Yoshi's Island came out in 1995. That's almost 20 years ago. Since then we've endured mediocre sequel after mediocre sequel. Yoshi's New Island is out in Australia tomorrow and, whaddya know — looks like another average platforming game starring Yoshi. What gives?
When Yoshi's Island was released on the SNES it represented the absolute pinnacle of platform design. To this day it remains a masterclass. I'm hard pushed to think of a more inventive video game in that space. Maybe only Mario Galaxy 2 with its splattergun innovation comes close. Yoshi's Island was a feverish toy box bustling with invention. It is, for my money, the greatest 2D platformer ever made.
Why has the brand been treated with such disrespect?
We had Yoshi's Story on the N64, a game that confusingly shrank in scope. Then Yoshi's Island DS, a paint by numbers facsimile. Yoshi's New Island on the 3DS appears to be similarly mediocre.
Here's what Yoshi's Island used to represent: a dazzling spitfire blast of over-delivering genius that could fart out ideas that destroyed the competition. Yoshi's Island was the Miles Davis of 2D platforming. It created ideas for fun, used them once and tossed them by the wayside for lesser titles to base their entire game around.
What happened to that? Why can't we have that again? Where is the creative spirit that made Yoshi's Island so explosively original?
Perhaps the closest we got to that was with, surprisingly, Yoshi's Touch And Go — an essentially throwaway DS game that made great use of the DS's touch screen when its touch screen was actually a point of difference.
But I want Yoshi's Island to be relevant again. I want a game that lives up to the legacy of the original. We had Retro Studios work wonders with the Donkey Kong Country franchise — can't someone else do a similar job with Yoshi's Island?