Review: Yoshi's Story (N64)

Not Yoshi's finest hour

Remember Yoshi’s Island on the Super NES? That awesome platformer that swapped the roles and made Yoshi the main hero with (Baby) Mario being the sidekick? It's become iconic, but this is perhaps the first "real" Yoshi game (Mario isn't in the name and he's barely seen in the game) and it does things a bit differently.

The first thing you'll notice is that Nintendo decided to take a very different approach, graphics-wise. Instead of opting for a "crayon-drawn" style like Yoshi’s Island it decided to take on a peculiar "pop-up book" style, which looks quite odd. Characters are quite big compared to Yoshi’s Island as well. Nintendo fans often get defensive when people call games "kiddy", which is usually totally baseless - but this game is the very definition of the word, with childish and "cute" graphics.

The main gameplay is quite similar to Yoshi’s Island. Yoshi can extend his tongue, throw eggs, do flutter jumps, ground pound and more. This time though, Yoshi's got life - instead of being able to simply retrieve Baby Mario, he will just take damage, and if he loses all his life he's a goner. If you die, you've got "reserve" Yoshis (all differently coloured) which fancy eating different types of Shy Guys and fruit. Lost Yoshis can be retrieved, but I'll leave it up to you to discover how. If you lose all Yoshis, it's game over.

Beating levels is a bit different, as they basically go on endlessly. It's not until you fill all of the dots around the screen with fruit (just eat them) before you end the stage. There are 6 worlds - each of them has four stages, although all but the first three of them must be unlocked first. You can only choose one of the levels in each world in a playthrough, so altogether you will only play six stages! Not every level has a boss, so you will most likely hardly fight any before you reach the final boss. None of the bosses are particularly challenging, and one can actually be defeated by just using Yoshi's tongue move over and over again.

The sound department is another factor where the game fails. This is the game that introduced the voice Yoshi has today; those "yaaaaaay" and "whoooooa" noises originated here. The music has some nice beats to it, but for the most part it's just a bunch of remixes of the exact same theme. There are also some songs that actually have Yoshi voices singing - you can imagine how annoying those sound.

Yoshi's Story is usually not mentioned when people talk about Mario platformers, and for a good reason - it's insultingly easy, collecting fruit to progress serves as a lame excuse to keep you in levels longer, the game's incredibly short (an hour for one playthrough) and once you've seen all the levels the game has to offer by locating all the big hearts, there is absolutely no need to replay it ever again.

Conclusion

There is almost nothing memorable about Yoshi's Story aside from the graphical style, which isn't necessarily memorable in a good way. Yoshi's Story was a disappointment when it was originally released and it still is today; it's not a patch on Yoshi’s Island. The only recommendation we could give this game is for really young kids due to the simplistic, unchallenging gameplay.

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