Review: Yoshi's Island DS
The oh-so-adorable dinosaur is back in all his reptilian glory. This time, Yoshi and his cute pals Baby Mario, Peach, Wario, and DK must save a kidnapped Luigi from Magikoopa Kamek and his menacing flying fortress.
Once again, we experience the carnivorous, egg-laying action Yoshi fans have come to love. Like its predecessor, Yoshi's Island 2 has the classical 2D side-scrolling action and colorful pastel artwork that brought Nintendo to prominence. Though some levels get pretty long, controls remain fluid and gameplay simple.
Shyguys on stilts
One cool thing about this game is its unification of the DS' dual screens into one great playing field, making Yoshi's Island feel way bigger than it ever has before. Yoshi's Island 2 consists of 5 worlds with 8 levels each, plus some bonus levels. Finding hidden keys allows you to unlock additional mini-games, including one that requires Yoshi to lay as many eggs as possible within a time-span of 30 seconds. Levels also include numerous hidden items, such as smiley flowers that add up to give you an extra life, character-specific coins, red coins, and stars. Only collecting all of these hidden items will give you 100% completion for a level. The question mark clouds are still in the game and enemies are the same, though with some variation. Watch out for some acrobatic shyguy action.
Eggs are not for eating...
Fear not, Yoshi fans: all of Yoshi's classic abilities are back. Yoshi's magical metabolism allows you to swallow enemies and either shoot them back out or transform them into eggs to be used as ammo. Deciding to save the eggs for later is ok too, since each additional egg you lay trails behind the one before. However, a killer screen-spanning egg-trail is not possible since your egg stock is only limited to 6. Yoshi can also flutter jump, stomp, and transform into transportation vehicles when time calls for it.
Saddle up those dinosaurs
PROTIP: Whenever you see one of these stork signs, touch it to switch the babies on your back. Some levels may need you to use all four babies.
A spiffy new function allows Yoshi to switch babies on his back. Each baby has special abilities: Baby Mario allows Yoshi to dash at top speed, Peach's parasol lets Yoshi float, DK can break though boulders and climb vines, and Wario's giant magnet grabs metal items. When Yoshi gets hurt, the baby on his back flies away in a bubble and begins to cry. The bubble must be popped within a time limit or you lose a life. Just straining to recapture a bubble that seems to like its freedom is frustrating enough; hearing a fussy baby whining at the same time does not help things. And beware: the high-pitched crying sound effects may be too much for those with sensitive ears.
Speaking of sound, overall effects remain pretty much the same. Whether that's a good or bad thing is up to you, though I have heard quite a few complaints about Yoshi's flutter jump squeal, which sounds a bit too much like constipation.
However, despite small annoyances, Yoshi's Island 2 is fun and light-hearted play. A tongue of praise to Yoshi's Island 2 for not only remaining true to the classical style but also adding new elements to keep things fresh.
PROTIP: Build up your egg stock for you never know when you'll run into something that needs some egg-smacking. Also, collect five happy flowers to earn an extra life.