Yoshi Touch & Go
Long-time Nintendo fans will recall baby Mario as well as Yoshi from the classic SNES title, Super Mario World 2. Don’t expect any sort of story continuity however as this DS launch title is purely for showcasing the handhelds new features. The score based gameplay harkens back to the Arcade games of yore where the goal was to rake in the points and not any sore of story based missions.
Yoshi Touch & Go is a game of two halves, both of which are very entertaining and addictive. In the first section baby Mario is falling from the sky with only three balloons slowing his ascent. Instead of having any direct control you are only able to draw clouds by using the stylus. The idea is to guide Mario down in such a way that he misses all the enemies all over the screen and collect as much coins as possible. It is trickier than it sounds as you only have control over the bottom screen obviously so if you miss anything you are helpless to prevent damage to Mario. Drawing a circle around enemies traps them in a bubble which you can then flick at Mario for extra points. Problem is that this can knock him off-course and doesn’t work on spiky enemies. It’s always a trade-off between coin collecting and keeping Mario safe as after three hits its game over. If you mess up and draw clouds you want to clear away its as simple as blowing into the microphone. Doing so in public will make you look a bit daft but there’s no other way.
Once Mario is safely on the ground the next section of the game begins. Here we see one of the Yoshi’s (their color based on how well you did in the first section) walking from left to right with baby Mario on its back. The goal is once again to keep Mario safe while snapping up as much coins as possible. Dragging the stylus across the screen still creates clouds for Yoshi to walk on but you have a bit more control than that. Tapping Yoshi will make him jump while double tapping anywhere on the screen will launch an egg in that direction. This is handy for collecting coins that hover out of reach on the top screen as well as disposing of enemies like ghosts and bats. Once you reach the end of the stage your score is calculated and you’ll see if yo got a high-score or not. The “marathon” mode works in the same way (except you continue for as long as you can keep Mario alive. You can unlock two more variations by achieving top scores in each ode but overall the game still feels very much like a set of mini-games. The multi-player mode allows you to take on a friend and only requires one cartridge which is a nice touch. While beating foes on your screen causes more obstacles for your opponent this mode soon loses its appeal. Some sort of story or adventure mode could have helped flesh this game out more and prevent it from feeling like a tech demo.
The visuals are crisp and clear with bright colors and smooth animations. The backgrounds are very sparse and with only two sections offer very little variation. Considering the source material it’s a bit disappointing that there is so little variety in the games enemies. The audio is nice with some tropical sounding tunes but once again you’ll be hearing a lot of repetition while playing. There’s some trademark sound effects that match the game but nothing that really stands out as remarkable in any way. The touch-screen is responsive for the most part and I only struggled when trying to influence things near the upper edges of the screen.
Yoshi Touch & Go is a nice demonstration of what the DS can do but unfortunately that’s exactly what it feels like, a demo. It’s definitely addictive and it’s one of those games you’ll find yourself returning to over time but I still recommend you pick it up at a cheap price. For full price you might just doubt your value for money.
*Review originally published 2005.