ron, Apr-04 2008

Crunchy VC Friday

Did you know that Friday is the only day of the week that starts with an F? Well, either way, now you do.
This Friday, Nintendo released one new Virtual Console game onto the Wii Shop Channel. One. Yay.

Yoshi's Cookie

Everybody's favourite dinosaur mount stands beside this NES puzzle game and just symbolically twists a handle here and there to deliver the impression of actual involvement. Despite its looks, it's not quite a falling-block type puzzle we all had dealings with in the past, but rather closer to being a straight puzzle game, in which every level is actually designed, and the block layout you start off with is always the same.
Your task is lining up whole columns and rows of blocks filled by different types of cookies to ultimately clear all blocks, which then moves you on to the next level. You start with a preset wad of blocks (a rectangle filled with stuff), and then have to rearrange them while, alternatingly, new columns move in from the right, and whole new rows fall down from the top. You can manipulate your blocks by rotating entire rows sideways or entire columns vertically. Because the requirement to remove stuff is always a whole row or column, the more blocks you have in play, the harder it gets to reduce their numbers. At the same time, eliminating a column makes your playfield narrower by one, and thus may allow you to eliminate rows which you couldn't eliminate before (because you had too few of the same type of block to fill an entire row).

Yoshi's Cookie is relatively awful. Maybe I'm just getting tired of falling-stuff puzzles, but after a couple of hours of play I'm pretty sure this is one of the least fun twists on the basic Tetris idea that I've ever faced. It just emanates that sense of being designed purposefully to be novel and different. It's also one of the more appaling misuses of Nintendo's franchise characters.
Once you understand the rules, it's a pretty straightforward game that doesn't pose much of a challenge, let alone a good ramp-up of challenge. It's also annoying if you end up with a two-block configuration that can only be cleared when a wildcard block comes in, and that seems to happen quite frequently.

To add insult to irrelevance, there's an SNES version of the game that at least looks a little nicer, but for now we only get the NES one. On the topside, this makes the whole experience 37.5% cheaper.

Summary: oh no, really not.


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