IF the continuing popularity and critical acclaim enjoyed by the Mario series can be attributed to just the one quality, a strong argument could be made for the way Nintendo are able to revitalise each outing of their famous mascot while retaining his core attributes. Unfortunately, Yoshi, his trusty steed, does not enjoyed such a thoughtful approach in this 3DS title.
Review: Yoshi’s New Island - Nintendo 3DS
Score: 6.0 / 10
The game follows on from the Super Nintendo’s Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, which offered an inspired update on the genre with the likes of its countdown timer replacing the traditional life meter. Yoshi’s New Island adopts the same features, art style and plot, with Kamek intercepting a stork carrying baby Mario and Luigi, forcing the former to team up with the Yoshi clan to find his sibling.
While the mechanics are entertaining enough, they are barely distinguishable from what went before - a game that will be 20 years old next year. Age aside, the controls feel somewhat lacking on the 3DS; the pace is just a little too languid and at times Yoshi feels unresponsive and cumbersome.
For younger players unfamiliar with the SNES game, Yoshi’s New Island is a passable and enjoyable enough escapade, but those familiar with the Nintendo policy of updating and reinventing its most famous franchises will come away disappointed. Indeed, it is telling that the game’s development was left to Arzest, a studio best known for contributing to several of the minigames in Wii Play: Motion.
The Yoshi games have never quite acquired their own place in the Nintendo canon and New Island will not change that. It reminds you of a game that seemed fresh and vital two decades ago yet makes you question why it has been repackaged so cynically for a new generation at a time when Nintendo has proven itself more than capable of exciting updates to historic titles.