Back in 1998, when Nintendo released Yoshi’s Story on the Nintendo 64, it was met with mixed feelings. Many simply thought it was just too darn easy and many thought that the real challenge was instead in the high scores and collectibles. But, everyone shared one thought- it was so damn cute.
Fast forward to 2019, and we now have a solid series of joy-filled platformers, all oozing in, well, cuteness and, quite frankly, in this day and age, it’s just so refreshingly wonderful to smile constantly whilst playing a video game.
Good-Feel are once again at the helm of this game, and have really proved they know what they’re doing. Despite people’s moans that the game only outputs at 720p whilst docked, reaching an even lower resolution handheld, but honestly, ignore those moans, They’re not necessary; as the game just oozes, erm, cuteness. OK, I think I’ve got the message across. Let’s continue…
When the game starts we’re shown a super-happy bunch of Yoshi dancing around their Sundream Stone, all happy; and cute. But then, as always, Bowser Jr and Kamek show up and cause chaos by stealing the stone. But instead, after a bit of a struggle, the gems within the stone are scattered across the land, leaving the stone useless and so begins the adventure, to reclaim the gems and restore the Sundream Stone to its original cute glory, before Kamek and Bowser Jr get their paws on them first.
As with all Yoshi games, the player is challenged to not only reach the end of each level, but to collect anything and everything. This time, as well as the standard flowers, red coins and life hearts, Yoshi is also challenged to find and collect various items ranging from cows, birds and fish. This leads me on to a fun new mechanic. It’s simple, but adds a great extra level of search and challenge per level. As with all Yoshi games, eggs are produced by eating enemies or collecting eggs from blocks and flowers etc. But this time, Yoshi can also aim into the distance; either the foreground or background. If Yoshi aims an egg at an acceptable target, it is highlighted yellow- signalling that something will be triggered if it is hit. This can be bonus coins, a flower or even the possibility of opening up new areas to explore. All good fun and really pushes the exploratory element.
Each level is presented beautifully by a craft-inspired world map that Yoshi navigates in six sections, each containing one of the six Sundream Stone gems, each with their own boss to battle at the end. Additionally, Yoshi also can visit gumboil machines per area, allowing the purchase of fun cardboard-made costumes that can be worn for extra protection. Each gumball machine sells ten different costumes for you to collect, really pushing the desperation to collect as many coins as possible. Amiibo can also be used to help speed up unlocking costumes and find the ultra rare ones. Also, in each area, Yoshi meets a strange, erm, cute(?) thing which offers extra flowers in rerun for completing certain challenges in levels such as knocking out 5 cows in the background or smashing 6 wingless birds hiding out and about- some of these proved quite the challenge for me, resulting in eggs being hurled at nearly everything in the hope I’d find one hiding behind things!
Linking to the background and foreground exploration, Yoshi is also able to take multiple paths through levels allowing the player to move into the foreground or background, creating new paths to collectibles and areas to search. Let’s be honest, there isn’t much new gameplay we haven’t seen before here with Yoshi’s Crafted World, but the way the game is put together, just simply oozes…(sorry) cuteness. To add further challenge, once Yoshi completes a level, you’re then able to replay the level in search of Poochy Pups. This is a nice addition, and allows you to see each level from a different perspective, which for me, really made me appreciate the artistic style the game is demonstrating. Cute.
One element I’ve particularly enjoyed playing with my 6 year old son is the 2 player mode. In this mode, as well as being able to run, jump and collect everything through each level, you’re also able to interact in a couple of neat ways. One is being able to eat the other Yoshi, carry him or her around, and then hurl at multiple targets, and the other is being able to literally ride the other Yoshi on the saddle. Simple. But fun. My son had great fun working out that an easier way to reach a high up area was to gobble me up, run, jump, flutter and then spit me across the sky. Hilarious. Apparently.
After the final boss, extra challenges are unlocked, all allowing you to work towards a higher flower count- because flowers really do make anyone and everyone smile. Oh, and speaking of smiling, the music will make your cheeks ache. It is so cute. Yoshi games’ music have always had a certain magical innocence about them, and this does not disappoint. The music has been perfectly crafted for each level and helps create the cute experience.
This is a fantastic Yoshi game. New to the series? You’ll be sucked into its charm instantly and will quite possibly start looking back at prior entries. Already a Yoshi veteran? Then this is more of the same; gorgeous presentation, simple but fun gameplay and incredible music. Yes, this isn’t offering anything particularly new or ground-breaking, but goodness me, it’s just pure cuteness; and for me, that is always appreciated in our zombie infested, football mad and battle royale obsessed year of 2019.
REVIEW CODE: A FREE Nintendo Switch code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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