Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island was released in 1995 and was very well received. This game had very tight controls and a unique and adorable visual style that was both fun and calming. Nintendo then finished and released in 1998, the original game they had been working on, Yoshi’s Story, for the Nintendo 64. In 2006, Artoon worked on the Nintendo DS title Yoshi’s Island DS and this felt like a true sequel. Unlike the other sequel, you had new elements to get through levels. The other baby characters, besides Mario, had unique abilities that were not only fun to use but kept me guessing on how I was going to need to use them. It was something that kept me wanting another sequel, then Yoshi’s New Island was announced.
I have quite a few gripes with this game, so I will start with the positive things. The controls are as tight as you’d imagine and I would have been surprised if they weren’t. Yoshi does exactly what you direct him to do. The flutter kick and egg toss are back work great. The level design is very well done, it does a wonderful job of being challenging but fair. The boss fights are very similar to the original, find the weakness, hit them 3 times, boss fight is over. Some sections of the game don't seem well thought out like the castles leading to boss fights and a lot of levels had great ideas for puzzles using the environment but never stay long enough to appreciate them.
The visual style is every similar to the original games and looks great for the most part. The crayon and pastel colors are vivid and sometimes I caught myself stopping to look around. This does become a problem at times because there are hazards that mesh too well to the surrounding environment. I died a number of times because I didn’t see a spike against a background of the same color. This happened with a couple enemies as well and i'm pretty sure they weren’t supposed to be hidden unlike the thief enemy.
In the original game, The music was composed to sound like a childs nursery, unfortunately they took that idea for this game and actually used toys found in a nursery. A lot of the time, it sounds like a mess of toys that are just annoying. This may be that I’m older and this soundtrack isn’t for me but I say that's nonsense because a good soundtrack doesn’t need to have a direct demographic. There are levels that become boring when the music is simply a music box, playing the same short song throughout the entire level is not good.
My biggest problem with this game is that the title has a the word “New” but there really isn’t anything new. Its all the same stuff I've played before except for the giant eggs and the egg dozer. The 2 new eggs are far and few between, so much so that I don’t feel it’s something that should have been put on the cover. It would have been nice to see a few new things besides the new eggs too.
This next section has a few spoilers but it’s something I feel needs to be said, highlight the white spaces to read. The plot of this game is insulting, I know that its a Yoshi title and plot isn’t necessary but when the opening is basically a ret-con to tell the same story, it’s nonsense. The plot goes that the stork that was attacked in the first game accidentally delivered the brothers to the wrong house and had to pick them up and re-deliver them. It’s comes off as lazy and unimaginative. The ending was even worse, after getting to Baby Bowser, a small piece of dialog begins with Kamek and Baby Bowser then a series of boss fights with Baby Bowser, you beat him and save the stork and Baby Luigi. But then all of a sudden, Adult Bowser literally rips the scene in half and shows up, here’s the exact quote from the game, “Suddenly... warping through space and time... King Bowser appears!” This is the kind of bad, lazy game design that I can’t stand. This attempt to make a better final boss was shallow and quite uninteresting.
Overall, there are good things about the game, controls, decent level design and boss fights but its all masked by how mundane and contrived the rest of the game feels. I recommend playing the original and the sequels on the Wii Virtual Console, you’ll have a better time. I give Yoshi’s New Island a 6 out of 10.
What did you think of Yoshi’s New Island? Are you a fan of the originals? Let us know in the comments below, on our Facebook Fan Page, or tweet us @MissionStartP
Thanks For Reading
-Gregg Dietz (@ChubRockGeek)