Nintendo's really getting into it now. They had Tetris in 1989, Dr. Mario in 1990 and Yoshi in 1992. Now it's 1993. The Super NES has been released and is in full swing, and the Game Boy is still going strong, but Nintendo is still supporting the NES. However, it is obvious that the Super NES is where all their apples will have to go before long. Thus, the falling block puzzle entry for 1993 is the first to be released on all three platforms. Once again, it is a piece of the Mario universe, but this time, it has been created by some old friends: Bullet Proof Software, the people behind Tetris. Thus, we give you Yoshi's Cookie.
As you do this, more cookies are coming from the top and side of the screen, so as to add another layer on all sides. If the cookies reach the edge of the screen, you lose. However, because this game requires a lot more post-landing work that other falling block puzzles, the new cookies come more slowly than normal, giving you a few seconds between waves. Addictionally, each time you complete a row or column, the forthcoming wave is pushed back a little. Completing lots of rows at once gives you much more time to work. Each round has ten stages, in the tried and true X-Y format, and there are ten rounds. So there are 100 stages total. Or are there...? You complete a stage by clearing the screen.
There are five shapes of cookie, which are displayed at the bottom right of the screen, each with its own five-bar meter. Every time you complete a row or column, it fills one bar of that cookie type's meter. When the meter is full, it is cleared, and your next wave of new cookies will contain a yoshi-shaped cookie. Yoshi cookies are wild, and count as whatever cookie type is necessary to complete the row or column they're in.
There is a two-player mode, which has the same basic gameplay, but which has slightly different rules. It's one of the more interesting two-player games of any NES puzzle game, really. Each player gets a five-by-five cluster of cookies to work with, and a timer. The timer fills, and when it's full, that player loses. But it can be set back by completing rows or columns. Each player also gets a meter, to which one point is added for each match he or she makes, and when the meter is full, that player wins. Each game is best three of seven. Now, what makes this mode interesting is that it has an attack system which goes far beyond your standard garbage dumping. So interesting, in fact, that I'm going to devote a whole new paragraph to it.
As you play, a message appears above each player's field, randomly changing. These are attacks. Every time you complete a row or column, it is replaced by a new one, and that new one will have a yoshi cookie in it. These are not wild cookies, like they are in the one-player game. Instead, making a row or column of five yoshi cookies activates whatever attack is currently listed above your playing field. There are attacks that increase your meter, decrease the opponent's, gives you control of their cursor, scrambles their cookies, or puts a big black patch in the middle of their field. But, warning, the attacks will always list the player they affect. Most of the time, that player will be the opponent, but sometimes it'll be the activating player instead. So it is very possible to waste your yoshi cookies unleashing an attack on yourself, which is not good.
For completeness's sake, I will mention that the Super NES version of Yoshi's Cookie also has a puzzle mode, in which you are given a screen full of cookies, and are challenged to clear it in a set number of moves.
TIPS & TRICKS
Thumbs up for Yoshi's Cookie.