A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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 follows a fairly linear left-to-right road, sometimes with the option of taking a path that leads him further into the background, or closer to the camera, or cleverly makes him reverse his course. 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. A multiplayer mode allows a second player to take control of another Yoshi and help out.
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. And it's not just for show, since you can do fun things with these crafts, such as spinning lightweight rooms around to face a different direction, changing perspective to tackle a course backwards, and knocking down objects made of materials no stronger than cardboard or paper. These actions help foster a sense of depth not normally felt in games with side-scrolling movement, and they force players to think about how to deal with obstacles in fun new ways, such as throwing eggs at suspicious looking things in the foreground or background to see what might happen.
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. In fact, co-op play makes this game not just for friends and peers, but also brothers and sisters with age gaps, as well as kids and their parents. Yoshi's Crafted World isn't as innovative or challenging as Nintendo's very best side-scrolling adventures, but it's not meant to be. It's simply a lushly detailed, smartly designed, and superbly executed run and jump adventure for players of all ages.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about being responsible with technology. Time can fly while playing Yoshi's Crafted World, so how can you tell if you're spending too much time playing and ignoring other important parts of your life?
If you played Yoshi's Crafted World with a partner, did you notice if anything became easier? Did some things become harder? Is there a competitive element to playing cooperatively in games?
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