Yoshi's Story[a](named as Yoshi's Island 64 during development ) is a side-scrolling platform game published and developed by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64. It was first released in Japan in December 1997, and worldwide the following year. It was re-released on the Wii's Virtual Console service in the fall of 2007, and later for the Wii U's Virtual Console in early 2016.
Development was handled by Nintendo EAD and led by Hideki Konno and Takashi Tezuka. It was the first Yoshi platformer not to be produced nor directed by Shigeru Miyamoto, although he contributed design ideas. The score was composed by Kazumi Totaka, who provided the voice of Yoshi in the game. As a follow up to the Super NES game Yoshi's Island, it continues within the platform genre with similar gameplay. However, Yoshi's Story is more puzzle-oriented, with most challenge being tied to the strategic achievement of a high score. Taking place within a pop-up storybook, the game features vivid pre-rendered 3D graphics, illustrating worlds that are crafted from different materials, such as cardboard, fabrics, plastic, and wood. The game received mixed reviews from critics, who responded unfavorably to its low difficulty level, although its art style, audio, and graphics were praised.
The player may choose between two different game modes from the game's main menu: Story Mode and Trial Mode. Upon entering either mode, the player will be able to select a course, find out which fruit will be the Lucky Fruit, and choose a Yoshi of desired color to play as. However, Trial Mode will be void of courses to play at the start of the game, as these will have to be unlocked by completing them in Story Mode.
On each course, the goal is to fill the Fruit Frame by eating 30 pieces of fruit. These may be found in abundance throughout every course, lying around, floating in bubbles, and even carried by some enemies. The player can choose to eat everything they come across on their path. However, this approach may result in significant portions of the game being missed out, as the true depth of the gameplay lies in exploring every part of the courses. This is further supported by the puzzle element of the game, which encourages the player to apply strategy to achieve a high score. For instance, the player will gain more points from eating one kind of a fruit in a row, and even more so if the fruit is a Favorite Fruit or a Lucky Fruit. In addition, valuable secrets are hidden throughout every course, that will contribute to summit the total score.
For the full single-player experience, Story Mode contains the substance of the game. The courses are spread across six pages, containing four courses each. Being numbered from 1 to 4, the courses are sorted by difficulty, and the choice of which course to play is made individually for each page. However, while the first page will always display four courses, the following pages will initially be limited to only one course. In order to unlock the remaining courses on the following pages, the player must seek out and collect Special Hearts (not to be confused with the Heart Fruit). Each course thereby has three collectible hearts, and the number of hearts collected will determine the number of additional courses that will be unlocked on the following page. For example, if the player collects two hearts during a course, they will be allowed to choose from course 1, 2, and 3 on the next page.
Living together in harmony at Yoshi's Island, the Yoshis are able to maintain a perpetual state of joy through the fruit-bearing Super Happy Tree. However, Baby Bowser becomes envious of this happiness and casts a spell to transform the entire island into a pop-up storybook. In addition he also steals the Super Happy Tree, further weakening the Yoshis and making them fall to gloom.
While successful with his wicked deed, six eggs were yet able to survive the trial and hatch. Confused about the dismal state of their world, the baby Yoshis knew that something was amiss. And so, deciding to fight the gloom with cheer, they set out to retrieve the Super Happy Tree and restore happiness to the island.
On their way to Baby Bowser's castle, the Yoshis must progress through the six pages of the storybook, encountering six different areas of the island. While each page consists of four courses each, the path to Baby Bowser's castle will only consist of one course per page. After progressing to the castle and completing one of the final courses, the Yoshi in play will face Baby Bowser in a final showdown. Following his defeat, a final narration will convey the story from each of the six pages and courses the Yoshis went through, ending with the Yoshis standing together in joy, encircling the Super Happy Tree.
Originally titled Yoshi's Island 64 for the 64DD floppy drive and then moved to cartridge instead, the game was developed by the Yoshi's Island team, directed by Hideki Konno and produced by Takashi Tezuka. With the first promotional video clip from the game being revealed at Shoshinkai in November 1996, Yoshi's Island 64 presented lush, colorful worlds of pre-rendered 3D graphics and polygonal animations, also demonstrating the Nintendo 64's ability to run 2D games. Shigeru Miyamoto said the 2D format was necessary to create the artistic style of graphics the development team wanted. Nintendo described the game as "2.5D". The game's title was eventually changed to Yoshi's Story, being announced in August 1997, with a release of promotional screenshots from upcoming games. Shortly after, the game was also noted to be getting a memory expansion, extending from 96 to 128 megabits.
