Hello, all of the GI community, I have returned again (as you can tell by yesterday's post, but I don't really count that because I wrote it a few weeks ago and did a little editing to make it work. This post however was finished today, as well as the final edit, and then posted. So this is my official return!)... Hopefully to stay a little longer, but I won't promise that I'll be here all the time. I still lurk though, leave the occasional comment, and have a couple blogs in the works. This series was inspired by the game featured today. I hope that I can continue it throughout my time back. Basically, this is my idea for the series:

After the recent announcement of Yoshi for WiiU, I decided to finally experience Yoshi's Island. So I turned on my 3DS, pulled up the copy I got from the ambassador program, and began to play. The goal with this series, inspired by that event, is to either experience for the first time a classic retro title, or relive one of my favorite experiences of the past. Once I do so, I'll write down the experience and share it with the GIO community. I hope you enjoy.

I believe I should begin with what I expected picking this game up again. I've played it before; when I first got it on the 3DS. I played a little ways in, made it to the second world, and just all around enjoyed it. But still, my expectations weren't sky high. I expected a decent game, one that had enjoyable platforming, but mostly relied on charm to get by. What I got though was a totally different experience; one that, while abounding in charm, had amazing platforming, great level design and mechanics that should be brought back to light.

This game's art style is both unique and simply striking. The vibrant colors and beautiful environments really pop. It's hard to truly describe how good these visuals are. Character sprites are really detailed as well. Some of the most striking visual moments are when the game shifts into this disoriented view of the world. The disorienting effect and the way the world moves really brings out some of the technical power of the SNES and consequentially the GBA. The variety of environments really show off the great visuals, such as detailed caves and sweeping backdrops. Things actually fly "out" of the screen. This makes a visual phenomenon on the GBA that I really enjoyed.

Also, it wouldn't be a Mario game without a stellar soundtrack. The music is very light and bouncy, fitting the tone of the game. The final stage has some pretty dark music, but it fits with the final boss well. The sound effects, at least in the GBA version make it 20 times more annoying, with annoying sounds coming from both Yoshi and Mario periodically throughout the game.

Really though, the gameplay is where the game shines. Yoshi's Island is a typical Mario platformer. Or so it appears at first. The only difference is the fact that you now play as Yoshi and carry baby Mario. This simple fact makes for a world of gameplay difference though.

First off , Yoshi has an ability Mario never had, the ability to glide after a jump. It's makes hard to reach platforms much easier to access, and has saved me from otherwise deadly falls. It's also just really satisfying to KNOW that you have a little leeway if need be.

Secondly, Mario is your responsibility, your like a green Dino babysitter. This means that whenever you get hit Mario will float around the screen in a bubble crying. It's your job to save him, and most cases you have a timer of 10 seconds to do it. This makes things very edgy, since not only do you have to worry about Yoshi dying, but also Mario dying.

Yoshi's island is also probably the Mario game that focuses most heavily on collection. How well you score on a level is based on how many of the five flowers you collect, how many of the 30 stars, and how many of the 20 red Coins. This is a completionist's nightmare, but adds a lot of replay ability if you are someone who really wants to collect everything. This is where the difficulty is really a factor. This game is hard in the later levels, but really isn't as hard as most Mario games. If you want to collect everything and 100% it however, you will find that there is quite a bit of challenge.

If I'm not mistaken, Yoshi's Island is the first game to feature baby bowser. Since everyone is a baby it only makes sense for bowser to be a baby, and this is not bowser jr. either, it's regular bowser, just really small. This makes for one of the highlights of the game. The final boss starts off simple enough, but in true Mario fashion, you fight him again, but in a bigger badder form. This fight is fun, intense, and hard, but so rewarding when you finally finish it.

The game is not completely free of problems, sometimes level design is bland and really simple. Some of the sound effects are infuriating. And the platforming, since you are playing as Yoshi and have a glide ability, can feel extremely floaty. This is especially a problem when fighting bosses that require great platforming skill, like baby bowser in the end. But even with a couple minor issues, this is one of the strongest games in the entire Mario series. It's fun, quirky, challenging, but most importantly, unique. This is an experience that no other Mario game really delivers. Yoshi's Island is a game that I would easily recommend playing if you've never done so.

Next time on (Re)Living Retro...

I will attempt to tackle a black sheep in a legendary series. This is often considered one of the hardest games in that series, as well as one of the weirdest. Still, I've heard good things and will finally attempt this game. I certainly won't promise that I'll beat it though. Well see you next time!