As promised, I started this game on emulator (I swear I had it on cartridge but could not find my copy). Played through the first world. So far pretty fun. We'll see if it reaches the heights of normal Mario games. It goes without saying that Baby Mario is annoying.
How does one unlock the extra stages? If it involves getting 100 on every level, you're gonna have to count me out unfortunately.
Yoshi's Island is easily one of my favorite platformers of all time. Great graphics, amazing music, tight controls, and that special brand of Nintendo magic was applied generously to the level design. Even the boss battles were fun, and at times, kind of mind-blowing. (Raphael the Raven, anyone?)
Fantastic game, glad people are finally getting around to playing it...back door ways or otherwise.
I just beat Yoshi's Island a few years ago for the first time. It was an acquired taste for me. I was expecting something more like Super Mario World, but it's really not. In fact, it's pretty unlike any 2D platformer I've played. I think what threw me off at first without realizing it is that there is no timer and therefore you're encouraged to explore the nooks and crannies of the different levels. Once I understood that, I enjoyed the game more. And it's easy to see the influence this game had on Super Mario 64 in that area.
This game is kind of stuck in between a straight platformer and an exploration platformer to me. The fact that you can die pretty easily from falling and then have to redo these semi-complicated exploration parts is a big bummer. That combined with the fact that there's no point to doing that stuff at all if you're not going for a perfect score has made me basically ignore those things if I don't get them the first time through. And as a straight platformer I find it kind of lacking.
The game was at its strongest to me when it was about straight up platforming, particularly when it took things from Super Mario World to the next level, like the super fast sliding platforms. The art is of course beautiful and the music is really strong.
But the problems I listed above were still problems pretty much throughout. I will never see the bonus levels because I won't be bothered to get a perfect score on every level. And even if the grading system was implemented better so that you didn't have to start from scratch every time you try to 100% a level, I didn't really enjoy finding the secrets and such in this game. I much prefer Star Coins from the New Super Mario games when it comes to bonus unlocking.
Baby Mario is as annoying as advertised and the frustration of sometimes not really being able to get him back through no fault of my own really took it to the next level. The parts that felt like they were actually meant to be tricky were a good level of challenge, but a lot of my deaths were more about not knowing what was coming next and often those involved having to replay long and tedious sections which was annoying.
I'm kind of surprised that the new Yoshi's Island games have gotten such a mediocre response, since a lot of the issues with this game seem like things that would easily be fixed with more modern gaming ideas, like cutting down on needless repetition, and the core mechanics are pretty strong (else than the health system) I guess those Artoon guys just aren't up to the job on a design level.
One thing I realized is I never once used an item. I wonder how that may have affected my experience.