The cutesy-pie platformer makes its debut on the Nintendo 3DS, but does our endearing green dinosaur flutter to success or crack under the pressure? Unfortunately for Yoshi’s New Island, the game flounders among the clouds instead of reaching new heights.
In his first outing on the 3DS, Yoshi’s on a brand new adventure with Baby Mario in tow and this time he means big business by hurling eggs of all shapes and sizes straight into an enemy’s path. But the road to reuniting Baby Mario with Baby Luigi isn’t particularly tough, neither is it part of a flourishing imagination, rather the game’s ground-pounded into an unappetising mush, lacking flavour in diversity.
Yoshi’s New Island brings six new worlds to explore with gorgeous pastel-crayon backgrounds of volcanoes, mountains and forests, which are both eye-catching and appealing to newcomers, children and fans of the franchise. However, the foreground images are less distinguished and sharp, particularly in 3D, serving up run of the mill designs for the rainbow-coloured Yoshis and Baby Mario.
While the artistic design suffers somewhat, Arzest produces some fun and engaging levels, bringing variation to Yoshi’s standard jump, flutter and gobble pattern. Standout levels such as Hop ‘n’ Pop Till You Drop, Spin Lift Drift and Fire Watermelon Wonderland in worlds four and five present players with unique level mechanics to hone skills, while keeping the tone light-hearted by popping bubbles and bouncing between penguins. World 6’s Chomp Rock Challenge also offers a great change of pace for the game’s otherwise blasé style and ramps up the difficulty scale, especially if you’re picking up collectables.
But for many of the levels, Yoshi’s New Island becomes jaded and lacks in real zest. Mid-boss fights with Kamek and world boss fights are over in a flash with weaknesses that are typically easy to exploit. Plus, there are blind spots within boss levels, where you can simply stand and avoid any magical beam or fiery attack hurtling your way. And while it’s refreshing to hurl large eggs into pipes and enemies to watch the destruction unfold, or to uncover secret doors and exits, the mechanic is not utilised enough. However, Arzest has found perfect equilibrium with Yoshi’s vehicle abilities. Tilting the 3DS is wonderfully incorporated with Bobsleigh and Drill Yoshi, where an invigorating pace breaks the repetitive pattern. But Submarine Yoshi sinks by its own game mechanics, creating havoc with its less fluid and accurate motion.
Players can breeze through Yoshi’s New Island in less than ten hours, but obtaining flowers, red coins and stars, plus keeping Baby Mario happy with your quality babysitting service can prove quite the challenge. Clever secrets with question mark clouds and hidden doorways bring vivacity to the platformer, keeping more accustomed players enthralled. While hunting for collectables can provide sustenance for players, the game’s music leaves little to be desired, and the once upbeat melodies turn stale very quickly.
Though Yoshi’s New Island is refreshing and lively in parts, it suffers from occasional mechanical flaws and a dearth in imagination. It’s a game worth shelling out for if you’re a die-hard Yoshi fan, but less sunny side up for others.