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Yoshi Topsy Turvy Package Art
  Action Platformer

Yoshi Topsy Turvy

Everyone’s been beating up on poor Yoshi’s latest adventure. With the same gyro technology employed in one of Nintendo’s latest, WarioWare Twisted, Yoshi has to go through an entire storybook of levels in order to stop Bowser. So many critics have dismissed and trashed this game. As I played through, I wondered exactly how that could have been. If you enjoy the Yoshi games and the Yoshi environment, you won’t be disappointed by this unique platformer.


Although I enjoyed the game, I have to admit that it has its flaws--some fairly glaring ones at that. One of them is the graphics, which, in many instances, are ancient. The graphics succeed, with flying colors perhaps, in providing a colorful, Yoshi-like environment. The tilt effects were cleverly done—-the environment smoothly adapts to tilting as if it were actually responding to the change in angle, which speaks well for the developer’s work. However, some major problems occur when it comes to animations, which are horrid. Yoshi feels incredibly stiff and cumbersome. He doesn’t even match the motions of the model used in Yoshi’s Island, a ten-year-old title. Not even his flutter jump seems very animated. The models and animations for all the characters could have used some significant polish. They are far too stiff and make the player feel a bit heavy. However, the implementation of the tilting into the graphics is nicely done.


Another flawed area of the game. You might be wondering by now why I said I enjoyed the game—-we’ll get to that. Some of these tunes seem locked in the days of the original Game Boy or the Game Boy Color. It can’t hold a candle to Yoshi’s Island, and it doesn’t even bring in some of the classic Yoshi themes. The only familiar Yoshi tune is only about seven or eight notes—-the small drum beat before you retry a level after dying. Music throughout the levels is weak and repetitive. The other sounds, such as Yoshi’s grunting and cutesy noises, are intact, but nowhere near plentiful or varied. Unimpressive.


It baffles me why so many critics have been giving this game such low scores. Some visual and aural problems exist, but I found the game quite entertaining and of reasonable length. It has its problems to be sure, but its originality and fun factor outweigh its shortcomings. It’s certainly not as bad as you may have been lead to believe, but it’s not a classic like Yoshi’s Island.

The story isn’t exactly enthralling, but if you enjoyed or didn’t meet the Super Happy Trees or Baby Mario’s of past Yoshi games, you shouldn’t have a problem with the tale this game weaves. Yoshi’s problems begin when Bowser goes on a rampage across Yoshi’s Island. One of the islands irritated spirits, Hong the Great Book Spirit, turns the island into a storybook. In order to restore the island, Yoshi must travel through each chapter of the book, challenging a guardian spirit in each chapter in order to reach and vanquish Bowser. The Spirit of Surprises grants Yoshi the ability to defy gravity and twist the environment in order to help him along his quest. Vanquishing Bowser will appease Hongo, who will return the island to normal.

The story introduces several new characters. Each is a spirit of something including swiftness, scary things, surprises, and might. The spirits seem fit to be villains of the Yoshi universe; unfortunately, they are fairly neutral. You never face any of the spirits in any sort of boss battles. You simply complete a different sort of challenge per level in each chapter depending on the spirit. For example, in the chapter featuring the Spirit of Scary Things, levels will have a grinder all the way at the left of the level, which follows Yoshi as he goes along. This grinder is unique to that spirit. If he falters, Yoshi will be caught by the grinder and must try the level again.

The game is divided into chapters, and each chapter has a certain amount of levels; within those levels, there are sublevels, which are comprised of one screen with an objective. For example, one level may be comprised of five screens. Yoshi must complete the objectives in each screen and reach the goal star at the end in order to progress to the next screen; once all screens are completed, the level is finished. After each level, the player is awarded a medal based on performance. If the objective is not met, but the level is completed, the player will receive a check. If the objective is met at the minimum, a silver medal is awarded, and if the requirements are exceeded significantly, the player is awarded a gold medal. Get all the gold medals in order to unlock bonus mini-games.

The level system leaves a bit to be desired, but works overall. I really didn’t mind the micro-levels within a level. It seemed to fit the tilt formula and the odd story rather well. I didn’t find it particularly annoying as other critics have.

As for the tilting, which is the crux of the gameplay, it works well. Despite lacking the multi-directional functionality of WarioWare Twisted, it still functions to achieve the goals presented by the game. Those goals are, more often than not, fun. While it is true that it sometimes negates intuition by requiring you to, say, roll a ball in one direction by tilting while you have to dodge enemies or grab coins. Sometimes it taxes your multi-tasking abilities, but with some practice, you get the hang of it.

There are several objects that make use of tilting, such as hanging platforms which move left and right depending on which way you tilt the GBA. There are musical balls, which roll over a xylophone and play a song, which produces floating notes that Yoshi can ride on to move up. There are also ball-and-chains, which can be swung from side to side in order to reach platforms, destroy blocks, or kill enemies. Tilting can be used regardless of a present item in order to stick Yoshi to a surface. For instance, if you can’t seem to find a platform to jump on to reach a high ledge, you can climb straight up a wall by tilting your Game Boy Advance until the wall becomes level. There are some very clever and unique elements to this platformer, which I found very entertaining.

The game isn’t extremely lengthy, but it is, however, long enough. Consider the fact that, on average, you pay $8 to see a movie, which is generally 90-120 minutes of entertainment. For around $30, this game isn’t of short length, but it isn’t sufficiently long by most game standards. It took me about three or four hours to complete, but I’m a seasoned vet and play games daily. I also rushed through so I could get this review up. I’d say your average player will get about six or seven hours out of the game, and more to collect all the gold medals, which are sometimes extremely difficult to acquire. I could see why players would desire a bit lengthier adventure, but for a platformer, this title is of adequate length. However, if you’re looking for a long-lasting game, you may want to look into something else, or at least wait to find it for a lower price to get as much bang for your buck as possible.

I enjoyed myself thoroughly playing around with the tilt sensing and going through the chapters. There are some minor issues that are easily overcome after you get used to the game such as loose collision detection with things such as coins. Also, another minor issue is that Yoshi’s flutter jump doesn’t last nearly as long as it should. It can’t really save you in most circumstances, which becomes frustrating if you keep falling on some spikes. It ultimately adds to the challenge, so I guess I really shouldn’t complain. I’ve been playing Yoshi games since the beginning, and I found this one quite enjoyable. If Nintendo has a sequel in the works, which I’m praying they do, I would like to see the audio and visual glitches fixed along with a greatly expanded adventure with even more tilting goodness. As usual, Nintendo comes through with an innovative franchise title.




Topsy Turvy is a fun game with a decent amount of playtime, but with an unfortunate number of flaws in the graphics and audio departments. Yoshi and Nintendo fans, for the most part, will enjoy themselves, but the general gaming public may want to wait to find the game for a lower price in order to maximize the value vis a vis the length. I found it so clever and charming that I have a hard time dinging it, but there are some glaring issues, and some players may not appreciate the level structure. At the very least, there’s a huge amount of potential here for a sequel, and a fun adventure to divert eager gamers until Nintendo delivers it. The gyro sensor is great technology with a hugely untapped potential. Why it has only seen the light in two games in the last six years since its Kirby Tilt ‘N Tumble introduction is beyond me. I hope to see it popping up in more titles in the future. Despite its flaws, Topsy Turvy delivers, as usual, a fun, innovative Nintendo-published adventure. Many thanks to Artoon for developing such an entertaining game; in the future, polished graphics and audio will make for an even better experience.

final score 7.9/10

Staff Avatar Patrick Ross
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"Reggie kicked my ass and took my quote."

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