Image: Nintendo Life


The little green dinosaur has been on our screens for a long time now — over 30 years, in fact — but did you know that his first-ever spin-off game was an underwhelming block-falling puzzle à la Tetris? Honestly, it's a miracle that Mr. Munchakoopas (to use his full name) ever made it back into our hearts after that, given that we'd only ever known him as an excuse to try to capitalise on Tetris' success, and an expendable resource in Super Mario World that helps Mario get extra height on his jump.

But Yoshi was given a second chance at life, and aren't we grateful for it? Over the past 30 years, Yoshi's had puzzle games, adventure games, platformers, and even an FPS to his name, and although not all of them are quality games, the ones that are good are really good.

If you don't agree with the order — good news! This is a reader-ranked list based on each game's User Rating in our games database. What does that mean? It means you can have an impact even after publication by just submitting your own user ranking to potentially propel your faves up the list.

So, let's find out which of T. Yoshisaur Munchakoopas' games you think are worth another lick, and which ones should be sacrificed by letting them fall into a pit.

Note. We've included a couple of Yoshi ports for completeness' sake, but if you'd personally count them as one or discount the inferior version, just imagine they're not there and the rest of the ordering stands. Yoshi!

13. Yoshi (NES)

Known as Mario & Yoshi in Europe and Yoshi's Egg in Japan, Yoshi is hardly the most scintillating of puzzlers, but we've played worse tile-matching games in our time and it does have a relatively unique plate/column switching mechanic. We'd recommend firing it up for a moment or two to see if the concept catches on. If so, great! If not, move along.

12. Yoshi's Cookie (NES)

To its merit, Yoshi's Cookie is not just another falling block puzzler like Yoshi on the NES — but it's only a tad more original.

The objective is to create lines of cookies in order to make them disappear. You start out with a "block" of them, and new pieces gradually approach from the right and top. You play by putting your cursor on a cookie, pressing the action button and then moving the D-pad to either move the entire row of cookies left or right, or the entire column up or down. Like a Rubik's Cube, the cookies wrap around, so if you move a column up, the highest cookie will move out of the top of screen and re-appear at the bottom.

It's perfectly fine, with cute cookie visuals, but it's not got much else going on.

11. Yoshi's Safari (SNES)

Did you know that Yoshi had a light gun shooting game, similar to Duck Hunt? In Yoshi's Safari, you'd play as a first-person Mario riding Yoshi, shooting down Koopas, Goombas, and Cheep Cheeps. There was even a multiplayer mode, with one person controlling Yoshi via the SNES controller, and the other using the Super Scope to control Mario.

If that sounds incredibly cool, that's because it was! It was an interesting use of the Super Scope (although almost no one bought it, because no one owned the Super Scope), and although it was short and way too easy, it still goes down in history as the only FPS in Mario history, as well as the first Mario game to refer to the Princess as "Princess Peach" and not "Princess Toadstool". Sadly, it's never been re-released.

10. Yoshi Touch & Go (DS)

Yoshi Touch & Go is a cute and enjoyable score attack game that sadly doesn't offer much variety or long-term appeal. With only four modes included – two of which need to be unlocked – and no real sense of progression, there's not much incentive to keeping playing beyond a couple of hours; that's unless you're content competing against yourself for top honours on a local leaderboard. Quite frankly, there are various alternatives available, so this is a tough sell.

9. Yoshi Topsy-Turvy (GBA)

Also known as Yoshi's Universal Gravitation, this GBA game's plot and art style were made to match with Yoshi's Story on the N64. It's a neat but short puzzle game, which came with a tilt sensor. The idea was that each puzzle could be solved by tilting the Game Boy Advance to help out Yoshi and solve the puzzles. Unfortunately, it's incredibly repetitive, and the tilt controls weren't very good, either.

8. Yoshi's New Island (3DS)

Every time Nintendo tries to reinvent the wheel by creating a new Yoshi's Island sequel, the question on everyone's lips is always "how could it be better than the first one?"

The biggest problem with Yoshi’s New Island is that it feels stripped of the style, substance, and ingenuity that once made the series such treasured property. By watering down the game design and failing to incorporate new ideas that enhance the established mechanics in any meaningful way, you're left with an egg that's not necessarily bad, just dull and unimpressive. There’s little denying that it’s an underwhelming outing for Yoshi.

