Recently, other than Animal Crossing: New Leaf, I've been playing a fair amount of Yoshi's Island DS.
Unfortunately, to most, it sounds like more of a punishment than anything else. Seriously, five minutes on Youtube has reminded me how many people hate this game. It's like the Metroid Prime: Federation Force of 2006. (obligatory airhorns)
Don't get me wrong, the critical reception was more often than not positive. It's listed as one of the best 50 DS games by Gamesradar and has sold almost 3 million copies worldwide, but for some reason everyone else thinks the game is about as great as a dumpster in the bad side of Queens.
I feel like the most polarizing aspect comes from the fact that it's the sequel to Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, frequently heralded as a classic, and that's not without good reason: at the time, it was innovative as heck. In an era where video games were approaching the awkward teenage years, it was nice to be provided with such a massive display of eye candy, let alone the memorable music and solid platforming.
Then comes Yoshi's Island DS; the platforming is fairly strong (I'll get to that in a second), the music is admittedly mediocre at worst, and the game provides just as many colorful spectacles as before.
Yet everybody hated it.
The game alone is great, but the fact that it's brother is a classic doesn't exactly help. Some games pull it off well; Mother's three installments are all cult classics, the main Mario series is constantly fresh, etc., yet Yoshi's Island is struggling to pull off new innovations each time, culminating in Yoshi's "New" Island, a generic, hollow husk of its predecessors.
Moving on from the arguments, my opinion on Yoshi's Island DS, standing without the support of the first, is that it's not bad. The main issue is the fact that the difficulty gets downright unforgiving. It starts off as a cakewalk but by World 4 becomes downright masochistic. Trying to get 100% on each level becomes daunting by the time you get to World 2, and the unexpected difficulty curve will definitely lead to some to unwarranted wilding.
It's also Yoshi's Island. Which means babies. Which means crying. There's also four different babies. So there's four crying sound effects, and each one's more grating than the last. Can we just talk about that for a minute? You can NEVER have an important aspect/driving force of a game be an obnoxious, crying baby. JUST. STOP.
Other than those two complaints, it's really not all that terrible. Just look at it for what it is, and you'l be all set for a decent evening of gaming.