Back when the DS was first announced Nintendo showed off a new Yoshi game. This creative demo had gamers draw a path for Yoshi using the stylus. After a couple of months of waiting the new Yoshi game gets a new name, Catch! Touch! Yoshi! and is released to the masses.
Catch! Touch! Yoshi! has gameplay broken into two different parts. When you start a level you’ll see Baby Mario falling from the sky with three tiny red balloons holding him up. Below the tiny hero lies shy guys, spiky togetchis and a sea of coins. To guide Mario away from the perils and towards coins you need to create a path of clouds using the stylus. You can draw as much or as little as you want, but there are a couple of rules. First, Mario obeys the law of gravity and will always fall down. Second, you can’t actually trap Mario with a cushion of clouds. If you do they’ll disappear over time. Third, three hits and the pint sized hero is captured by a Magikoopa. Drawing a good path takes patience and some forethought. By the time Mario is on the path you’ve drawn you can’t alter it because he’s on the top (non touch screen). Pretty clever gameplay. If you end up not liking what you’ve drawn just create some wind by blowing into the microphone and the clouds will vanish. Carefully guiding Mario towards the coins is another important part of this stage. In the upper left hand corner there is a picture of Yoshi with a number underneath it. The number is how many points you have, which is based on how many coins you get and how many enemies are knocked out of the sky. Your score will dictate what color Yoshi will assist Mario in the next area. The higher the score, the more eggs your Yoshi can carry.
After Baby Mario reaches the end of the level a Yoshi will catch him from falling. The gameplay switches from playing with Mario to assisting Yoshi. Similar to how you can’t move Baby Mario you can’t directly move Yoshi. The screen will automatically scroll from left to right dragging Yoshi along with it. Besides drawing the necessary path for Yoshi players can also make Yoshi jump by tapping him with the stylus. Getting used to positing the stylus to tap Yoshi for a jump is a little inconvenient. In many cases it’s better to just position a path of clouds to avoid jumping all together. While you’re playing Yoshi King Koopa’s minions won’t let you off easy. Flying shy guys will dive towards Yoshi and tiny monkeys will throw things at you. Of course Yoshi has a ready supply of eggs to throw at an approaching bat or shy guy. Eggs can also be thrown upwards to the top screen to collect coins. Players can find helpful fruit to resupply Yoshi with more eggs. If you’re out of eggs or are the conservative type you can draw a cloud circle around an enemy. This is an alternative way to rid the screen of a nuisance, but it takes more time than just throwing an egg.
Both of the games have a set number of permutations that are randomly dished out to players. On the plus side this gives the game pick up and playability with some variation in between. I mean you wouldn’t want to keep playing through stage 1-1 every time you start the title up. Still, there just aren’t that many different level sets. After playing through the Baby Mario portion a couple of times you’ll be able to memorize the position of coins and where the spiky green balls of death are. Fortunately the Yoshi stages have a couple more variations. Although, even with these small changes gamers will see all Catch! Touch! Yoshi! has to offer in a single day.
Catch! Touch! Yoshi! doesn’t have different levels or offer a world to explore. All you have to play with are four different modes: score attack, time attack, endless and challenge. No matter which mode you pick you’ll be doing the same thing. Because of this he game can hardly be considered a platformer. It has more in kin to a simple handheld game with a touch screen, than any other Nintendo DS title. If you know someone else with a DS you can play a wireless multiplayer game. There is only one game to play and it’s set in Yoshi’s world. Its a race to see who can run further with their Yoshi. The game is an interesting diversion, but this doesn’t extend replay value much either.
Initially I was really excited for Catch! Touch! Yoshi!. After spending some time with it, I realize that it isn’t a game you’re going to spend hours playing in a row. It’s a good game to play when you need a quick gaming break or for a short car ride. It’s a little disheartening, because Nintendo could have done so much more with this title. Maybe Yoshi’s Touch & Go suffered from an onset of launch title syndrome like Pokemon Dash did. In any case there are other better, longer and flat out more entertaining titles out there for the DS.
Import Friendly? Literacy Level: 1
The menus are in friendly katakana and there isn’t any story to worry about. Another thing is the in game tutorial is easy to understand in any language.
This game will be released in North America under the moniker Yoshi’s Touch & Go on March 14, 2005.
+ Pros: Unique gameplay has players use the stylus to draw paths for Yoshi and Baby Mario.
– Cons: The title won’t engage gamers for very long.
Overall: I have to hand it to Nintendo for making another creative product, but it’s more like a mini game than a complete DS title.
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