At the risk of sounding like a bent-backed prospector who helped dig the first gold mines, I've played a lot of games. More than I can possibly count. In turn, my eyes have absorbed decades worth of video game graphics, from sprites to polygons to life-accurate renders. Good thing human optics don't have an absorption limit, or I'd be walking around with Atari 2600 sprites dribbling out of my eyes. You'd know I'm coming by the sound of children screaming in terror.
In other words, I've seen a whole mess of graphics in my time, but I can still safely say I've never seen a game with graphics like Yoshi's Crafted World for the Switch. It's not quite enough to describe the game's visuals as "nice" or "pretty," though they are (so fuzzy and shiny). I think "clever" is a good word to use. The levels in Yoshi's Crafted World are the products of unbounded imagination. They honestly feel like Nintendo let some kids loose in a room filled with paint, milk cartons, pop cans, and paper plates—and then helped said kids put everything together in a way that makes sense, since children are unrestrained madmen.
If you're the type of person who loves walking through a craft store while dreaming of all the cool stuff you can make out of the cloth, paper, trinkets, and doo-dads that line the shelves (even if you lack the artistic ability to make more than a mess), the visual creativity on display in Yoshi's Crafted World will enthrall you. Not only did Nintendo dream up crafted parallels for innumerable objects, but Yoshi also treks across thematically-diverse worlds including a desert filled with paper mache dinosaur skeletons, a train yard stocked with pop can steam engines, a shogun castle filled with tricky cardboard doors, and a jungle populated by corrugated fiberboard rhinos armed with tinfoil horns. There's always something that makes you laugh, or smile, or just belt out "Hah! Look at that!" to whomever will listen to you. Kirby's Epic Yarn and Yoshi's Wooly World offer a degree of the same kind of wonder, but it's pretty much non-stop in Yoshi's Crafted World.
Ah, but we live in a cruel world, which means even the most wondrous of sights carry at least one flaw that makes us pause and swear. I haven't finished Yoshi's Crafted World, but I still run into instances where I find myself stymied by its milk carton dreamworld. Many of its levels are 2.5D, meaning you can wander between the foreground and background (if you ever played Bug! For the ill-fated Sega Saturn, you'll get the gist). A yellow-ribbon path keeps you on-track, but it' still occasionally difficult to understand where you need to go, or what you need to do. It can get particularly frustrating in levels based around exploration and switch puzzles versus heavy-duty platforming; one potentially valuable tip I have for you is to remember Yoshi can throw eggs in almost every direction. Sometimes the answer to your problem is literally right in front of you, but it passes you by because you forget to think fourth-dimensionally.
Thankfully, it's not as if I find myself stuck on every second level. Just often enough for me to sigh "Aw, again?" when it happens. It's frustrating, yeah. Sometimes I even start to feel a bit mad. But then Yoshi picks up and throws a magnet adorned with a koala face onto a stack of tin cans painted to look like eucalyptus trees, and my irritation dissolves like an origami bird left in the rain. Well played, Nintendo.
Kat will be happy to know she was on the money last month when she referred to Yoshi's Crafted World as one of Nintendo's "reliable bench warmers" for 2019 along with Kirby's Extra Epic Yarn on the 3DS. That's not supposed to suggest Yoshi's Crafted World is an also-ran that's worth overlooking. It just means it's good, charming fun that's perfect for the somewhat sparse March release schedule (to say nothing of the grey, turbulent weather that accompanies the time period). If the bright, imaginative visuals in Yoshi's Crafted World don't lift your spirits as you play, I'll eat my glittery felt hat.
Yoshi's Crafted World comes to the Switch on March 29. Stay tuned for our full review.