The original Yoshi’s Island was one of my all-time favorite games on the Super Nintendo; the 16-bit classic was unique from other side-scrollers with its egg-slinging mechanic and its focus on exploring the cleverly-designed stages.
Nintendo and developer Arzest revisited the series in March 2014 with a Nintendo 3DS installment – Yoshi’s New Island. Fortunately, the general design of the original game holds up well – in fact, New Island plays like a dream, and looks better in 3D than any screenshot could possibly capture.
Like past games, New Island challenges players to make it through each stage protecting Baby Mario from harm – complete with the ear-piercing wailing of the little guy, anytime he’s knocked off of Yoshi’s back. The game is actually considerably easier than its 16-bit predecessor; unless your goal is to mad-dash through each stage and collect all of the hidden flowers, red coins and stars, you might feel like Yoshi’s New Island is a cake-walk.
That being said, perfect completion on each stage is quite fun to attempt, and adds the very little replay value that the game has to offer. Yoshi’s New Island hits with some of its newer ideas – Metal Eggdozers are pretty cool, and allow you to destroy certain sections of the stage in order to move forward.
On the other hand, the vehicle transformation sequences from the original game have been completely muddied up by gyroscope-based controls, which are also counter-intuitive to viewing the game’s beautiful stereoscopic effects.
Overall, Yoshi’s New Island is a solid attempt to bring the series’ unique brand of platforming to the 3DS – it’s just too bad that it came off as such a half-baked effort.
You can easily finish the game in five or six hours, unless you’re out for 100% completion. Clearly the upcoming Wii U title Yoshi’s Wooly World is the more ambitious project between the two – New Island is an otherwise passable entry to the franchise.