Reviewed on Nintendo 3DS
Like all good platformers, this one builds stages around unique ideas, and these constant switchups made me eagerly anticipate what developer Arzest would toss my way next. In Flatbed Ferry Freefall, platforms drop down when stepped on, but then swing up and around with momentum that can be used to launch Yoshi across gaps and other obstacles. In Lose the Lunge Fish, the aptly named Lunge Fish stalks you whenever you approached open water; a careless misstep here would end in the Yoshi becoming fish food. Each world is capped off by boss fights that are clever, but end a bit too quickly. It ramps up smoothly from easy to genuinely challenging, and I enjoyed each stage and area more than the last.
The only interruptions to that flow are checkpoint placements that don’t always make sense, and brief sections in most levels that half-heartedly experiment with new ideas. The Egg-dozer, for example, is a new egg attack that can help break into closed off areas to earn extra lives and a metal variant helps explore underwater stages. But you’ll rarely use it because those level designs never really commit to the idea. And the vehicle stages don’t feel good because of imprecise motion control.
Even multiplayer feels sloppily tacked-on. The six two-player minigame modes focus on simple time-based score challenges. How many enemies can you and a friend turn into eggs? How far can you stay airborne using Yoshi’s handy flutter jump? How about when frequent bouts of lag are screwing you up?
Sadly, music isn’t a strong suit in Yoshi’s New Island either. The sound design comes from a combination of items found in a young child’s playroom, like squeaky toys mixed with xylophones, flutes, kazoos, and other contraptions. Even the joyous end-of-level celebrations just come across as irritated-but-excited noise.
- +Great level design
- +Good pacing
- +Skill-based attacks
- –Mismatched art and music
- –Motion-controlled minigames