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Yoshi’s Touch and Go Review

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Developer: Nintendo Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: February 15, 2005 Also On: None

I hope that Nintendo realizes more and more by the day how important it is to have excellent first-party input on their DS handheld. Their latest release for the silver, dual-screened console, Yoshi Touch and Go, is a good game that could have been great, had it not been for a few key flaws.

Yoshi’s Touch and Go, a sequel or side-story to Yoshi’s Island, is a very unique title indeed. The gameplay premise is to use only the DS’ touch screen and microphone to control Baby Mario and Yoshi as they trek through Yoshi’s Island. Controlling Yoshi and Baby Mario is only “controlling” by definition. You actually use the stylus and touch screen to control their movement.

There are two different parts to the game, each focusing on controlling a different character. The game begins with Baby Mario falling from the sky, and it is your job to make sure he avoids enemies and collects coins by drawing clouds in the sky with your stylus. You can also capture enemies and fling them at Mario to get points. Once you have lofted all the way down to the bottom of the level, Mario falls onto Yoshi’s back. How convenient. This second part has you shooting eggs, drawing cloud “bridges”, and capturing enemies in order to direct Yoshi and Baby Mario to the end of the level, or as far as you can. Though this part of the game has a more frenzied pace, it is slightly slower and less cluttered than Baby Mario’s free-falling portions.

Yoshi’s Touch and Go is a novel concept. Fans of the novelty will enjoy the game, while others might not like it so much. I was slightly disappointed with a few things, but for the most part, I loved the gameplay. Yoshi’s Touch and Go uses the DS’ capabilities extremely well. Drawing clouds and capturing enemies is simple (that is, if you know how to hold a pen and use it), and blowing into the microphone to blow away unnecessary clouds is very helpful at times. There are a few cool tricks you can play on the game, like drawing a cloud “wall” to stop Yoshi’s progress or encircling a huge group of enemies and coins to get more points. However, points seem to be the only motivating factor to play. Like an old arcade game, Yoshi’s Touch and Go does not have levels, per se. Instead, it has the same repeated level with a few twists each time to test your skill.

This is the most disappointing thing about Yoshi’s Touch and Go. Memorization of the levels quickly becomes the key to getting a lot of points. While your skill will indeed increase over time, basically remembering coin locations and enemies will have the biggest effect on your outcome. Fortunately, there are four different gameplay modes that have a slightly different goal each time you play. The gameplay mode I have basically already described is Score Attack, which is the first mode you have when you boot up the game. Marathon, which is essentially as its name implies, is a test to see how far (in yards) you can make Baby Mario and Yoshi travel without dying.

Once you have earned top scores on these modes, Time Attack and Challenge are unlocked. Time Attack was my least favorite mode, where you are prompted to get Baby Mario on the ground as quickly as possible, and rush Yoshi to the end of the course as quickly as possible. The major downfall with this is the fact that it obliterates any sort of pace and does not allow you to take your time. Challenge mode is a mode where you have to keep collecting coins and killing enemies before the evil broom-riding Kamek arrives to steal Mario away. This sets the pace a little higher than Marathon and Score Attack while still allowing you to take your time and do what you want to do.

The graphics are very similar to Yoshi’s Island, both in appearance and direction. The environments and characters look so cute and sweet that you could get a cavity just playing the game for too long. Unfortunately, none of the DS’ graphical possibilities are pushed. There is no 3D involved, only 2D sprites. The music, while it fits the bill nicely, isn’t as infective as Yoshi’s Island’s music was back on the Super Nintendo. I would have loved to see some of those tunes revived for this game.

Overall, Yoshi’s Touch and Go is a good game that DS fans should check out. While I do not suggest it to everyone, especially anyone thinking this is a new platforming game. You have been warned. People looking for a new and innovative way to play their video games will find enjoyment with Touch and Go.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 8.5
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 7.2
Written by Cliff Review Guide