Straight off the bat it should be said that this is not a disaster of a game, proving to indeed be a rather solid platform adventure. However, 'average' is a word that rings in the mind all the way through the brief romp. There is no thrill, no amazing challenge, nothing that makes this stand out from the crowd of already impressive platform titles on the market, both at retail and on the Nintendo eShop.
Yoshi is back in the familiar Crayola-drawn settings that worked so well on the Super Nintendo for Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island back in the mid-1990s. The fact that the classic still far outpaces this new 3DS title says everything, though, and shows that be it under the name Artoon or new company mantel of Arzest, the team simply cannot match the might of Miyamoto-san's classic, not even with the guidance of the Mario team.
Gobble enemies and turn them into eggs, launch into the air and ground pound to break into new areas, target objects and shoot eggs at them, collect all the secrets in each stage, try to keep Baby Mario safe until the end of every level. Yes, the basics are all there. However, for some reason, the shine of previous Yoshi's Island entries is lacking, with no real drive to keep gamers going further; nothing leaps out and grabs the attention. Scouring levels for all the collectible items will keep those desperate for value for money going and the inclusion of new projectiles from Yoshi (fire and ice, anyone, or even a giant egg that destroys pretty much everything in its path?) is definitely a pleasing one, but the gyroscope-controlled sections where Yoshi transforms into various other objects (balloon, submarine, and so on) are too simplistic to be anything other than a side note, proving to be a missed opportunity.
Unfortunately, then, what it means is that although some may find enjoyment in slowly wandering around trying to find every last red coin and flower, as well as garner enough stars to reach the grand total of 30 (the maximum time allowed for Mario to float around out of Yoshi's grasp upon being hit by an enemy, before Kamek and his cronies come to swipe the little hero and take him off to be trapped alongside Luigi, his brother), others will lose interest very quickly. Gyroscope functionality for minigames - like guiding a hot air Yoshi balloon - works well enough, and turning 3D off is not bothersome since the effect is not implemented well enough to have any impact in the first place. However, nothing motivates players; a definite spark is absent.
Visuals that are not up to the expected standards, a very forgettable soundtrack, and levels that lack invention, all make Yoshi's New Island a very disappointing adventure for those hoping that the SNES game might finally be usurped. As it stands, Yoshi's Island DS was probably more fun on the whole, and certainly far more challenging. Fans were not waiting for a run-of-the-mill platform outing - they wanted sheer class from Nintendo. Instead all that has been delivered is yet more evidence that Nintendo does not care too much for the Yoshi series.
All eyes are now on Good Feel then, to see if the quality of Kirby's Epic Yarn can be replicated with Yarn Yoshi on Wii U further down the line.