Nintendo pulled a fast one on us, folks. The giant constantly hammered home that nothing but 2017 titles would be revealed at their Nintendo Spotlight this year. Some held out hope, but most fans and news outlets took their word for it and let their 2018 dream titles slip away. Then, out of absolutely nowhere, there were four post-2017 games announced! While every announcement was a standout, I feel like some extra love has to be given to the upcoming Yoshi game made in Unreal Engine 4.
While we just got a Yoshi spin-off in Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World a few months ago, it’s been about two years since we were graced with the last mainline Yoshi game, Yoshi’s Woolly World on the Wii U. It was by and large a return to form after the 3DS’ rather disappointing Yoshi’s New Island and set the standard for what modern Yoshi games could deliver. The platforming was rock-solid and served as a great game to ease younger players into the genre. At the same time, Woolly World had an insane amount of collectables that the more hardcore fans could seek out for special rewards. It was truly a premium Yoshi experience, and this new entry in the franchise seems to be on the same innovative track.
The Yoshi franchise has been continually creative with its art direction over the years, and this one is no different. While the last major entry in the series went for a yarn aesthetic, this game has a homemade, cardboard style to it that’s somewhat reminiscent of Little Big Planet. In true Yoshi fashion, the game looks absolutely adorable and just oozes color and charm. Everything from Yoshi’s jump animations to the upbeat soundtrack are delightful and overall just continues the series’ focus on appealing to young gamers and gamers young at heart.
Gameplay-wise, 2018’s Yoshi will look very familiar to fans of the series. 2-D platforming is the name of the game here, albeit with a few out-of-the-box twists. For one, there are foreground and background enemies that Yoshi can interact with and environments that he can move to, calling to mind the recent Donkey Kong titles. The game also plays off the feeble cardboard nature of the stages by implementing interactive and destructible environments. In another interesting twist, stages can be flipped so that players can go behind structures to presumably uncover hidden collectables. There are also light puzzle solving elements that are again somewhat evocative of Little Big Planet. And, of course, it’s only fitting that a Yoshi game coming to Switch would offer a local co-op option.
We hardly know anything about it, but the next major Yoshi title nonetheless looks quite promising. The Yoshi franchise has a history of delivering solid platformers for younger players while also offering extra challenges for the more experienced among us. If this game can artfully manage that balance as well as 2015’s Woolly World, fans should have every reason to be excited for the game’s 2018 release.