Everyone’s favourite green dino returns in this island adventure. Yoshi and his friends are tasked with saving babies that have been snatched away by the evil Kamek. However, Yoshi isn’t just supported by his friends but also a few babies that were lucky enough to escape the grasp of Kamek. Each baby brings to the table or rather Yoshi’s shell (what, you expected babies to walk or run?) their own set of skills.
As players begin their adventure on the island they’ll soon learn that Yoshi isn’t helpless at all and possesses quite a number of abilities such as running, jumping, hovering for a split second for extra airtime (although whilst hovering he tends to make a noise as if he is constipated) and swallow enemies that he can either shoot back out or digest and umm well release into an egg form. Yes, this dino has quite the advanced digestive system. Best of all the eggs can be used to shoot at not only objects or coins but also enemies across the screen. Yoshi also has the butt stomp smash officially known as the Ground Pound. Indeed although he may be cute, this is one terrifying dino.
Along with his own abilities, Yoshi and his friends (who you’ll also take control of on certain levels) will be assisted by a few babies. Baby Mario, Baby Peach and Baby Donkey Kong to name a few will assist the Yoshi clan by granting Yoshi a different set of abilities. Baby Peach, for instance, uses her parasol to raise Yoshi higher into the air at certain points in a level where a wind tunnel is created and Baby Mario allows the player to smash blocks initialled with the letter “M” as well as allows the dino to dash. There are quite a number of areas within the levels that you’ll be granted the opportunity to swap babies by approaching a sign with a stork on it. Swapping babies at integral times of the levels will allow you to reach places you couldn’t before or grant you access to the exit of the level by creating a bridge across a lava river. Of course, having babies on your back in a war isn’t ideal and this is where the tricky bit comes into play. Yoshi does not possess hearts or a health bar. Every time Yoshi is hit the baby falls off of him and floats in a bubble while a timer is activated. If Yoshi does not retrieve the baby before time runs out the baby is whisked away and kidnapped, thus leaving the player to try that stage again. Having said this however I have to say that the game is quite forgiving and although the timer begins where it left off from the first hit, the player can regenerate the timer at certain points within the levels to above thirty seconds. Which is more than enough time to retrieve the baby as the bubble tends to float towards Yoshi automatically.
Of course, having babies on your back in a war isn’t ideal and this is where the tricky bit comes into play. Yoshi does not possess hearts or a health bar. Every time Yoshi is hit the baby falls off of him and floats in a bubble while a timer is activated.
The levels in Yoshi’s Island are exactly what you’d expect from the Super Mario universe. Bright, vibrant and colourful. The game has a challenging yet fun level design within each level. Challenging players not only through platforming but occasionally with puzzle solving as well. It is also filled with enemies over every hill or inside every pipe and although the game’s later boss fights can be frustratingly challenging it is quite rewarding to learn the trick to defeating them. The level backdrops are also stunning to look at from underground waterfalls to lush greenery in a forest.
All in all Yoshi’s Island DS is a must for all platforming and Super Mario fans out there. Playing on the DS (or 3DS) grants you a wider view across the world as well, as it uses both the top and bottom screens simultaneously forcing the player to sometimes scroll up or down to see whats below or above Yoshi. This comes in handy especially since you wouldn’t want to take a leap into a burning pit of lava. The music in the game is adorable and so much fun to listen to and the game itself is well designed in the sense of the pastel graphical style used. Although I’m not the best at platformers I did really enjoy Yoshi’s Island DS and now find myself in the mood to play a few more platformers before jumping back into my next RPG.
Although this doesn’t affect the review in any way I have to say that Nintendo really does well when it comes to their tiny quirks. For instance, when you open and close your DS, Yoshi will either say YOSHIIIII or Badam. Which seems to be a feature added with DS titles as Mario also says Let’s a Goooo when you open your DS from sleep mode whilst playing New Super Mario Bros. Thank You Nintendo for always being that wacky toy designer.