Is it a problem when you’re playing an acceptable game, but in the back of your head you just can’t help but think, “Gee, this makes me want to play this other game instead”?
As I played through Yoshi’s New Island, there were moments where, despite having a pleasant enough time hopping through cartoony pastel landscapes and swallowing shy guys left and right, my thoughts would stray to the previous Yoshi’s Island titles on the DS and SNES. Considering the way this game clings pretty firmly to the formula of the others (in spite of the "New" in the title) it’s hardly surprising that I would be reminded of them with a twinge of longing for their superior experiences.
Okay, okay, that’s hardly fair to Yoshi’s New Island to flat-out imply that it’s a lame game, as it is actually a pretty decent platformer. It sets out to offer players the means to kill a few hours with accessible 2D platforming in a vibrant colorful world, and it competently achieves that.
It’s just… kind of boring.
From a gameplay perspective, the game is virtually identical to past Yoshi games. With the exception of overall smoother controls, it’s more of the same Yoshis relay-racing Baby Mario across Yoshi Island, more of the same flutter-jumping and turning enemies into eggs, and more of the same collecting of various flowers and other items that the franchise has seen before.
That in and of itself wouldn’t be so problematic if it was supported by engaging level design and/or interesting new game mechanics (I mean, look at how Nintendo pulled that sort of thing off for so long with Zelda) but Yoshi’s New Island is sadly lacking on both fronts. It suffers from tepid stages that recycle elements from Yoshi’s previous adventures without much inspiration or challenge, resulting in some of the easiest and weakest Nintendo platforming to date.
I won’t say much about the “Mega Eggdozers”, the game’s only real addition to the Yoshi formula, since there isn’t really much to say about them. These giant-sized eggs pop up infrequently, and while a metal variety does enable Yoshi to sink into underwater areas, their main purpose is to destroy everything in their path when tossed (similarly to the Mega Mushrooms in Mario games). It’s actually a pretty entertaining concept, though one executed in an underutilized, uninspired fashion.
“Uninspired” is, I hate to say, actually a good word for summing up Yoshi’s New Island. It does have its good points. The controls are smooth, the visuals impressively update the Yoshi aesthetic for the 3DS, and all in all it works. But its competence cannot hide a lack of innovation or even entertainment much of the time. Considering the fun that past games have provided, it’s a bummer that this one should settle for simply being passable.
GameDynamo's Score for Yoshi's New Island (3DS)
A writer, journalist, and aspiring storyteller, Peter Grimm has been gaming since the days of the Nintendo 64, and reporting on the goings-on in the World of Gaming since late 2011. His base of writing operations is located within the void between Here and There, or so he would have you think.
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