In a complete surprise to me, NintendoFuse got their hands on a review copy of Yoshi’s New Island. I’ve almost beat up through World 2, so here are some initial impressions:
– Controls and play styles are very similar to Yoshi’s Island for the Super Nintendo along with the DS version. A is used to jump, B uses the tongue, X shoots eggs. Y or L can lock the eggs position for a precise throw.
– Visuals seemed to be more of a storybook setting similar to Yoshi’s Story, rather than the SNES classic.
– So far the sounds are all familiar to fans of the series
– So far the music seems to be a little on the missing side. Seems the music has been very quiet and calm – nothing catchy like the SNES original.
[Potential spoilers - read at your own risk]
The first major change is that they took out the percent system from the original and DS version. The collections of red coins, flowers and maxing out the star timer seem to each be completely separated from the others. Meaning if you find all 20 red coins, that a red coin indicator will appear below the level’s image on the map; and likely means if you are trying to acquire the other flowers – that you don’t need to have every red coin on other attempts at completing the level. If you do fail to collect all 20 red coins or 5 flowers, on the next play through you do have to collect each one again (so meaning that they will reappear, and to get the indicator you need to have collected all of that item in a single play). While the collection of these is not new to fans of the series, what has changed is how they are totaled.
While it sort of “dumbs- down” the difficulty by not shooting for ‘100%’, they really made some red coins and flowers in very obscure areas. Oftentimes in hidden balloons, or secret areas – and really challenging the player to find each and every one. Even some of the world 1 locations of flowers or red coins are not obvious and will you jumping in the air to find these hidden collectibles. Another aspect that adds to make the game easier, is that the wing assist item. Unfortunately, it seems that the requirement is to die twice within a level, and when you start (which is always conveniently near a pipe), the pipe will spit out the optional wings. While I have not personally used them yet, I do feel a little offended that the player just needs to die twice in order for them to be triggered.
Now let’s dive into the completely new items, perhaps why the “new” was inserted in the title. As shown in the Nintendo Directs, Yoshi is getting powered up with some new transformations. One of the first major ones is the one in 1-4 where Yoshi becomes a balloon. The controls are motion based and the player can tilt the 3DS from left to right to steer his direction. Pressing a (any) button will allow him to stop for a moment so if you are wishing to navigate to a particular side of the screen or trying to dodge a hazard, it becomes very useful. It was quite fun and interactive to use the motion controls, but as always I would prefer to use the circle pad, especially while playing the game in public – where you might be commuting to work on a bus, train, car, or perhaps going on vacation using a plane. While it is simply tilting the system, it can be awkward or affected if your mode of transportation is a rocky ride.
I also managed to beat the first major boss. Since it being world one, it can be easily forgiven that he is easy. What was not easy was trying to keep the timer at 30 seconds to acquire the rating. While his pattern was predictable, it still means the player has to have near perfect abilities to dodge all attacks and be able to continuously create new eggs and attack at the most opportune time. While there are off chances that Yoshi will create that awesome red egg (that when pops throws out 2 star seconds – returning from previous games) automatically, they are usually more rare and have you nearly repeating the boss’ pattern until a red egg manages to show up.
That’s it for now, stay tuned into NintendoFuse for my full review of the game!