Review by Phange

Reviewed: 03/19/05

Far more addicting than it should be

Yoshi's Touch and Go is the first Nintendo-released DS game since... well... since launch. The game is essentially a fleshed-out version of Balloon Trip , a quirky E3 demo where the player guides Baby Mario by creating clouds. This mode still exists in YTAG, but plays second fiddle to the much more interesting and dynamic main walking sequence. Nintendo's focus on the Yoshi Walking sequence is fairly obvious, given that once you pass the Baby Mario falling level it can be skipped until the mode has been exited. Even if you die.

Essentially, YTAG is a platformer with the heart of a classic puzzle game. Yoshi moves forward without any instruction from the player, and the player must do everything in his/her power to get Yoshi from the beginning of the level to a number of different objectives (depending on the mode). The modes are as follows:

Score Attack

This mode consists of the falling Baby Mario sequence, in which you can guide Baby Mario into coins (or fling bubbles of coins to him). If a sufficient amount of coins has been collected, Baby Mario will land on a different color Yoshi. Each color of Yoshi (Green, Pink, Blue, Yellow, Red, Black) can carry an increasingly larger amount of eggs and will move slightly faster than the previous one. Once Baby Mario has been guided to the bottom of the stage, the color of Yoshi will be determined and the number of coins will be tallied into the collective "points" category. Yoshi will then walk aimlessly across the screen, requiring cloud guidance and egg shooting to avoid obstacles. Once again, Yoshi must collect coins from the environment and enemies in order to score points. Yoshi will walk a specific distance (given in yards), in which time the stork will come to get Baby Mario. The final score is tallied and recorded.

Initially, Score Attack seems to be the most logical game. It has a definite end, a definite score, and some semblance of a storyline (though extremely rudimentary). Unfortunately, once you score over 300 points there seems to be very little reason to play the game (it unlocks Time Attack mode, a much more interesting mode). Ultimately this mode won't be played much.

Marathon Mode

Realistically, this is the main mode of the game. There is no end, but each time Yoshi arrives at the end of the stage he will transfer Baby Mario to another Yoshi (an upgraded one) and the quest will continue through and entirely different area. Because the areas are so varied and the gameplay is so much more suited to the "platformer" that most people expect out of a Yoshi's Island-inspired game. Coins are basically worthless except for giving Baby Mario a super powerup every 100 coins. Just like in Yoshi's Island, Baby Mario goes berserk and can basically destroy everything in his wake. This mode does not tally points, relying instead on the amount of yards Yoshi covered before getting hurt.

Without Marathon Mode, the game would score well below a 5 because it lacks a true story mode.

Time Attack

Similar to Score Attack except the player must guide Baby Mario and Yoshi to the end of the level and save Luigi as fast as possible. It's strategic, but not much fun.

Challenge Mode

Basically a timed Marathon Mode in which enemies and coins restore the clock. Once the clock hits zero, Kamek swoops down from the sky and steals Baby Mario. The more yards covered the better.

Unfortunately YTAG is fairly lacking in modes. Marathon Mode is an endlessly addictive mode that saves the game from being lackluster. With excellent gameplay mechanics, it's disappointing to see that YTAG lacks a story mode. Nevertheless, it is an excellent platformer/puzzle and is certainly the best DS game since Mario 64 DS.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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