7. Yoshi's Story (N64)

Coming after the incredible (and incredibly beautiful) Yoshi's Island on SNES, it's no surprise that Yoshi's Story rubbed some people the wrong way with its accessible, storybook approach and cutesiness. It's certainly not the strongest or most complex 2D platformer you'll ever play, but it's brimming with the Yoshi series' trademark charm and we'd say it's worthy of reassessment if you've dismissed it in the past.

The N64 wasn't blessed with an abundance of side-on platformers, but armed with the knowledge that this isn't a 64-bit Yoshi's Island, this is a great little game starring everyone's favourite fruit-munching dino.

6. Yoshi's Island DS (DS)

Following a critically-acclaimed title like Yoshi's Island, the immediate question that most will ask after learning the existence of Yoshi's Island DS will be: is it better than the original? Actually, scratch that: anyone who has played through the sublime SNES platformer will know what the more appropriate question is: does Yoshi's Island DS even hold a candle to the original?

As a stand-alone game, Yoshi's Island DS is an enjoyable platformer. But to compare it to the SNES classic would be akin to comparing Sean Lennon to his father: expecting him to live up to the walrus would be entirely unrealistic.

5. Yoshi's Crafted World (Switch)

Yoshi’s Crafted World has colour and charm to spare, even if its inventiveness is largely limited to its looks. For Yoshi fans, it does exactly what you expect it to, which is perhaps the worst thing we can say about it; it contains few genuine surprises. The game is delightfully presented, though, and makes for another very solid entry in Nintendo’s ever-growing pantheon of material-based platformers. If you’re looking to share a light-hearted platformer with the family, or simply relax in a big chair with a cup of something warm and a comfy pair of socks, be sure to have a spare pair ready – Yoshi's Crafted World will charm the ones you’re wearing right off.

4. Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World (3DS)

While Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS fell slightly below the standards of its original in our view (and scored as such), the same can't be said of Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World. It takes fantastic original material and carefully adapts it for the portable, with extras compensating for one lost feature. In the process it becomes an elite 3DS 2D platformer, joining its Wii U predecessor in that company.

If you have the Wii U version, it's a tough decision on whether to double dip; both versions deliver the same terrific core game. If you haven't played this on Wii U and like Yoshi, 2D platformers or charming games, though, then this is a must-have for the 3DS.

3. Yoshi's Woolly World (Wii U)

Yoshi's Woolly World is accomplished platforming within Yoshi's quirky and unique template, and has enough soft cuteness to charm young gamers and melt the hearts of the most jaded of veteran gamers. Along with some of Nintendo's best co-op platforming, tough collectible challenges for skilled players and some simple but neat use of amiibo, it also delivers where it matters the most with clever, witty stage design. This stands up as one of the Wii U's elite games - perfect for snuggled-in gaming time.

2. Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi's Island (GBA)

With its deep exploration-based gameplay and gorgeous art style, Yoshi's Island is still a joy to play all these years later — it's a platformer with considerable depth and challenge. Exploring is made fun thanks to Yoshi's egg-based abilities and collecting everything will require a gargantuan effort, but it's never less than immensely entertaining (provided you can put up with Baby Mario's whining). The smaller canvas of the handheld screen inevitably reduces the impact of the SNES original's incredible pastel-shaded world, but this remains one of Nintendo’s 2D platforming finest efforts. If you've never played it before (or have a hankering to go through it all again), the GBA version is a fine one.

1. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (SNES)

Yoshi's Island is the absolute summit of not just Yoshi games, but platformer games in general, with a wonderful vision of pastel colours, majestic backdrops, and character-oozing sprites. Honestly, it's difficult to remember any other game that matches or even comes close to the amount of detail that Yoshi's Island did, past or present. The level of charm is astronomical. Every enemy seems quite intentional. There will be moments when you refrain from killing an enemy just to watch it in action.

With its deep exploration-based gameplay and gorgeous art style, Yoshi's Island is still a joy to play all these years later. Yoshi's Island isn't just a great platformer: it's a reminder of why this silly little hobby of ours is so wonderful.

And there we have it! All Yoshi games, from the good to the bad to the ugly, ranked by you lovely people.

Do you think we need to include some other, obscure Yoshi game on this list? Do you think Yoshi's Safari is better than Yoshi's Island? Vent away in the comments below!