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Yoshi's Touch & Go (DS) artwork

Yoshi's Touch & Go (DS) review


"Admit it. When you bought your DS, you looked at the plastic stick thing, and wondered just how much use it was actually going to be, didn't you? Oh, sure, the rec room in Super Mario 64 DS was good fun, particularly the catapult Wario minigame. And maybe you even played Wario Ware : Touched too, but you probably thought that was about as far as touch-screen gaming was going to develop on this new console. A nice gimmick, a lovely extra, but ultimately not really an evolution in g..."



Admit it. When you bought your DS, you looked at the plastic stick thing, and wondered just how much use it was actually going to be, didn't you? Oh, sure, the rec room in Super Mario 64 DS was good fun, particularly the catapult Wario minigame. And maybe you even played Wario Ware : Touched too, but you probably thought that was about as far as touch-screen gaming was going to develop on this new console. A nice gimmick, a lovely extra, but ultimately not really an evolution in gaming the way Nintendo envisioned it to be.

Well, after playing this game, you'll admit how wrong you were. Well, eventually you will.

First impressions of Yoshi Touch and Go are not really that favourable. Sure, the game looks like it's a novel idea, but it also seems exceptionally lacking in depth. Honestly, by the time you have crossed the finish line, you will be wondering if that is all there is to this game, and if so then why the hell did you just spend all that money on a glorified bonus section? The answer lies in time honoured Nintendo tradition. There is MUCH more than meets the eye here, and it is only through repeated play that the true treasures in store will reveal themselves.

Upon loading the cartridge for the first time, you have two game styles open to you. Score Attack, and Marathon. There is also the option to Demo, and I strongly suggest you take it.

You won't, and so you will be thrown into the game blind, exactly as I was. The game starts with Baby Mario being knocked from his stork on the title screen, and then dropping into view on the top screen, supported by three balloons. And, um ... that's about it. A ghost flies past on the touch screen, and some coins appear. By moving the stylus accross the touch screen, you can draw a cloud. This cloud can be used to maneouver Baby Mario towards coins, and ideally away from enemies. I say ideally, because it is quite phenomenal how often these enemies manage to magically be exactly where your cloud runs out.

This central play mechanic seems ridiculously limited, and it would be. However, eventually Baby Mario reaches the ground, and is caught by a Yoshi. This leads to the second section, where Yoshi chases the stork. Now, Yoshi will automatically run forward, but can be gently coaxed into jumping by means of an anal probe.

Okay, so it's just a jab in the rear-end with the stylus. I think my description is more fun, but this IS a Nintendo game. You're probably just tickling his feet, or something.

Tapping the screen in front of Yoshi also causes Yoshi to throw an egg. Your Yoshi has a limited stock of eggs, and just like in other games Yoshi can make more eggs by eating enemies. And, you can still draw clouds for platforms. Once Yoshi has crossed the line, the score is calculated. And you get to put it on a leaderboard, and pick a badge, That's your lot, unless you play Marathon mode. In Marathon mode, this horizontal section has no end, and your score is literally based on how far you get.

Seems like there's nothing to it? Well, that's exactly what I thought at this point. I was all ready to give up on this game, and rate it as a 5 or even lower. It was only in frustation that I watched the demo. And, it was the demo that showed me how to get the most from the game.

I was unaware that you could draw a cloud around an enemy, and trap them in a bubble. This turns them into a coin, and then this bubble containing the coin can be thrown towards Baby Mario. The same applies on the ground, as in bubbles can be flung at Yoshi. This has the effect of making high scores easier to attain, and it is through achieving top position on the leaderboard that you open up the extra game modes. And, it is while you are chasing these scores in order to unlock these extra modes that Yoshi's Touch and Go will hook you. Because, what at first looked like a limiting interface slowly blossoms into a rather clever and incredibly precise control mechanic. One that is as subtle or as blunt as you need it to be. Most importantly, one that puts EXACT control right into your hands. Honestly, at no point can you complain about the unresponsive controller. YOU are the joypad, my friend, and the game is all the better for this. When you die, you have only yourself to blame, see?

Where you once hopelessly stabbed the screen hoping that you could get your egg to hit more than one bat, you will soon be circling three at a time to get the bonus. Where you once simply drew a cloud to make sure that Flyguy couldn't get hold of you, you will soon be waiting for him to appear so that you can catch him in a bubble for extra points. Where you once didn't notice how many coins you had by the time you reached the floor, you will soon be annoyed if you don't get enough so that you get an improved Yoshi for the horizontal section. The more coins you have by the time you reach the ground, the more eggs your Yoshi can carry, and the faster he can run. This is a game where the more you play, the better you get, and the more you are able to appreciate the finer points. In short, the better you are, the better this game becomes.

Eventually, you will be good enough to have opened up Time Attack and Challenge. These are slight reinterpretations of the main theme of the game, and serve to turn the cartridge from merely entertaining fare to an involving and challenging game. One where only the fastest reactions can help, and one where the only thing stopping you doing even better is your own ability. Or lack thereof.

A game, finally, that is everything Nintendo promised us when they launched a touch-screen console. Fun, challenging, and truly revolutionary. This simple play mechanic could so easily have backfired, but in Nintendo's able hands it feels just like games have always been played this way. The true measure of just how much this game is worth comes when you have to stop playing because your hand is hurting. Perhaps the potential for RSI is not a good thing, but it is a sure indication of just how addictive this game can get.

A game that every DS should have jammed into it's slot.

Rating: 9/10

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Featured community review by cheekylee (October 16, 2005)

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