It’s officially January, so it’s that time of the year when Nintendo Direct rumors hit pitch fever amongst the online community. Predictions and optimistic hope clash with tempered expectations and cynicism in forums and discussion threads as everyone waits for the inevitable January showcase from the Big N. But instead of a Direct, Nintendo left confused fans with a series of out-of-nowhere announcements that may very well have been in place of a Direct…or making space for bigger news.
After the first surprise reveal of a Dragon’s Dogma port for the Nintendo Switch, the company followed up with a story trailer and a release date for its first major title of the new year, Yoshi’s Crafted World. Revealed during E3 2017, the brand-new Yoshi game harkens back to the unique art style of its predecessor, Yoshi’s Woolly World. Much like the Kirby franchise, Nintendo has been using the titular dinosaur mascot as a way to experiment with more unorthodox aesthetic styles and gameplay mechanics.
Crafted World immerses the colorful, vibrant setting of Yoshi’s world in 3D “craft” textures, as if the yarn-based Yoshis are living in paper dioramas. The straightforward story tells of a Sunstone Gem worshipped by the native Yoshi inhabitants, and Bowser Jr.’s attempts at taking it by force, resulting in its fragmentation. In terms of a Nintendo platformer, the story is pretty on par for the course, though the company has always placed more importance on gameplay in the first place. Though the side-scrolling platformer operates on a 2.5D plane, the unique aspect of its core mechanic centers around a “flippable” camera that allows for multiple views of the same stage.
The game was originally slated for a 2018 release date, but was subsequently moved to Spring 2019 during Nintendo’s E3 2018 presentation. 2019 is shaping up to be the Nintendo Switch’s biggest year since its launch, and Nintendo is looking to start it off strong, albeit in a more charming way.
Yoshi’s Crafted World unfolds March 29, 2019.