Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

Yoshi's New Island (Nintendo 3DS) Review

Review for Yoshi

The problem with the Yoshi series of platform titles is that Nintendo is never fully hands-on with it, instead offloading it to other developers. It happened with Yoshi's Universal Gravitation, Yoshi's Island DS (both Artoon), and now Yoshi's New Island (ex-Artoon staff at new company Arzest). Does the quality suffer overall, though? The plain and simple answer is 'yes'…

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.

Screenshot for Yoshi's New Island on Nintendo 3DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

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.

Screenshot for Yoshi's New Island on Nintendo 3DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

The basics of Yoshi's Island are all present and correct, with the usual egg-firing mechanic working as well as before and Yoshi's flutter jump being the same as ever. However, the button layout is not as intuitive as in the past (even on the second control option included), general gameplay elements do not seem as inventive as before, and any extras thrown in do not gel particularly well with the main journey, distracting from the flow of play.

Graphics

What looked absolutely stunning on the Super Nintendo and even looked great on Nintendo DS, sadly does not quite work as well on 3DS. The quality level really does seem nowhere near as high, almost as if too much effort was put into making it look like the child-sketch approach of the SNES game, but to the point where it was detrimental to the overall visuals. Nothing is abhorrent, but merely 'plain' and not as dazzling as would have been hoped for what was previously such an artistically great title.

Sound

Some of tracks included are pleasant, but very forgettable, and other tunes are downright boring and when tied in with the overly twee Yoshi noises equate to the sound slider being turned down most of the time.

Value

Whilst there are plenty of secrets to find, sadly there is no real incentive to do so because the pace of the adventure is so pedestrian that everything becomes a chore. The main adventure itself is over almost before it has begun (with a major helping hand being provided on levels where a couple of deaths are encountered to ease player through to the end), and the two-player minigames are not much of a draw either, although thankfully do only require the one 3DS card to play with.

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Average

About this score

Whilst not a travesty in the platform stakes, unfortunately Yoshi's New Island is rather bland and nowhere near the quality of Yoshi's Island on the SNES, and probably not even as interesting as the oft-criticised Yoshi's Island DS. Arzest - made up of ex-Artoon staff - seems to have taken the DS title, removed the difficulty and tacked on some rather average extras to create what is nothing more than a 'decent platform title' rather than a worthy successor to the old classic. All eyes are now on Good Feel to see how Yarn Yoshi turns out…

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15.03.2014

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Developer

Arzest

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop

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Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

Staff Member

Whilst I agree with your points on the sound, I think the visuals look fantastic. They looked ugly in the trailers, but after playing some of it I can safely say I love the overall art direction.

I must ask though, did you play this with the 3D slider cranked up? I found it looks a lot more appealing when the 3D effect is enabed.

I've only played the first two worlds and whilst I can say it doesn't feel as innovative as the original, the controls are tight and the gameplay mechanics all work as intended. I'd probably give it a 7/10 from my experience with it so far.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

I don't know - just didn't wash with me. Far too many levels looked ropey, which is shocking when compared to an old SNES game! ...and no, the 3D seemed very weak to me. It was like they toned it down considerably to appeal to 2DS owners and attract a wider market in the US and Europe.

Sure, as I said, the controls are fine (although the button layout isn't quite as I wanted and there should have been an option to map buttons as desired), and the basics are intact, yet that 'spark' is missing. My 6/10 might be your 7/10, which might be Az' 5/10. I'd have pushed to 6.5/10, I reckon.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Expected this, tbh. The E3 demo last year seemed really early to me, so I just put things down to being exactly that. But subsequent videos left a lot to be desired, too, and I just never saw anything that could come close to the original in the end. Can't give a full opinion since I don't own it, but it just screams average from the little I have seen, heard and played.

Why they feel the need to worm gyroscope and motion crap into places they don't belong, I'll never know. That will never, ever win me over.

Don't even have massive hopes for Yarn Yoshi either tbh, but would love to be proven wrong. I just think Yoshi's Island always has and always will be the pinnacle of Yoshi's career.

Cubed3 Staff :: Senior Editor
...Upupu.
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Staff Member

Adam Riley said:
I don't know - just didn't wash with me. Far too many levels looked ropey, which is shocking when compared to an old SNES game! ...and no, the 3D seemed very weak to me. It was like they toned it down considerably to appeal to 2DS owners and attract a wider market in the US and Europe.

Sure, as I said, the controls are fine (although the button layout isn't quite as I wanted and there should have been an option to map buttons as desired), and the basics are intact, yet that 'spark' is missing. My 6/10 might be your 7/10, which might be Az' 5/10. I'd have pushed to 6.5/10, I reckon.

I haven't played the SNES game for a good few years, maybe I'll have to revisit it after finishing this. I thought the 3D separated the different layers just nicely, but different strokes for different folks.

Senior ModeratorStaff MemberOur member of the week

Adam Riley said:
All eyes are now on Good Feel to see how Yarn Yoshi turns out…

I'd say with their track record, it's a bit safer than with Arzest. Wario Land The Shake Dimension and Kirby's Epic Yarn were both amazing games Smilie.

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Kirby > Wario, I'd say, but it's certainly an improving trend they've got going! The thing that concerned me was that for Kirby, Nintendo stepped in early in the development process. Hopefully that happens with Yoshi this time!

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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