GBA REVIEW: YOSHI TOPSY TURVY

Is the following scenario true or a fabrication of a reviewer's overactive imagination? You decide.

It was a sunny afternoon when Maksuidioke decided to stop at a karaoke bar on the beautiful mountainous roads in the Japanese region of Kasai. With his cargo of tilt sensor mechanisms destined for Nintendo, he cautiously parked the heavily loaded truck on the flattest section of the parking lot. He carefully locked the doors and headed inside whereupon he ordered several rounds of Sapporo and sang the hell out of a couple of his favorite karaoke standards: Who Let the Dogs Out, and If I Could Save Time in a Bottle, which always got the women-folk misty eyed.

In the middle of an encore of I Shot the Sheriff, Maksuidioke got an urgent call on his cell phone. It was the head developer of Nintendo wondering where his shipment of tilt senor mechanisms is.

"You irresponsible, foolish clown. Where are you? I need those tilt sensor mechanisms for the new Mario Twisted game that we are shipping next week. Get here now or fear the consequences."

With that, Maksuidioke raced out of the bar before he got to the part in the song explaining that he did not shoot the deputy. Little did he realize how long he had been in the bar since it was now nightfall and a terrible storm was brewing. Realizing just how dangerous the road conditions would be, he called his wife and kids and left a message telling them goodbye. As soon as he left the parking lot he slid off the embankment and tumbled seven hundred yards down into a rocky ravine.

Several days later the wreckage was hoisted to the main road by a powerful crane. To everyone's horror (the Nintendo development team's at least) the tilt senor mechanisms were completely destroyed.

"We can't use these now," they sobbed. "Millions of dollars of technologies, ruined."

Then one little wiseass spoke up and said, "Why don't we design a game around these broken tilt senor mechanisms? Surely we can think of some crappy game to make. And we can use a supporting, but popular character, to flagship the game. Perhaps someone like Yoshi that doesn't have his own line of games, that way when kids find out they've been ripped off they can't take their revenge out on Yoshi by not buying his new games - because their won't be any."

And that's just what they did. As for Maksuidioke, he was found in a haystack, thrown clear from the wreckage. Just kidding, he was burned alive strapped to his seat. Man, did he look bad. I had nightmares for a week.

Yoshi Topsy Turvy is almost guaranteed to give you nightmares for a week. It's a platformer that uses the tilt sensor mechanism embedded in the cartridge as the primary gimmick controller in which you tilt the actual GBA from side to side in order to influence gravity and move your character and various platforming obstacles around.

The tilt sensors are very basic. They are either on or off, there is no sense of gradual engagement. Compared to Mario Twisted, the tilt sensor gimmick has only a fraction of the uses. It's too bad the game was designed around it because it ruins what might have been a decent platformer.

Instead of scrolling levels, each level is presented in its entirety on screen in one shot. That's a pretty small level. Sure there are more than a few things to in order to get to the other side of the screen, not the least of which is to tilt the damn thing to move boulders, swing pendulums and let Yoshi run up walls. The tilt sensor is not very responsive and you could have gotten the same results if this control was just regulated to the D pad or the trigger buttons.

Graphically the game doesn't look bad. The environments swirl around nicely but Yoshi's animation is stiff. There are worlds and characters that just don't seem to mesh with Yoshi not to mention the music which is very simple and lacks depth in terms of layering, counterpoint and harmonies.

Nintendo really helped Yoshi lay an egg with this one. This is a rushed job and one of Nintedo's worst in several years. Are these games filled with broken tilt mechanisms? You decide.

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System: GBA
Dev: Artoon
Pub: Nintendo
Released: June 2005
Players: 1 - 2
Review by Cole
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
1.5
GRAPHICS
3.0
CONTROL
1.0
MUSIC/FX
2.0
VALUE
1.5