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Retro Review: Yoshi's Story

I have a bit of an unconventional taste when it comes to video games. I'll play almost anything as long as it plays well and how it looks is often unimportant. Yoshi's Story falls under that category. Sure, it looks like it was designed for younglings, but looks can often be deceiving.

Originally released for the Nintendo 64 in 1998, Yoshi's Story is a simple 2.5D platforming game in which you go from stage to stage (one per world) throwing eggs and eating fruit. Eat thirty fruit and the stage ends and you move onto the next one. This game is extremely easy if you only do the main goal, but unlike most games that were released around the same time, this game is only as difficult as you make it to be.

In each stage, there are thirty green melons that can be found and eaten and are crucial to getting the high score in the stage. In addition to this, there are also three large smiling hearts that will unlock more difficult stage options in the world succeeding the one you are currently in. Doing both of these tasks makes the game's replayability go up quite a bit as more stages will be unlocked in the game's Time Trial mode. There are also two unlockable yoshis that are more powerful and can eat the damaging and bitter Black Shy Guys and spicy red peppers. They also give you a higher score from all available fruit instead from just a specific kind that the other six yoshi's have favorites of.

Now as I was saying before about how the game looks and feels, it has a very childish appearance about it making it look very much like a pop-up book. Backgrounds are rendered too look like felt, quilting material or even cardboard. The story is cutesy and happy and there doesn't appear to be any kind of conflict told within the game's narrative. This may sound extremely off-putting for even the most tolerant and patient of gamers, but I really think this is an excellent way to narrate this specific type of game. It collectively feels very much like a bed time story and I often like to come back to it whenever I can just so I can relax.

All in all, I had a lot of fun with this game. While the music is overly happy and cheerful and the environments literally look like cardboard and felt, the gameplay is what really matters and I think it plays extremely well for what it does. If you want to legally play it for yourself, the game is available on the Wii's Virtual Console service. You may find that looks aren't everything as well. But until then, I'll be seeing you.



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