Laid-back Mario sidekick steps into spotlight in 'Yoshi's Crafted World' - InfoNews

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Laid-back Mario sidekick steps into spotlight in 'Yoshi's Crafted World'

A scene from "Yoshi's Crafted World" for the Nintendo Switch is shown in this undated handout photo. When video game superstar Mario ventures across hostile worlds to rescue royalty and defeat menacing monsters, he can usually rely on his dependable sidekick Yoshi. The friendly dinosaur with the cast-iron stomach often ferries Mario around dangerous landscapes and stomps enemies, always with a smile on his face. But Yoshi is also a star in his own right, with several successful solo adventures that let his personality shine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Nintendo of America
March 28, 2019 - 10:52 AM

TORONTO - When video game superstar Mario ventures across hostile worlds to rescue royalty and defeat menacing monsters, he can usually rely on his dependable sidekick Yoshi.

The friendly dinosaur with the cast-iron stomach often ferries Mario around dangerous landscapes and stomps enemies, always with a smile on his face. But Yoshi is also a star in his own right, with several successful solo adventures that let his personality shine.

The latest is "Yoshi's Crafted World," out this week for the Nintendo Switch gaming system. Like the core Mario titles, the Yoshi games share well-designed levels and lots of collectibles to uncover — but their tone and aesthetic are far more laid-back and endearing.

"Our aim was to create a warm, crafted world that players would enjoy poking around in and exploring at their own pace," game producer Takashi Tezuka said through a translator in a recent interview with The Canadian Press.

"The Yoshi series of games is different from the Mario series in that I want players to play and explore without feeling rushed, and without a time limit... The courses have been designed to reward exploration by finding items, and players are free to do this at whatever pace suits them best."

"Yoshi's Crafted World" ups the charm with environments made out of arts and crafts paraphernalia: construction paper, cardboard and plastic straws.

The loose and low-stakes narrative involves Yoshi trying to find a series of gems scattered throughout the world before his adversaries Baby Bowser and Kamek get to them. But any sense of urgency is almost non-existent.

Upbeat music and absence of a time limit are two ways Nintendo and game developer Good-Feel distinguish Yoshi's adventures from the Mario series. At one point Yoshi idly hums the game's theme song while waiting for a bus, an adorable sequence unlikely to show up in a more hectic title.

The arts-and-crafts aesthetic of "Yoshi's Crafted World" is a trademark of sorts for Good-Feel, which previously developed "Kirby's Epic Yarn" and "Yoshi's Wooly World."

"Our main aim is always to offer new experiences to the user," the company's managing director Etsunobu Ebisu said through a translator.

"We have designed (our games) with the intent of the visuals and gameplay working to improve each other."

"Yoshi's Crafted World" sprawls over several sub-areas, each with its own look. That presented the development team with the challenge of diversifying the environments while staying true to the game's overall presentation.

"The first course, 'Rail-Yard Run,' was kind of designed as a guide for all the courses, and I think it's one of the strongest examples of the crafted feel we were going for," said Tezuka, who helped create Yoshi's debut in the 1990 release "Super Mario World."

"Courses use different kinds of materials for crafts that match their world's theme. For example, in 'Acorn Forest,' branches, acorns and pine cones are used, in 'Dino Desert' sand is used, in 'Pastel Pathway' yarn and felt are used and they each give a different aesthetic to the courses."

After completing a level, a player can run it again from the flip perspective, going from finish to start instead of the other way around. In the alternative approach, Yoshi is tasked with helping track down his friend Poochy's wandering pups.

While these extra stages are optional, they offer a glimpse into the developers' process for constructing the game's world.

Ebisu said the original intent was for the level flipping mechanic to be used in multiplayer, with each player attacking the course from a different spot. This was scrapped to ensure that all levels would be playable by a single player.

"We implemented a new game where the player finds Poochy Pups on the flip side, so the player could replay the course in a different way, which would add to the fun," Ebisu said.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2019
The Canadian Press

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