Yoshi's Cookie - Nintendo, 1992, 1993 - Licensed from Bullet Proof Software
Like Wario's Woods, Yoshi's Cookie was one of the few games
to be released simultaneously for the NES and SNES (there is also
a GameBoy version of this game). Also like Wario's Woods, it's a puzzle
game starring Mario characters. Mario and Yoshi don't actually play much
of an active role in this game, but they do make their share of cameo
appearances. In the NES version, Chef Mario is in charge of moving the
cookies around, while both Mario and Yoshi work together in the SNES version
to manipulate the cookies. They both star in each game's cut scenes.
The game is easy to learn once you train your eyes to spot
nearly-complete rows of cookies. You start off with a "grid"
of cookies, which you must clear from the board to move to the next level.
Regardless of how long a row or column is, you need to line up a complete
row/column of the same cookie and it will disappear from the board. This
means that if your grid is 5 cookies wide, you'll need to get five of
the same cookie going across to clear it. More cookies will appear from
both the top and right sides of the board, which is helpful if you don't
have enough of the same cookie to fill an entire row or column.
There are six different kinds of delicious-looking cookies
in the game: Red Jelly Hearts, Orange Jelly Flowers, Red Cheesecake Diamonds
(Green in the SNES version), Brown Chocolate Checkerboards, Tan Sugar
Donuts, and the bonus Yoshi Cookies. Yoshi Cookies only appear after you've
cleared five rows of one type of cookie. These act as a wild card cookie
in "Action" mode, and a means of attack in "VS" mode.
Like many puzzle games, you're given the choice of puzzle
speed, starting level, and background music.
Yoshi's Cookie offers several modes of play. First there's
the "Action" mode (simply called "1P" in the NES version), in which you complete levels in order. After
completing 10 stages, you are treated to a small cut scene of Mario and
Yoshi chasing after cookies. The Action mode isn't necessarily "hard",
but when the cookies start appearing faster and faster from the sides,
it can be difficult to keep up with the increased row/column sizes. If you manage to clear most of the cookies right away, you can complete levels easily. If you fall behind for even a second, the cookies will soon get out of control on the later levels.
"VS" mode pits you against another
human player in the NES version. The SNES version allows you to play against the computer as well. In VS mode, you seek to gain points by clearing the most
cookies from a 5x5 grid that never expands. Every row you clear adds another point to your gauge and also wins you
a Yoshi Cookie - match a row of these and you can invoke whatever "effect"
is listed at the top of your screen. The effects range from adding or subtracting player
points, controlling a player's screen ("Slave"), putting a block over most of a player's field ("Blind"), or scrambling
a player's cookies for several seconds ("Panic"). This is especially vexing as you must complete a row of any kind of cookie before the fuse burns out (or the timer runs down, on the NES version). Slave or Panic will mess up the rows you were building, and the timer keeps running if Blind is placed on your screen. Be careful - check the top of the screen before you match the cookies. You can wind up Panic-ing yourself by mistake if you're not careful! If your opponent fills up their gauge before you, or if you run out of time, you lose the VS match.
The VS mode has a few functional gameplay differences in the SNES version, the
most obvious being the ability to select a character: you can choose to
be Mario, Yoshi, Peach, or Bowser. The character you select will determine how effective your "attacks" are (how long do the effects of the Yoshi Cookies last?) Peach's skills are skewed horribly
low, so I'm guessing you're only supposed to choose her if you're playing
against a player at a much lower level than you are. Yoshi (as the title
character) has high stats all the way around, so he's good for beginners.
The SNES version (but not the NES version) offers a "Puzzle" mode which
requires you to solve a specific grid of cookies in a limited number of
moves. While the first rounds are very easy, the later levels can be tricky
and will require some trial-and-error, not to mention the ability to see
ahead a few steps. Upon solving each "world" (10 levels) of
puzzles, another section of a world map will be revealed.
The SNES version uses many backgrounds and sprites directly
from Super Mario World. The cookies are much more detailed, and the diamond-shaped
cookies have green filling rather than red (which makes them easier to
spot). Although the fundamental gameplay is exactly the same as the NES
version, this version takes advantage of the 16-bit hardware and provides
more detailed cutscenes and better music (although the songs and scenarios
of the cutscenes are nearly identical). The game start animation is very
different between both versions.
Overall, this is a fun, addictive puzzler featuring uniquely-shaped
pieces. Enjoy playing with Yoshi, but make sure you have some cookies
of your own in the house. This game just might make you hungry for some!
Tetris DS's "Puzzle" mode features sprites, backgrounds, and music from the NES Yoshi's Cookie, although some of the graphics have been spiffed up.
NES cartridge (US)
NES Box & Instruction manual (US)
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