Yoshi’s Island DS
Yoshi’s Islands was one of the many pearls that made the Super Nintendo shine. The cute dragon, seen for the first time in Super Mario World, had gotten its own game and the result was immediate success. Yoshi’s Islands became one of the most fun and original platform games ever. Meanwhile we’re about 12 years further and DS owners can finally enjoy the official sequel.
The time I was hiding “dirty magazines” in a dusty puzzle box is luckily long gone. Still I look back at my puberal happyness with nostalgia. It was also the period I started to get hooked on videogames. The NES already made me introduced games to me that were better than the “Digdugs” and “Willy the Worms” of that era. The SNES made things even better and is still my all-time favorite console, also due to the platform violence that was released on the grey thing.
Meanwhile, I’ve grown quite a lot older and have started playing many explosive shooters and epic RPGs. Adult games that bit by bit managed to send the platform genre to the back. An understandable evolution but it did make me long sometimes for a “simple”, brains-to-zero-and-jump-platform game. With New Super Mario Bros my wishes were heard and it was immediately proven that oldfashioned 2D platform action was still very cool! The question now is whether Yoshi’s Islands DS confirms this.
Completing levels is still done by jumping, eating enemies and shooting them away in an egg-shape. Compared to the original 4 different babies can take place in Yoshi’s saddle. Baby Mario gets the company of Princess Peach, Wario and Donkey Kong and each of these has unique skills. Mini Wario can attract objects with a magnet while Donkey Kong can swing. Here and there you also find ostridge stops where you can switch babies. The choice is often simple to make but it does offer some more complex – though somewhat forced – gameplay. Add to that the fact that the action is now spread over two screens and you see that the possibility of alternate routes makes finding secrets double as hard.
The key word has fallen: hard. Those that found New Super Mario Bros tough best think twice before starting Yoshi’s Island DS. The first worlds are good to do but as you go along your platform skills and coolness will be seriously tested. Losing ten lives in one level isn’t an exception. No problem, you’re a platform animal or you’re not, but sadly the difficulty degree is heightened a bit too artificially. For instance there are quite a lot of self-scrolling levels that take out the pace of the game. Sad as with platform games you just want to go through the world as fast as possible with the B-button glued tight. For the die-hards amongst you that really want to unlock everything (like some worthless mini games) I can give a tip: make sure your DS is always in a protection case. Take some valium now and then and thinking about the relativity of life doesn’t hurt either.
Luckily the colorful surroundings and fun music sometimes make you forget your frustration. The color pencil drawing style is still a smart move and gives the game an original look. Also the typical, sweet Nintendo tunes that support the game are top. The sound effects may very well be the best worked out part of the title. Believe me, the groaning of Yoshi while being in the air is truly a pleasure to your ears.
Yoshi’s Islands DS maybe doesn’t make the same impression as its prehistoric predecessor on the SNES and New Super Mario Bros is undoubtedly better. Still, if you’re looking for a fun platform game and aren’t afraid of the necessary “trial and error” then this game is certainly worth the effort.