Yoshi’s Island DS DS Review

There’s trouble a-brewing on Yoshi’s Island, and it’s up to our green(or pink, yellow, blue, purple, red) friend to save the day, again. The evil MagiKoopa has taken a fancy to kidnapping babies, and he sends his minions to steal all of the babies on Yoshi’s Island. Fortunately, they miss everybody’s favourite, Baby Mario. With the help of the Yoshis, can Baby Mario save his brother, Baby Luigi?

So, everyone knows this game has an awful lot to live up to. If it fails, then it’ll be thought of as a horrific attempt to recreate an amazing, yet classic game. However, if it succeeds…. Well, you’ll know soon enough.

The actual game play is quite simple. After the first couple of levels, where you’re bombarded with new moves and button actions, you’ll have mastered Yoshi and will feel like you’re an artist whilst playing, albeit a very obscure one. Once you’ve gotten your head round the fact that the A button isn’t jump, you really begin to appreciate the game. Firstly, you get the choice of 2 babies, Baby Mario and Baby Peach. Every baby has different abilities, and although this may be slightly off-putting for people who might consider this as an RPG element, fear not, as it basically introduces a puzzle theme to some parts of the game. Although these are simple, you feel a sense of achievement if you’ve worked out that you need Peach’s parasol to help carry you in an up draft, or you need Mario’s speed to get away from that huge rolling rock. There are more babies to unlock along the way, and more useful abilities to master.

In typical Mario Platformer style, you don’t have an energy bar or something similar, which can become quite tedious in a game such as this. Instead, if you get hit, you drop the baby, and have 10 seconds to get them back before they’re kidnapped, and you have to restart the level. It’s possible to gain more seconds by collecting certain items, and if you’re careful, you could end up with all the time in the world to get your baby back.

The enemy design is simple in most cases, and its nice to see that there have been so many different types of enemy invented, without too many having the same effect. You really begin to feel at home when you get used to swallowing Shy Guys, turning them to eggs, and firing them at Piranha Plants like a pro.

The difficulty can be varied, depending how you play the game. The beginning can seem too easy, but eventually you will become stuck, and turn back to get more out of the game. At first, you’ll probably be doing the bare minimum to pass a level; as a result, your scores will probably be pretty low. Later on, you’ll want to back track and find out all that Yoshi has to offer, as well as improve your scores for more than just bragging rights. Once you unlock new babies, going back is a must to get the most out of the levels, and to bump up your scores. There are many bonus levels to be unlocked and one very special reward if you do them all, which I won’t spoil by revealing it here. Also, the levels feel fresh every time, so replaying it to get those high scores isn’t much of a chore.

It seems that no new Mario related game can get away without mini games these days, but you’ll be pleased to hear that these aren’t just the same old rehashed ones from Mario 64 DS and NSMB. These are special Yoshi-themed games that start to feel like a Yoshi Olympics after some good play time. One involves flutter-jumping as far as you can without hitting the ground, whereas another needs you to shoot as many enemies from your mouth into a tulip as possible. It’s hard to have one go at these without feeling the urge to have another, then another and another. Then it’s, what the hell, ten minutes more can’t hurt. Before you know it, you’ve got a beard, you stink, you haven’t been out in 5 days and you still haven’t beaten that high score! (May not be true)

Yoshi is beautifully animated. The backdrops and scenery all look hand drawn, and the Yoshi’s themselves are as cute as they are deadly. The babies look small and cute, and you’ll probably be forced to go ‘Aww’ when you first drop one and they float off crying. The character details are excellent, and an unexpected surprise in a game such as this, where it’d be easily forgiven for having simple characters. The levels are cartoon-like, and look very much like a child’s imaginings, which fits in with the game like a hand in a glove.

The tunes and noises really work well, as the level songs fit and make the game feel epic, yet Yoshi-style epic, with the feeling that everything’s going to be OK, because Yoshi can do anything. All of those noises that Yoshi makes, such as the Hurrrn when he does the flutter jumps make a loveable comeback, much to any Yoshi fan’s delight.

So, I would say that Yoshi’s Island DS has definitely delivered in matching its predecessor, and is more than worthy of your money.

With tons of replay value, this game is well worth buying, especially if you still want more after playing NSMB.

9.2 out of 10

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