[floatleft]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/yoshitouchandgo/cover.jpg[/floatleft]Despite the continued complaints about a lack of solid games on the DS, I still have faith that some developers will do some fantastic things with the second screen. Until everyone else finds their groove, you can almost bank that Nintendo will make perfect use of their “gimmicky” hardware. [i]Yoshi Touch & Go[/i] is such a game.
[i]YTG[/i] is a highly addictive and truly entertaining experience that, despite its very shallow gameplay and concept, makes me glad I own a DS. You assume the role of Yoshi who is trying to return baby Mario (and Luigi at times) to the stork that lost them in delivery. The story makes a perfect transition into the game as the first part of each level has you carefully guiding baby Mario to the ground by drawing clouds to avoid enemies while also trying to collect as many coins as possible. The more coins you collect in the first half of each level, the better and faster your Yoshi will be once you land. Trust me when I say that a fast Yoshi is a big deal. Once on the ground, you will guide Yoshi through a side-scrolling level of perils. At your disposal is your ability to draw clouds to guide Yoshi over pits or enemies, the ability to jump, the ability to enclose coins and enemies in a bubble and bring the resulting coins to Yoshi, and most importantly, the ability to shoot eggs at various enemies.
Both the vertical and side-scrolling levels get very chaotic and very frustrating, but a little practice should be enough to get the hang of them.
[floatright]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/yoshitouchandgo/ss02_thumb.jpg[/floatright]To keep things fresh, [i]YTG[/i] has four different single-player modes: Score Attack, Marathon, Time Attack, and Challenge. The objective of Score Attack is obviously to score as many points as you can before you reach the end of the level. Earning the highest score in Score Attack will unlock the Time Attack mode. Time Attack has you rescuing Baby Luigi from the Toadies as quickly as possible. Tossing eggs is essential to beating this challenge. Marathon focuses on distance as opposed to points or time and is basically an endurance course. Marathon mode could potentially go on forever (or until your DS battery dies) and beating the top score of 3000 yards will unlock the Challenge mode. Challenge mode was by far the most difficult mode and has you speeding through the level as fast as possible to get as far as possible in a fixed amount of time.
[i]YTG[/i] also sports a nifty versus mode. With only one DS, however, it is kind of difficult to enjoy that mode.
The controls for [i]YTG[/i] were well thought out, and I really took to them quite quickly. Drawing lines on the touch screen leaves a trail of clouds for Yoshi to walk on or to guide baby Mario out of harm’s way. Touching Yoshi causes him to jump for those moments where clouds just won’t do. Touching the screen away from Yoshi will cause him to toss an egg to that spot. Since the upper screen is not a touch screen, enemies located that far up will depend solely on your geometric skills and aim (and you thought you would never use it again). Drawing a circle around an enemy will turn them into a coin that you can then touch and drag to Yoshi. The same holds true for fruit, which will add to your stock of available eggs for throwing. Probably my favorite thing that Nintendo included was the fact that you can blow into the microphone and all your clouds will go away. This comes in very handy if you steer baby Mario the wrong way or get Yoshi stuck behind a steep grade of clouds that you can’t overcome by jumping.
[floatleft]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/yoshitouchandgo/ss05_thumb.jpg[/floatleft]Earlier I mentioned the different Yoshis you can earn during the vertical levels and how important these were. The more points you land with, the better your Yoshi is. In addition to being faster, which makes it easier to avoid enemies, the better Yoshis also have a larger store of available eggs for you to shoot down enemies. The fact that you can restart a level from the midpoint means that getting a stellar score in the first half of a level is paramount.
[i]YTG[/i] is not a very deep game, and it lacks a variety of gameplay styles and options, but it is enjoyable and addicting. Fans of Nintendo’s first-party library will want to pick this one up, but [i]YTG[/i] is not quite a system seller.