Yoshi’s Island DS
When we first heard that Artoon had been handed the keys to one of Nintendo’s most important franchises, we were more than a little concerned. After all, this was the developer behind Blinx, a time-travelling cat, the lacklustre Pinobee: Wings Of Adventure and the terrifyingly bad Yoshi’s Universal Gravitation. Despite all the above, Nintendo went ahead anyway and allowed Artoon to run riot with a sequel to the SNES’s Yoshi’s Island and you know what, it’s actually bloody good.
Make no mistake, those who played the original SNES classic will find everything more than a little familiar, but when you have a template that’s as solid as Yoshi’s Island you’d be crazy to change it in the first place. Yoshi’s Island DS is a beautiful platformer that pays careful reverence to the original, whilst adding a few pleasant surprises along the way. The biggest of which is the addition of several new babies.
As well as having to ferry baby Mario across the island’s treacherous terrain, the Yoshis now have several other tykes to look after. Earned at specific parts of the game and boasting a variety of nifty abilities, the new babies are a masterstroke and greatly add to what was already an extremely solid platformer. Don’t think you can use these new toddlers when you like though, as Artoon only allows you to change them at certain stork switches that can be found on each level. While you’ll sometimes start a new stage with a baby that’s not entirely suited to it, a handy stork switch is never too far away.
While the addition of the new babies enhances how you approach each of Yoshi’s 50 levels, you still can’t shake the nagging feeling that this is just Yoshi’s Island by numbers. Enemies can be swallowed and used as projectiles or turned into eggs; eggs are used to reach otherwise inaccessible items, while many of the bosses lack the inventiveness of those in Yoshi’s Island. On the other hand, you’re getting a re-imagining of one of the greatest platformers of all time, and no matter how cynical you are, there’s no denying that Artoon’s latest offering is one of the best DS platformers yet.