The original Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island is a classic game from the 16bit era that is adored by many gamers worldwide. I still think it’s interesting that it was a sequel to another one of the most beloved games and yet it has spun off into a series all it’s own. As you can imagine when Nintendo announced a true sequel to the original it set off a wave of excitement and anticipation throughout the gaming community, but the way people play games today has changed since the 90’s and few mainstream games are as punishing as they were back then. So does this title hold up to the high expectations? Yes and no. Let me explain.
The artwork from the original was ground breaking and really showed what the SNES and Super FX chip inside the game cartridge were cabable of. The combination allowed for special effects such as parallax scrolling and gave the ability for character sprites to be stretched to giant sizes for boss battles. To sum it up it helped to bring the world in Yoshi’s Island to life on SNES and to this day I find the artwork charming with it’s bright colors and little touches like butterflies fluttering in the foreground.
There were also brilliant gameplay mechanics scattered throughout the game that never seemed to grow old. As Yoshi you could suck in your enemies and spit them back out at other enemies. The central mechanic was the ability to turn an enemy you had in your mouth into an egg that you could then throw to kill other enemies, break block barricades, or help collect coins and flowers that were otherwise unreachable to you. There were sections where Yoshi was able to transform into a plane, bus, or submarine and collect coins while trying to reach the end goal in time. Thankfully these are the only timed mini stages in the game and you’re otherwise free to roam and explore the many hidden areas and passages that await you thanks to the brilliant level design. The fact that Yoshi’s Island focuses on fun and tricky platforming coupled with exploration over precision platforming that is constantly overshadowed by a time limit makes it one of my favorite games and platforming franchises.
Overall Yoshi’s New Island lacks the heart and charm that still oozes from the original and maybe that’s because Nintendo didn’t develop the sequel and instead left it in the hands of Arzest. Or maybe it’s because this game was meant more for kids and less for those of us who grew up with the it’s SNES predecessor. That’s not to say Yoshi’s New Island is a bad game because it’s a good game and I had fun playing it. It’s just that it’s not memorable or as well designed as the original and feels like more of the same with a much easier difficulty. I am now looking to the future and have my hopes up for Yoshi’s Woolly World when it arrives on Wii U.