Review of Yoshi's Story from Peer Schneider:
"Yoshi's Story sometimes comes close to the classic Nintendo gameplay on the NES and Super NES. The only problem is that despite fantastic analog control and a "sniff button" that enables you to uncover hidden goodies, there really isn't anything ground-breaking here. As one of six differently colored dinosaurs (there are also two hidden ones) players run, jump, swim, bounce and crawl through 24 lavishly rendered 2D levels trying to find (and eat) 30 pieces of fruit. The stages are standard side-scroller fare, including water, cave, cloud, and snow levels, and the typical Nintendo castle stage. But unlike other 2D classics, Yoshi's levels don't have an end: You finish a stage by chomping up the 30th "super happy tree fruit."
Since each fruit gives you a certain amount of points, you don't want to eat just anything you find, but rather selectively choose a) the lucky fruit of the day (which is randomly determined before you play), b) your dino's favorite fruit (the green guy likes melons, the red guy likes apples, etc), or c) honeydew melons (all Yoshis love these -- and they give you the highest points). So although it's quite easy to finish a level by just eating any fruit you see, finding the 30 melons and collecting them is the real challenge. Also, you can change the colors of your enemies by stomping the ground -- you guessed it, the green Yoshi gets higher points for eating a green enemy, and so on.
Sounds good so far, right? The only problem: There is little reward for doing well in the game. Back in the old days of Donkey Kong and Defender, playing for hi-scores was the way to go, but whether you like it or not, nowadays we feel horribly cheated if we don't get anything special for succeeding. The same holds true for Yoshi's Story. You will carry on playing the game hoping to uncover an additional world or more levels, but in the end you will grow bored of the tedious melon search. Which brings me to another problem with Yoshi: Length.
When compared with its predecessor, Yoshi's Island, this game should have been called "Yoshi's Short Story." The original had more than twice as many levels, and you were forced to play through all of them to get to the end. In the 64-bit Yoshi, Nintendo brought back the one thing everyone complained about with Star Fox 64 -- the annoying multi-path level structure that only lets you play a limited number of stages each time. Since the game design is based on a children's pop-up book, every time you play Yoshi's Story you can only play six stages; one for each page. There are multiple pathways depending on how many hearts you gather in the individual levels, but they are quite easy to find.
The game also features a Trial Mode in which you can play single levels that you've already finished. Your high score in these levels is saved to the cart (with your name). This does admittedly lengthen the play value of the cart as you can compete against your friends' scores, but it doesn't solve the lack of challenge and the short quest."