With the game's initial release hitting Japan on December 21, 1997, the international release was delayed from the fourth quarter of 1997 to February 9, 1998. Reviews from the press said the game was too easy and little rewarding. Nintendo of America would thus demand the difficulty bar of the game to be raised. With extra time to polish the game, several changes were made to the international release, including graphical cleanup; the addition of white fences on cardboard courses; Egg Blocks with colors matching the Yoshi in play; new locations for some items; a slightly different ending when the player finishes a course with only melons; and additional secrets, including hidden coin formations that spell out letters. Furthermore, the updated version also added a save feature to Story Mode, allowing the player to continue the game from the last page reached.
While the game's overall sound effects were designed by Hajime Wakai, the palette of vocal expressions for Yoshi were recorded by Kazumi Totaka, making Yoshi's Story the first game to feature a voice for the character. The recorded samples have since been constituting the official voice for Yoshi, making a second appearance in the 1999 game Super Smash Bros., to further be recycled in succeeding games that Yoshi appeared in. This trend was eventually interrupted in 2009 with the release of New Super Mario Bros. Wii, which used the original Yoshi cry from Super Mario World in homage to that game.
Aside from providing the voice for Yoshi, Kazumi Totaka also composed the music. The game features an interactive soundtrack, where the music will change dynamically. For example, if Yoshi is harmed to the point where the Smile Meter has no remaining petals, the music will sweep down to a lower pitch and tempo, reflecting his dreary mood. But if Yoshi eats a Heart Fruit and becomes Super Happy, the music will instantly switch to a rock version of the currently playing theme. Totaka has also hidden his 19-note signature melody in the game, which may be heard on the Trial Mode course select screen, after the background music has looped eight times.
Prior to the game's release, a promotional soundtrack was released in North America, titled Music to Pound the Ground To: Yoshi's Story Game Soundtrack. Published by The Original Shape CD, Inc., the 15-track CD had the characteristic trait of being shaped to outline the print on the disc, illustrating Yoshi's head. However, as an asymmetrically shaped CD, it raises compatibility issues with most non-portable CD players. The full soundtrack was later released in Japan on February 4, 1998, published by Pony Canyon. The third and last issue of the soundtrack, Love, Peace & Happiness: The Original Yoshi's Story Soundtrack, contained 28 tracks, and was released in Germany by Nintendo of Europe on April 9, 1998.
Game Boy Advance tech demo
When Nintendo first unveiled the Game Boy Advance to U.S. game developers on April 10, 2000, one of the available demonstrations was a tech demo derived from Yoshi's Story. It was specifically developed to show off the Game Boy Advance's graphical capacity, featuring an opening demo and a single looping course. The opening displayed a pre-rendered rotating island, resembling the shape of a Yoshi, also taking advantage of the system's affine rotate-and-zoom feature (akin to the Super Nintendo's Mode 7) to render a seascape in perspective. The demo's level design was based on the colorful cardboard theme of Yoshi's Story. However, the gameplay differed significantly from the original game. For instance, Yoshi was unable to use his tongue; nor could he throw eggs, in spite of being able to obtain them. Screenshots from the demo also show the presence of giant Shy Guys, that were primarily designed to demonstrate system's advancement from the Game Boy Color's 10-pixel sprite limit. In spite of the fact that Nintendo had published a promotional image of a Game Boy Advance with the tech demo running on it, it was never released as a completed game. However, someone eventually salvaged the tech demo and showcased its functionality as a game.
Marketing and sales
According to the Japanese magazine Famitsu, Yoshi's Story sold 53,428 copies on the day of its release in Japan. As a result, it gained the number seven rank in Famitsu's top ten best-selling video games chart. The game sold an additional 118,502 copies in the region by January 4, 1998, dropping to the number eight spot. By the end of that year, Yoshi's Story sold a total of 618,789 copies in Japan, making it the 27th best-selling video game in the country in 1998. In the German market, it sold 150,000 units from January through September 1998. This made it the region's sixth-best-selling console game of the period.
Nintendo intended to release Yoshi's Story in North America by the 1997 holiday season, but the release was delayed until March 1998. A Nintendo official said that the delay was "based on us demanding A-plus quality." Once the game was completed, Nintendo initially shipped 800,000 units from Japan to American retailers. Retailers were concerned that there would be shortages (like there had been for GoldenEye 007), but a Nintendo official promised that the shipment would satisfy demand.
