As expected, Yoshi’s New Island tells the story of Baby Mario and Baby Luigi. The stork has been faced with the task of finding Mario and Luigi’s real parents. Baby Luigi has yet again been stolen by Kamek and of course, Baby Mario is dropped on a nearby egg island. He is found by a group of Yoshis who try to reunite him with his brother. Of course this leads to Yoshi and Mario trying to defeat Bowser in order to save his baby brother. It’s the same story that you’ve played through before, were you really expecting anything more?
Yoshi’s New Island features a brand new hand-drawn art style. Since it’s first announcement this has divided Nintendo fans alike. Some people feel that the style is a great direction for the series and others feel that it looks worse than the original game on Super Nintendo. I tend to be somewhere in the middle. I definitely feel that the game at times, can look worse than the original however in motion, the game looks a lot better than it originally did in screenshots. I am a sucker for hand drawn art and feel that Yoshi’s New Island does look great on the 3DS. The 3D really helps give the game a pop-out book kind of feel and it’s genuinely adorable.
The sound is where Yoshi’s New Island falls completely flat. The original game was heralded for it’s amazing soundtrack. The melodic tunes still stick with me to this day. Unfortunately, Yoshi’s New Island tries to re-create the soundtrack and fails miserably. It’s a horrible misrepresentation and I almost wish that they pulled the soundtrack straight from the original.
The latest iteration of Yoshi’s Island doesn’t do a whole lot to change things up from a gameplay perspective. The main game is still to get Yoshi and Baby Mario from start to finish. If you get hit, Baby Mario will be float away inside a bubble unless you catch him within the allotted time limit. Placed throughout each level are five flowers. These are usually hidden and unlock bonuses at the end of each stage. There are also 20 hidden red coins, which provide much less of a challenge. The biggest problem with these collectibles is that whilst they’re the most difficult thing about the game, they don’t really provide a whole lot of reward for spending your time searching for them.
Yoshi’s Island features 6 islands but unfortunately they feel quite uninspired and seem like a step backwards from the original game. The game suffers due to the fact that by the time it increases in difficulty, it’s almost over. In fact, this is the biggest problem with the game. The original Yoshi’s Island is one of my favourite games of all the time, so the fact that it doesn’t change things up too much is just fine with me, however it’s the incredibly easy difficulty level that really disappoints me.
New to the series are ‘mini games’ that are included within the game. Yoshi’s Island has always had transformations but Yoshi’s New Island takes it to a whole new level. The game has you transforming into objects such as a jackhammer or helicopter. Once becoming the object, the objective is to use the 3DS gyroscope to steer your object around within a time limit. Whilst I commend the developers for trying to take advantage of the systems features, they feel totally tacked on and occur at the most random times within levels. Also, they don’t have a whole lot of variety amongst the different transformations. Giant eggs are also new to the series. The Mega Eggdozer allows you to plow through sections of the environment to reach new areas and the Metal Eggdozer can be used in order to roll over enemies or explore underwater. These are easily the best new gameplay addition to the game. I wish there were a few more to shake things up however.
You’re also able to play multiplayer with the use of only a single cart. There are six games to unlock but whilst these are fun for the short-term, they won’t keep your attention for long. Our favourite was Ground-Pop pop. In this mini game, the objective is to pop as many balloons as possible. The real issue is that there are no leaderboards or set scores to complete, you’re simply just competing against your opponent. I’d really like to see Nintendo take multiplayer to a new level and take advantage of the internet.