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Review

Yoshi's New Island Review

  • Game release: March 14, 2014
  • Reviewed:
  • 3DS
Robert Handlery on Google+

Runny eggs.

No mystery remains unsolved when Yoshi's nearby. Mario's dinosaur companion leaps into the heart of labyrinthine locales, ferreting out the many secrets that pepper these colorful lands. Skillful challenges are kept to a minimum in Yoshi's New Island. Rather than performing dexterous feats of skill, you instead take a methodical tour of each delightful land. It's an approach that separates Yoshi's New Island from many platformers out there, but sadly there are missteps in the execution that lessen any excitement. Straightforward level design demands neither clever puzzle solving nor quick reflexes, and a dearth of new ideas makes the many obstacles and enemies feel predictable. Yoshi's New Island is at once pleasant and forgettable, proving that charming aesthetics can only gloss over middling design for so long.

Before he became a plumber and brought momentary peace to the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario was nothing more than a baby in distress on the back of a dinosaur. Yoshi proves here that he's every bit the hero that the diapered companion he carries with him is; just don't expect him to move like Mario does. Dinosaurs are heavy creatures, so Yoshi isn't quick on his feet, but he does have other talents. Chief among them is his ability to momentarily hover to reach distant platforms. Extend jumps to carry your prodigious weight to out-of-the-way areas or to land right on the head of a roaming koopa troopa. Hovering is a necessary way to traverse this colorful world, but it's sadly just utilitarian. Without the smooth grace of his more acrobatic counterparts, Yoshi's hovering dulls the excitement of mid-air exploits.

Passing that giant egg must have been painful.

Even with workmanlike movement, reaching the end of each stage is still enjoyable. Much of this pleasure comes from the enchanting artistic design. Using a coloring-book style, Yoshi's New Island has a cheerful look that seeps into every one of its elements. Enemies look charming enough to hug--if they weren't trying to snatch your precious passenger--and the world seemingly dances with joy. Yoshi's New Island is just so welcoming. It's a world that exudes happiness. You can immerse yourself in this adventure without having to flex your fingers or rack your brain, and the low barrier for entry is nice for those who are intimidated by other offerings.

Yoshi's New Island is at once pleasant and forgettable, proving that charming aesthetics can only gloss over middling design for so long.

There are oodles of collectibles for those who want more to do than just reach the end. Yoshi's New Island ensures you can progress through the game without being a completionist, while still building obstacles for those who wish to put on their explorer's hat. This versatility stems from the expansive level design. Each stage has a linear path that anyone could mindlessly tromp down, but there are hidden paths beckoning those with a curious disposition. Brush against a seemingly solid wall to find a hollowed-out cave filled with coins, or use your hovering jump to ascend a towering beanstalk. If you venture down these unknown paths, collectibles such as smiling flowers are yours for the taking. And all the while you're awash in the happy glow of this saccharine world.

Can you blame those guys for being shy when Yoshi is always trying to eat them?

Of course, Yoshi can do more than blithely walk through each stage. By swallowing enemies whole, you can turn them into eggs, which can then be tossed around the environment. If you see a cloud floating high above, just wing an egg at it and revel in the rewards that spill from it. Maybe a staircase will appear out of thin air or coins will rain down upon you. There's no way to know beforehand, so don't be stingy with your eggs. Given that there's always a bountiful array of eggs about, you rarely have to aim with any precision. If you miss your target, just reload and try again. That goes along with the theme of Yoshi's New Island. There's rarely any punishment to halt your progress, so you can glide through this adventure without any hindrance.

Advancement In Yoshi's New Island is given, not earned, so you feel no rush from accomplishing a difficult feat. That's not a problem early on, when you're taken in by the comforting artistic design, but does lessen your engagement as you spend more time in this adventure. And the non-existent challenge is just one issue with Yoshi's New Island. For instance, the by-numbers level design presents few surprises. Occasional deviations such as sections in which you transform into a vehicle are little more than gyroscope-controlled distractions. And though there are secrets, they're laid out in such obvious ways that there's little need to push yourself to uncover them. Once you understand that egg clouds appear if you follow every branching path, you're halfway to discovering all there is to find in Yoshi's New Island. The few detours, such as when Yoshi can run up walls and across ceilings, showcase how devoid of inspiration this adventure is. A game needs more than bursts of quickness to be exciting. Running changes the pace, but the sequences all but control themselves, so they're as forgettable as the rest of the game.

Furthermore, every element of this game panders to nostalgic memories rather than forging new paths. I can't deny my initial glow during the early moments. Hearing the familiar hum Yoshi makes when hovering made me smile, and I was tickled as I tried to corral every hopping star. But the appeal of reliving my youth didn't last long. Because of its reluctance to innovate, the game rests in the land of ambivalence, going through the motions without much flair. And though there are plenty of secrets to uncover, there's not much impetus to replay stages to find every trinket. My time spent within each level was pleasant enough, but little stayed with me after I turned off the system.

