Published on April 7th, 2014 | by admin
Yoshi’s New Island Review
Summary: Yoshi’s New Island while harkening back to the previous titles does not bring much new to the series though it’s an excellent start for someone new to the series.
Yoshi’s Island is a somewhat staple in the Nintendo library however rather than being churned out each year it has been kept preserved via Nintendo’s Virtual Console where it keeps and maintains a library of its older games. The first being released in 1995 on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) and the Gameboy Advance in 2002, Yoshi’s Island DS in 2006 for the Nintendo DS and now with the most recent instalment Yoshi’s New Island.
Is this game a shining example of how nostalgia games should be done or is this just another game that has failed to age and should have just stayed in the past.
For those who this is their first romp in a Yoshi’s Island game the series can be considered to be a prequel to the whole Mario Brothers series. The story opens up with a stork carrying a familiar pair of brothers to their parents somewhere in the Mushroom Kingdom however the stork has made a mistake and have delivered the boys to the wrong couple so on a quest to fix his mistake he is attacked by Kamek a Magikoopa and captures Baby Luigi and the stork who are held captured by Baby Bowser. Mario falls from the claws of the stalk onto Egg Island where a clan of Yoshi live. Because of Mario’s telepathic sense of Luigi’s location the Yoshis agree to escort Baby Mario though Egg Island in an attempt to get his brother back.
The hand drawn art and graphics which are provided by artist Masamichi Harada are adorable, sporting a look that resembled a watercolour painting or chalk drawings that belong in a child’s book which nicely jells with the general feel of the game which is the need to protect Baby Mario. In some stages background pieces such as volcanos have animations that actually have an impact on game play such as spewing out flaming rocks that can end your game in a single shot. While personally I did not turn on the 3DS’s 3D capability on all the time the game does benefit the game make these effects pop a lot more and also allows weather effects such as snow to really pop and therefore makes the game look more like a diorama that really makes the graphics shine.
Nintendo being a company who have had a long history of producing and creating platformers the finesse in the controls is very evident with a multitude of control options to fit different styles of play, in particular are the ways that the egg throwing mechanics work. There is the patient style which does not allow a throw until you press the right shoulder button a second time, and then there is the hasty style which is in essence the opposite of the patient style by throwing the egg the instant that the right shoulder button is released and finally the gyro style that while it is similar to the patient style it relies on the internal gyroscope to aim which to me felt very imprecise as it causes you to tilt the handheld to aim.
For those who are new to the series you play as a group of Yoshi who ferry Baby Mario through six worlds each containing eight levels for a total of forty-eight individual levels using Yoshi’s ability to eat enemies and turn them into eggs which can be used to collect coins, defeat enemies and bosses and generally progress through the levels. For those who are familiar to the Yoshi’s Island the mechanics and gameplay it is a nice throwback to older games with the newer mechanics of the Egg-Dozers which are large eggs that are created by eating larger enemies these large eggs can be used to clear a path or to collect items that are beyond normal reach.
Another addition is vehicle mini games and levels which are either inserted both within the main levels and at the end of each world. I was not a huge fan of these as they used the gyroscope controls which as I mentioned I was not a fan of but as a part of gameplay felt very imprecise and just became frustrating.
As someone who has played some of the older games the addition of these Egg-Dozers seem very tacked on not really adding anything new and the game as a whole relies on nostalgia a lot, while not necessarily a bad thing it doesn’t encourage old hands to pick up the game for anything other than the nostalgia which is not always enough to carry a game. The vehicular levels, while nothing necessarily new to the franchise the gyroscopic controls make it hard to bear and there are no options to change this.
The music was very hit and miss for me personally having a high feature of kazoo music make it very hard to listen to in particular the end of level music and the opening title simply made me turn off the sound however the Overworld music redeemed it for me as when you start in the first world and progress though the overworld music builds adding new elements that make it more intresting and by the time you reach the final world it creates a really beautiful and detailed piece of music which makes it the standout track for this game.
While you can simply play through all forty-eight levels and finish the game there is a lot that you can do to extend the life of the game. In each level there are three different types of collectables in the game: Flowers, Red Coins and Stars. Collecting all the flowers in a level and making it through to the end of the level has the possibility of gaining you medals which can give you up to four extra lives per world then once you have collected thirty of these medals a vehicle level is unlocked. In addition to this if you collect all Flowers, Red Coins and Stars in each level it unlocks a secret level that is notably more difficult than previous levels and the difficulty does scale from world to world as you become more proficient at the game.
Yoshi’s New Island while harkening back to the previous titles does not bring much new to the series though it’s an excellent start for someone new to the series. This is not to say however that the game is bad, it is still a solid platformer and that might just be enough for the old hands of the series to pick it up. I definitely recommend it!
If you enjoyed Yoshi’s New Island you may like:
- New Super Mario Bros. 2
- Super Mario 3D Land