Review by mikaa
"Short and challenging, but strangely addicting... NOT Yoshi's Island 3."
Back when Nintendo first announced Yoshi's Touch and Go, I was giddy over the prospect of playing an all-new sidescrolling Yoshi's Island, having played the stew out of the GBA rerelease a while back. As I continued to play my game of storing each DS and GBA article that came in the mail, I noticed the details of the new game seemed to indicate a differient approach.
Well, the fact is, the new approach fits the seemingly-odd title. Touch and Go litterally means touch to play, then go on to the next one. What do I mean by that? When you first power up the game, two game modes for single player are available (Score Attack and Marathon), a VS mode, two unlockable modes (Time Attack and Challenge), a score ranking option, a Demo viewing (more on this later), and an options mode.
All of the controls for the game use the touch screen, which you can use to make clouds for platforms, shoot your eggs, launch Yoshi into his trademark jumping abilities, and to perform...interesting things with your foes. The options scren has options for sound types (Stereo, Headphones, Surround), backlight options (On, Off), Microphone sensitivity (off, low, normal, or high; the microphone allows you to clear ALL of the clouds on the screen, allowing you to start new ones), Yoshi's direction of movement (translation - this is the option for left or right handed players), and a Picto Chat search option (which seeks out others, presumably playing the game; the options for this are Off, On with Visual Notify, and On with Audio Notify). The latter is actually a nice touch added, though I am unable to make use of it due to so few people using it at work. Maybe in a few months... And, as with most DS titles thus far, closing the system sets it into sleep mode, and opening it resumes play with a sound byte: "Yoshi!!!"
Ranking, to get it out of the way, shows your...ranks in the scores. This IS saved to the game, thank the elements, and records quite a bit of nifty, if useless info: the score (duh), which direction you were going (read - which hand was used, and represented by a Yoshi head colored to the Yoshi you had at the time), the date you attained the score (on my system, in mm/dd/yyyy, according to the DS's internal calander/clock), and a small pic. The latter is my personal favorite, as you have three main galleries to choose from: a SNES-style Yoshi's Island set, a Game Boy Advance Mario series, and a third gallery filled with NES-type graphics. The latter is my fave, and since there are so many images in each, you are able to use one pic per day if you wish (like what I'm doing) or to use one to tell who beat who's record. A nice touch that is always appreciated, and shows that the programmers know that we like our options.
Before I get into the modes, know this - the music is pretty much stock Yoshi's Island music, such as the main theme, the main level theme, and a few others. Thus far, I have not found the castle theme, if it exists, and I can only hope it does, seeing as that the game had so many great tracks to listen to. The sounds are also held over from the GBA rerelease of the original Yoshi's Island, though some new ones were added (namely baby Mario's voice when he lands on a Yoshi: "Thanks-a-very much!!"
Score attack could also be called the "Main" mode of play, and is quite addictive, though not as fun as the other initial mode. The game starts with Baby Mario falling through the sky, and randomly placed elements (ie - enemies, coins, etc) are strewn throughout the sky as he falls from the Stork. Think of it as an extension of the original game. Using the Touch screen, you can draw lines of clouds to influence Mario's flight path, block enemies, circle foes to turn them into items, move Bubbled Items (made by circling foes) to move other items, and to rid yourself of bushes from trees to gain items. Also, you are able to circle many items to wrap them in bubbles, thus allowing you to move them in front of Baby Mario.
But trying to do all this, remember that the screen is constantly scrolling DOWN, and on occasion from side to side. You have to act VERY quick, as you are allowed only three hits before you have to restart the attempt. Again, note that many foe and item placements are random.
Once you pass the tree "bushes," your balloons (which are representing the three hits you are allowed) pop, and you fall on a Yoshi, which is determined by your score; a Green Yoshi is the standard, and each other Yoshi has differient abilities (the Pink one, the one most common on my score chart at the moment, holds more eggs).
The game then switches to a side-scrolling mode, with you as Yoshi, and Baby Mario on your back. Tapping Yoshi, again, launches him into his jump, and tapping him again keeps him in the air. I have yet to disprove this, but it seems that this can me maintained indefinately. Tapping anywhere but Yoshi on the screen fires the eggs, and how many eggs you hold are determined by your score at the end of the first part, which is what determines your Yoshi. Drawing a line with the stylus makes clouds, which can be either paths, ways to stop, or circles to trap items and foes. You go on a path that has enemies juggled around each time you try, and keep going a set ammount of distance until you reach the end.
Do note that in this mode, you are able to access many of the options from the normal Options menu (save for the hand option), as well as options for restarting the current area. If you are still in the air, you are allowed to restart from the start of that area. If you are landbound, you can either restart from scratch as previously stated, or start at the "midpoint," or on the ground.
Still with me?
You might have noticed that I never said a thing about a story in that whole area. In truth, there IS some plot going on - the Stork (which carries the babies to their parents, didn't you know that from school?) flies around, looking for Mario every so often. I have yet to find a way to either hit him or to interact with him, but it is a nice touch. Fitting that we would see him but not us, from a story perspective at least.
Oh, and did I forget to mention how many hits you are allowed on the ground? One. I have yet to find a way to recapture baby Mario (presumably there is one), but it requires fast reflexes, as the Koopa Magician from the original game flies along to catch Mario (what, no cronies? Boo!)
The Marathon mode is my current favorite, as it is almost the same as the above. When you reach the "end" as you normally would, you meet up with another Yoshi, and you switch out, eggs, babe, and points, and continue indefinately (or so it seems). This mode gets challenging VERY fast, and is very fun.
Multiplayer is a mode I probably will never be able to remark on, as I have a hard time to find others that have DS systems and are willing to play this.
Notice I did not cover the Time Attack and Challenge modes? There is a reason for this - the game is HARD. It is not hard in the simple terms, but catching the ammount of points needed to gain the modes (namely beating the high score) requires gaining 300+ points in Score Attack, and 3000+ in Marathon. The challenge is found in the speed needed to get the points.
"But there are so many items, and you can circle items, and move them to..."
Yes, but the challenge is that there are so many things going on, and the DS's dual screens allow for more things on screen than usual, and you have to keep going back and forth with your eyes. Forget what is happening for a second on the other screen, and it's goodbye Mario.
"If this is hard, why do you keep playing?"
Yoshi's Touch and Go is VERY addicting. The controls, once you play for a time, is VERY addicting, and the challenge keeps it from becoming to easy. The placement of enemies (or the random generation thereof) keeps things from being predictable, and the good music, combined with the mass of options, makes this one of the best games for the DS right now.
"But why the score of a seven (7)?"
Because this game, even if it is addicting and challenging, is limited. There are very few game modes, and there is no real boss fights, no real finish (take that as you will), and only a handful of play differences.
Keep in mind, the game is still a great game. But the replay value, while higher than some platformers, can suffer from the old-skool repetitiveness (think Space Invaders or Asteroids with a load of options) if you keep at it.
Don't get me wrong, this is a great game, but the options, while some of the better ones for games of this type (quick play), are not differient enough to offer serious replay value. Fortunatly, this game is one of the first ones released that doesn't feel rushed or a port of another game, which gives it a more familiar feel.
Final Score - 7.0/10
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 03/19/05, Updated 11/20/07
Game Release: Yoshi Touch & Go (US, 03/14/05)
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