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Yo! Noid (NES) artwork

Yo! Noid (NES) review


"The Noid is surely the dorkiest hero I've controlled in a while. He's Matt Groening's Bongo the Rabbit in red with a goofy buck-toothed smile, flinging his yo-you at equally odd enemies. Unlike his commercial counterpart, he prefers eating pizzas to ruining them. And saving the city will get him a few! Well, it's a better reward than a burger for saving the President. "



The Noid is surely the dorkiest hero I've controlled in a while. He's Matt Groening's Bongo the Rabbit in red with a goofy buck-toothed smile, flinging his yo-you at equally odd enemies. Unlike his commercial counterpart, he prefers eating pizzas to ruining them. And saving the city will get him a few! Well, it's a better reward than a burger for saving the President.

The mechanics and plot have been done to the extent JohnnyCairo mentions a game YN copies. But I played YN first, so I liked it. The Noid's yo-yo flies a quarter of the screen, and he can change his jump in mid-air. He can jump to the top platform in dual-tracked areas. Picking up enough scrolls gives the noid a special move: he raises his finger as if to pick his nose, gives that dopey smile, and BOOM go his enemies. Scrolls appear frequently enough to bail the Noid out of several tough spots per level. Each must be completed without checkpoints, but fortunately none lasts over two minutes--each level's also timed.

Speed isn't everything, though. The Noid needs to find areas he can punch for power-ups for the pizza eating contest afterwards. This is basically a math game, where the enemy picks randomly from his deck, and the Noid counters. Whoever has a higher number eats the difference in pizzas. At the start, the Noid needs only eight points to his opponent's eighteen and the cards are only marginally loaded in the enemy's favor. The Noid can find pepper, though, which voids his opponent's card, or the Noid can use a doubler before playing a card.

Best, the Noid doesn't have to score to win; he can just hold his enemy until all cards are gone. Losing forces the Noid to the start of the level to find more power-ups. The card game features all sorts of silly dialogue and bad puns and trash talk completely independent of victory margin. The strategy becomes quite complex in the later games as the Noid often barely survives even with best play. And as power-ups can carry over to later rounds, winning efficiently early pays off later: the Noid gets 3x cards when he runs out of room for the 2x.

While the best strategy becomes apparent in the sub-games, the levels put weird twists on basic platforming tropes. The Noid starts off in a bobbing pier where water kills him and he avoids harpooners and a bird. An ice rink forces the Noid to use momentum carefully, and there are several vehicle levels including one with a pogo stick that wards off Elvis-haired plumbers, and several with copter packs where the Noid cannot defend himself. Others force the Noid to move quickly right or get crushed, and if the final levels try too hard to seem like the final one, the graffiti never fails to amuse, and surprises like jumping cans or mailboxes chucking snails force the Noid to find different jump-fire combos. The enemies never quite make sense, with what seem like policemen chucking flowerpots near the end, but then YN would probably be the worse for being too logical.

And so YN, like the commercials that spawned its hero, makes very little sense but still works. There've been much worse uses of a license, and if it's not clear how a final pizza-eating contest saves the good citizens, or even how the Noid's enemies could conquer a city, that's not a problem. YN allows the player to thrash a nice variety of weirdos in relatively little time. The whimsical violence and oddball characters avoid cliche, or at least disguise it enough to freshen the mindless platforming fun.

Rating: 6/10

aschultz's avatar
Community review by aschultz (December 27, 2009)

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