Release Date: 2018
It’s taken a lot of time, but I’ve finally learned to love Yoshi.
As an ancillary mount during his Mario days he was innocuous enough, an endearing and perhaps even loveable character who both fit the pantheon of Mushroom Kingdom ephemera and was a surprisingly functional power-up. But as he took off on his own, his games got more saccharine; he was a snuggly teddy bear on the soft sheets of a baby’s crib and not something I’d even give a chance to because of societal insecurities that I’d be caught enjoying a toddler’s game.
But here’s the thing – he is ridiculously cute and his adventures adorable…but their also solid platforming games that focus more on discovering hidden areas and uncovering a set of collectables that make it more deliberate. With the blood long washed away in the great Donkey Kong Country vs. Yoshi’s Island debate, I came to appreciate where Nintendo was going with the Yoshi series and actually fully enjoy them. I feel like I’m one of the few people who actually liked Yoshi’s New Island and Yoshi’s Woolly World had the perfect tempo to play co-op with my boys. I’ve gone from being merely respectful of the derpy green dinosaur and have actually come circle to becoming a fan.
With the tentatively titled Yoshi for Nintendo Switch, it looks like developer Good-Feel is looking to peel back the curtain a bit by making its modus operandi of seeking out secrets a matter of perspective. Each level has two sides to it and depending on your approach you’ll see things from the other side in a new light. With the ability to come at each stage from a different angle, there’s more opportunities to discover things from a certain point of view. I’m a fan of plumbing the depths of Yoshi games, so the fact that there is this whole other route is appealing.
Also interesting is the slight aesthetic choices that have been made. While Yoshi and his world are no longer cloth and wool, the art class design is in full force still. Our protagonist is still squishy, but more plush than afghan and the world he adventures through is filled with corrugated cardboard pathways, paper mache backdrops and clay pot warp pipes. At first blush it doesn’t look much different from Woolly World, but upon further inspection it looks to take it in just different enough direction that it looks worth exploring.
Most importantly though, I’m really looking forward to playing through this one with my kids. Without the kinetic chaos of a New Super Mario game, it’s something that truly feels co-operative and a little more directed. Even if you can swallow each other and turn the other one into an egg.