Review by mr_null

Reviewed: 03/28/05

Deeper than you think, but still lacking.

From when you first load Yoshi Touch & Go the production quality makes it apparent you're playing a 1st-party Nintendo game. From the whistley soundtrack to the bright colors and stylized fonts I immediately felt at home. The game's simple story goes something like this: While carrying a pair of newborn twins, Mario and Luigi, a lone stork collides with a shadowy figure and drops his payload. As luck would have it a Yoshi spots a baby falling to its island and takes it upon itself (Do Yoshi have sexes?) to return the infant to his winged transporter. But who needs a story right?

The controls are as simple as the story. Each game has two sections, sky and ground. In the sky portion the player must draw clouds to change the baby's path as it falls. Baby Mario reacts to the paths like a slide, always riding downward. The clouds can also double as a wall against most enemies allowing you to shield your baby from the dangers of the world. Drawing a circle around something, even air, will trap it in a bubble which you can then move freely with the stylus. Bubbles can be used to push things, but will pop if they hit spikes or baby Mario. They're helpful to bring coins to Mario and also serve as an instant kill for most enemies. If you don't like where you've placed a path then simply blow on the Mic to dissipate everything you've drawn. To me, the sky portion is the most lacking part of the game.

On the ground you'll also have limited control over Yoshi, improving the fun factor quite a bit. Yoshi progresses from left to right, regardless of what's in store for him--he's as dumb as a box of rocks. Tapping Yoshi causes him to jump, higher the longer you hold the stylus down, and tapping him in mid air will cause him to flutter kick. As long as you keep poking him the green dino can tread air indefinitely. You can still create clouds (which serve as bridges or ramps) and bubbles. Tapping the screen will cause Yoshi to toss an egg in that direction and can create combos if multiple things are in its path. Eggs are limited to the amount of fruit you've consumed and your Yoshi, so you won't want to waste them in the later levels. Unlike in the sky portion of the game, where baby Mario can come in contact with 3 enemies before dieing, Yoshi's strictly a 1-hit-kill. You'll have to use all of your resources to keep them alive.

When I said levels above I didn't mean it in the traditional sense. Both of the main modes in the game, Score Attack and Marathon, are really about keeping Yoshi alive and destroying as many foes as possible. The terrain and enemies are random so there's no actual levels or bosses. The enemies do get more challenging as you progress, the pitfalls more abundant, and game changing events such as air gusts enter the scene. This all gives T&G an arcadey feel that ultimately lacks in any sense of completion. The randomness of the game and high score table are the title's two biggest assets, so if you're not a score-oriented gamer then you'll likely tire of the game in a matter of hours. Unlockable game modes include Time Attack and Challenge, where you fight to save the other twin and battle for distance respectably. Much more of the same.

I haven't gotten to experiment with them but T&G offers a few Wi-Fi options. There's a VS mode that only requires 1 Game-Pack and allows for a simple survival race. You can't effect your opponent but you can watch his progress on the other screen. T&G is also the 1st game to include a unique new feature, PictoChat network scouting. If selected the game will search for PictoChat networks as you play. This could be helpful for finding other DS owners in populated areas. Being from North Carolina myself, I wuddn't know nutt'n 'bout 'dat.

As you may have heard by now the game is very fun and addictive, if you're into your scores. Coming directly from Nintendo it's very polished in its graphics, soundtrack, and control-scheme. I personally love Yoshi Touch & Go but will be the 1st to admit that it may serve your wallet better as a rental than a purchase. If you're unsure about whether to lay down the cash or not then I'd strongly suggest waiting for a touchscreen platformer that offers more depth, like Kirby's Magic Paintbrush. I give this one a 6.5 out of 10.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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