Review by Braben
"Hard to swallow and impossible to digest."
Words can hardly describe how eager I was to play what I though it would be Yoshi`s Island 2 and man, not only this is a disgrace to asexual dinosaurs everywhere, but also a mockery of good old 2D side-scrolling platforming action and a slap in the face to anyone who bought this expecting the next Nintendo classic, and that covers pretty much everyone with a Nintendo 64.
Together with the graphics this is the only part of the game that makes Yoshi`s justice. It is corny, schmaltzy, silly, puke-inducingly cute, completely unnecessary and therefore every bit as terrible as that of any other Nintendo platformer, exactly the way it should be. Good job here.
Yoshi`s Story`s graphics are a good example of what I was expecting most N64 (and PSX titles as well) to look like back when the system was released, more or less like ultra crisp, super polished Snes games, and mostly in 2D of course. It`s naive I know but hey!, I am a sucker for old school graphics. Anyway, it`s a lovely looking game no doubt about it, specially due to the brilliant and vibrant textures used to create a world that looks entirely made out of denim, paper-cut, wood or rubber among other materials. It looks so good that even the terribly lacklustre, uninspired and wholly unoriginal level design fails to overshadow such a beautiful visual aspect. I honestly think it is easily one of the best looking games in the whole N64 catalogue.
Not bad, at all, but there are too many variations of the main theme and not enough original melodies. I also think the style contributes to the uninspired atmosphere, there is something ``lazy`` about it, but probably it is just me. The voices are extremely cute and almost intolerably dumb, but I can`t decide whether they are simply shameful or pitch perfect in capturing the essence of the game so I`ll just leave it there.
Yoshi`s Story is all about eating fruit, that simple, eat thirty of any kind and the stage ends. Sure there is a little bit more to it, you can unlock new stages and stuff, but once all is said and done everything boils down to that and everything else fails to inject any substance into the game. That is why there is not much point in explaining anything else, all you need to know is that this is not the game you wanted it to be and every Nintendo and/or classic side scrolling platformer fan out there was expecting, not even close.
And that is the big mystery here, why is this not what everyone was expecting, if it isn`t broke, don fix it and heaven`s knows there was nothing wrong with Yoshi`s Island. I am not exactly sure what was Nintendo`s goal with this title, some say it was specifically designed for five year olds, but I don`t remember any of their previous games being particularly mature. In any case, that doesn`t make any sense because what`s great about almost everything Nintendo makes is that everyone can have fun with them regardless of age and gender, so what is the point in making a game exclusively for small children when the vast majority of their previous titles were also perfectly suitable for young players?
Whatever the case may be, Yoshi`s Story has been watered down way too much. You can easily complete the game in an hour and a half without missing a whole lot of content, after all the main goal isn`t to overcome elaborated obstacles or defeat enemies in fun and expertly constructed scenarios but to look for fruit, which is why most stages seem lazily designed and not very entertaining (in most cases once you reach the last part of the scenario you simply go back to the first area). There is very little reason to look for secrets and unlock new stages because you don`t want to waste more time looking for more fruit in more bland scenarios.
Am I exaggerating a little bit?, maybe, but I have`t said this is a bad game, it isn`t, at all, and I am sure there`s people out there who think this is a worthy addition to anyone`s collection, however I don`t think it is possible to separate this game from its predecessors and compared to any of them this is just sad and, to some extent, unacceptable because, again, I am sure almost everyone who bought this game wasn`t expecting Barney`s Outdoor Adventure 64.
Although I have to admit that my expectations where just plain unrealistic when I got my hands on a copy of this game (that`s how much I love Yoshi`s Island), there is no excuse for what Nintendo did with this game. It pains me to say this but another generic Super Mario 64 clone would have probably been much better than this horrible and horribly misconceived waste of megabytes.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 03/25/04, Updated 08/02/10
Game Release: Yoshi's Story (EU, 05/10/98)
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