Release Date: 14 March 2014
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
I like to consider myself an extravagant cheapskate: I won’t spend a lot of money on one thing, but I’ll happily spend triple the value of the one thing buying several other things. Given that I loved the original Yoshi’s Island so much I was torn between which of its sequels to play: the one on the Nintendo DS that I’d have to play on the Wii U’s Virtual Console, or the one on 3DS that got the very middling reviews. Nintendo solved that problem for me by adding this to the Nintendo Selects range, and my cheap self was delighted to order a copy.
I’m so grateful that I bought this once it was added to Nintendo’s discount range rather than buying it full price earlier on; while charming to a certain degree, Yoshi’s New Island isn’t deserving of a full retail price tag.
In what will become a recurring theme for this game, the plot is only slightly different to that of the first game.
This game picks up right where the original Yoshi’s Island left off with the stork flying off to the Mushroom Kingdom to deliver baby Mario and Luigi to their parents. The stork was obviously suffering a concussion because he’s managed to deliver the babies to the wrong couple, and now needs to set off with the babies again to deliver them to the right people. As he takes off, however, he’s attacked by Kamek, Bowser’s magical babysitter, who once again tries to kidnap the babies.
Kamek manages to steal Luigi but Mario slips free and falls down to Egg Island, a floating island also inhabited by Yoshis and currently under the control of baby Bowser. Using his psychic link to Luigi and with the aid of the Yoshi clan Mario and the Yoshis once again set off on a mission to recover his stolen green sibling.
Again, not much has changed from the first game, with the mechanics of Yoshi’s Island being taken over almost wholesale into this 3DS adventure: throw eggs, transform and make sure the enemy doesn’t make off with Mario.
The only real additions are the giant eggs, underwater stages and flutter wings. The giant eggs aren’t so much new as they are a variation on Yoshi’s traditional egg throwing – by ingesting a giant Shy Guy or Metal Shy Guy you’ll create either Mega Eggdozers or Metal Eggdozers, which can be used to clear paths and destroy obstacles. While interesting, these can only be created at specific points so there isn’t any real strategy involved when they become available.
The underwater levels aren’t particularly different to land based ones, mainly because you’ll use a Metal Eggdozer to weigh you down. Since Yoshi floats the Eggdozer will allow you to walk normally on the ground underwater, and usually you just have to find the right spot to get rid of the egg and float back up to the top. Again, while interesting, it’s nothing that’s overly inventive.
The flutter wings aren’t so much a new kind of gameplay, but rather than a useful helper – should you die more than three times in a level the option to use the flutter wings will become available, allowing you to softly drift over most obstacles rather than engaging in the more tricky platforming. None of the stages in the game are so challenging that you need them, but I did occasionally make use of them just because I couldn’t be asked to go through a particular section again.
At its core Yoshi’s New Island isn’t a bad game and is a more-than-competent platformer. The problem is that it plays almost exactly like Yoshi’s Island without any of that game’s magic or charm. While all the stages, the art style, and the music are also all lovely there isn’t enough variation throughout the game, and what starts off as delightful becomes very repetitive by the time you reach the end of the game.
Yoshi’s New Island doesn’t deliver enough to be worth purchasing at full price, but if you want a decent platformer that’s enjoyable enough but ultimately forgettable once you’ve played it once, then the Selects version might be worth a go.