Review by ShyningFade

"The most simplistic, yet addictive game since Ikaruga"

Although I'm a gamer who prefers long, drawn out epics to the quick "it lasts as long as you want it to" games, I can't help but go back to my roots and remember the kind of games that got me into gaming in the first place.

First Impressions:

I remember when I was a little kid, who had just played the crap out of Super Mario World for the SNES. I completely fell in love with the Yoshi character, and ever since, I had wanted a stand-alone Yoshi adventure. However it seemed that all I would get was a puzzle game, or a platformer with a very, VERY annoying baby mario thrown in.

So when I first heard about Touch & Go, I was skeptical. Yoshi's Island was a fun game, i'll give it that. But not since Star Ocean 2 has a game's audio affected me so negatively. Nevertheless, I was desperate for a new DS game, and began to check this one out.

It's not a platformer, but more of a puzzler game, very much akin to the Mr. Driller series. And even though I purchased it practically out of desperation, I found myself with a very rewarding experience. Amazing what you can find when you think outside the box, eh?

Gameplay:

Usually in my reviews, I have a little section called "Story" which precedes the gameplay section. However, there is NO story, unless you consider the paragraph in the instruction booklet to be a story.

So what does this mean, and how does it affect the gameplay? Quite simply, it means that this isn't the kind of game where you go from level a to level b, defeat a boss, then have the story give you mandatory reason for traveling to another land.
Please let me stress this as much as possible...

This is NOT a platform game like Super Mario Bros. OR Yoshi's Island!!

There are many similarities, but at it's core, it's a completely different game.

Each mode (which i'll get into later) starts out and ends in similar fashion.
In the first part, Baby Mario falls from the sky, and it's up to you to guide him to safety in this vertical scrolling adventure.

How do you do that? Using the stylus, players can lead baby Mario down paths made out clouds, simply by drawing a line over the screen. Mario follows these paths as if going down a slide, but the challenge here is anticipating how true he'll stay to the path. If you angle the slope incorrectly, he'll kinda float off the path and end up in a different place than originally intended.

So when you want to erase any lines you don't want to have set down, you simply blow them away. That's right, you just blow into the microphone, and it blows the clouds away in game. While this isn't exactly ground breaking, it's just damn cool and makes too much sense. You've gotta love interactivity like this in games.

And any sort of Mario bros.-ish game would not be complete without enemies. While in baby form, Mario can't dispatch enemies directly. So by drawing a circle around enemies, you're able to encase enemies in a bubble, which instantly turns them into coins. You can then toss the coin-filled bubble towards Mario, adding those coins to the total.

Unlike other games, getting coins doesn't give you a 1-up at 100. The total amount of coins determines the type of Yoshi you'll get once baby Mario hits the floor (no, he's not doing a swan dive into the ground from 1000 km in the air. This is a Nintendo game, after all).

The Yoshis vary in color, egg capacity, and speed. Players are rewarded with more capable Yoshis by collecting larger amounts of coins in the baby Mario levels.

Once players hop onto Yoshi's back, comes the most enjoyable part of the game. (Which happens to be the main point of the game.)

You are able to guide Yoshi over various hazards in the same fashion you guided Mario in the air, this time by drawing bridges and walkways for Yoshi using the stylus. Yoshi is able to dispense some indiscriminate justice by flinging eggs at enemies by tapping the screen in the direction you wish to throw. You can also bubble enemies as you did before.

Another option that Yoshi has is the ability to jump and do his patented constipated flutter kick. Players tap on Yoshi to jump (tap for a small jump, hold it longer for a higher jump) and then tap again to make him flutter, which practically allows Yoshi to fly. However, it's not really advised to do this too often.

Players Choose from four different modes (only two of which are selectable at the start), and their adventure begins. Even though there are four different modes, they are pretty similar, with the exception of "rules" set for each one. Allow me to explain.

Score Attack - In this mode, you have a set distance to cover. The challenge here, is to try and rack up as many points as possible before hitting the finish line.

Marathon - Arguably the most enjoyable mode in the game, Marathon mode sends you running for as long as possible. This mode features a few different backgrounds, with enemies appearing in random locations and frequency. So while you might go through a cave one time and encounter a cake-walk, the next time might have the cave filled with tons and enemies, which is something that really adds to the reply value. While similar, it's never really the same.

Time Attack - I hate this mode with a passion. It's pretty much a race to the finish, with the goal being the fastest time, where players must chase down some baddies who's taken baby Luigi away. This time around, clouds increase your speed, especially at an angle, which provides players with the boost they need to get those fastest time. Near the end of the race, the chase culminates into a boss fight of sorts, where you must peg the enemies with eggs in order to free baby Luigi from their grasp.

Challenge - This mode is a mix between Marathon and Time Attack mode, where points are totaled into time. Once time runs out, it's game over. And like marathon mode, the goal is to see how far one can get. Probably one of the most engaging modes, it's a nice change of pace when you desire something more intense, and it's where the puzzle elements really show. (Damn those
spiky enemies!)

So all in all, the gameplay is a mix of Yoshi's island and Mr. Driller. And despite starting off slow at first, it quickly picks up steam and becomes VERY intense.

Graphics:

The graphics in Yoshi Touch & Go look like updated graphics from Super Mario World. They have the same "feel" as Yoshi's Island, but aren't as cartoony, and don't look as if they've been drawn by a 1st grader with crayons and a lot of time on his hands.

All in all, this is the 2d stuff I love to see. Since everything is colorful, crisp and easy to see, it allows the player to focus on the most important thing: gameplay. Who can ask for more? They do the job great, and that's that.

Sound/Music:

For some odd reason, I hear people rant and rave about how great the music in this game is. I really don't see why. It's catchy, yes, but it's not a masterpiece or anything. The sound effects are great, i'll give it that. But the music? It's just a touch above average, really.

It's got that new Mario Kart flair to it, and is upbeat and cheery for the most part. Like the graphics, it suits the game, and that's all that matters to me.

Closing Thoughts:

One thing I promised myself when I first purchased my DS, was that I was going to do something I've never really done before.

And that was to try out games that weren't too appealing, or that didn't seem like a "must buy". I wanted to shop outside of my safe and stable genres; to try things differently.

I decided on this, because I knew the DS was something different from the rest of the group. It didn't have that mandatory "lemme get this FPS for this system, this RPG for this system, and this Action game for this system." feel. It's just.... different.

While titles like Yoshi Touch & Go don't exactly cater to the GTA and Halo 2 crowd, it's a little gem that will really win a few people over if they give it a chance, and accept it for what it is. And that's a refreshingly new puzzle/arcade game.

There are a few minor complaints, such as a lack of depth or frustration that builds due to this games difficulty (challenges are good, though!), but the inclusion of a basic multiplayer mode and addiction factor make up for that.

All in all, i'm glad I picked this game up. I never imagined it would have turned out as good as it did. So do yourself a favor, and pick this one up. If you know what you're getting yourself into, you shouldn't be disappointed.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 03/22/05


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