The onslaught continues, this time with another beloved Nintendo classic! Spectacular 2.5D platformer Yoshi’s Story, a sweet and endearing tale with silly enemies, environments, and of course, playable loveable dinosaurs! With… long tongues that eat a whole lot of everything. Including people.
Er, anyway, on with the whole once upon a time business. Yoshi’s Island was a happy place, filled with life, love, and laughter. The Super Happy Tree provided all the Yoshis with an infinite supply of delicious fruit, which made them so very cheerful. Then, Baby Bowser saw the Super Happy Tree and how happy all the Yoshis were, and he began to feel jealous. In his envy, he stole the Yoshis’ beloved tree and turned the entire island into a pop-up book. As fate would have it, six eggs survived the gloom, and together decided that they would fight the great sorrow by eating fruit and being happy! And, of course, venturing to Baby Bowser’s castle and taking their tree back.
The mechanics of Yoshi’s Story are easy to grasp but hard to master. A button once will make Yoshi jump, and A while midair will cause it to dip slightly then do a flutter jump. Good for strong height gains, but requires timing. B button will make Yoshi stick its tongue out, which can serve many, many purposes: Eating fruit, roping across chasms, snapping up coins, secret hearts, slurping up enemies, smacking bosses, even hurting you (if you try to lick something spiny). Z button while midair will make Yoshi do a ground pound. This function is very useful for breaking blocks, changing the colors of certain enemies to make them yield different health/fruit, or just to shake things up. The C buttons are used to throw exploding eggs that Yoshi pops out after eating foes.
There is an interesting means of level selection in Yoshi’s story. First things first, though. There are six pages to the storybook before the final boss fight, and each page consists of four possible stages. You only have to do one stage per page, though. Stages are selected by the number of special hearts you find in the prior area. Special hearts are hard to miss; giant, red, and they make a chiming sound if you get even remotely near them. Be warned, though. The more hearts you collect (up to 3), the harder the next stage will be. Don’t be deceived by the fact that this is a kid game. Fourth level stages’ll kick your butt.
Gameplay itself is what makes the game really fun. Instead of having to reach some goal or collect some final item, all Yoshi has to do to complete a level is eat 30 pieces of fruit. It doesn’t necessarily matter what kind gets eaten, just so long as the allotted number reaches 30. I will mention, however, that a super secret bonus is awarded to Yoshis who manage to eat 30 melons. There are a total of 30 melons hidden in each level, some buried underground (sniff ‘em out with R button when Yoshi starts showing signs), some caught in coin, time, or platforming challenges, and some are even hidden inside special enemies.
Speaking of super secrets, hidden within the later levels are two special Yoshis, one black, one white. They gain health bonuses from eating anything, including the normally harmful peppers and black Shyguys. The eggs they throw are super strong, and their explosions are super huge. Good news is, if they get gloomy (in-game term for die), you can use the regularly discovered white Shyguys to bring them back from Baby Bowser’s clutches.
If ever any worthwhile reassurance were to be given, this would be it: Yoshi’s Story is a very fun game for kids of all ages. I still enjoy blowing off the old N64 cartridge and putting an hour or two into Yoshi’s Story. I think you would too, after procuring the game via emulator or by online purchase! This isn’t a ploy. This is an order.