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Baby Mario and Yoshi star in what has to be one of the most concept accepting games out for the DS...
A couple of weeks ago TVG Towers received a package with a copy of Yoshiâ??s Touch â??nâ?? Go for the DS enclosed, all thanks to our friends at Nintendo UK. Eagerly opening the box and inserting the flash card into the office DS, memories started to flood back of Super Mario World 2: Yoshiâ??s Island on the SNES, which was released in the mid-1990s and is arguably the best 2D platformer ever created. As the power button was pressed and Nintendoâ??s over-cautious safety message appeared on screen, the same thought occurred almost simultaneously - could this be a sequel to that most iconic of titles?
For all those expecting a resounding â??yesâ??, hereâ??s the thing â?“ this is not Yoshiâ??s Island 2 (Weâ??ll ignore Yoshiâ??s Story). Whilst this was a bit of a surprise in the Towers, on closer inspection Touch â??nâ?? Go delivers more of a â??DS experienceâ? than perhaps any other game for the format to date.
Yoshiâ??s Touch â??nâ?? Go is in fact made up of four mini-games (two of which are initially locked), and each game follows the same format. First of all, players have to guide Baby Mario, who has been knocked out of the storkâ??s grasp, safely down to the ground drawing clouds with the stylus and avoiding the enemy. Once down, Mario hitches a ride on the back of Yoshi and so begins the second section of the game, which follows a much more traditional platform structure.
Each of the four modes offer a different challenge, from collecting a certain number of coins to travelling as far as you can on Yoshi without dieing, and there lies the crux of the gameplay in Touch â??nâ?? Go, which will be revealed a little bit later on. Yoshiâ??s Touch â??nâ?? Go is the first title that has been developed by Nintendo that utilises both the touch screen and the DSâ?? in-built microphone and it forgoes such â??old-fashionedâ?? control systems such as buttons instead relying on two unique DS functions (dual screen aside) to play.
Using the stylus players have to draw clouds to help Baby Mario avoid all of the floating nasties that swarm through the air â?“ hit three of them however and Baby Marioâ??s balloons will pop as he hurtles towards the ground! This all sounds simple enough, but when for instance the aim is to collect as many coins as possible along the way, then it can get a little bit tricky. The nimble fingered gamer will also be able to jump between drawing the path of clouds and drawing circles around the enemies, which then transform into silver coins (which are worth more) without getting too spun out. Classic subtle touches of the usual Nintendo brilliance are further exhibited by the opportunity to encircle coins and enemies, which are then transformed into a blob which can be dragged and shot at Baby Mario to knock him from the path of an impending enemy.
Once down players then have to help Yoshi with Baby Mario on his back. This first segment of the game certainly gets players ready for the next section, and itâ??s certainly fun to play, if a little frustrating at times especially when you try to beat the clock and the many possibilities presented to the player!
The second section is much more like a Yoshiâ??s Island 2 on the DS should be like, and perhaps will be like as the game reverts to a 2D side-scrolling platformer with players having to shoot eggs for coins and bad guys as well as drawing clouds for Yoshi to climb to other platforms and bridge gaps. In order to get rid of some misplaced clouds, Yoshiâ??s Touch â??nâ?? Go also utilises the inbuilt microphone so players can literally blow them away â?“ itâ??s a simple and highly effective way of structuring a game around the DSâ?? hardware features and just goes to show what a little imagination during the pre-production and development stages can bring to a game.
The visual style of the game is very â??SNESâ??, which is not meant to sound in any way derogatory, instead it should offer a reassuring familiarity for gamers who might be a bit wary of the gameplay on offer. It may not play like a traditional platformer, the main reason for that being that it cant really be regarded as a full blown platform title, but seeing a Mario game in 2D does at the very least offer a quick throwback to the golden age of the Nintendo mascot (roll on the release of Super Mario Bros. DS and Mario 128.)
Reflecting the same familiar style of the visuals, the sound and music in Yoshiâ??s Touch â??nâ?? Go is unmistakably â??Mario musicâ?? with playful tunes that only helps to reassure gamers that they are playing a Mario title. The addition of Baby Mario thanking Yoshi for catching him before he falls to the ground and the sound effects of the game all helps to bring it together into a audio package that canâ??t really be faulted.
This is a game that players are meant to (and excuse the pun) â??touch and goâ?, where the sole aim of the game is to beat the highest score. It therefore means that the title harks back to the time of amusement arcades when getting your initials up on the screen for all to see. Yoshiâ??s Touch â??nâ?? Go establishes a successful meld of new hardware and old game philosophies by producing a game that is there to entertain for the few minutes it takes to reach your tube station or your bus stop. Itâ??s the sort of title that gamers can play in groups without the need for extra units of Wi-Fi hotspots since the â??game turnsâ?? are so short that itâ??ll soon be your go, and that reason Yoshiâ??s Touch â??nâ?? Go is the perfect example of a DS game. Itâ??s fun, itâ??s quick to pick up and play, and itâ??s innovative. Itâ??s also classic Nintendo in many ways, subtly brilliant in terms of level designs and the various mechanics at work â?“ just donâ??t expect levels and boss encounters in a traditional Mario sense.
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