It's probably dangerous to carry a baby so close to a giant bat.

Just like the original game, Yoshi's New Island has a clever way to deal with health that is ultimately a detriment. When Yoshi is struck, Baby Mario is knocked from his back, and you have a few seconds to chase him down before he's captured by the baddies. His ear-piercing wails offer a sharp and unpleasant contrast to the peaceful mood, but the problems go much deeper than an unsettling sound effect. Yoshi is nearly indestructible, dying only when he falls into a deadly pit, so the challenge comes from chasing Baby Mario. However, this system is more of an annoyance than a neat twist on the norm. It's easy enough to avoid every enemy that comes your way. And if you do get struck when your attention wavers, running after Mario just interrupts your shy guy-eating escapades.

Even the bullets are smiling!

The health system also undermines the boss encounters. Twice in each world you have to face off against a formidable foe, either Magikoopa or a creature that Magikoopa turns gigantic with his magical hammer. There are mild puzzles, such as figuring out when to flip a switch to skewer Magikoopa on spikes, and much of the appeal comes from figuring out what to do. But once you understand the trick, it's incredibly easy to conquer your foe. This lessens the impact such fights could have had. You need only fire a couple of eggs or perform a downward stomp, collect Mario when you're hit, and then move on to the next level.

There is a two-player mode if you're eager for more Yoshi action. Here, you partner with a friend to perform many of the same duties that encompass the main adventure. For instance, you may have to pop balloons or consume enemies, and there's a scoreboard to keep track of how you've done. Yoshi's New Island is a game built around its level design and aesthetics, so separating the actions from the core adventure only highlights how clumsy the game feels. There's no energy or excitement. Once you run through the various minigames, there's no point in revisiting them to try to top your previous score.

Nintendo last explored this franchise in 2006 with Yoshi's Island DS, and though that game had its own problems, it also had an identity. By introducing new babies with different abilities, it provided a fun and unpredictable sequel to the Super Nintendo original. Yoshi's New Island has no such identity. That's not to say this isn't an enjoyable game, but the best elements are recycled from a game that's almost 20 years old, and because nothing particularly interesting was added, it does little to excite the imagination. Yoshi's New Island is a decent platformer, but it's also so forgettable that it won't leave you with any lasting memories.

The Good
Pleasant artistic design
The Bad
Predictable level design
Secrets require little thought to uncover
Annoying health system
Uninspired two-player mode
5
Mediocre
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Tom was one of the few who enjoyed Yoshi's Island DS and has even loved easy platformers such as Kirby's Epic Yarn. But after spending nine hours with Yoshi's New Island, he's incredibly sad about where this franchise has gone.

Discussion

292 comments
suizidestarr
suizidestarr

I actually enjoy the game... but each to there own!

starcrafthenry
starcrafthenry

I just got this game yesterday. I've beaten the first two worlds. It's just not doing it for me. I loved the original game on the SNES. This game is just too easy for me, and the levels are too short. Also, as somebody pointed out down below, the music is shit. It sounds like something you'd hear in some baby show on PBS. I usually don't sell games, but once I beat this, it will more than likely go up for sale on craigslist.

shadowghosting
shadowghosting

What's the difference between this and Yoshi's Island DS? Worth the play if I skipped the DS version?

ekolite
ekolite

I don't think Nintendo really cares because this wasn't developed by Nintendo.. it was developed by Arzest.

iwoof
iwoof

it is "tedious and annoying recovering mario after getting hit"


should tell you everything you need to know about this reviewer and his overall attitude during the review. He doesn't care for Nintendo, and he was ready to bash this game while he was taking the disc out of the package. 


I hope Nintendo stays strong and outsells every platform again taking out all the mind garbage FPS and trash violent games on Ps3/xbox that have nothing interesting about them. 

samus_my_life
samus_my_life

Nintendo games are Must get 8.5 or above!!!!!

Furwings
Furwings

This game was never a true Mario game in the first place. I remember when it was early on in development for the SNES it was just called "Yoshi's Island", then because Nintendo realized that they only actually ever made 1 Mario game for the SNES as opposed to 4 Sonic games by Sega for the Genesis, slapped the "Super Mario World 2" title on it. They were obviously hoping the name change would help it sell more, which it did. I bought it. It was ok, but nowhere NEAR as good of a game as Super Mario World.


Also, the crying baby Mario HAS got to be one of, if not THE MOST ANNOYING thing EVER in videogame history!

XShortGuy007
XShortGuy007

I think the review here is a little harsh. The game is still a pretty solid platformer, and deserves at least a 7/10. Sure there's a few faux paws with this game, but it still has nearly the same charm as Yoshi's Island. It's a game that is at least worth the price (unless you make minimum wage, then you might want to skip it).

