NINTENDO DS REVIEW: YOSHI'S TOUCH & GO

What do you get the Yoshi fan who has everything? How about a watered down puzzle/platformer that has little in common beyond the appearance of Mario's dino buddy? That will have to do because that is exactly what Touch and Go is.

Gamers raised on the superior Yoshi's Island on the SNES and the lukewarm follow up on the N64 won't even recognize the gameplay because it's all about the DS' gimmicky touch screen and that trend is really beginning to bother me. I'm all for innovation but when a game is designed ostensibly for a particular innovation, then it becomes nothing more than a gimmicky peripheral with limited depth and play value. In the case of the DS, it's a reverse peripheral situation. The DS is the constant but the individual software has become the peripheral because they offer a variety of gameplay not found on anything else - and that means that you'll see a lot of familiar faces with a lot of "out there" gameplay. This usually isn't a bad thing, but it seems lately that depth is taking a backseat to the overall use of the touch screen interface.

Case in point. Yoshi's Touch and Go isn't the platforming adventure you were probably expecting. Instead it's got a Lemmings puzzle feel to it as your job is not to move Yoshi or Baby Mario but rather to create paths and eliminate objects in their way as they go from when area to another. In other words, you play the game as an invisible god. Speaking of Baby Mario, if the memory of his annoying cacaphony of cries sends shivers up your spine, worry not. Yoshi dies in one hit and thus you will not be subjected to a time limit in which you must retrieve the future hero of the Mushroom Kingdom.

Controlling the onscreen events is extremely easy and intuitive and make no mistake, it's fun to do. There are only four controls in the game.

  • Using the stylus you can draw circles around enemies causing them to be trapped or turn into coins
  • Draw a line which magically creates a cloud path which can be used a bridge or ramp for Yoshi
  • A quick tap on Yoshi will execute a jump and hover in the air momentarily
  • Tapping elsewhere on the screen will result in an egg toss from Yoshi

The gameplay is actually quite addicting as there is always something to be done and once you get further into the game, little time to do it. But it must be said that this particular mode only consists of two, that's right TWO, varieties of play. The first involves Baby Mario floating downward in the sky with three balloons. A collision with an enemy results in a broken balloon and three broken balloons end in death. Once Mario reaches the ground, Yoshi takes over and a side-scrolling event begins. Other modes include a time attack mode in which you must save Baby Luigi, a survival mode which keeps track of how far you make it on foot with Baby Mario and finally a Time Attack/Distance mode where you are competing to see how far you make it in as little time as possible. Unfortunately these modes all get old really fast because you are only ever competing against your high score. You won't see any new levels, any new challanges or even an increase of difficulty. That's when you realize that my "gimmick" over "depth" lecture was utterly fantastically spot on.

Surprisingly the graphics in Touch & Go aren't nearly as creative as Yoshi's previous stand alone titles. Gone are the fabric/pattern inspired worlds and a flat early Mario look has been put in its place. Consider for a moment that there isn't much to see here at all and you'll find the graphics decidely spartan.

For the most part Touch & Go plays, looks and feels like mini-game escapee from a Wario Ware game and as a fullpriced title, that's inexusable. The game IS addictive and fun and controls like the dickens but it's really worth a rental at best. And that's IF you can find a place renting DS games at this time. If you can't, borrow this from your friend who was silly enough to buy it before reading this review.

Preview By Chris

Nintendo has been busy announcing and showing off titles in the works for the new DS system. One game that has received a lot of attention is the new Yoshi game. It's sort of a 2d remake of Yoshi's Island except it looks like players will use the touch screen to control the action. It is unknown if the whole game will rely on this style of control or not. Reports from those who had a chance at the playable demo had some good things to say about this one. The opening sequence showed Baby Mario falling from the sky while there were balloons and of course those gold coins. You had to make a choice and time when to stop guiding Baby Mario towards the coins and then make sure he lands safely. The graphics, while being 2D, seemed to impress those who played the early version of the game. Players need to use the stylus to control the angle of descent of Baby Mario. It seems the controls took a bit to get used to and will rely on angles for the early stages.

Yoshi is a great character from the world of Mario. The real question remains if there will be enough of a storyline and action to get gamers to buy another game based on him? Nintendo of course left plenty of questions of this new adventure left unanswered. The unique style of controls may make or break this one since there was an option to drag clouds over to stop the speed of Baby Mario fall. However, as Vaughn mentioned the DS system touch screen is going to take a while to get used to.

Even those playing the demo tried in habit to go for the D-Pad to try and control the action. It's a habit that won't be easy to break die-hard Nintendo fans from wanting or doing. While there were compliments on the graphics, the game was too incomplete to really know what to expect after this first stage. Of course we are sure Nintendo has some surprises for this one since it features well-known characters. The game has the look of the old Yoshi's Island. I wish I had more game info but right now we are just trying to show what is in the works for the new system.

Nintendo knows they are in for a battle and they may just be trying to get some press without letting all the details known right away. We know from the GBA and the GC systems games that feature well-known characters from Nintendo do well. Let's hope this has more meat to it than just another game with some familiar characters. We will try and bring more details and game features as soon as we can. For now take a look at the early screen shots. It does look interesting. I will say that for this one. It should also be said that right now the name is a working title and may change.

Press:

Yoshi and Baby Mario are about to embark on another wild adventure, this time on the Nintendo DS!

Using the Nintendo DS system's two screens and touch-screen capability, you'll have to help Yoshi guard Baby Mario and guide him to safety. On vertical-action levels, players must use the stylus to draw clouds on the touch screen to protect Baby Mario from enemies and lead him to Yoshi. On horizontal side-scrolling levels, players must use the stylus to look out for Yoshi as he gallops across the countryside. On top of all that, Yoshis Touch & Go also features two-player wireless play.

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System: DS
Dev: Nintendo
Pub: Nintendo
Release: Mar 2005
Players: 1
Review By Cassie
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
2.5
GRAPHICS
2.5
CONTROL
5.0
MUSIC/FX
3.0
VALUE
1.0