Nintendo treats many of its franchises like they are something to be milked until the cow runs dry, and mainly because people keep buying them due to their brand strength. But when it comes to the Yoshi’s Island spinoff series, they haven’t done much with. However, Yoshi’s New Island, much like its contemporary peers, seems to capture the essence of the past while simultaneously taking a few missteps.
The story in this game is that the Stork got the wrong house to take the baby Mario and Luigi to. While en-route to the right house, once again runs into Kamek and Luigi is once again kidnapped, and Baby Mario luckily lands on another Island populated by another group of Yoshis. Of course Baby Bowser has his sights set on the island and has taken residence there. So of course it’s up to Yoshi to rescue baby Luigi and kick Bowser out of their home.
Gameplay is just as it was in the original game, Eat enemies, make eggs, and throw them to defeat other enemies, or solve puzzles and reveal secrets. There aren’t any new features in the game to speak of, but in a completely unnecessary move, the classic vehicle sections are now operated with gyroscopic tilt controls. As you can imagine, this makes collecting those red coins and flowers a much trickier preposition. Thankfully the game now will record your completion of one of the three mission objectives to get a 100% level completion. This removes the need to go through a level perfectly the first time. Now you can tackle these challenges one at a time if you want. The game itself is pretty soft in terms of difficulty, with only the last world threatening to be challenging. The real challenge comes from completing these secondary tasks. There are also mini-objectives involving collecting Egg Medals, gained from the end of level roulette from all of the flowers that you have collected. Some of the other new gimmicks crib from the New Super Mario Bros. Series, and introduce Giant Shyguys, which when eaten produce a giant egg. The Giant egg can then be thrown to destroy a great deal of obstructions, and rack up the lives. That’s another thing, the game pretty much just hands out lives like candy. There is also a Metal variety of eggs which also let you sink in bodies of water. One more gimmick involves the Red Star which makes Yoshi fly insanely fast, which makes for some amusing set pieces.
While the game is enjoyable, the aforementioned gyro controls are forced, allowing no option to turn them off. Thankfully the vehicle segments aren’t all that long or are mandatory. They are only somewhat awkward to play with. The music is somewhat middling though, with only some standout tracks. Most of the tracks lack the variety or pizazz of the original game. Many are also just variations of the main theme. Then there’s the toned downed difficulty. C’mon Nintendo, start putting difficulty selection in your games! The bosses themselves are lackluster. At the end of the day though, Yoshi’s New Island is still an enjoyable game, it just doesn’t do anything new or at the very least standout. And its shortcomings are worth putting up with for a fun experience. So if you are a fan of Yoshi’s Island, you will like this.