Reviewed by Jimmy | 12.18.06
Nintendo's favorite dinosaur is set up and ready to cart a bunch of babies across the dangerous Yoshi Island. Once again the evil forces in the Mushroom Kingdom have kidnapped a key character from Mario's gang [insert Luigi] and it's up to Yoshi to courageously venturing forth and rescue the loveable and useless Luigi. Welcome to Yoshi's Island for the Nintendo DS.
Yoshi like Mario is another great lead character for Nintendo who couldn't stay away from the Nintendo DS platform for long. Yoshi who rivals Mario in gameplay is ready to kick up the nostalgia and give the Nintendo DS another classic influenced Nintendo adventure. I wasn't sure what to expect when I slid the cartridge into the DS given Artoon hit and miss development record, but it didn't take long for Yoshi to win me over. If you're looking for that patented Mario experience, Yoshi can give the plumber in red a run for his money. Yoshi's Island is surprisingly good, if not better then the Mario's return in the New Super Mario Brothers. Either Mario or Yoshi, you can't go wrong with either pick.
Yoshi's Island revolves around the tired and overused plot line of abduction. This time around it's Baby Luigi that has been kidnapped and the evil doors, insert Kamek, Yoshi's nemeses. You'll see the same normal bad guys in a Yoshi game as Mario, so expect a lot of shells, shy guys, chomp monster plants and other standard Nintendo strangeness. If you love the standard format of Mario then Yoshi will please you till no end.
The special attribute about Yoshi is his ability to lay eggs and work with the person that is riding him. In the beginning of Yoshi's Island Baby Mario will be strapped into the backside of Yoshi, ready to explore and traverse the dangerous island. Yoshi along with the ability to eat enemies and plop them into eggs, Yoshi can run, jump, hover and fire eggs to make it across each level. From the initial level right up till the end, Yoshi's Island gives us everything we expected and a little more. Of course die-hard fans who love the original might be a little hard on the new DS concept, but I think they stack up close, if my memory serves me correct.
One ability that is new in Yoshi's Island is the ability to swap babies. This means you can match Yoshi's basic skills with each baby's talents. I give you a quick run down on each character and their assets. Baby Mario leads the pack being the first baby you'll have strapped to your back. Mario can make Yoshi run and jump faster then normal which will help you out of a number of situations in the first section of the game. The other babies come in the form of Baby Peach with the ability to float longer, Baby Donkey Kong who can climb and swing across levels, strange little Baby Wario who uses a magnet to attract coins and lastly Baby Bowser who can breathe fire incinerating his enemies. Each character is important in their own ways usually lead the way to finding hidden coins and unlocking hidden areas within a level.
Yoshi still has a few more tricks to use and these extra abilities are more inventive then the previous ones. When Yoshi finds a superstar and has Mario on his back he becomes invincible as you'd suspect, but Yoshi will also be able run real fast, climb walls and float. Yoshi also has the ability to morph into a tank, helicopter and submarine in some specially designed levels. Morphing is a fun distraction although a little gimmicky. Finally Yoshi also gets to ride in some vehicles that also add as a nice distraction to the normal gameplay, for specifics Yoshi gets to strap on a pair of stilts, ride in the obligatory mine cart, and in a ride in the pouch of a gifted high jumping Kangaroo. So, beyond the normal objectives, Yoshi's Island also provides a few little time out segments when you switch up the gameplay and have a little fun playing around with Yoshi.
Yoshi's Island will take you across five different worlds within eight stages that range from simple to tricky. Although, it won't be enough of a challenge to stop any Mario fan, it's almost generic how simple and straightforward this trademark gameplay has become. To make the most out of the levels I tried to unlock and find as many special coins and areas as possible. Even though it's not that rewarding having a score rank at the end of each level had me determined to keep my average up overall. I know I said the gameplay is straightforward, but I should make it clear that even though it is straightforward Yoshi never gets boring or repetitive. Yoshi's Island is quite varied with new obstacles and things to do in each level, like I mentioned before, its has everything you've come to expect in a Mario offshoot title.
One aspect that doesn't really come into play is the touch screen or any of the other DS special talents. Yoshi primarily just uses the dual screen to extend the viewing area of each level. In that respect it's cool because you can collect coins or see what is around you, above or below, but it would have been nice to have a little more interactivity. Besides this downside it's really hard to find fault with anything in Yoshi's Island. If anything you could nitpick a few areas, but overall Yoshi's return is just like 1991 and I loved every minute.
Yoshi's Island for the Nintendo DS is an easy recommend. If you have ever been a fan of the traditional Mario styled gameplay then you will instantly love Yoshi's Island . Artoon could have bumped up the originality or more DS functionally, but that aside Yoshi's Island is one of the most satisfying platforming experiences I've had all year, ranked right up beside The New Super Mario Brothers. Highly Recommended.
Gameplay: 8.5, Graphics/Sound: 9, Innovation: 8, Mojo: 9. Final: 8.5 / 10
Great Traditional Mario-esq Gameplay, Excellent Level Design, Fun
Doesn't Take Advantage of the DS Touch Screen, Not Original
Return to the colorful wilds of Yoshi's Island in a new platforming adventure for Nintendo DS.
Saddle up for adventure. This time, Baby Mario, Baby Donkey Kong and Baby Peach are along for the ride - and each one gives Yoshi access to unique powers while they cling to his back.
Thanks to the power of Nintendo DS, all of the lush vistas and perilous paths of Yoshi's Island span two screens.