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Yoshi's Crafted World Review - Imagination

  • First Released Mar 28, 2019
  • Reviewed Mar 27, 2019
  • NS

Let's get creative.

The diorama-like design of Yoshi's Crafted World falls somewhere between capturing how a child might imagine a world and being a joyful expression of imagination in its own right, with washi tape snails, cardboard cows, and fish made from paper planes set among carefully laid-out stages. Each set of two or three levels introduces a new theme and its own quirks to discover, from the various ways everyday objects are recycled into art to how those crafts might be concealing the collectible you're after. While the best ideas mostly stay in their own levels and don't really build upon themselves or each other, each area is a delight to explore on its own.

Crafted World plays largely like other Yoshi games. You gobble up enemies to get eggs, throw the eggs at stuff, and maybe find some friends and secrets along the way, all with unlimited lives and very little to pressure you. 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.

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Because coins, collectibles, and other points of interest are scattered throughout the foreground and background as well as your immediate path, you're encouraged to engage with the environment in every direction throughout a level. Finding a secret can mean spotting a suspiciously empty space and hoping an invisible winged cloud is there like in previous games, but it also means keeping an eye on the horizon for collectibles poking out from behind background decorations or moving Yoshi forward a bit to get a better look through a cardboard building's window. It's hard not to wonder what might be behind a bush or off in the distance, and Yoshi's Crafted World fosters that inherent curiosity with small, endearing details.

Each set of levels has its own theme, from the jungle to ninjas to a haunted house. The 16 different themes comprise a wide variety of cute and creative takes on the craft aesthetic; the jungle's frog platforms jump using folded-paper springs, the ninja Shy Guys throw origami shuriken, and the haunted house features a large cardboard puppet Shy Guy that wields a cardboard scythe and chases you through a graveyard. Inanimate crafts are frequently juxtaposed with a moving or puppeted version--childlike bird cutouts in the background with 3D bird enemies in your immediate vicinity, for example--which only enhances the feeling that the levels are imagination brought to life.

Some levels have not-crafty additions to round out their themes, many of which provide interesting wrinkles to the standard Yoshi mechanics. One jungle level is an on-rails shooter that tasks you with throwing eggs at animal-shaped targets to score points; one of the ninja levels is set behind a moving shoji screen so that much of your platforming and collecting is done in silhouette, forcing you act quickly when the path to a collectible is revealed. Nearly every area has at least one non-standard level, and the variety helps break up the slower, more deliberate pace of the typical Yoshi levels.

Some ideas, like the shoji screen, make sense as one-offs, but most of the areas exist disparately from one another, and the most interesting ideas are never developed beyond their original incarnations. The ninja area (a clear highlight) has rotating doors that turn 180 degrees when you shoot them, revealing platforms you might need to progress or moving Yoshi to the other side of a wall where treasure awaits. They aren't tricky puzzles, but the front-to-back movement of the doors plays off the 3D and visual depth effects especially well, and it's disappointing that they aren't used more and to greater effect as the levels progress.

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The levels are designed to be replayed, though. After completing certain levels, you'll unlock the "flip side" version, which gives you the simple task of finding three Poochy Pups (as opposed to dozens of collectible items). The flip side gives you a closer look at the construction, from the tape holding things together to a pair of scissors left among the crafts in the background. While totally optional, the flip side has a different layer of detail that is charming in its own way--especially when you realize that the hard-to-reach tower that housed a collectible you're proud of getting is actually a milk carton.

The Yoshi games' usual relaxed approach suits this well. Breezy platforming allows you to put all your focus on taking in the scenery and keeping an eye out for hidden collectibles, and by extension, you can replay levels with a purpose--like seeking out an item you missed, which you know is somewhere in the middle--without having to slog through a frustrating or tedious beginning. By the same token, finding collectibles is a matter of being curious rather than completing difficult maneuvers. It's certainly not a cakewalk to find everything, but if you know what you're looking for and you're patient, it's satisfying and never so challenging as to disrupt the atmosphere of the game.

Breezy platforming allows you to put all your focus on taking in the scenery and keeping an eye out for hidden collectibles, and by extension, you can replay levels without having to slog through a frustrating or tedious beginning.

There are a number of ways to make the game a bit easier or more laid-back. The returning Mellow Mode, which gives Yoshi longer air time and more damage resistance, and two-player co-op are basic options, but I found myself gravitating toward Yoshi's costumes, which you can unlock using the coins you collect normally. 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.

Yoshi's Crafted World is at its best when it's relaxing and pleasant. The 2D-to-3D level design keeps you curious while the go-at-your-own-pace approach keeps the pressure off and leaves you to appreciate the small, imaginative details. Its most interesting ideas never evolve past their first introductions and are frequently confined to one or two levels, but individually, those levels both reward your curiosity and your willingness to slow down and look at what's around you--and it's those simple pleasures that provide the most joy.

Back To Top
The Good
Creative design makes each level a delight to explore
Collectibles reward your curiosity and provide an added layer of depth
Cute and relaxed atmosphere makes for a feel-good, cheerful time
The Bad
Some of the best ideas never develop beyond their initial incarnations
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Kallie really loves Yoshi's costumes. She spent around 10 hours playing Yoshi's Crafted World, scouring each level for collectibles to varying degrees of success. Review code was provided by Nintendo.
36 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
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Avatar image for Reuwsaat

I really liked the demo, but I found the game to be too short to be worth a $60 purchase...

