A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know Yoshi's New Island is a simple platformer game designed with younger players in mind. Its colorful, cheerful aesthetic is reminiscent of Mario games. So is the action, which involves a lot of hopping on cartoon enemies, as well as the Yoshis' signature "swallow-a-foe-and-squat-to-lay-an-egg" move. There are no overt messages, but light themes of teamwork and sibling affection emerge as the story progresses. It can also make for a fun social gaming experience for two players.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Mario's cute little dinosaur friends headline an adventure of their own in YOSHI'S NEW ISLAND, a simple side-scrolling platformer for Nintendo 3DS. The story begins with the witch-like Kamek -- Yoshi's perpetual nemesis -- attempting to kidnap babies Mario and Luigi from a stork. Kamek successfully nabs the green-hatted bro, but loses hold of the red-capped kid. Baby Mario falls from the sky, landing on an island inhabited by many colorful Yoshis. Guided by Mario's telepathic bond with his sibling, the kind-hearted dinos embark on a quest to reunite the two toddlers.
What follows is a left-to-right running and jumping escapade loaded with moving platforms and cartoonish foes. At the heart of the experience is the Yoshis' unique ability to flick out a long tongue to grab and swallow enemies, turning them into spotted eggs they can throw at other foes and breakable objects. Outside of the story mode, players can engage in a handful of local multiplayer mini-games, teaming up with a friend to throw eggs at balloons or competing against each other in fluttering races through the sky.
Is it any good?
Yoshi's New Island is a modestly entertaining romp. Its running and jumping action is finely tuned -- as is to be expected of any official Nintendo platformer -- and its cast of cute characters is familiar and welcoming. The game is easy to get into and hums along nicely once you're playing, with hidden collectible items sure to keep fans replaying levels until they've found them all.
That said, it's hard to see why anyone would choose to play Yoshi's New Island if they had the option to play a Mario game instead. Its audio and video presentation, purposefully rudimentary, comes perilously close to making it feel like a game made for cell phones. And while the Yoshis' antics are generally amusing, they don't get up to anything most players haven't seen before in bigger, better Mario adventures. It's quite competent and often fun, but Yoshi's New Island still feels second-rate compared to other Nintendo platformers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the bond between siblings. What makes the relationship between brothers and sisters different than any other? Why do you think some siblings experience feelings of rivalry and jealousy?
Families can also discuss the concept of cooperation. Why do people cooperate with one another? Can you think of a task that can be achieved through cooperation that would be far more difficult to achieve on your own?
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
- Subjects: Hobbies: collecting
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: strategy
Collaboration: cooperation, meeting challenges together, teamwork
- Price: $39.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Nintendo
- Release date: March 14, 2014
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Dinosaurs
- ESRB rating: E for Mild Cartoon Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.