In a surprise announcement during Wednesday’s Nintendo Direct, the games maker revealed that Switch owners could access a new demo for Yoshi’s Crafted World. It’s little more than the game’s first level and doesn’t really show whether or not the game is the major leap forward from Yoshi’s Woolly World that many fans were hoping for. Fans can still learn a thing or two about the upcoming game by playing it, however, and there’s at least one entertaining innovation present even in this small slice from the opening levels. It’s nothing overly dramatic, but it makes more of a difference than one would think.
Past Yoshi games all revolved around collecting items and overcoming platforming challenges, and this seems to hold true for Yoshi’s Crafted World too. Players can certainly just run to the end of the level, but getting full completion means scouring it for everything of value, which means grabbing every flower, red coin and health point possible. In previous Yoshi games, finding these was simply a matter of uncovering every hidden area along a level’s 2D path; this isn’t quite the case in Yoshi’s Crafted World. It doesn’t touch on everything fans want to know about the game, but this demo makes one thing certain: the background isn’t just a background.
One of the first things those who play the demo learn is that Yoshi can now throw his eggs in all directions. Aiming is still effectively done in two dimensions, but anything can be targeted; it doesn’t matter if it’s right in front of Yoshi or way in the background. As long as it’s an interactive object, it can be affected by Yoshi’s eggs. The level featured in the demo doesn’t take this too far; everything is easily found if one takes a moment to look around. That said, though, it feels like there’s potential for it to be used in more creative and confounding ways. It would be odd for so much emphasis to be placed on it otherwise.
Beyond this, it appears that most levels will have a flip-side to it with an additional challenge to complete. These show the stage from the opposite perspective, revealing new objects and or items that weren’t visible initially. In neither of this nor in the normal version of the level was Yoshi able to flip the camera perspective at will (something he could do in the game’s first trailer), but it may be that this is just an ability that isn’t acquired until later in the game. It looks like there’s still plenty to find without it, though.
Unfortunately, Fans of older Yoshi games like Yoshi’s Island might find themselves a tad disappointed upon playing this demo. As enjoyable as it is to explore and play around in the handicraft aesthetic, it’s still hard to ignore how easy the game feels. This is only the first level of course, but there wasn’t even a hint of challenge to be found. The presence of “Mellow Mode” and clips from later levels are evidence that this isn’t the case throughout Yoshi’s Crafted World, but it’s still a concern nonetheless.
Based on what’s available to play in the demo, Yoshi’s Crafted World will be a very well-made Yoshi game. It doesn’t appear to be making any drastic alterations to the series’ formula, but its full incorporation of the foreground and background might be enough to shake things up in an interesting way. The difficulty doesn’t appear to be there in the beginning, but this and the crafted aesthetic are enough to make it worth playing. At the very least, Yoshi fans should give it a try for themselves before taking the plunge on the full game.
Yoshi’s Crafted World launches for the Nintendo Switch on March 29. Check out our review of Yoshi’s Woolly World for an idea of how the two compare.