Avatar image for JustPlainLucas

I'm trying to limit my game purchases to one a month. This meant I actually passed Sekiro over for this. I absolutely love Yoshi games and in all honestly, at this point in my life, I'd rather play a more relaxing platformer than a masochistic action game like Sekiro. Don't get me wrong, I still plan on getting Sekiro at some point. It's just the cute factor of Yoshi cannot be denied.

Avatar image for crono71

@JustPlainLucas: Yea man takes me back to the Barney days. Life was as simple as this game back then. Im glad there's no mario to steal the shine. Id take fischer price over "nitty gritty" when it comes to nintendo these days

Avatar image for silv3rst0rm

...Bought Yoshi's wooly world on a rush based on how "cute" it was and thinking "OMG, my daughter will totally LOVE this!"

But I noticed that nowadays, with so many games available on so many different platforms, games like these get "shelved" rather fast!
My daughter DID find it cute and all, we played for a couple of hours then never came back to it.
It didn't manage to be on the top of the list of games to play at any time beyond our firt playtime!

I'm not shedding over 70$ on a game like this anymore.
I might consider it in a couple of months if it gets a decent discount but for a full retail price there's so many better games to grab, I'll skip this one.

Avatar image for snugglebear

Im so excited!

Avatar image for Axecution

That might be the most lazy video review of a game ive ever seen lmao. Not even trying.

Avatar image for kallie

@Axecution: Hey! We've been splitting our video reviews into two formats, actually. We have a short-form version for those who want just the highlights, and then we've been doing long-form discussions where the reviewer goes really in-depth and answers audience questions. Actually ends up being a bit more work ;)

Staff Online
Avatar image for DocMARs

@kallie: Is there a long-format review for Yoshi? I dug around the site and couldn't find it.

Avatar image for kallie

@DocMARs: Unfortunately no, there wasn't time for one :(

Staff Online
Avatar image for Axecution

@kallie: ah sorry, didn't realize that was a thing. I'll check them out!

That being said, even if the long format in-depth review/discussion are more detailed, In it's current state, if I wanna watch a video review it does sort of make more sense to swing over to IGN. Just cause they have short straight-to-the-point video reviews without spoilers on day one.

Still, I'll check it out. If the discussions go in depth enough to talk about frame rate and resolution then that could be really handy

Avatar image for un_turco

@kallie: Sorry but I agree with @Axecution actually I've seen the long format videos and I think they take too long to come out, after all the other platforms have proper video reviews the long format come out like an afterthought. Just look at sekiro it's been cover with tons of guides and still doesn't have the long format review

I really don't want to be rude with my comment, but gamespot has been changing a lot, covering more media and changing formats; personally I miss the old crew Tom Mc Shea, Chris Watters, Shaun McInnis, Carolin Petit, Kevin VanOrd, Danny O'Dwyer, Greg Kasavin, etc. all of them had a voice and a presence in the gamespot community the videos and podcast where great with editorial and personal opinions on the experience of gamming that I've seen a lack of in recent years

I still appreciate all the effort in the written reviews . This is a personal opinion in the video review content and maybe a little bit in new approach of the general direction of gamespot media.

Avatar image for gorlem2341

@un_turco: Tom McShea! I miss him too. No offense @kallie, I'm sure you and the current crew work very hard :) I definitely would have liked a voice-over and some more depth for this review though.

Avatar image for midna

I played the demo and just got bored unfortunately.

Avatar image for silv3rst0rm

@midna: Same here, The "cute" factor fades away pretty fast showing how shallow the game actually is...

Avatar image for neurogia

Is there a hard mode for the rest of us that desire a return to form ala Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island?

Avatar image for voljin1987

@neurogia: Yoshi's island was hard? TIL. I ended up with 100s of lives due to the huge number of mini games which were present.

Avatar image for girlusocrazy

@voljin1987: Lives wasn't the issue, it was finishing each level with 100% and those bonus levels too

Avatar image for locknuts84

Nintendo you sneaky Devils! My daughter downloaded the free demo last week, just 2 weeks before her 8th birthday. Now she won't shut up about this game. Well played....

Avatar image for slypher9

@locknuts84: lol that's the target market.. i'll get it and I'm not the target market.. sometimes you need those simple relaxed games

Avatar image for Bread_or_Decide

Kirby and Yoshi are relaxing games and collecting everything is indeed a fine challenge.

Not everything has to be a rage inducing anger-fest.

Avatar image for crono71

@Bread_or_Decide: I agree. Don't know if you know who this character is but I like how Yoshi is like Babybop. It's a different feel

Avatar image for Solaryellow


That's true. Sometimes you want to relax and just have fun.

Avatar image for crono71

@Solaryellow: Yup. It reminds me of Barney and the teletubbies world. Good old fun.

Avatar image for Oloryn

My wife and I have always had fun with these games, and they are a great kid-friendly series for when we have our niece over (and she gets tired of shooting people in the face in Splatoon). Not every game needs to be dark, brown and gritty, so I appreciate the cheery games from time to time.

Avatar image for crono71

@Oloryn: YES. Baby Bop, Baby Bop, Baby Bop! All we need is BJ.

Yoshi's Crafted World More Info

  • First Released Mar 28, 2019
    • Nintendo Switch
    An original game for Nintendo Switch, Yoshi must explore two-sided stages that you need to swap between in order to complete.
    Average Rating6 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    Published by:
    3D, Platformer, Action
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    Mild Cartoon Violence