The story begins with the innocent little Yoshis minding their own business on delightful Yoshi Island, where everyone dances around smiling. Of course, a Utopian paradise where everyone is content doesn’t usually make for an interesting premise for a game, so enter stage left two malcontents - Baby Bowser and Flying Wizard Dick - who decide they are going to liberate the dream gems that power the whole of Yoshi society. Fortunately, they are incredibly disorganized and manage to lose the gems immediately, so it falls to one (or two) of the Yoshiest Yoshis to venture out into the world and recover the gems before the bad guys find them.
As in every other Nintendo game where we’ve been lucky enough to encounter Yoshi, his standard moves are a gentle jog and a powerful jump that turns into flying. He can’t hit anyone (his inherent cheerfulness clearly forbids it), but he does have the ability to suck up enemies and turn them into egg-shaped missiles that you can then fire at other enemies or use to set off the cloud shaped triggers. He also makes a series of cute little grunting noises as he launches himself and earnestly flaps around, as well as a gulping sound when he sucks up his new ammo.
Unsurprisingly, it’s adorable to look at. Yoshi’s body is fuzzy looking felt (you can select from a range of colours), and the scenery looks like it was whipped together on a rainy crafternoon during the school holidays - roughly cut corrugated cardboard taped into the shape of a building with recycled milk cartons, coffee pods and crayon-drawn flora and fauna. The background is delightfully layered, with the furthest reaches just out of focus, giving the whole thing an even dreamier look.
Playability is nicely adaptable, with Mellow and Classic modes, depending on the level of difficulty you feel like tackling at any point - you can even change this mid-level if things are getting too tough. Mellow makes flying much easier to manage, and you can float seemingly endlessly in this mode, whereas Classic is a bit more of a challenge. You also get a few more hints as to the location of collectibles in Mellow mode, but the difficulty level still ramps up as you go through the game.
You can also tag a Player 2 in or out mid-level, which can help with defeating enemies, or figuring out puzzles.
In terms of bang for your buck, there is a lot to do in this game if you want to be an OCD completionist, and snuffle out all of the things on Yoshi’s list. You can also blast through at speed and get the minimum number of trophies needed to progress through to the next level.
To collect - there are red and gold coins (Mama Mia!), smile flowers, and ten crafted outfits per area, which vary depending on rarity, collect all the things, including taking the optional flip side for certain collectibles. (The flip side is literally the back of the scenery main path, and you work your way backwards from finish to start. It’s a neat way of doubling up the range of levels available.)
It’s charming, cute and with the two modes can suit adults or older kids looking for a challenge, as well as a ‘not as hard’ option for youngsters, if you kick it down to Mellow mode. The range of environments and gameplay options provide plenty of variety and prevent it from getting stale, as well as the buzz of getting every flower coin and souvenir on each of the levels.
Yoshi's Crafted World is good fun for the family and fans of Nintendo’s characteristically polished back catalogue.