Yoshi Touch & Go
Play with Yoshi like you've never played with him before. No, hold on - that's not right...
Nintendo is crazy. I think that we can all agree on that much. The company's ascetic view of the future of gaming is confounding to virtually everyone outside the company's Kyoto headquarters, and more than a little frustrating for their fervent fanbase. But you know, in spite of it all, there's something there that just makes you want to believe.
Woven throughout their muddled next-generation rhetoric is an imperceptible thread of logic, a fibre so moist with passion and innovation that it makes you want to punch the air and shout 'Fight the power!'... or something like that. The simple fact is this: for all the naysaying, for all the negative connotations that currently haunt the Nintendo brand, there is one thing the company can produce almost at will: raw, unalloyed fun. The kind that would burn your hands if handled without gloves.
Yoshi Touch & Go is one such game. Albeit a meatless, waif-like embodiment of this belief, an inchoate concept that only serves to illustrate that the DS is a machine that simply resonates with untapped potential. It is, nevertheless, pretty darn fun. It'll put a smile on your face, and at times make you scream and howl vituperatively. In a good way, of course. It's just a pity that there's not much to it. Sequestered into two similar, though distinct scenarios, the action in Yoshi Touch & Go begins as Baby Mario, his descent slowed by a trio of balloons to which he is attached, floats towards the ground.
In order to usher Baby Mario safely downwards, players must draw clouds that guide him around the coalescence of enemy peons that dangle or wander lasciviously about, while at the same trying to collect the coins that are scattered amongst them. Because Baby Mario never ventures below the top screen, and players are obviously only able to draw on the bottom touch-enabled screen, a modicum of forethought and, of course, strategy is required in order to plot the most optimal of routes -- enemies bad, coins good. Minor wrinkles such as being able to blow into the system's microphone in order to clear away any drawn clouds, or the ability to quickly circle and trap inside a moveable bubble, enemies and coins, makes for a frantic, fast-paced game.
The purpose of avoiding the various nasties is rather self-evident (keep Baby Mario alive, for he is the progenitor!), but the coins you acquire by the end of this first sequence are what dictate what colour of Yoshi you will ultimately be saddled with (or is that, on?). Far from mere aesthetics, the colour dictates how many eggs that Yoshi is capable of holding at any given time. And in case you were wondering, the more, the better. From here begins the duo's inimical trek across the landscape.
Along the way, clouds must be drawn across bottomless pits and gaps to secure their safe passage, the screen tapped in order to fire eggs at any over-ambitious miscreants, and bubbles crafted in order to trap enemies and grab otherwise unreachable items. Eating fruit replenishes Yoshi's ever-dwindling stash of eggs, and by acquiring 100 points (obtained by collecting coins or dispatching enemies), Super Baby Mario is unleashed, allowing players to traverse great distances very quickly. In truth, this is an over-simplification of what is already a simple game, but it needs to be said that there exist a handful of clever events within these sections (which are randomly assembled each time you play) that should not be spoilt by the likes of me. You'll need to take my word for it: Yoshi Touch & Go is an absorbing, enjoyable title.
Welcome variety is presented in the three other modes, each of which adds its own unique twist to the second portion of the gameplay. It'd be a shame to spoil it all (hey, this game only has so much to offer), but one of them requires players to bring down a squadron of flyguys as quickly as possible before they are able to whisk Baby Luigi away. The multiplayer versus mode (which supports single cartridge, wireless download play) pits two Yoshis against one another in a 1000m dash to the finish. Each player directs the action from the bottom screen, while being able to observe their opponent's progress on the upper one. In a very puzzle game-esque twist, players can, by hitting three or more enemies with a single egg, send more enemies to their opponent's screen to further complicate things.
Yoshi Touch & Go is limited, but at times is nothing short of fantastic. Whereas the trend in gaming continues to evolve toward sprawling, twenty-hour quests, Yoshi Touch & Go possesses a pick-and-play sensibility that will ensure its longevity in your library. You'll play it sparingly after the initial lustre wears off, but you'll come back to it time and time again, you know, just for one more go.
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Yoshi Touch & Go!
Direct feed footage including Yoshi Touch & Go! (640x480, 1.4Mbps)
Yoshi Touch & Go!
Includes brief clip of Yoshi Touch & Go! when it was known as "Baloon Trip" (640x480, 1.4Mbps)
Yoshi Touch & Go!
Footage includes Yoshi.(640x380, 1.7Mbps, 25fps)
Yoshi Touch & Go!
Some more. (640x380, 1.7Mbps, 25fps)