Hands-On: Yoshi's Island 2

Oh baby! We get hands-on with the future classic.

The original Yoshi's Island was Miyamoto's gift to fans celebrating Mario's 10th anniversary. With colorful backgrounds that seemingly could have been created by kids with crayons, the game was far removed from anything seen in Mario's world before. And the gameplay! Man the gameplay was good.

Mario was presented as a helpless wee child while Yoshi stepped up to the plate in a quest to return Baby Mario to his folks. Using Nintendo's FX chip (an extra graphics chip built into select SNES game cartridges,) the game featured enemies that would morph into giant screen-sized monsters then swell back down to nothing after Yoshi inflicted his wrath. With inspired gameplay and unmatched visual style, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island quickly became one of our favorite platformers of all-time.

Enter Yoshi's Island 2 on the Nintendo DS, a completely original game built from the original SNES title and featuring not just one, but three helpless Nintendo babies. You'll see Princess Peach in diapers, DK while he was still Diddy-sized, and of course -- Mario before his famous mustache grew in.

This time around each baby will help Yoshi out by providing a unique ability that is either required to get through the level or to reach an otherwise unreachable part of a level. Peach has an umbrella that allows her to catch the wind and float up into the sky, and Mario makes Yoshi run fast. There are 'stork stops' along the way where you can swap kids, which makes one wonder -- why doesn't the damn stork just take the kids home?

The trademark effects and larger-than-life enemies are even bigger this time around, taking full advantage of the DS' double screens. In one level Yoshi will have to outrun a gargantuan rolling spike ball that stands a full screen and a half tall while the ground crumbles beneath it. What's more, the added horsepower of the DS makes many new in-game effects possible, proving that the DS is the ideal home for Yoshi's Island 2.

Having played through the demo at E3 I can safely say that Nintendo has recaptured the fun and magic of the original. It seems too good to be true that we get New Super Mario Bros. and Yoshi's Island 2 on the same handeheld. These are good days for side-scrolling adventure fans. Good days indeed.

Carl Johnson
Executive Editor, Kikizo.com

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Yoshi's Island 2
Direct feed gameplay   (DS - Nintendo)
00:35 5MB DF, SD, 4:3

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