Yoshi (video game)
North American box art
|Platform(s)||NES/Famicom, Game Boy|
Yoshi, known as Mario & Yoshi in Europe and Australia, and as Yoshi's Egg (ヨッシーのたまご Yosshī no Tamago) in Japan, is a puzzle video game developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo. The game was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy consoles. Both versions were first released simultaneously in Japan on December 14, 1991, and released in all other regions the following year.
In Yoshi, the player is tasked with clearing monsters from the on-screen playing field. The monsters fall in from the top of the screen to build vertical stacks; the player must prevent a stack from growing too high such that it exits the play field. In order to so, the player swaps and moves the stacks about such that falling monsters collide with identical monsters stationed atop the stacks, causing them to be removed from play. Yoshi offers both a scoring-focused single-player mode and a competitive two-player mode.
Yoshi is a falling block game in which the player is given a playing field that is divided into four columns. The objective is to match Yoshi egg shells to hatch them and prevent the four stacks, which pile up from the falling monsters, from growing too tall. The player character, Mario, swaps the stacks around such that the falling monsters will be eliminated by coming into contact with the blocks they match.
Monsters, which consist of various Mario enemies, appear at the top of the screen and fall into each the columns, turning into blocks as they land and creating stacks that incrementally grow in height. The main objective is to prevent the four stacks from growing too high by eliminating blocks from the field; a game over occurs when any of the stacks crosses the black line drawn across the top of the play field.
To eliminate a block from the top of a stack, it must come in contact with a falling monster that matches it. For example, if a Goomba falls directly onto a Goomba block, both will be removed. The player controls Mario, who resides below the playing field and has the ability to swap the positions of any two adjacent stacks at a time. Thus, the player is required to switch around the stacks to ensure that the monsters fall into the correct places. Points are awarded for each set of monsters that are eliminated.
In addition to the four different types of monsters, two halves of a Yoshi eggshell will also fall. The bottom eggshell half behaves like a monster: it disappears when it comes into contact with another bottom half. However, if a falling top half comes into contact with a bottom half, the two will join and hatch a Yoshi, earning the player bonus points. Furthermore, if a stack of monsters grows atop a bottom half and a top half is then added, all monsters between the halves will be encased and eliminated. Larger Yoshi characters will hatch depending on the number of monsters encased, which also increases the number of bonus points awarded. If a falling top half does not have any bottom half to join to in the stack it touches, it is automatically removed and no points are awarded.
The single-player mode has two variations: A-Type and B-Type. In A-Type, the game is played indefinitely until the player receives a game over. In B-Type, the player plays a series of levels in which the player is required to completely clear the playing field of all the blocks. The initial number of blocks inside the playing field grows as the player progresses. In multiplayer mode, a second player controls Luigi. The two players play simultaneously in separate playing fields using the traditional rules. A player wins the match by clearing all the blocks in the field or when the other receives a game over; the first player to win three matches wins overall.
The NES version of Yoshi was made available for purchase on the Virtual Console service. The first one is for the Wii in 2007. The game was then re-released on September 1, 2011 as a downloadable title on the Nintendo 3DS, available only to members of the Nintendo Ambassador program. Yoshi was made available for purchase in the Nintendo eShop on August 22, 2012 in Japan, on February 21, 2013 in North America and on May 2, 2013 in Europe. It was also released for the Wii U on June 12, 2013 as the part of the 30th anniversary of the Famicom with the price of 30 cents which become the regular price starting on July 12, 2013. Yoshi was also released on Nintendo’s new NES online subscription service through Nintendo Switch Online on September 18, 2018.
Yoshi received a mixed reception, with common criticism directed towards its perceived repetitive gameplay and dependence on luck, which led to short replay value. Brett Alan Weiss of Allgame called Yoshi a "surprisingly dull game," noting that while the game's controls are unique, "the novelty wears off after a while."
Reviews of Yoshi's Virtual Console release on Wii in 2007 were also mixed. Both Frank Provo of GameSpot and Lucas M. Thomas of IGN rated Yoshi 5 out of 10. Thomas regarded the gameplay as "slow" and the controls "cumbersome," and concluded that the game is a "beginner's puzzler, holding little appeal for experienced players". While Provo complimented both the game's graphics and music, he stated that the gameplay did not involve much strategy, inciting little reason to play more than a few minutes. Nintendo Life felt that Yoshi was "uninspired", rating the game 4 out of 10.
Several websites that covered recent Virtual Console releases recommended that players refrain from purchasing Yoshi. Nintendo World Report stated that "there's too much luck and chance in the game to make playing it satisfying," and Joystiq also stated that "while [the gameplay is] admittedly a pretty interesting way to spend an afternoon, it still feels like kind of a ripoff." Jeremy Parish of 1UP.com stated that the gameplay in Yoshi was "not enough to justify the asking price [of 500 points]," though he later stated that, compared to the "uninspired" Yoshi's Cookie, Yoshi was "decent and actually had some relationship to the Mario series."
On the more positive side, the Europress gaming magazine N-Force stated in a preview for the game in its September 1992 issue that "basically [the game] is great. The fun of Tetris, but with colour and sound effects. Just as hard, maybe harder – definitely just as addictive." It later rated the game 4 out of 5 in the Buyers' Guide for its January 1993 issue, summarizing that "Yoshi is great fun. Gameplay's nothing new – Tetris all over again! Graphics are a treat. Lots of fun – in short bursts."
Yoshi sold 500,000 copies in Japan on its first day on sale.
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