Yoshi's Island DS

Yoshi's Island ds
Yoshi's Island ds Cover
Platform Nintendo DS
Genre Eggcellent Platformer
Score 8  Clock score of 8Gameplay: 8
Fun Factor: 7
Gfx/Sound: 8
Story: 4
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Yoshi's Island DS is the sequel to the greatest 2D platformer of all time, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. In my mind, this is a super tall order for the game to live up to, and unfortunately it doesn't, but the DS sequel is still a great game on its own and is definitely one of the best platformers on the system. If you've played the original you will be right at home with Yoshi's Island DS, as the basic gameplay is exactly the same as it was 13 years ago. This is a good thing but they also spent some time adding a few things here and there.

And maybe it's just me, but this game is hard, harder than the original. Especially if you plan to collect all the points in each level, which I did a few years back for the SNES game, and am currently attempting now for Yoshi's Island DS. Let's just say I need to wear a wrist strap so I don't chuck my DS across the room. Let's get to the review.

Scores

Gameplay: 8
Like the gap between the screens, I need to get something out of the way first: Yoshi's Island DS has no "Touch Fuzzy, Get Dizzy" level. I kept waiting for it, and waiting for it, but it never appeared! If you have no idea what I'm talking about, watch this video.

Anyway, in the opening I noted that this game is hard, this really surprised me as I was expecting the series to be slightly dumbed down for the DS but it was great to see it wasn't. The first set of stages are basic enough and I had seriously collected 150 lives. By the end of the game I had "only" one hundred left. Maybe I was trying too hard to collect all the game's points: in each level there are 20 hidden red coins and five flowers, plus you have to collect as much "life" as possible and not get hit near the end, something that is really hard against most later bosses. I'm not complaining that the game is hard, I respect that, more just surprised that Nintendo (and Artoon, the proxy developer) had big enough Yoshi eggs to actually remember the people who played the original a decade back and want to return to the glory days.

On to the new things, there are four new playable characters: baby versions of Peach, Donkey Kong, Wario, and Bowser. Each of them are a little different as Donkey Kong can climb vines and Bowser and breathe fire. You have to switch between them fairly often within each level (which you can do at designated points), especially if you want to collect everything. Mario is still the most fun to use simply because you can run really fast with him but all the rest are still fun to control but are just too slow for me to use regularly. The game actually has a few hit detection problems too which can be quite annoying when they deal out instant death.

Fun Factor: 7
Well, Yoshi's Island DS doesn't quite put that huge smile on my face that the original Yoshi's Island did. I can't exactly put my finger on it though, it might be the new characters that slow down the game or it might be the absolute insane difficulty near the end that make me dread going for a perfect score. The worst are the auto-scrolling levels. Those have been around since Super Mario Bros. 3 and I still can't stand them. Nintendo, you're seriously like the only developer still rolling out this crap, I'm already fighting against the level enough, don't make me rush (or crawl) to artificially pile on the difficulty. Other than my complaints, this game is still very fun and I highly recommend it to every old-school platformer fan out there.

Graphics and Sound: 8
Yoshi's Island uses both screens of the DS as one tall screen and this works okay for most platformers. The problem here though is the gap between the screens. There's an inch long dead zone in which you can't see anything and crap always seems to be popping out of there and messing with Yoshi. Luckily you can move the camera around, well, you move which screen you want Yoshi centered on which does help. I've complained a lot about this but after thinking about it for a bit, I think I finally figured out why they did this: because the game relies heavily on throwing projectiles, the gap between the screens allows you to more accurately toss eggs from screen to screen as the angles are more true to the actual physical layout of the DS.

Now that I got that out of the way, the graphical style remains true to the original Yoshi's Island which is awesome. The game is "cute" but it works so well for the series. Same for the sound effects and music, the lullaby theme remains and gives me a great sense of nostalgia. But they got rid of the great original overworld theme! They also slightly turned down the level of annoyance of the baby's cries, not quite sure how I feel about that because it was such a staple of the original. WAH WAH WAH!

Story: 4
Yoshi's Island DS features pretty much the same story from the original, Baby Luigi has been kidnapped and Baby Mario must save him. The largest new addition are the new playable characters: Baby Peach, Baby Donkey Kong, Baby Wario, and even Baby Bowser. Though these new guys affect the gameplay more than the story. Maybe the coolest thing about this game's meager plot is that Bowser has traveled back in time to kidnap these star babies, this might actually be Bowser's best plan of them all. Kill them while they're young.

Overall: 8
When I compare Yoshi's Island to the other DS games I've rated an 8, it's hard for me to give this game a lower score. It's a really solid game that suffers a bit from the intangibles I've described above. Unfortunately, this isn't as good of a portable game as one might expect, the levels are really long, some can take half an hour if you're failing a lot, and you can't save and quit mid-level. This means once you've dived into a level, you're going to want to finish it. Either way, Yoshi's Island DS is really good, but not quite as good as the original (a perfect 10 in my book).

Yoshis Island DS Peach

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