Title: Yoshi’s New Island
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Game Type: 3DS
NA Availability: Digital | Retail
EU Availability: Digital | Retail
Block Usage: 3,300
Yoshi has always been my favorite character from the Mario franchise. My first encounter with the green dino was in Yoshi’s Cookie on the NES and again in the secret roof area in Super Mario 64. I’ve done a lot of playing with him, including having written an entire Walkthrough guide for Super Mario 64 DS for every Power Star you can obtain while playing as Yoshi. In short, he’s my favorite character and probably always will be.
What I haven’t been able to do on the site so far, though, is write a review on a game surrounding Yoshi. Sure, he is a major playable character in Super Mario 64 DS and a big feature from Super Mario World, but Yoshi has his own series of games where he is the star. Yoshi’s Island. Yoshi’s Story. Yoshi’s Wooly World. The list goes on, and the first one, Island, is a series in and of itself.
I’ve played the original Yoshi’s Island via my GBA, GBA SP, and NDS more times than I can care to remember. So, when Nintendo announced that they were continuing the Yoshi’s Island franchise in a new game on the 3DS, I was beyond hyped. Recently put on the discounted “Nintendo Selects” line, here is my review of Yoshi’s New Island!
Due to the convoluted time-travel timeline in Yoshi’s Island DS, it’s hard to say whether this is a direct sequel to DS or the original. It is a sequel to one of them, though, and a replay through Yoshi’s Island DS is really due for me to be able to know for sure.
Yoshi’s New Island takes place sometime after the events of the previous Island games. After the stork went on an adventure with the Yoshis, Baby Mario, and Baby Luigi, it had finally reached its destination of delivering the twin babies to their parents, or so he thought. It turns out that he delivered the babies to the wrong house and in the midst of the paranoia involved, the evil wizard Kamek swoops in and once again kidnaps Baby Luigi with Baby Mario plummeting down to an island below.
On said island is a clan of Yoshi, discussing what they need to do about the recent invasion from Baby Bowser, intending to make their home a vacation spot for him. Mirroring the events of the first game, Baby Mario falls in the middle and begins crawling towards Baby Luigi. Using this as an opportunity to help Mario and locate Baby Bowser, the Yoshi clan decides to carry the young plumber to find his missing brother.
The storyline of this game feels kind of like some fusion of the first two Yoshi’s Island games. The main plot greatly resembles that of the first game, while the secret final story stage is reminiscent of some events of Yoshi’s Island DS.
Yoshi’s New Island is a side-scrolling platformer with action and puzzle elements thrown into the mix. Much like the previous games, you will be jumping and fighting through levels, aiming to get to the end and go to the next.
The story progresses through 6 worlds, which have 8 stages a piece. Just like the original, you will have normal stages as well as two Castle/Boss stages in each world. Completing one stage unlocks the next and you keep going. Once you complete a world, you unlock the next as well as a mini-game for the local multiplayer mode that is separate from the Story Mode.
Stages play out as side-scrolling platformer stages. Your goal will be to navigate platforms and reach the end of the stage, where you can pass Baby Mario to the next Yoshi to tackle the next area. These stages have everything from the typical Yoshi formula. If you get hit, Baby Mario will float away, crying until you reach him or his timer reaches 0 and you get a game over. Just for the record, Baby Mario’s crying is somehow even more irritating than it was in the original. Crying faster definitely pushes you to retrieve him faster.
The basics of combat are also the same. You can eat enemies and turn them into eggs, which you then can aim and throw at other enemies as well as blocks that affect the environment or clouds that can give you keys, new paths, or simply a power-up. If you remember the way it worked in the previous two games, then it’s almost exactly the same here.
One feature that was changed slightly was the vehicle sequences. When you find various gates that look like black holes, you go into a sequence where Yoshi turns into a vehicle. To navigate these levels, you have to use the system’s built-in motion controls. While this can be a little weird to get used to for the first time or two, once you get your bearings, this works really well. These are all very short, but they retain the feel and, for some, the difficulty of the original’s vehicle sequence timers.
The main addition is giant eggs. In some levels, there are giant shy guy enemies that you can swallow to produce eggs that take up nearly the entire screen. One of these is a normal White/Green egg that is used for demolishing environments in your way and effectively netting you a ton of coins and extra lives. The other is Black/Green and used as a weight, allowing you to sink under water to explore and navigate water stages.
One thing I’m going to say is that this game is a little easier than the original was. On top of the level design being good, albeit more straight-forward than previous games, is the Flutter Wing. Anyone remember Super Mario 64 DS Multiplayer and letting Yoshi gain wings on his back from the Wing Cap? He gets it here, too. Fail a level several times in a row and the game will give you the option for a handicap of being able to fly through the stage. However, doing this will forfeit the ability to unlock the true final boss.
Across the whole of the game, you’ll probably spend about 6-7 hours. This is a pretty decent amount of time, especially considering the Yoshi’s Island games only have 6 worlds versus the normal 8 for Mario platformers.
Controlling the game isn’t all that hard to do. As far as the New 3DS is concerned, nothing is optimized with its new buttons. ZL, ZR, and the C Stick effectively do nothing at all in Yoshi’s New Island.
Moving around is done with the Circle Pad and D-Pad, though the D-Pad is preferred for this kind of side-scroller. The A button is used for jumping and the B button is used for eating enemies. Both the X button and R trigger are used to aim to throw an egg while L and Y can be tapped to stop the aim at its current location for precise aiming. There is also an option to use motion controls for aiming.
Overall, the controls work pretty well. The ability to stop the aim in one spot with L and Y is a nice touch that makes things more convenient.
Visually, Nintendo tried to bring back the artistic style of the original in this new game. The original hand colorful, hand-drawn visuals. The environments and characters here remind me of a canvas style of art. It really makes the game look unique, especially when you see some of the giant bosses in this manner. The only issue here is that many of the smaller character models, especially Yoshi, have lots of jagged edges and look blurry when you look at them. This makes it a little weird and straining when you play the game.
The rest of the presentation is nice. The music has a very happy-go-lucky feel to it and there’s nothing wrong with how the game performs.
Yoshi’s New Island is like taking Yoshi's Island and Yoshi's Island DS while adding a few new tricks to them both. While the presentation can make characters look a little blurry, this has got everything in it that Yoshi’s Island fans have enjoyed since 1995.