I love Mario games. Not every game in the expansive series is great, especially if you include the wide variety of sport and party games that bear the portly plumbers name, but the main series is nearly uniformly excellent. Even Mario platformers come in an array of flavors, though. There are the 2D New Super Mario games, games that might not be doing a lot to push the genre forward but are all tightly designed. The 3D Mario games, like Galaxy or 3D World provide another experience, ones that are frequently groundbreaking. Getting a little further afield there are Donkey Kong games, like the recent excellent Donkey Kong Country games from Retro Studios which an experience quite different from that of Mario. Mario’s devious doppelganger Wario also has a series of platformers that tend to be experimental and inventive. Lastly are the Yoshi’s Island games.
There are four or five games in the Yoshi Island family, depending on how you count them, spread across five systems. I’ve played bits of most them I am finally ready to admit that I just don’t like these games. They are a slower brand of Mario game, slower paced with an emphasis on puzzles and exploration. Those are things I generally enjoy, but in Yoshi’s Island I find is tedious. I thought the problem might just be with the GBA port of the original Yoshi’s Island after I gave up two worlds in. Having cleared New Yoshi’s Island on the 3DS it is now clear that I just don’t like this series.
There is nothing really wrong with Yoshi’s New Island; it is a fine game. The graphics look bad in stills, but they look pretty good in motion. The level design is rarely spectacular but it is mostly very good. The mechanics, except for some ill-considered tilt based minigames, a solid as well. I just didn’t enjoy playing it at all. Feeling compelled to snatch every coin because it could be a Red Coin was annoying. Dealing with both aiming eggs and keeping the annoying baby Mario on Yoshi’s back was just not fun for me. Both of those seemed to take away from the hopping and bopping that is central to the genre. Still, Yoshi controls well and the bosses, while easy, are impressive and usually fun.
It is just kind of odd to get to the end of a game like that and know that you had almost no fun with it. It isn’t a good game in genre I don’t like, like an FPS. I know there are plenty of good games in that genre but I have no desire to play them. When I do, I don’t really expect to have much fun. (which is why I play them very rarely) The Yoshi’s Island games, though, are pretty much exactly the sort of games that I enjoy. Everything about them is right up my alley but still they are just not for me. They are also not bad games. I’ve disliked plenty of bad platformers (though trying to think of a recent one is proving more difficult than I expected) and this is not one of them. It is simply a matter of a game just not clicking with me.
Luckily, I didn’t spend any money on it. It was the reward I chose for my final Club Nintendo Platinum Reward. I’m not sad I took it, though I still wish someone would have bought a DKC Tropical Freeze code off of me and I could have gotten Hyrule Warriors, but it just didn’t work out. Now I’m left wondering if I want to risk buying Yoshi’s Woolly World. It seems to pull in most of these Yoshi’s Island mechanics, minus the crying baby, but it also pairs it with that outstanding knitted look. I want it, unless it turns out like Yoshi’s New Island, in which case I don’t want it.