Yoshi's Story

Late to the Party: Playing Yoshi’s Story For The First Time

A simple and colourful adventure for all ages

As I continue working through a retro game backlog, I find myself coming across some hidden gems and classics that were not on my radar as a kid. Sure, I’ve ventured to Hyrule and the world of The Legend of Zelda a couple of times now, but something like Yoshi’s Story is a far cry from those heavy hitters. Or at least it was for me growing up.

I have a Nintendo 64 podcast where I welcome guests, and we talk about playing a game from that console. Recently, Yoshi’s Story was brought forward. While not initially my cup of tea, I quickly realized what it was trying to do, who it was speaking to, and how wonderfully cute the whole experience really is.

A Colourful Storybook

The tale being told in Yoshi’s Story isn’t all that special. Thankfully it’s excellent for kids, as it is simple and gives just enough reason to “save the day” as a team of colourful Yoshis. It goes something like this: the Super Happy Tree has been stolen from Yoshi’s Island, and they’re becoming less and less happy. So it’s up to you to collect the fruit left behind and return the Tree to its rightful place!

As I said, it’s okay. But where it shines is how it’s delivered to the player. I truly loved the pop-up book and storybook style throughout the game. Each world is presented as a page in a book, with fully animated numbers, characters, and scenes in front of you. Even though it has nothing to do with the gameplay, this look and feel became one of my favourite parts of the game, adding to its charm and childlike nature. It’s also one of the first games to ever feature the now-popular Epic Yarn and Crafted World style used in a number of Nintendo franchises.


Classic Yoshi Platforming

If you’ve played Super Smash Bros. (especially the older versions) or Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, you’ll be familiar with the control and basic feel of the Yoshis in this one. The tongue, egg collection, and floaty jumps are all there. Traversing through the world isn’t quite as tight as I hoped. It felt to me like the controls were a little too light, there was a bit too much give behind the jumps, and the game’s response time was delayed by a fraction of a second.

I equate this to the fact that Yoshi’s Story is meant for kids. It’s clear that despite the very odd commercial above that is all over the place with its messaging, this is a Nintendo title chock-full of fun for gamers just starting. Less intense enemies and bosses, the floaty controls, the storybook aesthetic, the music, it all works in a complete package that is also now available on your Switch via the Switch Online Expansion Pack.

It’s a pretty easy game for a long-time gamer. But I didn’t have a problem with that. This is the definition of a palette-cleansing title.


The main gameplay and mechanics come down to collecting the fruit I mentioned earlier. Finding a unique way to complete levels in a 2-D platformer was nice. It’s not just left-to-right in Yoshi’s Story; the collecting never feels difficult or tedious. No stage overstays its welcome, creating a playthrough time of roughly two hours. Going back through the story, you can choose different stages and find new unlockables, including different coloured Yoshis. It’s not the most profound experience but a fun and charming time.

Overall Yoshi’s Story is quite simple. It’s also really cute. It’s a game that would fit squarely into the ever-expanding “cozy game” subgenre that has become increasingly popular in recent years. The presentation holds up, and the simple gameplay loop of collecting fruit to complete a stage and turn the book’s pages are easy to understand and adds to the already wonderfully crafted experience.

If you have a younger gamer and access to the Switch Online Expansion Pack, I’d say give Yoshi’s Story a whirl. It’ll be an excellent time for both of you. It’s not the perfect game, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s just here for a brief, light-hearted time on your Switch or Nintendo 64.