Yoshi’s Island [Retro]
Truly one of the best titles Nintendo has ever produced, Yoshi’s Island has been ported to both the Gameboy Advance, and the Nintendo Virtual Console in the past, and for good reason. It is an amazing game. Everything about this title from Nintendo EAD leaves you in awe from one level to the next as you scroll through a beautifully rendered landscape, pop a few heads, and break a few eggs all to get baby Luigi back from Bowser’s castle. This little gem will run you a good $8.00 on Nintendo’s Virtual Console, but collectors like myself aren’t so lucky. Complete copies of SNES cartridges usually go for around $70.00, while cartridges still go for a wallet-crippling $38.00.
Strap in gamers and Nerd-do-wells, you’re about to get struck with 16-bits of awesome.
Yoshi’s Island is a platforming game for the SNES system that has you ferrying a baby version of Mario across an island, through pipes, and into castles; all to find his brother Luigi. Why? Because Mario can’t be… y’know, Mario, without Luigi. This journey to reunite the lost siblings will take you through beautifully rendered levels, and some amazing gameplay, for the whole of your stay on the island. An island which has been annexed by Bowser, of course. The Koopas better be careful though, because the Yoshis are out to throw some eggs and flutter-jump their way to Bowser’s Castle and take their island back.
The art director for this game must have been a child. Because everything except the sprites look like they have been drawn with crayons or smeared on with finger paint; and boy, does it look awesome. Nintendo really outdid themselves on how they made the levels look fun (even the castles!). As if the pastels and crayon scribbles didn’t do much to soothe your savage gaming heart, collecting flowers and chasing around little stars with legs on them is sure to put a manly tear in your eye. The backgrounds are simply stunning, with a few levels even having dynamic backgrounds showing Chain-Chomps flying in at you from across the water, only to destroy the platform that you decided was comfy while you took a drink of water.
The gameplay is extremely smooth too! So smooth, it’s like butter. Yoshi handles very tautly, responding to every nudge on the D-pad and catching up to speed the harder you press. The controls aren’t overly sensitive either, rather they are absolutely spot-on. Through most of the game you have the standard head-stomping platformer goodness, but with the introduction of missiles (more namely- Eggs) routing enemies and clearing paths has never been more pleasing. When the button to throw an egg is pressed, a red cross-hair darts back and forth on the screen in an arc in front of Yoshi. When you find your proposed trajectory you can press the R button to lock the cross-hair in place, and it will remain there until you decide to move; or you exhaust your ammo supply. Taking damage is different however, you can take as many hits as you want as Yoshi, all he gets is a little stunned. However, Mario flies off of Yoshi’s back and floats around in a little bubble while a timer counts down. You have until the end of the timer to reach him or Kamek swoops in and ferries him off to Bowser. Thus, displaying the dreaded “Game Over” screen. Don’t worry though, Mario gives you plenty of incentive to get him back on time. Crying. Lots of it. It will drive you insane. Although it does give you that sense of urgency to get him back, Nintendo did a very good job of making Mario a “baby”.
Now, at the close of this 16-bit can of awesome, Yoshi’s Island is a flawless title. I found hardly any bugs, or glitches with the game, and it kept me glued to the screen for hours on end. The buttery smooth gameplay coupled with the unique art-style really makes Yoshi’s Island a fantastic game. If you are a gamer, you are doing a huge disservice to yourself by not playing through at least the first few levels. That being said, Yoshi’s Island is fully deserving of the 5/5 rating in my humble opinion; and will be a title I keep coming back to. Time, and time again.
1333 Views // July 31, 2014