In an effort to promote the game in the U.S., Nintendo direct-mailed advertisements to recent console buyers; put advertisements in gaming and children's magazines; and aired a 30-second television advertisement on NBC, Fox Kids, Kids' WB and Nickelodeon during children's programming. On March 7, 1998, Nintendo pre-launched the game in Lizard Lick, North Carolina; a town of 1,300 residents. The event featured tongue-themed contests for children, and video terminals that let people try out the game. While Yoshi's Story was originally scheduled for a release by March 9, 1998, it was postponed due to El Niño storms. It was officially released the following day, on March 10, 1998, with a MSRP of US$59.95.
An article in Financial Times said that the late release, an inadequate supply, and distribution errors had led to poor sales for Yoshi's Story in the U.S. Within a month, the game was being discounted by more than 50%. Even so, Yoshi's Story became a Player's Choice game on August 23, 1998, and its MSRP was reduced to US$39.95. PC Data, which tracked sales in the United States, reported that the game sold 679,219 units and earned $32.6 million in revenues by the end of 1998. This made it the country's eighth-best-selling Nintendo 64 release of the year. According to The NPD Group, Yoshi's Story was the 16th best selling video game in the U.S. in 1998.
Yoshi's Story holds a 65 out of 100 rating on Metacritic based on eight reviews, indicating "Mixed or average reviews". Upon its initial release, Joe Fielder of GameSpot noted that Yoshi's Story "was obviously designed so that younger players could play through quickly and feel some sense of accomplishment", and called it "good for a rental at best." Edge highlighted the game's pre-rendered graphics for their variety of colors and scenery, but criticized the gameplay for being too easy and lacking challenge. Amongst the few more positive reviews, Game Informer praised its unusual art direction, unique progression system, and numerous hidden secrets. Next Generation stated that "Yoshi's Story could have been a renaissance for side-scrollers. Instead, it sounds more like a death knell."
On September 17, 2007, Nintendo made the initial release of Yoshi's Story on the Wii's Virtual Console service. The game made second place in Virtual Console downloads on the week of its release, behind Super Mario Bros. However, the critics' reviews for the VC release of the game were lower than those of the N64 release. GameSpot gave the VC download a "Poor" score of 4.0; 1.3 points lower than the previous Nintendo 64 review. The updated review gave Yoshi's Story five demerits: "Derivative", "Shallow", "Short", "Stripped", and "Too Easy". In IGN editor Lucas M. Thomas's review for the VC release, he gave it a 6.0 for "Okay", saying that the gameplay was "nonsensical" and "unengaging." Thomas commented that the game's "system of grocery-hunting was far and away removed from the style of play presented in the SNES Yoshi's Island, and far and away removed from that game's sense of fun." He also believed that the absence of Baby Mario and 50+ levels made the "premise [feel] disconnected. Boring", and that Yoshi's Story was "not the sequel to Yoshi's Island that it could have been."
- "Yoshi's Story Pictures, Screenshots, Wallpapers - N64 -IGN". IGN. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
- "Virtual Console updated - Nintendo Wii Video Game News - PAL Gaming Network". PAL Gaming Network. October 26, 2007. Retrieved February 14, 2012.
- Yoshi's Story Instruction Booklet. NUS-P-NYS-NUK4. Nintendo, 1998. For introduction, see p. 5. For clearing courses, see p. 13. For Yoshi's abilities, see pp. 8-11. For Special Hearts, see p. 14. For saving the game, see p. 18. For 30 melons per course, see p. 13. For pause screen, see p. 15. For basic points from fruit, see p. 18. For enemy multiplier bonuses, see p. 18.
- "Q&A". IGN. May 5, 1997. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
- "Yoshi's Story". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 100. Ziff Davis. November 1997. p. 42.
Formerly Yoshi's Island 64, Yoshi's Story ...
- "First Look at Yoshi 64 - N64 News at IGN". IGN. December 2, 1996. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
- "What's Next for Shigeru Miyamoto?". Next Generation. No. 26. Imagine Media. February 1997. p. 144.
- "NG Alphas: Yoshi's Story". Next Generation. No. 34. Imagine Media. October 1997. p. 89.
- "Nintendo Unloads More Screen-Shots - N64 News at IGN". IGN. August 11, 1997. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
- Ricciardi, John (November 1997). "Nintendo Goes Large". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 100. Ziff Davis. p. 28.
- "Zelda 64 and Yoshi's Story Get Bigger". Nintendo of America Inc. 1997. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
- "Holiday Surprise: Diddy Kong Racing Announced; Griffey and Banjo-Kazooie Delayed". GamePro. No. 110. IDG. November 1997. p. 30.
