Yoshi Touch & Go Nintendo DS Review

Yoshi Touch & Go is another one of the selections of Nintendo DS games that began life as a simple tech demo at E3 2004, back then it was called Balloon Trip. At the show people seemed to catch onto the idea with many a gaming website and magazine labelling it as “a very good showcase for the Nintendo’s new handheld”. Nintendo saw a chance to expand their tech demo into a fully fledged game and now one year on we have Yoshi Touch & Go but how much, if anything has changed since those Balloon Trip days? Is there enough game in here to justify it’s price point?

Gameplay

Touch & Go is two different games for the price of one! One is side scrolling and the other vertical scrolling. No buttons are used to control the character; the game is played by using the touch screen and the mic. The only other button used is “start” to pause or restart the game when needed. Vertical scrolling is played using the touch screen to guide Baby Mario down as he floats high up in the sky. At all times he remains on the top screen and you must draw clouds on the bottom screen, which will work their way up to him to direct him and send him into the direction of the objects and keep him safe from hazards. Objects such as coins can be collected to improve your overall score, multiple collections result in you receiving combos. Enemies can be dispatched by circling them in a bubble and directing them towards Mario; this also adds to your overall score. Depending on your score in this portion of the game, you will be given a certain coloured Yoshi (with extra eggs the higher your score) for part two.

After Baby Mario makes it safely to the ground, it’s onto the second portion. This second section is side scrolling, with Baby Mario on Yoshi’s back. This section may look familiar to previous titles that contain the two protagonists, but it is played in an extremely different way. You are not given direct control of Yoshi in this section, although you have limited control over some of his actions. He walks automatically but must be helped across gaps by tapping on him to make him jump, or double tapping to do his trademark flutterjump. You can also throw eggs to clear your path of enemies. Combos can also be earned by killing multiple enemies with one shot. Also in a change from other Yoshi titles; while playing the side scrolling section, one touch from an enemy now results in an instant death and having to restart at the beginning of that section. The vertical scrolling Baby Mario sections give you three chances to get represented by three balloons tied to Baby Mario’s waist. If all these get popped, it is game over!

Touch & Go is also home to simplistic two player mode that has wireless multiplayer support that can be played with only one copy of the game. It’s a simple but fun game that is a one on one race between you and your friend, you can place obstacles on your friend’s screen and he can do the same to you, whoever reaches the end wins. The simplistic style of this two player mini game means people of any skill level can play and have a chance of winning.

Graphics

High-Rez GBA title is what springs to mind when you first see the game in motion, but that is slightly underselling the graphics. While not very advanced for a DS title, everything manages to look very clean and smooth. Without a doubt it is the best looking 2D DS title on sale at the moment. All the levels look great, personally I thought the vertical section was the best example of “eye candy” that the game had to offer. Yoshi, Baby Mario and all the enemies look great in motion. Overall I would rate the graphics good but not great.

Sound

As with 99% of games with the word Nintendo emblazoned on them, the audio in Touch & Go does not disappoint. In fact it is one of the best sounding games on the DS to date. Although there is not a lot of music tracks in the game, the few that are there are fantastic. The music reminds me of Super Mario World, although I don’t think it copies any of the tracks from that game, it certainly sounds very similar. The background music for all the levels fit very well with the style of the game. The title screen is also home to a fantastic composition that introduces you to the game perfectly.

The sound effects are typical Nintendo high pitched voices with Baby Mario getting a few lines this time. Yoshi has his weird gulps and squeals that sound like they have been lifted straight from the GBA games. Then there is the stork! I hate the stork, you will too!

Lifespan

With no Story Mode to it’s name, the fun factor of Touch & Go could end rather abruptly if you’re not a fan of high score gaming. It is a somewhat challenging game and should take you many gaming hours to get good at. It will take you a while to clock up a respectable high score, and that “just one more try” element will stick with you a good number of days but after that fades there is sadly not really that much else left to keep you wanting to play on.

Overall

When all is said and done, Yoshi Touch & Go is a great game but the problem is that you don’t actually get that much value for your money. It has evolved slightly from it’s first showing at E3 2004, but it’s tech demo roots are still highly evident. Perhaps this outing for Yoshi could not have been better named! It is bordering on being brilliant but at other times feels average. Some may like it some may not. It’s Touch & Go at times!

7.4 out of 10

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