the last game to cross off my list of main yoshi games was yoshi’s island DS. this is the fifth game in the main series, and the first one to be content to be a true sequel (of the original SNES title) rather than explore a unique game structure. the game was developed (co-developed?) by artoon, who was behind the repetitive away: shuffle dungeon, also on DS, and at first i was skeptical that they could create a quality nintendo platformer, let alone on the level of the original, which is one of my favorite games of all time. however, once i got past the first world i found myself enjoying the main unique feature of this game for the most part, namely the new baby-switching mechanic. there are five babies in total, including mario, each with different abilities, and because you can only switch babies at certain points you’ll invariably end up having to backtrack to get the right baby for the situation. the most egregious example is the baby coins: there’s one in each level, but it only be picked up by a specific baby. some of the babies feel a bit underused, but overall their inclusion is a nice change and does a good job of justifying the sequel.
the game got mixed reviews when it came out, with some people saying it was an excellent platformer and others saying it was too close to the first game and suffered in comparison. i found it to be somewhere in between, but what brought it down for me was the difficulty spike in the last fifth of the game. i don’t think difficulty is a bad thing in general, but it seemed somewhat inconsistent since the series has generally been on the easy side, and part of the reason it becomes so annoyingly hard/frustrating is because the levels get much longer with not enough checkpoints to compensate. the other thing people seem to complain about is the “dead zone” between the two screens, and the music, but i didn’t have much of a problem with either. it did seem the expansion to two screens was somewhat clumsy in general, and every time you fall into a pit you’ll have to fall two screens’ worth before you die which got to be quite annoying. as with the original, trying to nab all the useless collectibles (time stars, red coins, and flowers) adds to replayability but really feels like overkill.
glad to have finished the series just in time for the upcoming releases on wii u and 3DS. the latter has a lot to live up to and so far it looks like it may have the same problem of cribbing too closely to the first entry, but we’ll just have to see how it turns out.
don’t be babied by these yoshi’s island DS links:
– comprehensive entry at mariowiki.com including a catalog of all of the enemies
– track from the game that appeared in brawl
– review at nintendolife.com
– entry at wikipedia