| Danielle Eaton
You don’t have to love games and play them often to know characters from Nintendo’s Mario franchise. Over the years there have been dozens of spin-off games: Mario Kart, Mario Party, Super Mario Odyssey, Luigi’s Mansion and more.
While the Mario Brothers, Mario and Luigi, are by far the most famous characters featured in the franchise, another notable character with their own spin-off games is Yoshi. The dinosaur or lizard-like character was first introduced to the Super Mario Brother series in the game Super Mario World, which hit shelves in 1990. Despite resembling a lizard or prehistoric creature, Yoshi is known for being cute. He jumps, flutters, yells excitedly and even lays eggs.
Yoshi’s Crafted World was released for the Nintendo Switch console in March of 2019. Playing as Yoshi, you work your way through 39 levels to collect gems from across the game world. The gems were released into the world when the villains of the game, Kamek and Baby Bowser, tried to steal them. Throughout the game, you interact with the pair at the end of each level in what’s known as the boss battle. Despite having some “mild cartoon violence” the game has a rating of E, meaning it’s appropriate for all ages.
While the concept of working across a variety of levels in pursuit of an item and battling bosses is not a new concept, something unique about this game is the way in which it’s designed. Nintendo is no stranger to making beautifully animated games with incredible graphics, and Yoshi’s Crafted World is no exception. The most unique feature about the design of the game, though, is the player’s ability to interact with the design in multiple dimensions.
Players navigate the levels, which are designed to look as though they have a cardboard-esque appearance, and work through the levels on a 2.5-dimensional view and also a third dimension. So while the game mirrors the flat, 2-D design of the original Super Mario game, it also allows players to break free of the linear model and explore areas of the game that might be unaccessible otherwise. For example: you can go into various parts of a house instead of just passing through on the path that has been designated. Another way players can interact with varying planes of the game is to launch the eggs Yoshi lays, at various items in both the background and foreground of the game.
Another fun part of the game is the two-player mode. In the multiplayer mode, both players playing as Yoshi- just in different colors, work their way across the levels by teaming up. While the majority of game-play aspects are the same in both multiplayer and single-player mode, one fun and useful feature of multiplayer is the ability to hop on your partner’s back.
Being able to jump on your partner’s back allows one player to navigate while the other serves as a lookout for coins, obstacles, items/characters that could cause you to lose health and items you may need to collect. Additionally, it gives the player an unlimited amount of eggs to shoot when they typically are only allowed to carry so many eggs at a time. When my husband and I played this game together, one of us would navigate the map, jumping and running, while the other would shoot eggs at dangerous items and look for items of value. It helped us work together while using our individual video game playing strengths (I’m not good at aiming).
Ultimately, we had a lot of fun playing the game. It held our attention and allowed us to explore the world in a new, unique way not offered by many other games, all while keeping the familiarity of Nintendo games that people have grown to know and love. I also really enjoyed the way in which the game allowed you to interact with and play with other people.
The only downside I found was the limited player capacity. Only two people can play at once, and while it’s a lot of fun, this may be an issue for large families with children. However, for families with children of varying ages, this game would be perfect as it is a fun way to keep younger children captivated, but also engage problem solving ability.