Monday, 14 April 2014

Yoshi's New Island

I Feel bad for Nintendo. I mean, the Wii U as of right now is selling worse than the Dreamcast did. That's not good at all. Don't get me wrong, the Dreamcast deserved far more attention than it ultimately got, and the Wii U is nowhere near as glorious as Sega's final console, but Nintendo's latest effort is a great little machine. But Nintendo, unlike many other companies, can afford to screw up here. Why? Because the Nintendo 3DS is selling so damn well, only being outsold worldwide by the PS4. So in a bid to keep their fans happy, Nintendo have unleashed a new Yoshi game. However, does it live up to the great series that came before it, or is it a knee-jerk money making reaction?

Developed by Arzest and out now for Nintendo 3DS comes Yoshi's New Island, a continuation in the Yoshi series which began in 1995 with Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island on the SNES. This latest instalment not only tries to replicate the excellent Yoshi games before it, both in its gameplay and visuals, but also strives to utilise the 3D capabilities of the Nintendo 3DS.

Yoshi's New Island is a direct sequel to the original SNES title. At the end of the original game a stork successfully delivered Baby Mario and Luigi to the house of a loving couple. However, Yoshi's New Island reveals that the stork actually brought the baby plumbers to the wrong house. In its attempt to correct the problem and bring the babies to the right parents, the stork is attacked by Kamek mid-flight. As Kamek captures Baby Luigi and the stork, Baby Mario falls down onto Egg Island. Thankfully this is the island where Yoshi resides, and he and his tribe vow to escort Baby Mario across the island in order to rescue Baby Luigi. The story is simple, charming and a great way of connecting it to the original SNES title in the series.

As expected if you've ever played videogames before, Yoshi's New Island is a typical platform game, akin to Mario itself. However, compared to the Mario franchise, there's a stark difference here. With Baby Mario atop your back, as Yoshi your number one priority is to keep the like tyke alive, as opposed to Yoshi himself. But fear not; Yoshi's attacks, from hurling eggs to chomping an enemy only to then spit their shell out as a projectile, are more than enough to help Baby Mario reach his brother and feel pleasingly familiar. Each of the six worlds on offer has their own unique gameplay slant. For instance, in the level Flatbed Ferry Freefall, platforms have the ability to whip around and launch Yoshi through the air. While these gameplay elements change from level to level and keep the game feeling pretty fresh, mostof the core game mechanics, while fun, are incredibly and painfully samey at times. Levels are capped off by boss fights, which, beyond the interesting and cutesy designs, are largely brief and forgettable exercises in memorizing attacks.

Much like the rest of the series, Yoshi's New Island looks like it was hand drawn with crayons and pastels but doesn't look as slick as it should have. In fact, even the 3D capabilities aren't exactly utilised to their full effect, which essentially makes it pretty meaningless for being on the 3DS in the first place.

Overall Yoshi's New Island feels like a half-hearted attempt by Nintendo to capitalise on the series. It's not a bad game at all, and the idea of having another Yoshi title in the palm of your hands is awesome, but it's nowhere near as good as it should be.

Yoshi's New Island isn't as good as the old one and gets a passable 3/5.


Denis Murphy

Yoshi's New Island at CeX

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