The Best Part Of Yoshi's Crafted World Is The Scenery

Games traditionally propel us forward with any one of these methods: increasingly tough bosses, collectable outfits, competitive skill points, unlocking new abilities, and, of course, story beats. Yoshi’s Crafted World is not like those games.

For me, the paper carrot at the end of its fuzzy pipecleaner stick is discovering what charming and surprising thing will appear next in the game’s jumble of household items and kiddy art projects.

After decades playing platformers like Mario, it’s easy to assume that the green, round semicircle you see in the background is a hill. The coral is made of coral and the sewer tops are constructed out of metal. With such mundanities out of the way, our focus is on the basics: platforming, puzzle-solving, collecting coins.

In the first few moments of Yoshi’s Crafted World, I saw that green, round semicircle and waddled along to collect the coins ahead before doing a double-take and, for once, walking backward. The hill was a paper plate painted green. Up ahead, the sewer was a severed cardboard toilet roll. The coral was pipe cleaners and the spinning windmills were sliced, fanned-out plastic cups.

The little aesthetic gifts Yoshi’s Crafted World drops throughout its maps are what keep me curious and motivated to keep playing. With the game’s enthusiasm all concentrated into delightful little backgrounds and artistic flourishes, the gameplay takes a backseat. It’s not a detriment. It’s wisely giving me space to appreciate moments like these:

Forward is usually the dominant thought as we navigate a given platformer, but in Yoshi’s Crafted World, forward isn’t what’s getting me through the game. I don’t feel the need to progress as much as I want to take in the quaint posters (“Jelly beans / fruit favoured,” “Yo’ster cookies hearts”), the trains with bottle cap faces, the random piles of empty coffee creamers. Absorbing every small detail, for me, is progression.

This almost Salvador Dali-ish approach to absurdity and spectacle isn’t new to Yoshi’s Crafted World, nor is it new to Nintendo games. Super Mario Odyssey, for example, is full of delightful quirks that made it stand out to me. I think back often on the game’s Sand Kingdom stage, a medley of red sand, transparent, icy beacons and Mexican-influenced fashion—all forming the foreground for a psychedelic Grecian architectural complex.

In the distance, a man in a suit waited at a bus stop. “Trippy” was an understatement. Each small, strange touch hammered the idea that, while Super Mario Odyssey could be a game about collecting moons, to many, it would be a game about appreciating strangeness.

With all the elementals of childhood glued together, sometimes literally, Yoshi’s Crafted World’s whimsy has coerced me to play with the same no-baggage, fresh-eyed approach to games I had before I’d played too many.


Comments

    I've only played a few levels but so far I can't recommend it.
    The game just doesn't seem to offer any real platformer challenge. They do a good job hiding the flowers and the red coins, but it feels like a slow game and the enemies don't help. Shy guys just stand around like they're resigned to death. The music isn't the Yoshi's Island kind of enjoyable, or even particularly enjoyable.
    I was playing it with my partner and there are some odd decisions made there; particularly, you can steal each other's eggs by eating and then spitting out the other player. But, if the eater already has 6 eggs, then the eaten's eggs disappear (since 6 is the cap) and then you have one player with 0 eggs. Particularly annoying since it's pretty easy to accidentally eat one another, and there are some timer based events where you need eggs.
    I'm really hoping it picks up. It's not fair to review a game on the first 3 or so levels, but that's my first impression. I played Kirby: Star Allies directly afterwards for the first time and it's amazing. At least HAL Labs knows what they're doing.

      I forgot to mention, it's probably a good game for your kids, to let them play by themselves or to join in as a parent. It just seems a bit lacking for two adults to play.

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