Yoshi's Island 2 (Post-E3 2006)
Players: 1 Player Game | Genre: Platform
Ask a gamer who played through the 16-bit era what his favorite platformer is, and there's a good chance he'll mention Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. Despite his namesake, most gamers don't consider it a Mario game because you played as Yoshi for one thing. More importantly though, the game featured unique, clever mechanics that were very different from any Mario platformers.
The sequel, Yoshi's Island 2 for the Nintendo DS, doesn't stray from the original gameplay elements. The two primary features are still a huge part of the gameplay. Yoshi can eat enemies and then "poop" them out as eggs, which he can then throw as projectiles. As the player, you'll use these crazy egg bombs to attack enemies and manipulate the environment (hit switches, move objects, etc.). It's a very important part of Yoshi's Island. The second important ability is Yoshi's secondary floaty jump. That may not seem very significant, but in a platform game, the way the character runs and jumps affects everything, so Yoshi's Island certainly has a different play style than most other 2D platformers.
The only new feature shown in the E3 demo was the new baby powers. In the first game Yoshi had to carry Baby Mario around on his back. In this sequel, Yoshi can call on a stork to switch the baby he's carrying between Baby Mario, Baby Peach, and Baby Donkey Kong. It will be interesting to see how this is explained in the story. Anyways, when carrying Baby Mario, Yoshi moved faster and was able to crush enemies with a powerful stomp. While carrying Baby Peach, Yoshi could float in the air a little longer or even ride air currents by using her parasol. Baby Donkey Kong wasn't available in the demo.
Overall the game looks and feels like the original Yoshi's Island. The graphics probably are a bit cleaner and crisper, but the art style is the same. The game's worlds are colorfully detailed children's drawings. The levels do span both screens, and that will mean you'll have to pull off some tricky egg shooting in certain situations. The Touch Screen doesn't seem to be used in Yoshi's Island 2.
While the game doesn't look that much different from its predecessor, you won't see me complaining. It's been ten years since the original game released, so the fact that the series is now getting an update would definitely seem overdue for fans of the original. Don't let the cutesy look fool you. The first Yoshi's Island was one of the most challenging yet satisfying games I've ever played, and I expect the same caliber of level design from the sequel.