Somewhere in the bowels of a database of 1UP.com sits a review I wrote a very long time ago for Yoshi Touch & Go. I don’t remember what it says, and it probably doesn’t matter.
Touch & Go was actually a pretty good little game, in hindsight, but emphasis here sits on the word “little.” It was the wrong kind of game, at the wrong time, on the wrong platform, in the wrong format. Touch & Go is the sort of game we would buy today, quite cheerfully, for 99¢ on iPhone. It’s a fun, bite-sized diversion behind which sits very little substance; alas, in 2004 we didn’t really have a place for such creations.
Games of Touch & Go‘s nature were the de facto standard in the Atari 2600 days, but the latter half of the ’80s saw games grow in size and scope as memory capacity grew. The reality of Touch & Go is that it would have been lambasted as too slight as an NES game 15 years prior to its release; no wonder we — and I say “we” because I certainly wasn’t the only one to rake it over the coals — didn’t appreciate it. As something meant to be a viable, full-price, standalone release in 2004, when you could buy console-sized experiences like Advance Wars and Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow on Game Boy Advance, Yoshi Touch & Go was downright unconscionable. It was basically a fancy Yoshi’s Island minigame presented as a full product. It wasn’t bad, but it was entirely too slight for its own good. I mean, minigames more substantial than this were included as bonus modes in Super Mario 64 DS!
I think Touch & Go sort of embodied everything we assumed about the DS at the time, good and bad. Yes, it allowed for original and inventive gameplay concepts and controls; guiding baby Mario with the stylus felt like a warm-up for Kirby Canvas Curse, that system-defining masterpiece. But with its recycled graphics and overall lack of substance, Touch & Go hinted at a future for the DS consisting of novelty games with little meat behind them.
And, in all fairness, that’s mostly what we got during the system’s first year of life: Fun but hopelessly lightweight confections. It’s crazy to think just how much the system’s library evolved over time — within a couple of years, these little design experiments were simply offbeat elements of deeply traditional video games as the DS became the final port in the storm of the industry’s march toward high-cost, high-spec creations.
I didn’t care much for the game at the time. But if Nintendo were to give us a Touch & Go sequel as 3DSware, say for $4.99, I would be all over that.