Egg in your face.
When I was a kid, I really fell in love with Yoshi’s Island. Truth be told, it was the disgusting TV commercial that actually got me wanting the game. You know, the one with the guy eating way too much at a diner and then having his stomach explode? Yeah, well that really had nothing to do with the game, but I was always glad that I did pick it up. It had a much different feel to it than a standard Mario game, and the art style was very refreshing. Almost 20 years after its original debut, we get a new Yoshi’s Island on the 3DS, and for the most part, keeps the same feel of the original.
Baby Mario and Baby Luigi are delivered to the wrong home by a stork. The stork, in such a panic, tries to figure out where they are supposed to be delivered and is attacked by the evil wizard Kamek. Kamek captures Baby Luigi while Baby Mario falls to the island down below. There, Baby Mario is taken in by a group of Yoshi dinosaurs who promise to protect Baby Mario, save Baby Luigi and defeat the evil Bowser.
Yoshi’s New Island is a 2D platformer in the same vein as any other Mario title from the NES and SNES. Players control Yoshi as they carry Baby Mario on their backs. Yoshi can use its tongue to grab enemies and swallow them to create eggs. Then, Yoshi can throw said eggs at enemies and other things in the environment using a cursor that strafes up and down allowing the player to aim their shots. As those who have played a Yoshi-controlled game before will know, the jumping is very unique. Yoshi can jump, but while holding down the jump button, can flutter its legs to push itself up a bit more and float in the air for a short period of time. There is also a ground pound that can be used while jumping over enemies.
Adventures in babysitting.
If Yoshi gets hit, Baby Mario will fly off and float around in a bubble while a timer counts down. Players must either run into the bubble or hit it with Yoshi’s tongue before the timer runs out or they will lose a life and have to start from the last checkpoint.
The game is broken down into worlds and levels with a boss fight with Kamek in the middle and a big boss fight at the end of each world. Players can collect three different items in each and there is always a set amount for each level: 5 flowers, 20 red coins, and 30 stars. Collecting all five flowers will give Yoshi the opportunity to get badges at the end of the level. These badges go towards a full total for each world and at certain intervals, will give the player extra lives.
Each level has secret areas and item clouds (much like the question mark boxes in Mario) that are not always apparent. These lead to more coins and level collectables. So for the completionists, going back and trying to get everything will take some exploration.
It’s morphin’ time.
In a few of the levels, Yoshi will have to travel through a transformation door where it turns into a machine or vehicle and the player must navigate Yoshi through the room by tilting the 3DS. Yoshi may turn into a jack hammer and players must aim the direction Yoshi drills, or Yoshi morphs into a helicopter and tilting the 3DS will move Yoshi forward or back. These sections are a nice change of pace even if they only last for a few minutes at most.
There are a few issues I had with Yoshi’s New Island – first, the checkpoint system is a little off. The game is not difficult by any means; I finished it with 80 lives in my counter, but each level has a single checkpoint in it. When trying to get the collectables in each level, dying (usually from me being careless) and having to start collecting them all over again was a sting that irked me the wrong way on multiple occasions. The times I did lose a life was usually due to the jumping and running associated with controlling Yoshi. Yoshi begins running rather fast after about two seconds of holding a direction, and it’s difficult to compensate for that when wanting to jump. I would end up missing a jump because the momentum was too great. But when walking, Yoshi is rather slow and I will miss the same jump but because I didn’t have enough speed to cover it. I had a difficult time finding a happy medium.
Sounds like the trumpet player got drunk.
While the art style is charming with the hand-drawn feel and look of it all, much like the original game I found the music to be one of the more annoying things I have heard in a while. It gets repetitive fast and I slowly began playing the game with the volume down.
There is also a multiplayer mode filled with numerous mini-games that are unlocked after completing each world in the story mode. This mode can be played with either someone who has the game or via game share. The small mini-games are short distractions that lasted my friend and I about 20 minutes and that was about it, but it is there for those wanting to play it, and having game share is always a plus.
Yoshi’s New Island is a decent little package. The jumping can be a bit of a challenge to master, but the rest of the game is a breeze. Even with the difficulty not being very challenging, the number of worlds and levels can last most players a good eight hours or more depending on how much they want to collect in each level. It may not have the feel of a flagship title like Mario, but Yoshi still knows how to have some fun – just make sure to go into it knowing it’s not going to be a very difficult ride.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.