• Yoshi's Island DS


  • Platformer


  • Artoon


  • Nintendo

Release Date:

  • November 13, 2006 (NA)

On Wikipedia:


  • Nintendo DS

A Word on the Box Art:

  • From Wikipedia, but I named it "disappointment.png" years ago

I played the classic SNES title Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island in 2006 under its Game Boy Advance port, Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3. While it obviously had some issues that was different from the SNES original (using L and R to compensate for the lack of X and Y buttons), sound effects from Yoshi's Story, an overall lighter color palette to compensate for lack of a backlight, and other features, I very much enjoyed it. (It would've been a different case had I played the SNES version first, as I remember how much I despised that feature in the Game Boy Advance port of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. It was natural then I play the "true" sequel on the Nintendo DS, known as Yoshi's Island 2 almost up into the point it was released in 2007, at which point it was named Yoshi's Island DS. I played it Srping Break 2007 which always helps associate good times together, but besides that, YIDS, as I will abbreviate it as such, is not very good.

Starting up YIDS should've told me that something was amiss. The first sign was that it wasn't even developed by Nintendo but rather by Artoon, a Japanese developer with either some forgotten games or outright failures, including Pinobee: Wings of Adventure, a GBA launch title that is all but forgotten, or the Xbox game Blinx: The Time Sweeper which was released the next year (heavily marketed but a huge flop). The second sign was the font used in the introduction of the game: rather than feature a unique font as Yoshi's Island did, it looks like they just used some form of Helvetica.

I'm going to basically copy from my older review from 2015 when it was much fresher in my mind—the sequel mostly tried what sequels tend to do, "trying to shoehorn a similar plot set clearly after the first one", with Baby Luigi being kidnapped by Kamek -again- but this time with gimmicks. I didn't like Donkey Kong Country 2 all that much because the difficulty level wasn't fair and the Banana Coins (and all the other items to collect) made it a bit of a drag, but at least that was a good sequel that improved on the original. What YIDS did was not only strip out a lot of the uniqueness of the original (they didn't even get the font right, it looks like they just used some form of Helvetica) but add in dumb gimmicks. You get to switch out at parts of the game between Baby Peach (which allows for some floating), Baby Donkey Kong (don't know what he did, don't care), Baby Wario (with a magnet), and Baby Bowser (shoots flames).

This is just as stupid as it sounds. There were no longer fire and ice melons anymore, and all the graphics and sounds everyone liked from the SNES original is replaced or removed. The dual-screen layout makes stages more "vertical" and is generally annoying (if they were going to go for the "baby switching" element, why not use the bottom screen for that?), the music was generally forgettable, and somehow, stages are longer they need to be. Overall, it had the impression of "I'd rather be playing/watching/reading the original" when it comes to mediocre sequels. In the 2015 review, I used RED 2 as an example, but now I think Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a much better example.

One thing that Yoshi's Island DS has going for it, if minor, between its myriad of problems is the option of using the control scheme with the original SNES layout (since the DS actually has X and Y buttons) or the GBA layout (which wasn't all that bad all things considered). When I played YIDS in 2007, there was something I really didn't like about the artwork but couldn't put my finger on at the time. It's the inconsistency: Yoshi and the baby were drawn in normal, crisp black lines but softer, lighter work was done for the enemies like the Shy Guys.

Critics seemed to like it at the time, though, probably because they were desperate for a Yoshi-centered game that wasn't completely awful. Of course, popular reception tends to change over time: there was a time when Bubsy the Bobcat was received better than EarthBound. (Nowadays, the EarthBound/Mother series is overrated, but that's for another time).

Myself, of course, I did finish the game but had no motivation or desire to 100% it or go through any levels again, a sure sign of a mediocre game.