- Schneider, Peer (March 11, 1998). "Yoshi's Story - Nintendo 64 Review at IGN". IGN. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
- "Game Music :: Hajime Wakai". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved May 17, 2012.
- "Game Music :: Kazumi Totaka". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
- "Kazumi Totaka's Song Guide | Nin DB" Archived February 26, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. Nin DB. Retrieved April 2, 2012.
- "GameTrax.net - Album Image". GameTrax.net. Retrieved April 2, 2012.
- "Yoshi's Story Game Soundtrack Special Cut CD (05/18/2011)". WorthPoint. Archived from the original on April 2, 2012. Retrieved April 2, 2012.
- "PCCG-00438 | Yoshi's Story Original Soundtrack - VGMdb". VGMdb. Retrieved April 2, 2012.
- "GameTrax.net - Yoshi's Story Game Soundtrack". GameTrax.net. Retrieved April 2, 2012.
- "Unveiling the Game Boy Advance - IGN". IGN. April 11, 2000. Retrieved April 10, 2014.
- "Game Boy Advance: Hands On - GBA News at IGN". IGN. May 5, 2000. Retrieved February 15, 2012.
- "Game Boy Advance Development Kit Revealed - GBA News at IGN". IGN. August 21, 2000. Retrieved February 15, 2012.
- Nerdicai (November 15, 2014). "(UNRELEASED) Yoshi's Story "2": GBA Tech Demo". Retrieved March 23, 2016.
- "Yoshi Sells - N64 News at IGN". IGN. January 13, 1998. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
- "Yoshi Stays Put - N64 News at IGN". IGN. January 16, 1998. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
- "GEIMIN.NET / 1998年テレビゲームソフト売り上げTOP100" (in Japanese). Geimin.net. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
- Müller, Eva; Canibol, Hans-Peter (November 23, 1998). "Die Spaßmaschine". Focus (in German). Archived from the original on December 6, 2018.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Snider, Mike (August 29, 1997). "Nintendo games will miss holidays." USA Today.
- "Nintendo Thinks 800,000 Yoshis Will Last Two Months." Multimedia Wire. March 18, 1998.
- Sporich, Brett (March 2, 1998). "Unlike with GoldenEye, Nintendo sees no shortage for Yoshi's Story." Video Business.
- Barnett, Cynthia (March 8, 1998). "Town basks in publicity." The News & Observer.
- "Yoshi a Little Late - N64 News at IGN". IGN. March 10, 1998. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
- "Nintendo 64 unloads price breaks on seven games." The Kansas City Star. January 23, 1998.
- Abrahams, Paul (October 17, 1998). "Nintendo's errors could well end up costing it the game." Financial Times.
- "Nintendo 64 Smashes the $100 Price Barrier; Video Game Fans Treated To Early Holiday Gift With N64 Price Drop." Business Wire. August 16, 1999.
- "High Scores: Top Titles in the Game Industry". Feed Magazine. April 22, 1999. Archived from the original on May 8, 1999.
- "NPD Reports the U.S. Video Game Industry Hit an All-Time High in Annual Sales for 1998". Business Wire. January 25, 1999.
- "Yoshi's Story for Nintendo 64 - GameRankings". GameRankings. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
- "Yoshi's Story Critic Reviews for Nintendo 64 at Metacritic.com". Metacritic. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
- "Yoshi's Story - Overview - allgame." allgame. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
- "Yoshi's Story". Edge. No. 55. Future Publishing. February 1998. pp. 92–93.
- Fielder, Joe (March 10, 1998). "Yoshi's Story Review - GameSpot.com" Archived April 14, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. GameSpot. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
- "Back to the Basics". Game Informer. February 1998. Archived from the original on September 8, 1999. Retrieved November 25, 2014.
- "Finals". Next Generation. No. 41. Imagine Media. May 1998. p. 109.
- Provo, Frank (September 24, 2007). "Yoshi's Story Virtual Console Review - GameSpot.com" (Archive). GameSpot. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
- Thomas, Lucas M. (September 18, 2007). "Yoshi's Story Review - Wii Review at IGN". IGN. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
- Lagioia, Stephen (2 August 2020). "5 N64 Games That Stand the Test of Time (& 5 That don't)". Screen Rant.
- "Ultimate Review Archive". Game Informer. Issue 100. August 2001. Page 56. Original review published February 1998.