Thursday 3 October 2019

Yoshi's Story (N64 review)

Developer: Nintendo EAD
Publisher: Nintendo
Released: 1998

Yoshi's Story is a platform game and the follow-up to Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (1995, SNES).

The Super Happy Tree has been stolen by Baby Bowser and your mission is to reclaim it to return Yoshi's Island to normal. There's six stages per game (although a total of 24 are available once unlocked) and rather than reaching a specific destination the objective in each is to collect 30 pieces of fruit. Personally, I found this idea to be awkward and the sole need to wander for fruit just isn't a strong enough hook. It could be passable if the level design was up to snuff, but it's basic with very few interesting, let alone memorable, moments. Secondly, only allowing six stages per game makes the adventure seem smaller than it is and it would have been much better if players had to complete all 24 levels to complete the story. Despite these glaring issues, the action definitely has some merit as a score attack game and if you're anal enough to collect all 30 melons (avoiding other fruits) in each level there's some fun to be had with this increased challenge. The bosses are insultingly easy though with very basic patterns that are inexplicably told to the player just before battle commences, ruining much of the intensity! Considering the game's title you'd expect that a greater emphasis was placed on the plot; however, the bare-bones story only plays out in brief text-based cut-scenes that do little to invest or excite the player. Even the art style fails to impress, as it lacks identity due to its slapdash approach of merging paper cut-outs, hand-drawn graphics and pre-rendered sprites together. Also, the music is horrific and the gibberish Yoshi vocals sound like rejects from the U.K. TV series Teletubbies!

Whereas Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards (2000, N64) raised the bar with its intriguing power-up combinations, Yoshi's Story lacks innovation and chooses to focus on a weak fruit collecting mechanic that's an ill-advised hook for the entire game. Overall, it's an utterly forgettable experience and one that grows tiresome after just a few stages.

Random trivia: Various test stages can be played if you enter certain codes with a Gameshark.

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