Each installment in the Yoshi’s Island series is so very painful. Not in that prideful, nostalgic, “What are they doing to my Yoshi’s Island!?” kind of way. Instead it’s this scary reminder that Mario was born into this mess. Even as a infant he couldn’t escape his fate. Those tears of his may bother you on an auditory level, but what of him? What about the boy behind those tears?
Anyways, Yoshi’s New Island is rad.
My character may be attacked with claims of “Nostalgia!”, but a good game is a good game. I can’t help that Yoshi’s Island is my favourite platformer of all time. The mechanic of throwing eggs on top of the Mario platforming I know and love is just too strong to deny it the honour.
When I think about, slow and steady seems to be a common trait among many of their works. The methodical nature of the egg tossing mechanic is brilliant, taking tuned of accuracy of games like Contra, but slowing it down for it to fit better with Nintendo’s take on the action platformer. You can see this type of genre warping in games Star Fox and Zelda, both Nintendo’s slowed down approach to successful genres. Amassing a collection of eggs requires you to pace yourself, make sure you’re prepared for what may lay ahead. Yoshi’s New Island isn’t afraid to provide the exact number of eggs to find the collectibles hidden within an area; meaning you’re boned should your aim be off. What I enjoy about the Yoshi’s Island games is how hindered you become when aiming. Yoshi is mobile, but feels more rigid. Committing to that throw is dangerous, and coupled with your egg count, it means you best be sure you know what you’re doing.
Helping the mechanics along is great level design, another strong suit of the series (a trait that carried on despite two changes of developer). Areas are built with Yoshi’s flutter jump in mind. Not just in wider chasms or higher platforms, but in tucking secrets in places just a tiny ways off from where you’d expect. As opposed to a safety net, the flutter jump allows for some trickier platforming; skipping ahead of platforms less familiar players may rely on.
The look of this world works in most cases. While the move to 3D for its characters takes away from the playful aesthetics of YI and Yoshi’s Island DS (a sequel that’s not as bad as you may have heard, but I’ll return to that another day), Arzest does a lot to ease us into the move. Oddly enough, despite the freedom of 3D models, I find Yoshi’s animations a little more rigid than previous outings. But, as I’ve made clear, this time around Yoshi is a thrower, not a shower.
Tue music is as charming as ever, wining and dining my ear buds before it beds them.
Is Yoshi’s New Island just as great as the SNES original? No, and this being the series’ third outing isn’t helping. But it’s still a good time, and proves just how terrific throwing eggs is. Old habits die hard, but thankfully, so does good gameplay.