When I initially started Yoshi’s New Island, I expected a game much like the last two entries. I wasn't really let down in a sense, although it certainly isn't like the last two. Right off the bat, I noticed a change in graphical style. Instead of looking like a 2D drawing, Yoshi looks like a 3D model. Even so, the textures on his model try their hardest to make him look like he’s on the page of a book, like the level backgrounds and foregrounds. I also noticed quickly that the controls felt a bit clunkier. Nothing that can't be gotten used to after a while, but I was a bit off-putting at first for someone who’s played all the others for more than a decent chunk of hours.
The music also took a style change, probably due to the fact that the 3DS hardware is capable of higher-quality sounds than past Yoshi’s Island games. Even with the style change, the songs are really nothing more than rearranged versions of the same tune, with a few exceptions here and there. There are a few new features added into the game, the biggest being the Mega Eggdozers. I feel as though they wasn't really needed in the game. They may have been interesting, but I've always felt that Yoshi’s Island was more of a platformer than a destroy-everything kind of game. However, this is easily overlooked.
The graphics are probably the most radical change from past Yoshi’s Island games. Unlike past games which featured 2D sprites with a hand drawn feel, Yoshi’s New Island features full 3D models of Yoshi and his enemies, with a crayon-like texture on them. Everything else seems to be 2D, with a pencil and chalk pastel feel. The game does support the 3D feature. It’s very basic, however it does manage to make everything look better.
The sound effects still sound very similar to the past versions, but in better quality thanks to the Nintendo 3DS hardware. The soundtrack sounds great as usual, with the new arrangements giving the old tracks a bit of new flavor.
The controls are probably the biggest drawback of the game for me. They just don't feel as tight this time around. I can't quite put my finger on it but Yoshi just doesn’t feel as good to move around anymore. The egg throw crosshair doesn’t seem to move as fast as before, making it easier to throw eggs precisely. When fighting bosses this can also be a bad thing however. I think it's quite neat how some of Yoshi's transformations use the gyroscope of the 3DS to control them.
Although the single player campaign doesn't take terribly long to beat, a completionist will find that getting a perfect score of 100 on every level will provide quite the challenge, and take some time. A multiplayer mode is also included, and it provides more enjoyment for those who can play the game with friends.
While Yoshi’s New Island isn't a masterpiece, it’s certainly not a bad game and lives up to its name as a game in the Yoshi's Island series. Although some of the bosses aren't very memorable, the game itself is great for what it is. It looks and sounds nice, but the loose controls can take away from the game a bit. However, I still recommend picking it up.
How often do you pay attention to the background music in a game you're playing? Probably not very often, if at all. You probably drown it out in favor for your own music or a conversation with a friend or two. Some games on the market today have even done away with practically all music in their games to save resources for other things. However, plenty of games today still have a great score nuzzled into the beautiful scenes before you. In fact, I believe the music plays a major part in the general mood of the area and event. You may not think of it while it's happening, but a boss fight can be much more intense thanks to the background track. Even a creepy alleyway can be made that much more terrifying if given the right ambient track to go with it. Just think of how less epic your final showdown with Bowser would be if there was no music playing. Rather bland right? Truly, music in video games is a very important thing, and I'm sure it won't be going anywhere anytime soon. Games even offer a wide variety of music, from ambient to techno, metal to pop, and even chiptunes or fully orchestrated tunes.
Some people even listen to a game's soundtrack outside of the game themselves. Some go as far as to remix their favorite tracks, either by just enhancing the original material or by almost completely changing how the whole song sounds. It's pretty easy to find remixes as well. A great place to start would be YouTube; a lot of great unknown remixes can be found there. Sites like OverClocked ReMix and Bandcamp are also worth a look. If there's a video game tune you like recently, chances are somebody made a remix of it.
My personal favorite track from a Yoshi game is the Flower Garden theme from Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (on SNES, GBA, or Wii U eShop). It gives me a feeling of nostalgia and has such a feel good vibe to it. If you grew up playing this game like myself, this song probably takes you back to when you were a kid staying up late to try and get a perfect score on that one level you just couldn't ever seem to find the last red coin too.
All in all video game music is growing more and more popular as an actual music genre, and as a community. Before you know it, it just might become a section of your favorite music store.