There is only one word to describe this game: Bliss. Pure platforming bliss, in it’s most refined, clear state. I have yet to play a game that exceeds or even matches the insane level of quality that Yoshi’s Island provides. If you never played this game on it’s home console, the Super Nintendo, or even some platform like the DS, you are missing out, and this is why you should play it.
I probably first played this game when I was no older than six or seven years old. At the time, I was wowed, but I had no idea how awesome it was. I had nothing to compare it to. But looking back at the game, 10 years past the time when I fist played it, I am even more enthusiastic about it. Everything about this game screams polish and dedication. The music is nearly orgasmic, the level design is superb, the art style is endearing and colorful, but most importantly, it’s fun. Really fun.
One of the most standout features of this game is arguably the most hidden, ironically enough. That feature is level design, and variety of levels. Yoshi’s Island has 64 levels that are strung across 6 worlds, not counting the 2 extra levels you get if you perform perfectly on the other 8 levels. By most accounts, and especially considering that it’s on the SNES, that’s a sh%*tton of levels. But these levels aren’t just filler. Every single one of them feels interesting and brings something new to the table, with just the right length in the level. This game never gets stale, which is a testament to how AWESOME the levels and their creators were.
The game feel complements perfectly with the levels. Moving and jumping feels tight and satisfying. Shooting your eggs doesn’t feel frustrating, and allows for even the most unfamiliar gamers to feel confident in their abilities. The Mario-loss mechanic does exactly what it’s supposed to do, which is make you feel stressed out and worried for the baby. Game feel I think is one of the hardest things to describe to someone else who hasn’t played the game, but I hope that in those few short sentences that you get a grasp of how great this game operates with you, the player.
Moving on from the actual game-y stuff, I want to talk about the music. OH, the music. I cannot adequately describe in words how much I LOVE this music to tears. It’s one of the fondest memories of my early years as a child, and every time I hear it, all I think about is having fun and being carefree in a colorful island of hazards and enemies. There are very few games I have played that have as memorable of a soundtrack as this. The music, and heck, even the sound design, was crafted by master musicians and composers.
However, I feel like now would be a good time to mention that one of the things I specifically look out for in a game is music. I don’t know why I have so much of an allure to video game music, but to put it succinctly, at least 95% of my iTunes library is video game music, so naturally, music is a very important thing to me when playing a game.
And lastly, before I wrap this up, I want to touch on the art. Even in my untrained, non-artist eyes, it’s pretty easy to distinguish good artists working on a game, and bad ones. This is especially noticeable in games that try to emulate 8-bit and 16-bit art styles. Hotline Miami, for instance, doesn’t have that great of art. Dungeons of Dredmor has… Adequate art. On the contrary, Yoshi’s Island has great art. I can’t be one to analyze the art all that well, but I can definitively say Yoshi’s Island had pretty much the best application of 16-bit art at the time. Colors, lines, something good something something art. Moving on.
All in all, the meshing of all the things I mentioned above makes for a great game, even one that it practically flawless. Yoshi’s Island comes with my highest recommendation possible. There has not been a platformer I’ve ever played that can stand up against this game, and hopefully that means a lot.
3 billion lights/ 1 hobo