I recently got to go hands-on with the first four levels of Yoshi’s Crafted World. From the outside, the game looks like it doesn’t stray too far from previous Yoshi games, but once you progress, it’s clear that Nintendo is trying some interesting things with Yoshi’s first adventure on the Nintendo Switch.
It goes without saying that the game’s art-style is full of colour and charm, but it goes beyond that. At first glance, it doesn’t look too dissimilar from previous Yoshi games, but once you start making your way through the levels you’ll come across cleverly crafted objects, which you’ll be able to interact with. These objects range from cereal boxes to cookie containers to a massive origami frog head that acts as an entrance. Everything in the game oozes personality and the levels that I got to play had a good variety in style.
This is made even more interesting by the fact that Yoshi can shoot into the background and foreground of levels. There’s so much within each level to interact with. It takes a lot of getting used and completely changes your mindset in terms of a 2D platformer, but it adds a lot. Yoshi can also make his way forwards and backwards, which adds a nice bit of challenge to the standard side to side formula that we’re used to. These elements sound simple, but add them into the standard side-scrolling Yoshi adventure and it feels like just enough to make it unique.
A lot of what you’d expect to see in a Yoshi game is here. Floating clouds, smiley flowers, coins and loads of egg shooting are all present. Poochy is also back and plays a big part in getting through each level, getting up and over certain objects felt a lot more challenging here due to the 3D nature of each level.
Once you complete each level, you’ll unlock a flip-side which means you’ll basically run through that same level backwards (revealing the back of each structure). The goal in these flip levels are to collect all three Poochy pups within an allotted time. It’s a fun little exercise, that could potentially get a little bit repetitive, but I was surprised with just how different the level felt playing through it in reverse essentially. The time limit also changed up the feel of the game completely, as Yoshi games are usually fairly relaxing.
Nintendo is really pushing some classic enemies in new directions. Hordes of Shy Guys coming at you with paper knives or throwing stars isn’t something we’ve really seen before and enemies seem a lot more aggressive than previously, with them looking to kill you rather than just following a standard side to side motion. There were a few other enemies that I don’t believe I’ve seen in a Mario game, which has me excited to see what else lies within the levels.
After getting through a few levels, I finally got to play through co-op with a Nintendo rep, and it wasn’t a surprise that this is where the game really shined. Similar to the New Super Mario Bros games you can now ride on each-other’s backs and this allows you to have unlimited eggs, so it’s a great way to incorporate a second player who isn’t necessarily great at games.
All in all, Yoshi’s Crafted World is more of the same, with a few change ups that seem to go a long way to making the game feel like a fresh experience. I’ve got a few questions over difficulty as well as the amount of content here, but it’s hard to get wrong with a Yoshi platformer, especially in co-op, so I’m pretty excited to check out the full game come March 29th.