Sunday, 21 July 2019

Yoshi's Crafted World ★★★★☆

While Yoshi may now exist primarily as a meme in the heads of the kids of today – admit it, you’ve chuckled at one of the Yoshi’s Island memes,  this delightful little platformer acts as a reminder of what Yoshi was, and is, in the eyes of gamers. He is an icon, an old friend, and I was sure glad to spend some time with him again in his Crafted World. Yoshi’s Crafted World is an extremely straight-forward and often deceptively simplistic little game, that is formulaic to the point of being wholly unoriginal, and yet still easily one of the most enjoyable games of the year.

First off, Yoshi’s Crafted World is one of the easiest games you’ll probably ever play. Being accessible to all ages means there is very little challenge here for younger gamers and almost no challenge for us grown-ups. Enemies are almost entirely passive, just wandering around the level without paying much attention to the dinosaur strolling around killing their friends and shitting them out as eggs. That’s totally normal in the Crafted World so they’re not concerned until you twat an egg at them and give them something to think about. Anyway, the game isn’t challenging. You can blitz through the 40+ stages without breaking a sweat and without dying once, but that’s not the point of the game. This isn’t a game that aims to challenge you and push you to your limits like Dark Souls. This is a game to be enjoyed and savoured as the colourful scenery takes you back to a simpler time.

The stages are all rammed full of collectables, incentivising repeat playthroughs to find every single one and discover the hidden secrets in each level – of which there are plenty. There is plenty tucked away in each stage to enjoy time and time again, which creates a wonderful feeling of value and replayability. The game's visuals are an utter delight too, continuing the ever-popular theme of games existing in worlds that have been made up of fabrics and cardboard. Think Little Big Planet, and you’re somewhere close. I guess the clue is in the name of this one, but the arts and craft feel is what stands the game out from its contemporaries and gives it such a charming aesthetic. The sound design is equally delightful, with Yoshi’s nostalgic sounds delivered in great abundance.

Yoshi handles really well too, moving around flawlessly and also giving you the option to aim his weaponised eggs not only ahead and behind you, but also into the background and foreground of the layered stages. A delightful little touch. Yoshi’s never handled better than this, and it sure is a delight to play – making the game’s total lack of any sort of challenge feel all the more prevalent.

Yoshi’s Crafted World is a delightfully simple and easy game to play, which sometimes is just what the doctor ordered. This one doesn’t require mental power or quick reflexes, hell, you could probably 100% it in your sleep. But it’s a charming and nostalgic escape into a colourful and charming land – which sounds pretty good right about now. 

Sam Love

Yoshi's Crafted World at CeX

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