My first experience playing as Yoshi was with the 1998 Nintendo 64 release, Yoshi’s Story. Done in the style of a pop-up story book with worlds crafted from materials such as fabric & wood, it was a fun game aimed squarely at a younger audience. Although the music was incredibly irritating.
Well here we go again this time on the Nintendo 3DS. Yoshi’s New Island is a sequel to the 1995 game Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island & the opening cut-scene shows a stork on route to delivering baby Mario & Luigi to their parents when it is ambushed mid-flight by Kamek.
Kamek is the primary protagonist in the Yoshi series of games & acts as Baby Bowers caretaker. He captures the stork & baby Luigi while baby Mario falls & lands among the Yoshi clan on their island, Egg Island. The Yoshi clan agree to work together to reunite Mario & Luigi & get them back to their parents.
The story is simple & matches the gameplay where you control a Yoshi carrying baby Mario on their back. The aim is to reach the goal at end of the stage while protecting the baby. There is a lot of variety in the levels & they feature a hand-drawn art style which is so pleasing to the eye.
Along the way the Yoshi clan will come across many obstacles in their path, from tricky platforming sections to the many enemies that stand in the way. To help, Yoshi can use eggs as weapons, launching them at enemies or obstacles. At certain times Yoshi can even swallow giant eggs that can bulldoze their way through areas of the game (these moments are few but look so painful for Yoshi).
At other times Yoshi can transform into a vehicle (often in bonus areas) where the 3DS gyroscope controls come into play, motion control where tilting the 3DS moves the vehicle. It’s a minor part of the game but works perfectly fine.
For the most part the controls work well with the only problem being the butt slam. When in the air, pushing down will see Yoshi slam towards the ground, a useful move when dealing with enemies. However Yoshi can hover for a short amount of time after a jump but often in your desperation to reach a safe platform your thumb will slide downwards on the stick turning your attempt into a butt slam. It happened far too often to me for it just to be a small error on my part.
There is an expansive amount of levels yet it’s not a game that will excite for long. Levels are often very short & very easy with there being little incentive to try & get all the collectibles available in each. The game is incredibly easy with extra lives dished out at a rate that becomes laughable (by time I had finished I had over 100 lives).
Should you be struggling on a particular level a mysterious pipe will appear, first giving you flutter wings (for indefinite hovering) and second, golden flutter wings (for invincibility). However using these comes at a cost that becomes apparent at the end of the game.
Boss battles are uninspiring up until the final fight with baby Bowser, a really exciting boss but should you complete every level without needing to use any of the flutter wings you get to fight the true final boss, Bowser. This battle is everything the game isn’t & leaves you wanting so much more.
A flat ending just rounds up what could have been, a bit more effort put in on all departments & we really could have had something great.
Lastly the 3D doesn’t add anything more to the game, it looks nice especially with the hand-painted backgrounds but if you’ve not been sold on it yet, this isn’t going to change anything.
Yoshi's New Island