Yoshi’s First Job
As an introduction to a capitalist economy, Yoshi begins to build his CV through babysitting local children.
Sydlexia’s Ranking: #15/100
I forgot how much I played this game as a kid. Like having your friends tell you what you did while blacked out, Yoshi’s Island brought back all sorts of things I had forgotten: the fuzzies, monkeys, highly stylized drawing, and baby Mario’s hypertensive-crisis-causing cry.
I don’t have much experience as a baby sitter so I can’t really grade Yoshi’s post-natal care performance, but that doesn’t stop the game from doing it. Having a big piece of game play focus on collecting flowers, red coins and stars was odd, but the game is so damn cute, it’s hard to resist.
Magikoopa successfully attacks a stork carrying the Mario twins, but he only captures Luigi having Mario drop out of the sky and onto the back of Yoshi. The dinosaurs get together and decide they need to reunite the twins, so Yoshi begins the trek towards bowsers castle.
A side-scroller at heart, Yoshi’s Island brings some unique things to the Mario Bros. franchise. First of all, Yoshi is near indestructible — the only way to lose the game is to either fall off a ledge, dive in lava, or have baby Mario float away. Every time you are hit, a counter begins to tick and you have to retrieve baby Mario before it reaches zero or he’ll be captured by Magikoopa’s minions.
AND THEN RAGE SETS IN.
I want to meet the people who pre-tested this before market and decided that this was okay.
The other addition is the use of solving puzzles through a variety of new mechanics. Yoshi can swallow enemies and turn them into eggs that you can throw at objects in the game. There are also places where Yoshi can turn into a type of transport, such as an airplane, train, or a mole rate with sunglasses.
To make matters even more disjointed, there are several collectibles throughout the game. Each level has 5 flowers, 20 red coins, and a chance to collect 20+ stars to bring your baby Mario counter to 30. If you collect it all, you’ll be rewarded with a couple secret levels at the end of each stage and a star on the title screen. Trying to shove things to collect in a game to make it more “replay-able” is a tricky line: Yoshi’s Island is over kill.
The game was also set on easy. I racked up over 100 lives before getting through halfway, and many of the levels are mind-numbingly easy. I think that’s why there were so many collectibles (as many of these can be well hidden and required more thought), but it’s an all or nothing proposition: the only way to reap the satisfaction is to get a 100% on each level. If you haven’t been diligent from the start, it’s best just to keep rolling, so I ended up just going through the motions on most levels.
This game was my early elementary school life (before I grew up real quick for GoldenEye in the 5th grade). While I used to love replaying the same levels looking for all the collectibles, now I have much better things to do, like write blog posts and surf Instagram.
It didn’t take much back in the day to blow minds (how do you NOT play AS mario?). I remember being completely intrigued in playing the game from the POV from Yoshi, as if he was some character written by Leo Tolstoy that I was finally going to get to know. Yoshi’s Island is fun, quirky, and cute, but it’s fluff level detracts from any sense of reward.
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