Yoshi's Story a poor excuse for side Mario tale

Yoshi’s Story is not a tale of a talking dinosaur trying to find its Happy Tree. It is not a tale of a hero rising up to take on a bullying turtle with a penchant for malice and mayhem. It’s a tale of squandered potential, lost creative capital and outright greed that just so happens to feature a talking dinosaur trying to find its Happy Tree.

Whatever goodwill that was built up by the titular raptor in two popular and excellent Mario games was destroyed by a third game, one so mediocre that the mere mention of its name elicits sighs of disappointment and opinions of a company’s supposed avarice.

 

Nintendo was riding high by the time Yoshi’s Story was put forth for consumption. Yoshi, the irrepressible fountain of energy and authentic backcountry gibberish, was a star of mammoth proportions. It was fresh off two blockbuster well-received games — Super Mario World and Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island. Someone at Nintendo got the bright idea to separate the creature from its master and star maker, Mario, and create a vehicle that showcased what the dino was capable of on its own. Bland mediocrity began to waft from the DOA carcass that was Yoshi’s Story at once.

 

Despite controlling well, Yoshi’s Story is at best a boring, easy romp through 24 levels that does absolutely nothing to live up to the masterpiece in platforming that Island established itself as two years earlier. Story wastes the character, doesn’t introduce significantly new concepts for Yoshi and is far too easy as compared to its predecessor. The name of the game here was greed, an excuse to use a familiar name to generate quick cash for Nintendo’s coffers in a time of struggle. The Nintendo 64 wasn’t doing so well with the competition killing it in sales in the form of the PlayStation and the looming Dreamcast/Saturn.

 

I’m sorry, but Yoshi wasn’t and isn’t a savior of any kind and definitely not a system pusher that can afford any type of niche title as a holy grail. At best, Yoshi is a second-tier character and sidekick, best reserved for supporting status, and Story proved that.

 

The lessons Nintendo learned from this are evident today, but it’s sad that it took a wasted sequel to learn them. Yoshi’s Story is a giant egg of unhatched potential.

 

Lyndsey Hicks is editor-in-chief of Gaming Insurrection. She can be reached by email at lyndseyh@gaminginsurrection.com