The first boss you encounter in Yoshi’s Crafted World is the Tin-Can Condor, a large bird-like creature made from fringed paper and, yes, an actual tin can. Looking more like a child’s art class project than a menacing monster, the threat’s inspired design is par for the course in the little green dino’s latest action-platforming adventure.
As the title suggests, nearly everything within the game’s whimsical world is handcrafted from everyday items and objects. Cardboard, construction paper, egg cartons, plastic bottles, disposable cups, bendy straws, and just about anything else you might find lining the bottom of a recycle bin serve as the materials that make up one the most colorful, creative lands this side of Mario’s Mushroom Kingdom.
While every detailed area – from haunted houses and ninja hideouts to lava levels and undersea stages – is beautifully brought to life by this eye-popping artistic approach, they serve as much more than pretty backdrops. The world is very interactive, so these prop-filled environments, as well as enemies, obstacles, and Yoshi’s own skills adopt this same DIY style in endlessly inventive ways.
You’ll find yourself controlling a race car crafted from an empty water bottle, piloting a plane made from a paper towel tube, and navigating a train constructed of cardboard boxes. Enemy attacks can include colored pencils dropping from the sky like missiles, while clever puzzle sections will see you maneuvering metal cans with magnets. You can even control a massive, mech-like Yoshi, made from cardboard, tape, string, and soda caps. Literally tearing through the paper-craft world as this Godzilla-sized take on the prehistoric protagonist is a highlight.
These moments barely scratch the surface of the game’s creative side, however, as nearly every stage introduces new enemies, fresh gameplay mechanics, or some surprising twist that leverages this arts-and-crafts approach. Players can also unlock costumes – purchased with collected coins – that add to Yoshi’s defenses. Whether clad in a tiny coffee creamer container or donning a protective juice box, Yoshi becomes more powerful – and adorable – when wearing these makeshift suits of armor.
Fans of Nintendo’s previous platforming games are no strangers to charming worlds, colorful characters, smart level design, and inspired gameplay mechanics, but they might be surprised just how high Yoshi’s Crafted World raises the bar. And by “bar,” we mean a straw propped across a couple of popsicle sticks.
Yoshi’s Crafted World is now available at Redbox for $3/night or $7/ three night.