El_Zaggy
El_Zaggy

Nintendo thought they would just do a sequel to some popular IP and have great reviews. I hope this wakes up Nintendo. I'm glad that people is starting seeing nintendo for what it is really. Bad sales, bad reviews, bad games. Lots of people abandonned this sinking ship. Now they need to fix that ship and get back with better games.

chev9342
chev9342

I'm not going to listen to this review seeing how gaming journalism is a joke. But one thing I can say without playing the game is I don't like the graphic style. The 2D color crayon art-style was Yoshi's Island's trademark art-style.

rattlehead_1983
rattlehead_1983

As someone who has been fan of Nintendo since 1986 I think they should really hit themselves in the head pretty hard. I mean now they cant even come up with exciting game title?... its always like..New super mario bros 3ds, NEW super mario bros Wii , NEW super mario bros Wii U, Super mario  3D, Yoshi's NEW island... what's next? I'll predict NEW super mario  3D. Even the console name ... Wii, Wii U, Wii ABC?

Tremblay343
Tremblay343

Every trailer I've seen for this game made it look incredibly boring.  Seems I was right about that.

DiverseGamer
DiverseGamer

What a stupid title. Would it have killed them to simply name it "Yoshi's Island 2"?

calvinsora
calvinsora

Considering the 3DS's library of great games, Nintendo needs to watch out that they're key franchises get the quality treatment they deserve. Was really hoping for a Yoshi-game with the same vitality of the DS installment :(

leroy9
leroy9

This game deserves all the crap reviews it's gotten. This is Nintendo heading the wrong way, I've seen livestreams/gameplay of it and I can tell you that I nearly fell asleep. This game seems to very heavily appeal to starting gamers, mainly very young people, the platforming is terribly easy & the game doesn't offer anything new other than the occasional motion controls & the addition of those big eggs (which really don't add that much to the game at all). A score of 5 for this games seems to me like it's about right.

TheRedTree
TheRedTree

Yeah, Nintendo is in for a rude awakening for "vomiting out" the same game. I forgot that Sony and Microsoft have a bevy of "different" games too.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Nintendo is in for a rude awakening that just vomiting out the same games they've already made doesn't work anymore.

Dieknochenblume
Dieknochenblume

I think the audience shock comes from Tom's ability to actually rate from 1 to 10, instead of rating from 6 to 10 as most other reviewers do.

Undertow207
Undertow207

He didn't even mention the abysmal music. The same song that's playing in the review is used in EVERY level but boss stages. It's only slightly remixed throughout the game, probably the laziest OST I've heard in years.

Syrlink
Syrlink

Not sure why they gave Tom McShea this game to "review".  He was already determined to hate it. Whatever, he can have his opinions, and I'll continue to ignore them.

Pyrosa
Pyrosa

Look, if this is aimed at kids, then I'm all for it.  I have a bunch of young relatives with birthdays coming up, and most games are just way too hard (or violent) for younger kids.

JKvam
JKvam

It would be nice if the gaming community, and voices in it, would openly think it swell and even commendable that a company like Nintendo is taking one of their AAA properties/platforms and creating something expressly with tykes in mind, instead of making them only have to play poorly produced "games" that are little more than lame preschool activities grafted onto commercials for their favorite TV shows.


Very tired of grown men of this generation incapable of sharing anything, even a new one-off of one of their childhood playthings, with anyone under 10.  Try thinking for a moment who actually owns and buys DS's outside of the hardcore.  For a lot of little kids this is their system and they have parents and siblings that play the "hard" versions of these games and they watch them all the time - this (like the balloons and flights over "hard parts" in Super Mario 3D Land and Donkey Kong Country Returns) are actually pretty empowering things for designers to be doing, not something that neuters the experience of a nostalgic SNES fanboy.


Honestly the lack of perspective and maturity in this hobby infuriates sometimes - and that goes across all games and platforms.


You don't have to be an evangelist for Nintendo to praise this approach, just someone that thinks these platforms and games might have a bigger audience than the one in the mirror.

ahpuck
ahpuck

If McShea hates it, it must be one awesome game. Why is this dude still around here? 99% of people dislike his reviews.

