Yoshi’s Cookie review – Classic-Games.net
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Developer: Bullet Proof Software Publisher: Bullet Proof Software Release: 06/93 Genre: Puzzle
Yoshi was the breakout star of Super Mario World. The versatile little dinosaur buddy was instantly lovable and would go on to become a staple in the Mario family. When it was announced he would get his own title a year after his debut I admit I was ecstatic. Yoshi’s Cookie was not what I was expecting however. My disappointment that it was not a platformer meant I did not give it a fair chance until years later. What I found was a clever and enjoyable puzzle game that is better than it has any right to be.
The gameplay in Yoshi’s Cookie is simple. Cookies of all kinds stream in from the top and right sides of the screen. Using the cursor you can rotate lines like a Rubik’s cube to create matching lines to erase them from the board. These matches can be either an entire row or column which makes it more versatile than traditional tile matching puzzle games. In addition a match can comprise as many as eight cookies or as few as two. This gives you many options when clearing the board as the cookie’s close in.
Yoshi’s Cookie comes with three modes: action, vs., and puzzle. The competitive mode pits you against the computer or a friend to see who can accumulate twenty five points first in a best of three set. There are a number of exclusive items in this mode such as blind which obscures the opponent’s middle tiles, slave which gives you control of their board, and point modifiers. The cool thing is you can afflict these on yourself if you aren’t careful. I’ll admit I did not expect much from the game’s multiplayer. I am used to traditional puzzle games that are endless and the first one to go bust loses. But the various items and the game’s general frenetic pace make every match exciting. Sometimes it pays to go in with an open mind.
Action mode is the game’s main attraction. You begin each stage with a set number of cookies and must completely clear the board to move on. It sounds simple but in practice each round can be as short as a few seconds or take upwards of five minutes. There is strategy in setting up multiple chains to clear the board quickly. But if you are unlucky you can end up with two mismatched pieces after a lot of work and have to start the process again. All of this while the games speed steadily increases. With ten rounds with ten stages each there is a lot of content. But even though new cookies are introduced like the Yoshi wild card I personally did not find it interesting enough for the long haul. The starting line increases but you are still doing the same thing every time.
Puzzle mode differs from action mode and is a true test of your knowledge of the game’s mechanics. Here you have a preset block of cookies and must clear the board within a set number of moves. There is only one way to clear each board meaning there is no room for mistakes. Even one wrong move at the start is enough to ruin an attempt. I have always liked puzzle modes even though I freely admit I am not very good at them. Not to say that I am dumb but once I reach the mid-range of such modes I have to tap out. The curve in Yoshi’s Cookie is a lot higher due to its more complex mechanics. With 100 puzzles just like the action mode I had to tap out early.
Those that want a challenge will find it. The difficulty curve in Yoshi’s Cookie is very high. Worrying about encroaching cookies on two fronts makes the pace more manic than in Tetris. Clearing a row is not enough when columns are also about to fill up. Once that alarm bell rings it is easy to miss quick combos that would potentially save your life. The complexity of the starting board in Action mode rises quickly and on the medium setting the game speed also shoots up quicker than I would like. The game kind of throws you to the wolves in short order. A more gradual curve would have been better; not that the game is too complex but it does take adjustment to realize how much control you have over the board.
Yoshi’s Cookie is a creative puzzler that offers new mechanics in the genre that are both engaging and fun. It does not reach the heights of the more revered titles in the genre but still makes for a good time. It is somewhat forgotten now but still worth pursuing if you are a fan of the genre.