Yoshi (NES)

Game Review

Yoshi Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Ron DelVillano

Not very eggciting

With so many tile-matching games available on so many different gaming platforms, it’s surprising to see that, despite the Wii U launching six months ago, there have yet to be any released on the new console. Nintendo has finally decided to fill that empty gap with the Virtual Console release of Yoshi, an NES era puzzler featuring everyone’s favourite friendly dinosaur.

Yoshi may be a simple tile-matching puzzler, but it’s the gameplay mechanics that really set it apart from the countless other entries in the genre. The game screen is set up as a single column into which pairs of tiles adorned with enemies from the Mario universe drop from the top of the screen. At the bottom of the screen is your player character, Mario. Why you don’t play as the titular Yoshi is a riddle wrapped up in an enigma, but that’s completely beside the point. Rather than rearranging the new pieces that enter the board, you instead control the positioning of the stacks that they land on. You always rotate two stacks at a time; working quickly is a necessity for effectively landing your tiles on the desired stack. Matching two tiles vertically causes them to disappear and earn you points.

Along with the enemy tiles, there are also Yoshi egg shells that randomly drop in separate bottom and top halves. Connecting the two halves will hatch a Yoshi that earns you bonus points, and connecting two egg halves with enemy tiles crammed between will hatch a larger and more valuable dinosaur. This egg mechanic essentially works as the game’s only combo system, as it's impossible to match more than two enemy tiles at a time.

When first starting, learning to control this stack system can be a bit frustrating as it forces unnecessary movements on the player to get the proper positioning, but before long it becomes second nature. The game also begins very slowly, giving you a chance to become acquainted with the controls before speeding up. The speed remains slow for far too long however, causing the whole experience to feel sluggish and a bit tiresome for the first portion of play. Conversely, once the game does speed up, it suddenly become unmanageable. This speed imbalance is very bizarre, and makes it so there is a very short period of time during which you’re actually playing at a comfortable speed and the game feels worthwhile.

There are two game types available in Yoshi, aptly titled A Type and B Type. A Type plays as an arcade-style score attack game, providing an endless stream of falling tiles that gradually speed up over time. B Type is slightly different in that you are faced with individual stages with the goal of completely clearing all tiles from your stacks, but the general gameplay remains the same.

Beyond these, there is also a multiplayer mode that pits you and a local opponent against one another. In this mode, one player controls Mario and the other controls Luigi – Yoshi still isn’t playable simultaneously on the same screen but in separate stacks. Multiplayer games are won by either clearing your stacks or by waiting for your opponent to get overloaded, and scoring Yoshi egg combos force more tiles to be dropped on your opponent’s stacks. Yoshi’s multiplayer is very similar to that found in SNES classic Tetris Attack, and it stands out as one of the most rewarding features of this game.

In this Wii U Virtual Console release, the gameplay has remained completely unchanged. You can use either the left stick or D-Pad to move Mario from left to right, and all four lettered face button buttons can be used to swap your stacks. The controls are simple but very tight, resulting in a game that controls quite well. Like every other Wii U VC game thus far, off-screen play is supported on the GamePad’s touch screen. Yoshi also supports an array of controllers including the Wii U Pro Controller, Wii Remotes, and Wii Classic Controller, making multiplayer games very accessible.

Yoshi was originally released on the NES, and though the sprite designs are indicative of the era, they remain detailed and lively in their animations. This is great news, as being able to differentiate between a Blooper and a Boo is obviously essential to making matches. Just like the handsome visuals, the soundtrack, while limited to only a few different tracks, is iconic and will be stuck in any player’s head for days even after you’ve put the controller down.


It may look and sound good, have original gameplay mechanics and feature iconic characters from the Mario universe, but Yoshi’s biggest downfall is that it is exceedingly dull. Puzzle aficionados who love tile-matching games are sure to get some enjoyment out of this one, but it’s difficult to recommend to casual fans of the genre. The only thing that makes this one stand out as relevant is that it is currently the only tile-matching puzzler on the Wii U VC service, but — as evidenced by the abundance of games already available elsewhere in the genre — that is sure to be remedied sooner rather than later.

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User Comments (30)



GiftedGimp said:

Its 30 pence/cents... its not the greatest game, but it does what its ment to well enough, no better or worse than a lot of these tile-match puzzle game made today for mobile devices.
5 is a bit harsh, Game Mode B with speed set to fast is quite tricky as you go through the levels.



Yosher said:

To be honest the only reason I got this was because it has Yoshi in it. Being the Yoshi fan I am I want to get every game featuring him, stupid as that may sound!

Although I'd lie if I said I never had fun with this game. I have it the original NES and Gameboy, and even the Wii and 3DS VC versions, and now the Wii U VC version as well. Not that great a game to warrent a purchase that many times, but hey~



miiandmario said:

I only got it cause it was 30 cents and for an ok game and 10 club Nintendo coins, why not



TreesenHauser said:

For me, this is one of those games that at first you look at it and sorta give an exaggerated sigh, but once you begin playing it it becomes very, very enjoyable--until you lose.



bofis said:

If you factor in the price of 30 cents I'd give it much higher than a 5!



KeeperBvK said:

But you can't possibly factor in the price of 30 cents, since the game is merely at a discount now. Eventually it'll be priced the same as all NES games on the VC.



LunaticPandora said:

how many times has this been reviewed now? once for wii vc then again for 3ds and again on wii u vc? you don't need to keep re-reviewing a game very time its released on another vc platform.



Reala said:

@LunaticPandora the site aims to review every downloadable game, that's why there are repeat reviews, just part of what the site tries to do, maybe because there might be slight differences due to platform, like SMB supposedly running in 60hz on 3DS's in Europe but in 50hz on console versions, pretty rare but it happens



Jellitoe said:

Got this game for free on the 3ds ambassador program, this game even free is a 2 at best.



JuliaHR said:

I used to play this on the gameboy so I'm certainly getting it for the memories. When I used to play it I had no idea how to - I just thought it was fun moving stuff around ^^



bunnyking said:

Ron DelVillano you are a cheap man. XD

Actually I agree, there are better puzzle games out there, just pulling your leg.



MeWario said:

For 30 cents I'm getting it but only so that if I ever sell my Wii U I can claim it comes with an extra game haha



Yosher said:

@Funny_Moblin Haha, no. Probably should have said I want to get every OFFICIAL game featuring Yoshi. That actually has Nintendo's license.



AJWolfTill said:

I have this on Gameboy somewhere, it's pretty fun but perfectly skipable, It will be the first vc promo I don't pick up though.



RetrogamerFan said:

I agree with the reviewer on this. I first played it as part of the 3DS ambassador scheme and although it's a nicely made game, which is fun it doesn't have the addictive spark of something like Tetris or Dr Mario. Yoshi came out on NES after both of those so i was rather dissapointed.
Still, well worth 30p so i'll still pick it up (again).



retro_player_22 said:

The first entry in Yoshi's puzzle games. Though I didn't enjoy this one as much, I do like the concept of Yoshi in the game. If only Nintendo make a Yoshi's Puzzle Collection and includes all the Yoshi puzzle games: Yoshi, Yoshi's Cookies, and Tetris Attack, all with online and offline multiplayer and in HD, that I would buy.



Funny_Moblin said:

@Yosher What always caught my attention is Yoshi's design in Super Smash Bros. Melee. It's kinda weird but I like it. You know, he looks more dinasaur like with a longer neck, more pikedup spikes, ovalish eyes (the black part), the slimy body texture, and the red, kinda flat boots.

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