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Genre: Puzzle

Publisher: Nintendo

Total time played: 4 Hours

Short review: A knock off of Tetris featuring Nintendo characters and iconology. It’s a lot of fun but it seems to be more luck based than skill based.

Interesting links related to Yoshi

Not Much To Say

You know, this doesn’t happen often but I don’t have a lot to say about Yoshi. It isn’t a game I really every played growing up so I don’t have any memories. It also is a pretty simplistic game so there isn’t a lot of narrative needed about how to play. I can say, I do really like the box art with that bright yellow background.

How to Play

This is basically a Tetris or Dr. Mario knockoff. Blocks fall from the top of the screen in pairs and your job is to move the blocks at the bottom of the screen to match the falling blocks. This is accomplished by placing Mario under two stacks and hitting A or B to swap the stacks. You can only match vertically and only 2 blocks at a time, so, there is no benefit to matching horizontally.

Much like Tetris or Dr. Mario you have a few options when you start the game. You can choose the speed at which the blocks fall and the music you want to hear over and over and over again. You can also select between two game types.

yoshi_for_nes_screenshot.png?w=220A and B flip the two stacks in Marios hands.

Game A

The goal here is to get as many points as possible, stay alive as long as possible. Don’t let the blocks touch the top of the screen or it is game over.

Game B

This is where the meat of the game is. Each level starts with a line or more of blocks already stacked, the level doesn’t end until you clear the board. There are 16 levels, each ends with Yoshi eating a fruit, when you get the pineapple you’ve seen all there is to see. The game keeps going but just repeats the previous prizes.

This plays much like mode B in Tetris or Dr. Mario where you try to clear the board of already laid lines, viruses or character blocks. As expected, it starts off easy with only a single line to clear, but, by the end there is no room for error as all but 2 lines are filled with blocks at the start of the level.

This is where luck comes in as the strategy only takes about 5 minutes to master. There is no rhyme or reason to the order the blocks fall so it is possible to get to the final few levels and have the random blocks that fall not have a match and causing an immediate game over. It is pretty unfair but that is how the game plays.

I expected in the higher levels to have more than two character blocks drop at a time but it was always just two blocks. The speed at which they fell increased slightly as the levels increased but the difficulty curve seemed to eventually flatten out.

Check out the images below to see the similarities between the 3 games.

  • tetris.jpg?w=480
  • screen-shot-2020-11-22-at-8.02.16-pm.png
  • dr-mari.gif?w=256

Character Blocks

Regular Character Blocks: There are 4 of these, they all behave exactly the same, just look different. If you match two vertically they disappear. Goomba, Pirahna Plant, Ghost and Squid.

Eggs: There are 2 egg blocks, a top egg and a bottom egg. The bottom egg can be matched only with another bottom egg or a top egg. If you combine a top egg and bottom egg it will clear out any blocks between them. As an example, if your stack from bottom to top is Bottom Egg, Goomba, Squid, Pirahna Plant, Top Egg the entire group of enemies will be removed at once.

The top egg is kind of a free play. It disappears no matter where it is dropped and has the added benefit of clearing out anything between it and a bottom egg.

I Got Lucky

As I have said, the skill part of Yoshi can be learned and mastered rather quickly. It just take a bit of luck to get past level 16. I would say maybe 8-10 attempts total were needed to beat the game. But, it could have taken much longer as you never know what is going to happen with the blocks in those last few levels. In my winning run the last couple of levels graced me with several drops of 2 top eggshells which actually gave me a minute to take note of where the pieces on the board were and prepare them for the next drop. This small moments of fresh air allowed me to stay focused and compose myself enough to beat level 16. I then quickly died on level 17 but I didn’t mind since I’d seen all the game had to offer.

Final Thoughts

Yoshi is a pretty fun game. But, it doesn’t really feel like a full game. You can see everything it has to offer in just a couple of minutes. It is fun with cute characters, catchy music and solid controls. But, there just isn’t much to it. There are no advanced strategies and the fact that it is possible for the randomly falling blocks to make it impossible for you to make a match gives Yoshi a bit too much randomness to attract a competitive community to dump a bunch of time into the game.

I would definitely recommend Yoshi to people and may even pick up and play every once in a while but it just isn’t an all time classic.


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