Yoshi's Island 2
Yoshi and Mario's long-awaited return graces the DS. (And it's about time, too!)
Preview by (Email)
May 25th 2006
The Basics: The true sequel to everyone's favorite SNES platformer, Yoshi's Island makes its way to the Nintendo DS. The charming hand drawn graphics from the original are back with crayon-scribbled EVERYTHING; enemies that grow, shrink, spin, and do all sorts of goofy antics; not to mention that feel-good vibe you get when you clamp your hands down on a game you know will be good. The gameplay is inherently no different from the original Yoshi's Island, meaning all the platforming and egg-chucking antics are back, along with the challenging scoring system.
However new elements have been added to the rock solid gameplay from the original. Now the Yoshi's can juggle between Baby Mario, Peach, and Donkey Kong, as well as use both screens for a much taller range of vision. In fact many stages will play off of these aspects, giving you pause to figure out which baby (and their power) will get you to certain areas in a stage.
What do we think? It took only a minute to get back into that familiar groove with the demo's red Yoshi and Baby Mario – every involuntary platforming action was snapping back into place. Running, float jumping, and knocking around bad guys was like revisting an old friend or reliving a familiar memory…but what's this? If I switch to Peach bad guys don't go down with a simple stomp, but with a well-placed butt bounce? And my Yoshi runs considerably slower? Ah, but the Princess offers up a skill Mario could never match – use her parasol in gusts of winds and my Yoshi was airborne! I couldn't find Donkey Kong at all in the demo, but chances are his skills will make the "baby changing stations" a vital pit stop in any level.
As if that little tweak weren't enough to make Yoshi's Island 2 stand out on its own, the two screen advantage of the DS makes approaching vertical ecstasy even easier. Remember the good old days, where you had to guess if there was anything "up there" in a platformer? NO MORE! Yoshi's Island 2 always shows what's overhead in the top screen, with the bottom showing the ongoing action around Yoshi and co. So a new element is added into the mix, taking out the "what if" of platformers and adding a "yeah…but how do I get up there?" element.
While reveling in old school gameplay, I had the pleasure of reeling before hand drawn bliss, to boot! The game retains all if its older sibling's visual charms and quirks – none of that 2.5D nonsense! If nothing else, Yoshi's Island 2 will be the one sequel this year that is unashamed of its quirky, cute, colorful, old-school roots.