April 8th, 2005, 21:37 Posted By: wraggster
The first time we laid our mitts on the piece of mini-genius that is Yoshi's Touch and Go was last E3. Holed up in the quiet media bit of Nintendo's booth, away from crowds and Z-List celebs, we were quickly charmed by the genius use of a thing as simple as a stylus pen, guiding the fall of a nappy-wearing baby Mario by way of drawing clouds for him to slide down on.
Now the concept has gained an extra limb by way of newly implemented shooting sections. Think of a two screen-high version of Yoshi's Island, then change the control scheme to one of tapping the screen to shoot, drawing on the screen to create clouds for Yoshi to walk on, and tapping Yoshi himself to make him jump and float in the air. Dead simple and painfully addictive.
The premise of the game is simple - you play a series of levels that are split into two key sections; the first section comprises of Baby Mario falling; the second section is the Yoshi shooting and jumping section. Players have to guide Baby Mario, then Yoshi, into as many coins as possible whilst avoiding obstacles and enemies on-path.
To destroy enemies, players must draw a circle around them, which in turn transforms them into a coin trapped within a bubble. The faster the enemy moves, the bigger the coin they become. Trapping multiple enemies at a time gifts a super coin. You can also tap onto a bubble and then launch it toward Baby Mario or Yoshi, so that they instantly collect the coin, though in Baby Mario's level this has the added implication of bouncing him upward, and possibly off or on-path.
Yoshi also has the benefit of being able to jump on top of non-spiked enemies to kill them, but Baby Mario is defenceless.
From what we've played - the Japanese language does somewhat confuse us - your task is to rescue baby Luigi from the clutches of those little wizard fellas from Yoshi's Island. The game seems to be split across four distinct stages, with us only being able to reach the third at time of going to press.
The third level is especially unique as it introduces a pinball-like mechanic that bounces Baby Mario off-path in the falling section, meaning you have to watch the two screens far more feverishly than before. The clouds you draw also last for a shorter period of time. Heaven only knows what lies in the forth level.
To summarise, the game - we're playing the complete Japanese DS version - is wonderfully simple and purist friendly. We fear some may miss the genius clothed in the cute and quirky visuals; and being how short it is in length, we doubt many people would be willing to pay more than 15 for it.
So far we absolutely and unreservedly adore it, but the question remains as to whether Joe and Joanne Public and their shiny pounds will adore it too.
Yoshi's Touch and Go is currently sheduled for release in Europe on May 6. Whether Europeans will receive some kind of tweaked version remains to be seen. Oh, and it's out now in Japan.
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