Yoshi's New Island Greg Schardein Featured

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Written by Greg Schardein     March 14, 2014    
 
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Release Date
March 13, 2014
MSRP $
39.99
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New has never felt this old.

Nintendo has always been the masters of recycling and repolishing older franchises. While Nintendo has made a pretty penny from its Virtual Console resales, the truly remarkable titles often involve a full makeover either aesthetically or through gameplay improvements. From Super Mario Bros. Deluxe and Metroid: Zero Mission to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D and The Wind Waker HD, magical things happen when classic games are brought to life by modern inspiration and technology.

With the 3DS picking up more and more steam and Nintendo continuing its trend of successful series reboots, it’s only natural to be excited about a Yoshi’s Island remake; After the great success of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon,Donkey Kong Country Returns, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Nintendo’s latest stab at a franchise reboot seems destined to follow suit. Yoshi’s New Island takes a page out of the Link Between Worlds’ book and attempts to create something akin to a spiritual successor to the original game. Can it live up to the billing of the original title and provide enough new content to create its own identity?

             

Let’s get back to what makes a great reboot. Games such as Zero Mission and Ocarina of Time 3D bring classic games back through a full aesthetic remake and control improvement. On the other hand, A Link Between Worlds was able to create a spiritual successor that may actually be better than the original game by creating a wonderfully paced, fully renovated, entirely new game, wrapped in a format that feels familiar. Thus, the real way to succeed in the remake/reboot market is to provide remastered original content or to find a way to improve on it (much easier said than done).

From the moment I began playing Yoshi’s New Island, I already felt as if the game was trying a little too hard to relive the charm of Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island. The title screen and opening sequence greets you with a serenade of Yoshi’s that, in an attempt to sound quirky, left a dissonant, horrifying first impression on my ears (nothing of the likes of the wonderful original athletic theme). The music continues to underwhelm throughout the experience and pales in comparison to some of the more iconic Mario themes.

From the beginning, you’ll notice the same usual gameplay hint boxes to teach you the mechanics of controlling Yoshi and everything feels familiar enough in terms of movement. As usual, Yoshi can flutter jump, ground pound, swallow baddies to create eggs and toss them at your foes. Everything about the game feels similar to the original game. Unfortunately, though, where Yoshi’s Island: DS actually experimented with gameplay style by providing different babies to ride on Yoshi’s back (creating further complexity to puzzle mechanics), Yoshi’s New Island takes a step back and really only experiments through the different vehicles Yoshi can become during the game’s many asides (which are more often than not a short lived, linear experience).

             

Early in my experience with the game, it was clear that Yoshi’s New Island was taking inspiration from its predecessor but never doing anything to create a memorable experience that warrants being played. Compared to the recent Zelda 3DS masterpiece, this feels more like a cheapened version of the original where A Link Between Worlds not only celebrates its predecessor but serves as a standalone title that sits right beside it in terms of its worthiness. Where I would rather spend my time replaying Yoshi’s Island over diving into this newish content, A Link Between Worlds demands being played through its completely different gameplay, content, and style.

Yoshi’s New Island suffers not only from a lack of identity but also suffers from an overall lack of inspiration. Levels start out slow and never really pick up. If you’re into collecting the many coins and flowers throughout the levels, the game feels even slower in pacing, and downright frustrating at times. I remember having to quit my first session with the game after only playing 3 levels because of a frustrating red coin that was far too difficult to attain. The issue was not a lack of skill by the player but rather a lack of control in aiming a large egg up and banking it off the wall to hit the coin. If the egg bounces off of 3 walls, the egg breaks and you’ll be forced to eat another large shy guy and then come back to the spot to collect the coin. I think it took me over 10 tries before I finally got the coin (on my second play through) and if you’re a completionist like me, the game will continue to frustrate you with moments like these.

As the game progresses, the level design never really stands out like other great recent platformers (such as Donkey Kong Country Returns or Super Mario 3D Land/World). Toward the end, a few of the levels start to separate themselves but along the way, there isn’t a lot to keep you hooked on your journey. Yoshi’s New Island also includes a multiplayer mode that feels a little like filler as players compete to flutter jump the furthest or create the largest number of eggs.

Gameplay aside, Yoshi’s New Island does present a hand-drawn look that feels different and is visually pleasing on the eyes. This crayon look feels in a similar vein to some of the recent artistic platformers such as Kirby’s Epic Yarn. Unfortunately, though, the 3D is both minimally emphasized and underwhelming at times. All-in-all, the style coupled with minimal 3D use makes me wonder if a similar game could have been produced on the previous generation of Nintendo handhelds, Nintendo DS.

Editor reviews

Yoshi's New Island follows a similar formula as previous Nintendo remakes/reboots but ultimately falls short of recreating the magic we expect from Nintendo platformers. It is a shame that Yoshi's New Island could not provide enough new content to warrant its "new" name. Even if you enjoy the gameplay pulled directly out of the original title, it's hard to recommend playing this game over its predecessor (even if you've already played Yoshi's Island). Yoshi's Island DS has a little more variety and difficulty but ultimately, Nintendo just hasn't been able to reproduce the greatness of the original title.
Overall rating 
 
6.0
Gameplay 
 
7.0
Presentation 
 
6.0
Value  
 
7.0
Fun Factor 
 
5.0
Tilt 
 
5.0
Greg Schardein Reviewed by Greg Schardein March 14, 2014
Top 10 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (107)

Yoshi's New Island

Yoshi's New Island follows a similar formula as previous Nintendo remakes/reboots but ultimately falls short of recreating the magic we expect from Nintendo platformers. It is a shame that Yoshi's New Island could not provide enough new content to warrant its "new" name. Even if you enjoy the gameplay pulled directly out of the original title, it's hard to recommend playing this game over its predecessor (even if you've already played Yoshi's Island). Yoshi's Island DS has a little more variety and difficulty but ultimately, Nintendo just hasn't been able to reproduce the greatness of the original title.

Videogames

Gameplay
There's nothing inherently wrong with the gameplay as it's similar to that from the original game. However, there's nothing inherently different about the experience either and the level design seems a little lacking. Also, there isn’t enough new content to warrant a “new” island and the game does nothing to set itself apart from previous experiences.
Presentation
The crayon look is nice looking but I can't help but feel like it looks a little less up-to-speed with some of the other titles on the 3DS. The music is not memorable and at times difficult to listen to. In terms of 3D, usage is minimal and often not implemented well.
Value
At $39.99, the game is not a bad value but there is more content to be had in other games on the system such as Super Mario 3D Land or Donkey Kong Country Returns. Also, you could just replay the original or track down a copy for the best experience.
Fun Factor
As a completionist, this game frustrated me from the start. I constantly found myself having to put the game down due to frustration of collecting the various collectables. The mechanics feel right but the game just doesn't have the same level of magic as the original game it's trying to mimic.
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