Sidian1626
Sidian1626

Tom McShea please never review anything again. Most of your gripes about this game could also be said regarding the first and thats widely considered to be an amazing game..while it may be slightly disappointing they didnt advance the series in some way, neither has the New Super Mario Bros series in its now 4 iterations and they still score 9's and 10's. Your opinions suck not because hey are different from mine but because your reasons for arriving at them are BS. I'm sorry its not Call of Duty: Yoshi's Island because those are apparently the only games you seem to know or like. Theres a simple joy in a beautifully designed game with gorgeous art and fun levels to explore. This isnt supposed to be Dark Souls. You gave a crappy review to Duck Tales Remastered as well and that is awesome! So please do the world a favor and never post another article again.

klonoa53
klonoa53

I remember the days when games just used to be good based on how much fun you had playing them. It just seems that now most people are spoiled by other games to appreciate the smaller ones. Also not that this is a game for ages 10+ so don't expect some super complex amazing shoot em up while fus roh dahing people in a face as you drive down a highway strapped to a giant gun toting mech fighting against giant dragons to the flash gordon theme. Slowly but surely I'm starting to hate these spoiled gamers, never appreciating or having fun with a simple game "THEY DIDN'T DO IT THE WAY 'I' WANTED ITS BAD FOREVER". 

quickshooterMk2
quickshooterMk2

what do you expect? 

i would really want some RPG's for my 3DS XL 


maybe a new fire emblem or make that kirby game come to europe 

EPaul
EPaul

From the time i  saw gameplay i knew this was coming. Tom didnt even mention the horrible music

snaketus
snaketus

It's about time all seen before Nintendo games starting to get bad reviews. I just wish they started to treat CoD and other modern military or futuristic shooters ehm.. Titanfall, the same way or we have to wait to that happen three decades too?

MirkoS77
MirkoS77

Nintendo not only rehashing, but CONTRACTING it out?? Talk about lazy. Keep it up Nintendo, you'll see the rewards you'll reap through such efforts.

Comduter
Comduter

@shadowghosting I'd say skip this game and play Yoshi's island DS.  It's a much, much better game in every way.   Yoshi's New Island just seems extremely dumbed down compared to the previous two YI games.

oneEnigma
oneEnigma

@Nissemean dear god the music is truly awful in this game, i watched GQ on twitch play this game for a hour and it was literally a remix of the same one song throughtout the 9-10 levels he completed in that period

oneEnigma
oneEnigma

@ekolite hopefully the last game they ever get to make for Ninty. I have never understood the company choices of Nintendo when they outsource their games. Team Ninja (ugh!), Namco who peaked during the PSX era and havent done anything remotely at that level since and now this company. 

I guess Koei is going to be the one to complete the quartet with that Dynasty warriors zelda they are making, with all respect for the dynasty games they are pretty fun for 30-40 minutes but after that the incentive to playing them quickly drops afterwards with the repetition and tedious design the series always had

chev9342
chev9342

@DiverseGamer Didn't I see you troll Nintendo before? Oh yeah, you have. Also, would it have killed you to do research on the Yoshi Island series?

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@Pyrosa Buy them a SNES and Yoshi's Island 1.  It'll be cheaper and they'll get a better game.

Undertow207
Undertow207

@Pyrosa  As someone that grew up in the "NES hard" era, I can't help but laugh at this comment.

clparkerson
clparkerson

@JKvam  Yes, thank you for this. I knew this game was designed mostly for those under 10 when I bought it (I'm 38). But, what's wrong with finding that 10 year old inside of you and having some fun in the adorable little world Nintendo has created here? Isn't good gaming supposed to be partially a form of escapism? What could be more escapist than being a 10 year old for a bit? As long as Nintendo doesn't cowtail completely to the 14 - 26 heterosexual white males that dominate the gaming market, they'll continue to get my money. This reviewer is very obviously viewing this game through the completely wrong lens.

Tremblay343
Tremblay343

@Sidian1626  This is hilarious because Tom openly hates CoD on the hotspot podcast.  I don't know where you get the idea that's something he enjoys.

Rave215
Rave215

@klonoa53  Why the hell did you read the review if you were gonna get butthurt if it wasn't perfect

Syrlink
Syrlink

@quickshooterMk2  If you've run out of good RPG's on the 3ds, then well...you're either not looking hard enough or you have way too much time on your hands....oh sorry...you're in Europe...have you gotten SMT4 yet? :P

chev9342
chev9342

@MirkoS77 Not only this troll is rehashing the same troll post, but he also lacks a sex life??? Keep it up Mirko577 because your parent's basement is the only thing you will have.

ProfessorPichu
ProfessorPichu

@Comduter If possible, backtrack all the way to the SNES or GBA Yoshis Island. Those are the absolute best.

Yoshi's New Island More Info

  • Released
    • 3DS
    Yoshi's Island brings Yoshi and Baby Mario back with flutter jumps, ground pounds, egg throws, and a host of new actions that use the unique features of the Nintendo 3DS.
    7.9
    Average User RatingOut of 16 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Yoshi's New Island
    Developed by:
    Arzest
    Published by:
    Nintendo
    Genres:
    2D, Action, Platformer
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    Everyone
    All Platforms
    Mild Cartoon Violence