Parents need to know that “Yoshi’s Crafted World” is a run and jump adventure for the Nintendo Switch with an arts and crafts theme and a cartoonish smiling dinosaur serving as hero. Players work through dozens of short levels attempting to find lost gems to restore an artifact that can make people happy by realizing their dreams. Yoshi runs up against standard-issue Nintendo bad guys — including shy guys, koopa troopas, and Baby Bowser — along the way. He can jump on and flatten these enemies or suck them up with his long tongue and then pop them out as eggs. A multiplayer mode allows a pair of players to control individual Yoshis and cooperate as they work through the game together. It’s designed to be accessible for younger players, with straightforward objectives and puzzles, plus an easy difficulty setting that should let even inexperienced kids play through the campaign without too much trouble or confusion.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
“Yoshi’s Crafted World” begins with traditional Nintendo villains Kamek and Baby Bowser arriving on Yoshi’s island to steal a stone that brings happiness and wish fulfillment to the island’s inhabitants. A small scuffle ensues, and then the stone’s gems break free and are scattered around the island, forcing one of the Yoshis (players get to choose which one they want to be) to head off and try to find the gems before the baddies get to them. Yoshi explores the island — which has been designed to look like a crafting project come to life, complete with cardboard houses, paper plate fish, and cut-out clouds dangling from strings. He does some simple fighting with familiar enemies that involves either jumping on them to flatten them or licking them up with his tongue before popping them out as eggs. He also spends a lot of time collecting stuff, including coins and flowers, and uses his abilities to explore the world. That includes ground-pounding pipes to reveal secret passages, floating in the air to reach higher platforms, and throwing eggs at highlighted objects to knock them down to see what they might reveal.
IS IT ANY GOOD
It doesn’t break through any genre boundaries or wow with new ideas, but this is a thoroughly enjoyable, highly accessible, and absolutely beautiful side-scrolling adventure. “Yoshi’s Crafted World” screams Nintendo quality with its detailed world design, which creates the impression that you’re playing with someone’s toy box full of hand-crafted creations. It’s also easy without being boring. Fighting enemies and avoiding traps is at times almost laughably easy — which is great for keeping younger players from growing frustrated — but combat and skilled traversal aren’t the focus. It’s more about exploring the world at your own pace and trying to find every little hidden collectible, which ought to appeal to game lovers of any age. Older kids might find the formula growing a little old before they reach the end, but being able to play cooperatively adds another dimension that can make this game a blast. “Yoshi’s Crafted World” is simply a lushly detailed, smartly designed, and superbly executed run and jump adventure for players of all ages.
RATING AND CONTENT
Recommended for ages 8 and older
Quality: 5 out of 5
Positive message: 3 out of 5
Positive role models: 2 out of 5
Ease of play: 4 out of 5
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Violence and scariness: 1 out of 5
Language: 0 out of 5
Consumerism: 1 out of 5
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Nintendo of America
Release date: March 29, 2019
ESRB rating: E for mild cartoon violence