Slurp all you want, but be careful not to touch Fuzzy!
Yoshi’s Island is one of my all-time favorites, and though I would have preferred Super Mario Bros. 3, I can’t say I’m upset about getting the dinosaur’s title instead.
Yoshi’s Island looks to be a direct port of the SNES game. I was able to pick the game up and get 100% on the first level with no trouble: each flower and red coin was right where I expected it. The graphics were just as I remembered as well, though there is now a more user-friendly world scoreboard and an altered world map screen. The E3 floor was VERY noisy and the Sharp TV’s speakers weren’t great, but from what I could tell the music did the original justice, unlike in the Super Mario World conversion. They have added voice samples from Yoshi’s Story, which will surely bring up controversy, but I didn’t mind them. The control is as tight as in the original, though R is now used to throw eggs.
I’ll say what I said about Super Mario World before it came out: the vertical resolution on the GBA will be a big problem. Nintendo handled scrolling in Super Mario World better than expected, but Yoshi’s Island won’t be quite so easy. Many of Yoshi’s Island’s levels feature a lot of vertical progression, and there are also areas with a good deal of roaming space, making it impossible for programmers to predict the player’s next move. I also noticed that a few items designed to be somewhat hidden in the original would be near impossible for first timers to find on the GBA. No multi-player was available at E3, but I’m hoping for upgrades of the original’s mini-games (especially Seed Spit).
Judging from what I played, the game could already be finished, waiting for Mario Advance 2’s sales to dwindle...but hopefully this isn’t the case. Don’t get me wrong: the current version is tons of fun, but it looks to be a direct port and not an update. With Mario Advance 2 in mind, nothing more should be expected from this title, but moving or adding items would be much appreciated.
Despite my nitpicking, this is still a great game. Those who only played Yoshi’s Story will finally see why so many were disappointed with the N64 sequel. Many will relive their favorite game on the road. The Game Boy Advance is a beautiful thing.