You know, for a character that is so beloved in the video game industry, Mario may be simple, but is, to me, not the most fleshed out character compared to other characters in the Mario Universe (Luigi, Wario, Daisy, I could go on). But simplicity is charming I guess and you can’t fault simplicity too much. I mean the only origins we know of Mario is Donkey Kong…and Donkey Kong Circus, but Mario doesn’t want to talk about that, according to him, it never happened. That was until this game came out. A game with the horsepower of a Super FX2 microchip. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, developed and published by Nintendo and was released in 1995. Why they added Super Mario World to the title despite not having any relation to the game makes no sense but I guess to sell more copies before the Nintendo 64 eventually kills it in the west.
So a stork is delivering baby Mario & Luigi to their parents…as in the ones you will never see or maybe even acknowledge. But Kamek tries to take them, knowing that they will cause trouble with Bowser in the future. Whilst he kidnaps Luigi, Mario falls from the sky and lands on a Yoshi. Confused about this, he goes to other Yoshis and find out that Mario can detect Luigi because they’re brothers. So the Yoshis travel across their island to defeat the minions and defeat Baby Bowser and reunite Mario with Luigi.
You play as different coloured Yoshis, delivering Baby Mario all over the island, so one level you’ll play as a green Yoshi, the next, it’s pink. So we’re playing as multiple Yoshis, carrying the baton…I mean Baby Mario throughout the game in a platformer way outside the realms of the usual Mario game. As Yoshi, and like in Super Mario World, you can eat enemies. However, you can swallow them like Kirby and poop out an egg…because a human being taking a poop in media is considered immoral by society but a cute animal doing the same thing…AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!…well depending on what animal poops. Time to end this, I’m talking about games, not poop.
Anyway, you can hold up to six eggs at a time and you can use them to throw at an angle at enemies or items, you can even bounce them off walls for that tricky collectible which I love to do to try to fill that quota. You can also eat an enemy and spit it out at other enemies or just simply defeat them depending on what enemy you eat. You also have a unique jump mechanic where Yoshi can jump, hold the button and does a flutter jump, where you can hover higher a bit for those hard to reach platforms. There are also some power-ups too, like watermelons, and there are different types. Eating normal watermelons will let you shoot seeds at enemies, an ice watermelons will freeze enemies and fire watermelons is a flamethrower, it will let you shoot fire at enemies.
There are also more power-ups in the form of transformations where a Yoshi can transform into many vehicles such as a helicopter, a digger, a submarine, a car, etc. You use these to get to areas you usually couldn’t get through as normal Yoshi, but you need to get to a box otherwise the short amount of time you had for the transformation will take you back to where you got the transformation.
So the objective of the game is to protect Baby Mario, if an enemy hits you, Baby Mario will float in the air in a bubble and start to cry and his crying has caused the bleeding of many gamer’s ears. You also have a timer and if it counts down, the minions will just take Mario away. To increase the timer you either have to jump through a ring which counts as a checkpoint, or collect happy stars in which one increases the timer by a second. Does Baby Mario do anything? Well he does get a power-up every now and then where he turns into…well, Super Mario, where he can run on walls and ceilings and even float using the cape.
So what did I think of this game? It was different, but after getting used to it, it was fun. It does something unique in that you’re always amazed at the gameplay. The graphics and level design is out of this world with the level design using crayon style drawings and it makes it its own until Kirby’s Dream Land 3. In fact, Shigeru Miyamoto made it that way because he can and because he didn’t like the graphics on Donkey Kong Country BECAUSE NINTENDO! In fact, he said that “Donkey Kong Country proves that players will put up with mediocre gameplay as long as the art is good” ROASTED. Just give me this one chance of silliness. Though we don’t know if this was true because he said he was fond of it, either he got older and even more laid-back or a PR stunt. If he hated it, at least I know he’s…human.
But you may be thinking that there’s no point in playing a baby looking game, but then it kicks you in the crouch when it needs to, it can get hard out of nowhere but the challenge is great but the maze levels can suck it.
We have some brilliant and memorable music…when Koji Kondo composes music, it gets stapled into your brain, and no amount of amnesia will make you forget it. But by far the best thing about the game are the bosses. I’ve never had a game where I look forward to the bosses because whilst some have great challenge, they’re also creative whilst being so simple and it’s satisfying when you beat them. That frog boss is adorab…ly disgusting to the point where it even freaks out Yoshi.
You want to 100% the game? Then make sure the timer is set to 30 by the end of the level, collect all the red coins in each level and collect all the flowers. If you manage to collect them all in a world, then you can get two harder levels, though I’d rather not do it if you’re a casual scrub like me, you’ll enjoy it more.
Overall, I can understand why it’s such a beloved game and they’re right, this is a fantastic classic for the Super Nintendo. It plays well and I had so much fun with it, it looks appealing to almost everyone, it has good difficulty for everyone and if it gets too hard for you, the lives are aplenty.
Whilst it’s not the Donkey Kong Country of graphic design as many companies including Nintendo wanted, Yoshi’s Island ironically aged much better than Donkey Kong Country. Though if your ears can handle Baby Mario’s crying, I wholly recommend it. Why the GBA port is in the Virtual Console and NOT the SNES port is beyond me, so go and get a cheap Japanese import of this…AGAIN.
You can get it on the Super Nintendo/Super Famicom, Game Boy Advance and the GBA port is available on the Wii U Virtual Console.