This review was originally published in 2016 and we are updating and republishing it to celebrate the arrival of N64 games on Nintendo Switch Online.
There is a lot to love about Yoshi’s Story. Great presentation, solid mechanics, fantastic music, and seeing a bunch of Yoshi wandering around is still amazing throughout the campaign. Unfortunately, the game is held back – at least for experienced gamers – by an overly simplistic platformer, a design clearly geared towards young and inexperienced gamers, and an extremely short campaign.
You start playing as one of the six Yoshi of different colors, and your mission is … to become happier and save the Super Lucky Tree. Yeah. These six basic Yoshi behave the same except for some small points gain when consuming a specific color of fruit, but you can unlock the Black and White Yoshi, which has a number of advantages over its colorful counterparts. Your goal is to collect the 30 fruits contained in each level in order to progress through the storybook and ultimately find the stolen Lucky Tree.
Starting with the positives, the basic gameplay remains fun despite the lack of challenges. It’s nice to walk as Yoshi, blowing up balloons and smashing enemies by shooting eggs. In addition to tossing one of the six eggs in tow, Yoshi can perform a slight flutter at the end of his jump, allowing him to slightly increase his length and height. It’s a really nifty formula (long accepted in Yoshi games) that is different from what you might expect from platformers.
The game is absolutely beautiful. At the time, it was proven that the N64 could do more than jagged polygonal shapes and messy corners, and Yoshi’s Story used the console’s extra power to create backgrounds and enemies that explode with color and textures, almost as if they appeared from the screen. … Sure, it is outdated and doesn’t compare to recent developments like Yoshi’s Woolly World or Yoshi’s Crafted World, but it was special for its time and still looks good. Even if you have to squint a little.
It also oozes charm. Textured environments are enlivened with vibrant and vibrant colors, while enemies are created with soft hues that are pleasing to the eye. The presentation of the outside world through the storybook matches the tonality of the rest of the game perfectly, as does the melodic children’s music. Obviously it’s aimed at young players who have little or no experience playing games, which leaves a lot to be desired if this isn’t your first rodeo. In fact, the dashed hopes of SNES gamers who expected it to be Yoshi’s Island 2 are probably the main reason why Yoshi’s Story isn’t remembered more fondly.
Nintendo usually does a great job of balancing games to provide an enjoyable experience for both newbies and seasoned veterans, but it’s clear from the start which direction the company has taken with this entry. Clicking on one of the first explanation fields gives the player valuable information, which you click on “Start” to see the menu. Thank you game! Yoshi’s Story does not respect the intelligence of the player and is content to convey absolutely everything to you on a silver platter.
At least this approach is consistent. You can complete the game by completing six short stages. Yes, there are additional things you can do to add to the experience, like picking fruits in a specific order to increase your score or hearts to unlock other additional levels, but it’s still a simple experience. You progress through six “pages” of the storybook, and although you start by completing only one stage on each page, to get to the end, you can progress through subsequent times to visit up to four stages on each page. It is light content as well as tone.
If you are a player who loves to quickly fly through games and get to the end – someone who doesn’t like finding collectibles and replaying games – you will finish this game in a very short time and will almost certainly be disappointed. Those who like to take their time will find more here, as the levels are structured to stimulate exploration. The steps are not entirely straightforward and linear and you must use a strategy to get higher scores. Finding some of the hearts needed to unlock the levels may take longer, although the game insists on providing you with obvious clues for many of them with Poochy’s interjection, which sometimes appears and indicates where you need to go to find the “secret” … … “
Yoshi’s story tells a simple story set against a brightly colored background, using some new platforming mechanics to heighten interest, but ultimately fail in execution. It doesn’t come close to the level of its classic SNES predecessor, but fans of the series might want to visit it to relive those days of old. This is a lighthearted and pleasant enough meal – just make sure you live up to your expectations.