Yoshi Review

Developer: Nintendo Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: June 1, 1992 Also On: None

In the early 1990s, Nintendo was addicted to the idea of producing puzzle games. One other thing they were addicted to was the exploitation of what worked. To that end, they had already put their mascot Mario into many games he didn’t quite fit in, and, to that end, they would exploit their green gold mine, Yoshi.

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In the latter part of the NES’ lifespan, Nintendo released two puzzle games involving Mario and the green dinosaur, Yoshi’s Cookie, and one just named after the guy called Yoshi. Yoshi had a significantly smaller playing field than most puzzle games do even today, and a strange mechanic for character placement that brought creativity into the puzzle genre.

The graphics are pretty good. You can tell that it is Mario at the bottom moving tiles, and you can tell exactly what is in each box that comes down from the top. However, there isn’t as much glitz as in some of Nintendo’s other puzzle games, although that does not mean that this game is bad. Overall, the graphics get the job done, and a little more than that.

The sound is pretty good too. The boxes make a fairly satisfying thud when they land, and the sound of a Yoshi hatching is simply too cute to complain about too much. The music, as with all of Nintendo’s puzzle games of the era, is top notch, with three musical options to choose from, as well as the ability to play without music.

Yoshi is the simple person’s puzzle game, not because it is easy, but because, compared to some games, it is uncomplicated. The playing field is four by something in the eight to ten range. Two to four boxes fall from the top, each containing a Mario enemy. Occasionally, instead of one of these boxes, an egg bottom or an egg top will fall. This game is the closest thing to a pure Tetris-like puzzle game in that your objective is to keep the boxes from piling to the top for as long as possible as more items fall faster.

To remove boxes, you can do one of two things. If two boxes containing the same enemy meet vertically (vertically only), they will disappear. The other method of getting rid of them is to pile them on an egg bottom and then put an egg top on them. The Yoshi will eat any enemy between the top and bottom of the egg while he hatches, and the more enemies he eats, the bigger he’ll be, resulting in more points for you.

This game is unique among puzzle games in that you don’t directly move the items you’re trying to match. Instead, each of the four columns is on a plate, and you move Mario left and right and hit the A button to have him swap the locations of the two plates. This can create some hassle when you need to move a column all the way from one side to the other quickly, but it adds to the challenge of the game significantly.

There is a two-player mode to this game, but I haven’t played it much and, to be honest, don’t know how it works. I know that if one of the two people reaches the top, they lose, but I don’t know what the criterion is for winning. Like all of Nintendo’s other puzzle games, winning three rounds wins you the game though.

If you are a fan of puzzle games, you need to seriously consider adding this game to your collection, not necessarily because it is the best puzzle game on the NES, but because it is one of the most creative and it is very fun.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 8.1
Written by Martin Review Guide

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