While Nintendo succeeded in delivering a successful 3DS sequel to Gamecube gem Luigi’s Mansion last year with Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, the same sadly can’t be said for the sequel to Yoshi’s Island DS.
Yoshi’s New Island, sadly, only reinforces my feelings towards the if-its-not-broken-don’t-fix-it mentality the Super Mario games tend to have. While certain other titles have taken what was good from the predecessor’s and added upon them, Yoshi’s New Island doesn’t take upon itself to do this at all.
Following the same concept as New Super Mario Bros ; Yoshi’s New Island (‘new’ seems to be the current trendy word for reboot in Nintendo offices) is a visually reinvented take on the 1995 SNES classic spin-off series that captured many a youngsters’ imagination.
The virtually copy and pasted plot sees a familiar stork manage to botch up his job. He is then intercepted by Kamek (one of Bowser’s minions, recognisable for his wizardly outfit) and goons, who take Baby Luigi captive. Baby Mario, on the other hand, is found by the Yoshi clan on a different island.
From here our side scrolling venture begins once more as the Yoshi clan take turns escorting the little hero in training across six worlds while tossing eggs, eating enemies and beating the occasional boss.
As to be expected visuals have been updated with nice 3D backdrops and polygonal models, while still retaining the hand drawn pastel style that helped set the original apart from other entries in the Mario franchise. However, perhaps due to my rose tinted glasses for its 1995 cousin, or my rather pessimistic view on most reboots, I can’t help but feel the visuals don’t hold the same charm as the original or its DS sequel. Backdrops aren’t as colourfully stimulating and, to be honest, seem haphazardly put together. If I were to be cruel I’d have to admit they’ve created one big mess, as they attempt to portray a child’s pencil drawings while still offering depth of field.
There just doesn’t seem to be anything ‘new’ with Yoshi’s ‘New’ Island; gameplay is, as far as I could tell, an exact duplicate of the original with no hint of creative additions. It feels very stale and bland after one or two levels. While not awful per say, all the little irks come together to set the game up for a fall. Unlike the previous titles difficulty is practically non existent (for example I managed to accrue 20 lives in a level or two somehow).
Very linear layouts mean level design just doesn’t match up to its predecessor’s. Even bosses are underwhelming, uninspired, unchallenging and lack the humour and imagination that bestowed the originals.
Another element where this game falls down is on controls ; they just don’t feel as satisfactory nor tight in this entry either. Moving feels unresponsive at time due to the bungled sense of momentum ; Yoshi goes from normal walking speed to running full throttle without any noticeable increments in between. There is also no dedicated dash button, which I feel is a really backwards move compared to other titles in the Super Mario franchise.
At it’s heart, Yoshi’s New Island wears the same coat, puts on the same shiny shoes (not forgetting those tinted glasses) as its predecessor and blatantly tries to ride off its success in a very unimaginative fashion.
Yoshi’s Island is over a decade old and can still feel fresh; Yoshi’s New Island is barely two weeks old and already feels stale, repetitive, and worst of all, out of steam.
While Yoshi’s New Island does attempt in some small ways to add concepts, (such as large Shy guys who, when consumed, give Yoshi a behemoth sized egg of which to clear an otherwise impassable path or used as a weight to dive underwater), but these additions are so rarely used and are handed to the player in such a babied way that they might as well be quick timed events. Even the sections from the predecessor where Yoshi would be transformed into different forms, like a submarine, helicopter or jack hammer have been reduced to stock standard mini game sections with poorly decided motion controls.
The game is a competent title, being that it is directed at a very young age bracket; but level design is uninteresting and lacks any creative concepts outside of the ‘royalty free’ box of theme templates with grass, water, lava, sky and ice. In a day and age where classic platformers being reinvented everywhere you look, such as Ubisoft’s Rayman Legends or Nintendo’s own recent re-imagination of Donkey Kong Country with ‘Tropical Freeze’, Yoshi’s New Island does not stand tall. It doesn’t provide much at all beyond a 10 year mandatory graphical update.
The franchise’s ‘unique’ platforming and light puzzle-solving elements (complete with many collectables) are all present here to provide longevity (for the masochists out there). But, really; after a decade I expected more out of the third Yoshi’s Island title, be it via memorable levels like those seen in Rayman Legends, or solid challenging gameplay in the vein of Super Meat Boy.
While the 16 bit title will always be a pleasant memory of mine, Yoshi’s New Island, with all it’s new visuals, light hearted gameplay and borrowed concepts, will be lucky to last another week in my collection.
The game is potentially enjoyable by a newer generation, yes. But if you’re an old school fan who has seen Nintendo succeed in reinvigorating once forgotten titles again and again, please don’t look to this game and expect the same treatment. You’re honestly better off waiting to find this title in a bargain bin or hunting down a copy of Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island for the Super Nintendo.
- Enjoyable relaxing gameplay
- Nice visuals
- Plenty of collectables.
- Little to no challenge
- Blatant copy paste ideas from the original
- Bland, dull and repetitive level design
- Barely anything new.
Yoshi’s New Island barely gets a 3.5/10 from me.
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