Sometimes you end up with a formula that wouldn't seem to need any alterations at all. However, at times, certain people feel that they still need to tweak some things a little even after it would seem that they have been perfected. Others choose to make massive changes to their own creations without a second thought. Such is the case with Yoshi's Touch N' Go for the Nintendo DS. The game is clearly based on the mid-90's SNES platformer Yoshi's Island, which starred Nintendo's adorable dinosaur Yoshi and an infantile version of it's famed plumber Mario. However, instead of relying on a more familiar means of controlling the pair, the game requires the player (some might say that it forces them) to use the DS' rather unique features to make your way through the game. It's a new twist on an old favorite, but it lacks just a bit of what the older games that it is based off of had, and in the end that manages to hurt it more than a bit. As stated, the game is a two-dimensional platformer, at least of sorts. Instead of controlling the main characters with the control pad, you're required to control them with the system's touch screen and microphone. Such a setup would be utterly impossible on any other system, so it would seem that the game is meant as yet another demonstration of the DS' rather unique capabilities, which would make sense due to the fact that it has it‘s origins in a tech demo that was shown at the 2004 Electronic Entertainment Expo. To play the game, you are normally required to draw on the touch screen using the stylus to create rows of clouds that direct the characters around. Drawing circles with the clouds will create bubbles, which can either ensnare enemies or allow you to bring items back to your heroes. Blowing on the system's microphone will remove all of the clouds that you've drawn, just in case you've made a mistake. This all works fairly well, but it is a bit easy to make some errors while you're working. The game does allow you to restart at any time, but it can still become frustrating to make mistakes endlessly when you just want to make some progress. Each and every one of the game's different modes is actually broken up into two distinctly different sections. They all start with a scene where you must safeguard Baby Mario as he drifts down out of the sky, as well as help him to collect coins as he falls down. The clouds that you draw are supposed to control his descent by altering his path, but the process is made a bit more difficult by the fact that Mario always remains on the top screen, forcing you to figure out where he's going to go instead of controlling him from where he is. This makes it a bit more difficult to collect items and avoid enemies, but that's actually helps to prevent the game from getting to easy for it's own good. After Yoshi catches Mario, the game becomes a side-scrolling affair. In this mode the game auto-scrolls. Yoshi moves forward on his own, which means that you have to rush to do everything before Yoshi blunders into an enemy or falls off of a cliff. Still, the game wouldn't be as much fun if you could sit back and do things as you pleased, so the sense of urgency that it gives the game is a bit welcome. When you're controlling Yoshi, you're given a few additional moves that you can perform. Tapping any part of the touch screen except for Yoshi himself will cause him to throw an egg, which can be used to defeat enemies or collect items. Collecting fruit replenishes his stock of eggs, so it's important to keep an eye out for anything edible. Tapping Yoshi himself will cause him to jump. Touching him again when he's in the air will cause him to hover in the air. It can actually become rather difficult to aim eggs properly, depending on where Yoshi is and where your target is. It can get rather frustrating to not be able to hit something because it's directly overhead and there's not enough room to make Yoshi throw an egg instead of jumping when you touch the screen, and this does show of one of the weaknesses of the game's control scheme. Still, this doesn't happen so often that it ruins the game, it's just a minor problem that arises a bit too much. There are four different modes of play for you to take part in, as well as a two-player versus mode that requires two systems but only one game cartridge. The first is Score Attack, in which you must try to gain the highest possible score by the end of the level. Second is Marathon, in which you simply must survive for as long as possible. Achieving high scores in those two modes will unlock two more modes of play for you. Time Attack requires you to reach the end of a stage in the fastest time possible. Challenge mode requires you to stay alive for as long as possible by keeping a timer from running out. You can add to it by defeating enemies and collecting coins, though it's still mainly just a matter of not getting yourself killed before time runs out. The problem with all of these play modes is, they all feel almost exactly the same. They may all feature slightly different play mechanics, and involve different level builds, but the fact remains that the gameplay doesn't change between them very much. On top of that, none of them are very long at all, meaning that the replay value runs out even faster than you'd want it to. It would have made this game a lot better if they had structured it like a traditional Mario game, with stages instead of different modes. It would have made it a lot longer, and would have given it more replay value than it ended up having. The game does look very nice. It's art style is clearly based off of the style of it's SNES predecessor, but it does lack just a bit of the detail that the previous title had. It doesn't look quite as cartoony, or have as much detail in it's environments. This may disappoint fans of the old game just a bit, seeing as how the vibrant style that was present in the previous game has been toned down more than a bit here. But it's not so bad that it causes the game to lose whatever resemblance it had to the other games. It's just that it's a bit disappointing to see it lose a bit of the style that the series had before now. The game sounds good as well. The music is a mixture of some tunes from other Mario games and some new songs as well. They all sound good, but the problem is that aside from the old songs, most of the music is relatively forgettable. Then again, it is all usually resigned to the background instead of being placed over the game's sound effects. The other sounds are relatively fun and don’t get in the way, and you will notice a few sounds that have been brought over from Yoshi's Island, which is a nice touch. There are a few voice samples that have been added, most notably Baby Mario's crying, which as annoying as it ever was. Still, sound is a strong point for the game overall. In the end, Yoshi's Touch N' Go is a nice game to buy if you already have a DS. It's not very long, or terribly challenging, but most of the focus is on attaining high scores instead of finishing levels. It would have been nicer if the game was longer, especially given that it only has four different modes of play and one multiplayer mode, but what's there is enjoyable enough. It's just sad that you'll see everything that the game has to offer pretty quickly, and once that's happened, you'll end up getting tired of it sooner than you probably should. This game can be recommended, but only if you already have the system. Otherwise, it's not worth going out of your way for.
There's a lot of bellyaching about how this isn't a platformer or how this isn't an adventure game. There's also a lot of complaining about how there are only "two levels" in the game, and how Nintendo merely packaged th... Read Full Review
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