi barriers and transcend the heavens on into the pantheon of platformers, bringing the series back into the resplendent era of the original Yoshi's Island, just walk away.
That Said, It Isn't A Solely 2D Sidescroller Anymore
The big change in Crafted World is the addition of a dimension–while you still mostly move left or right in 2D, some paths allow you to move forward or backward onto a separate left-right pathway, and you can throw eggs forward and backward, too. Aiming into the foreground or background shifts the depth of field so you can better see what's around you, with the added effect of making the levels seem even more like 3D, handmade dioramas.
The contextual depth is great, and hitting what you're aiming for is largely easy, with the only minor issue being occasionally not realising an obstacle has broken your path to the target due to the camera perspective.
It Uses The Cutesy Handmade Aesthetic To The Fullest
The new Yoshi is far from the first game to utilize this aesthetic, but what sets it apart is the attention to detail. This is a game where texture matters. The rough feel of a piece of construction paper, the brushed metal of an old tin can, or the scribbled coloring of a young child all give the game a real sense of place. Sometimes, you can see the labels on a discarded box of cereal that now serves as a building, and you'll run past candy wrapper billboards and street signs made of soda bottle caps.
Another interesting twist: once you've played a level you can play it again, only backwards, which charmingly exposes the unvarnished side of the crafted scenarios whilst you search for Poochie puppies hiding behind the scenery. You can see the tape on the back of the seagulls that attaches them to your strings, the props holding the building facades up, and the unpainted sides of all the decorative trees and mountains.
Don't Expect To Get Stuck On Levels Much, If At All…
Platforming games like this are often built around challenges and inventive design, and while Crafted World has some of this, mostly, it's just a really pleasant place to be.
… But Do Plan On Replaying Them To Find Every Secret
The levels are densely packed with coins and flowers to ferret out, making this a game more about looking around and following your curiosity than running and jumping.
Every one of those stages has between five and eight Smiley Flowers to find and 20 Red Coins hidden around that will earn you another flower at the end, as well as two more super-simple Flowers for finishing with full health and with more than 100 total coins. I was usually able to find most but not all of a level's Flowers my first time through it, but the Red Coins were more deviously hidden – I can count the number of times I was able to 100% a level on my first try on one hand, which always made me want to dive back in.
Yoshi's Collectible Papercraft Costumes Please The Eye And Impact The Gameplay
One of the new features in the game is the ability to dress Yoshi in various papercraft costumes. As you earn coins, you can spend them at a capsule toy machine full of eggs that each contains a new look for Yoshi. They are — and I don't say this lightly — among the cutest things I have seen in my life.
The crafted costumes–favorites include a trash bin and a dinosaur skeleton–function as armor, giving you a few extra hits before you start taking damage. In addition to being adorable and fitting the overall vibe nicely, they're a good middle ground for those who still want normal jump distances but the freedom to walk into a few Shy Guys on accident.
'Crafted World' Has Tons Of Good Mechanics, But Is Reluctant To Combine Them Even For Optional Challenges
While some short-lived mechanics, like riding Poochie, don't really work so well in practice, most of the "gimmick" level ideas are actually very well fleshed out. Ideas like controlling a giant Yoshi mech to punch through a constantly scrolling obstacle course, or running around on a craft-made plane sound like distractions from the core gameplay, but they often ended up being some of my favourite levels to retry.
I kept hoping these clever ideas would be better used later on, or at least revisited in an optional stage with amped-up difficulty. I finally got a taste of that in Crafted World's post-credit stages, which are some of the most challenging and fun levels in the entire game, but there are literally only four of them.
Depending On Your Play Style, You'll Find Co-Op Play A Must… Or Hate It With Every Fiber Of Your Being
Co-op is a large part of Crafted World's DNA and I highly suggest you play the entire game with a friend. It opens up all sorts of strategies like riding on each other's backs and spitting one another out to bring down enemies and hazards when you're out of eggs, adding a whole extra layer on top of the typically elementary proceedings. Plus, having a second set of eyes to find secrets is always great.
Co-operative modes such as this usually makes grabbing coins and flowers mind-numbingly easy, but since you can gobble up your pals, launch them at an enemy or jump on their back for piggy back ride, it can make the platforming hilariously chaotic.
Here's the problem with the multiplayer support in Crafted World: levels simply have not been designed to properly accommodate more than one player, and the interactive features designed so co-op players could support each other are more often a hindrance than a help.
Yoshi's Crafted World is an engaging and charming platformer that is absolutely worth playing, but it misses a clear opportunity to be more than that by not taking full advantage of its most clever ideas[…] Of course, I still thoroughly enjoyed every adorable hour I spent with it.