Post Game Wrap-up: Yoshi’s Island – Super Mario World 2

Posted: December 6, 2013 in Post Game Wrap-up, Retro Gaming
Tags: , , ,

Mario World 2

I’ve played through Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island before, but finished another play-through just the other night at the urging of my seven year old, who enjoys watching me play through games (that’s a win/win). With it fresh in my mind, I felt this would be a good time to revisit my thoughts on it.

The Set-up:
You take control of various Yoshis as they carry baby Mario through six worlds in search of….okay, this is a Mario title. If you’re looking for a deep story, you’ve got the wrong game. You control Yoshi with baby Mario riding on your back and baby Bowser and Kamek are involved. You’re all caught up.

The Gameplay:
As with all mainstream Mario titles, this game lives and dies on its platforming elements, and it does pretty well in that regard. I don’t feel that it matches what Super Mario Brothers 3 and Super Mario World were able to deliver, but it is still one of the better designed platformers I’ve played. If I had to identify a key element to the platforming, it would be Yoshi’s now famous flutter jump. For this game, this was a new mechanic and allowed Yoshi to stretch his jumps out just a bit further by kicking his legs. This wasn’t a throw-away mechanic as there are many sections of the game that require you to perform this jump in tricky ways to advance, and some collectables that required almost expert use of the mechanic to collect.

The flutter jump was also important because Yoshi’s Island has no power-ups, outside of a star that lets Mario run through enemies, up walls, etc… There are no leafs or fire flowers to be had and, unlike in Super Mario World, eating different colored shells will not give Yoshi new abilities. The lack of power-ups is offset in two ways. First of all, there are a few levels that allow you to transform Yoshi into something different for a limited time. There are about four transformations, but they don’t show up too often and are generally tailored for one particular section of a level. Secondly, Yoshi can carry up to six eggs with him that he can launch at enemies or items anywhere in front of him. Eggs are replenished by eating most enemies or through egg blocks.

Mario World 2 Fuzzy

Speaking of items, Yoshi’s Island has no shortage of collectables. Every single level has five large flowers and twenty red coins. In addition to these, you must also finish the level with your star counter (?) at thirty to get a perfect 100 score. What I’m calling the star counter is a number that will decrease when you get hit and baby Mario is knocked off of your back (cue the crying, easily the most annoying part of this game). It can be replenished by collecting little walking star men or with special items obtained through mini-games. This meter also serves as Yoshi’s life bar in a way, as you will die if the counter hits zero. Earning a 100 score in all levels of a world will unlock a special stage that is also anything but a cakewalk.

Yoshi’s Island has created quite a legacy for itself. Many aspects that have become the norm for Mario games were introduced here. The flutter jump, as I’ve already pointed out, originated here. The use of Kamek to influence and power-up boss battles (which was done with great brilliance and creativity in Yoshi’s Island) was used as recently as New Super Mario Brothers U. Also, baby Mario and baby Luigi have become staples of Nintendo’s character stable, appearing in a Mario & Luigi RPG game as well as numerous sport and kart titles.

The Graphics:
I’m not even close to being a graphics whore, but I have to mention and praise the graphical style of Yoshi’s Island. The world looks as if it’s drawn by crayons, which sounds horrid in theory, but in practice works extremely well. It has also helped the game age very well, not that I’ve ever had an issue with Super NES games aging poorly, but the style does make it seem more current than it really is, much like the graphics of Wind Waker. The style has also carried over to sequels to Yoshi’s Island, including the upcoming 3DS sequel.

Yoshi’s Island is a well-made game, there is no doubt about that, but it seemed to lack the tightness in the controls and platforming that I’m used to from Mario games. It always seemed to be too easy to fall off of a platform or miss a crucial jump. This doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the game, I did, it’s just not a game I can pick up and play through like I would Super Mario Brothers 3 or Super Mario World. I need to be in the proper mood and when I’m done with it, I’m done. I have no desire to replay it, it just doesn’t have that certain magic some other games do.

Mario World 2 Boss

Ultimately, Yoshi’s Island is a game I enjoy in short bursts and will probably play through again a few years from now, but as I stated above, it still seems to be missing something that brings it to that next level. Maybe it’s because I didn’t get to play it back when I was enjoying other Super NES games, only getting a copy of it about five years ago. Whatever it is, I do recommend it. It’s a fun game with many neat ideas and many well-designed levels, I just don’t have the same praise and reverence for it that many other gamers seem to have.

  1. Kaven says:

    the art style is definitely one of its selling points.i quite enjoyed the soundtracks and it has some rather unique&charming levels(the fuzzy one comes to mind).i’ve had some memories of the game,i enjoy it but to what degree…not quite’s a good game for sure.myself,i played it in my teens

    • JAVGB says:

      There is some brilliant platforming to be had (like the Touch Fuzzy level you mentioned). I’m not sure why it fails to reach the same heights of other Mario games in my mind.

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