Retaining a charming hand-drawn graphical style first introduced in its SNES predecessor, Yoshi's Island DS stars baby versions of several popular Nintendo characters, riding the loveable green dinosaur. Although their younger incarnations are by now familiar from several Mario Kart appearances, this series saw them take their first toddling steps into the Mario universe.
Players must use each baby character's unique moves to traverse the five worlds and stop the wizard Kamek from harnessing their power for evil. Using the Stork Stop, players can switch at will between nappy-clad toddlers.
Baby Wario, for example, sports a magnet that attracts nearby items, and Baby Peach allows for more float in your flutter jumps. At different points in the game, all these abilities are required to make your way to the goal. There's even a rare opportunity to control Baby Bowser.
When Yoshi is hit, whichever baby he is carrying will fall off his back, and a timer begins to count down. If the timer runs down to zero before you retrieve the missing infant, a life is lost. Swallowing enemies allows you to convert them into eggs, which can be thrown at enemies, barriers and collectables, making Yoshi a very versatile protagonist, especially allowing for his selection of riders.
It may be nearly a decade old, but the visuals still impress as you navigate gem-studded caverns, Swiss cheese hills and sunflower stalks. The DS' two screens are mainly used to expand your field of vision although a later encounter with Hector the Reflector, a clever system sees one screen function as a mirror, which reveals the boss' location.
As with most Virtual Console DS games, it is preferable to play using your TV rather than the GamePad screen, which feels a bit too small when the screen gets busy with Shy Guys, Nipper Plants and Dizzy Dandys.
Yoshi's Island does provide rather more of a challenge than most recent Yoshi games, and indeed many modern Mario titles. Some of this is down to the screen gap, which sometimes throws a spanner in the works when the black space between the dual screens hides an enemy that then kills you.
For those gamers dedicated to getting 100%, there are more collectables than an episode of the Antiques Roadshow, and locating every star, red coin and flower head will certainly keep even the most hardened platform enthusiast busy for a good while. Character swapping occasionally renders the game into mild tedium, but the level design is clever and the journey is well worth putting up with the odd moment of frustration.Reuse content