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Yoshi’s Story – N64

Yoshi’s Story – N64

Platform:  Nintendo 64

Developer:  Nintendo EAD

Publisher: Nintendo

Release Date (NA):  March 10th, 1998

Genre:  Platformer

Nerd Rating:  5.5 out of 10


Yoshi’s Story is more or less the sequel to Yoshi’s Island, which itself was really Super Mario World 2so in weird sort of way this is actually Super Mario World 3 but without any Mario.  I just had to get that out of my system.

Yoshi's StoryYoshi’s Story plays like an overly simplistic platformer, yet there is a lot of strategy under the surface.  There are way too many details about what fruits to eat, lucky fruits, smile meters, flower petals, different Yoshis, peppers, bad-tasting Shy Guys, and hidden eggs to discuss at any length, but the jist of the game is to eat 20 pieces of fruit in each level.  Everything is taking place is a sort of story book with one page representing one area, with each area having 4 different stages of increasing difficulty to choose from.  The player only has to complete 1 of these 4 stages to progress to the next area (a good deal of work has to be done on the previous page to even render more than 1 stage accessible on the next), until the sixth, after which the game is over.  As soon as 20 fruits are eaten the stage is considered cleared, points are tallied, and the page is turned.  The points system is super complicated, mostly based on the various factors listed above.  A piece of advice:  eat melons, and only melons.

Yoshi's StoryAt first Yoshi’s Story is going to seem so simple you’ll be wondering if it’s specifically designed for those 10 years old and younger.  The levels are extremely open and large and often there isn’t a clear linear path to follow.  While this may seem daunting at first, it’s very easy to eat 20 fruits before one needs to start worrying about what parts have been covered and what places haven’t.  In fact, one could play through the entire game in less than 2 hours and still not have any Yoshi's Storyclue what the “bigger picture” is.

The “real” goal in Yoshi’s Story is to strategically play through the levels in a way that yields the highest number of points.  Eating melons is a simple way to go about it, but to max out this potential you’ll need a table cross-referencing the color of Yoshi selected to play, along with what enemies are around, what secrets may lie in that particular stage, and how many Yoshis have or haven’t been captured by the Toadies.  Needless to say it is a complete mess to deal with and it’s not something easily discovered through trial and error.

Yoshi's StoryOne can either eat the first 20 fruits available, or take the route outlined above.  There are some neat secrets to be found such as the black and white Yoshis, and by eating a number of the same fruits consecutively Yoshi can gain some pretty interesting powers.  Levels are seemingly endless at times and finding one’s bearings is not easy.  The problem is that for all the exploration and hidden gems in Yoshi’s Story, they all serve absolutely no purpose except to drive up the point count once the level is completed.  To someone only reading this it might seem like a fun game, but realize that when you’re actually playing none of this is made explicitly clear.  Yes there’s blurbs about the lucky fruit or favorite fruit, but there’s never any indication that there’s any reason to strategically select pieces of fruit to eat.  Moreover the levels offer little inclination to explore since one advances significantly by just eating 20 fruit.  To reach the end of this game is so simple, although one can put themselves through a rigorous process before beating the game all the same, only with more points.  Seems pointless to me.

Yoshi's StoryThe gameplay is smooth and the open-ended nature of the levels are fun, especially when one is unaware of the large but bizarre scope of Yoshi’s Story.  Indeed younger players can pick this up and make a significant amount of progress without suffering too much failure, but the game is expansive and yet without depth.  What one does play though is bound to be enjoyable enough for the short time it lasts.  There is some of Nintendo’s greatest music ever herein and the graphic style takes Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island and bumps it up a notch albeit in a less coloring book direction and more towards the aesthetic of a diorama.

Yoshi's StorySo why am I giving Yoshi’s Story the equivalent of a slightly above-average rating?  Mainly its because when taken at face value, Yoshi’s Story is an average platformer, maybe even a little bit below.  I can acknowledge the novel concept that Nintendo tries to implement here, but I don’t think it’s pulled off effectively.  Plenty of games have well hidden secrets, but usually with enough game time and enough attention the player starts to understand where and/or how to look for additional areas and elements of the game.  Yoshi’s Story provides us with no such hints, instead assuming we will tirelessly undertake the massive task of drawing up charts and figures to properly evaluate the contrived points system and subsequently take appropriate actions to attain more of them.  Alas, all roads lead to more points, and more points are nothing but merely more points.

Reviewed by The Cubist

Written by The Cubist

The Cubist

Co-founder, Head Author, & Site Technician

Find out what these ratings mean and how I rate video games.

I collect as much video gaming paraphernalia as I can get my hands on, especially when it comes to hardware. With over 40 systems including oldies like the ColecoVision and Intellivision, obscurities like the CD-i and 3DO, and the latest and greatest including the Wii U, PS4, Xbox One, 3DS, and PS Vita, I get easily overwhelmed. Most of the time you can find me firmly nestled sometime between 1985 and 1995 when it comes to my games of choice, but I’m also having a great time seeing what the 8th generation has to offer.

Currently in love with: Mortal Kombat

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