Yoshi's New Island




Innocuous, moderately fun platformer stars Mario’s dino bud.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Most of the game is little more than running and jumping, devoid of any messaging. But there are underlying themes concerning cooperation -- all of the Yoshis work together to reunite baby Luigi and baby Mario -- and the bond between siblings, which in this case is the result of a psychic connection Mario shares with his brother. 

Positive role models

The Yoshis, while perhaps a little too happy to dispatch the game's minions, prove themselves to be helpful and selfless creatures devoted to reuniting babies Mario and Luigi, regardless of the risk to themselves.

Ease of play

The basic controls for running and jumping are a snap, but it could take a little longer for kids to get the hang of swallowing enemies, laying eggs, and then throwing them -- a surprisingly convoluted process that involves controlling a targeting line that extends from the player's character outward. Plus, new actions -- pounding pegs into the ground, piloting vehicles, running fast along walls and ceilings -- are frequently added, which means players always seem to have new play mechanics to learn and master.

Violence & scariness

The Yoshis hop on fantastical cartoonish enemies to make them disappear. They also stick out their long tongues to gobble foes up, then squat to lay eggs that they can throw as projectiles. Some mini-games involve mild, cartoon-like combat, such as a submarine game in which players can fire torpedoes at enemy characters.   

Not applicable

This game is part of Nintendo's Yoshi franchise. The Yoshis also appear in non-Yoshi games, such as the Mario Bros. series, and outside of games as a stuffed animal and a character in branded board games. 

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.

What kids can learn



  • collecting


Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy


  • cooperation
  • meeting challenges together
  • teamwork

Engagement, Approach, Support


Simple to play and reasonably fun, most kids will be comfortable with this platformer within minutes. That said, it doesn't quite have the personality or panache of other games in its genre.

Learning Approach

Kids will learn about teamwork by absorbing the game's simple story, which depicts Yoshis working together to help Mario find Luigi. They can also join forces with a friend and take on mini-games as a team.


In-game help bubbles provide instructions whenever players encounter something new. There are no community forums on the game's website, but kids are bound to find strategies and game videos posted online.

What kids can learn



  • collecting


Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy


  • cooperation
  • meeting challenges together
  • teamwork

Kids can learn a bit about strategy and teamwork in this basic side-scrolling platform adventure game, though it's mostly intended just for fun. Kids will practice devising and executing strategies as they encounter enemies with varying behaviors. They also get to cooperate with their friends, working as a team to achieve goals in simple mini-games, such as popping balloons with eggs. Yoshi's New Island doesn't impart any critical skills, but it lets kids work cooperatively in small groups and provides some experience making quick decisions.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

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.

Families can talk 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?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo 3DS
Available online?Not available online
Release date:March 14, 2014
ESRB rating:E for Mild Cartoon Violence

This review of Yoshi's New Island was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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