Review by King_Meteor
"Not your typical Mario title, but a phenomenal game"
While this game is technically a sequel to Super Mario World, it has very little in common with its predecessor. Most of the time, people don't even call it Super Mario World 2 and simply just call it Yoshi's Island. Whether or not you consider it a true mainstream Mario title, it's a great game.
The story would suggest that this is game is actually a prequel to all other Mario games as it takes place back when Mario and Luigi are babies. As a stork is carrying a pair of twins (Mario and Luigi) to their parents, Kamek the evil Magikoopa swoops by, attempting to capture the twins. However, Kamek only manages to grab Baby Luigi and Baby Mario falls toward the open sea. Fortunately, Baby Mario does not land in the sea, but (presumably) on Yoshi's Island. There he meets up with Yoshi and Yoshi meets with his friends to decide what to do with the baby. Unexpectedly, Baby Mario gives some sort of indication that he knows where to go. Baby Mario somehow knows where Baby Luigi is (twin telepathy, I guess), so the Yoshies work together in a relay system to travel across the island, bringing Baby Mario to reunite with Baby Luigi.
Like a lot of SNES graphics, these graphics look quite cartoon-y and a lot of the backgrounds have a pastel-art-like appearance, which creates a pretty nice and somewhat unique look to the game.
Well, Mario platformers tend not to have the biggest musical variety or the most memorable songs (like, say, Mega Man or Sonic) but Koji Kondo managed to create some pretty nice music that works quite well. The sound effects are pretty good as well. My only complaint with the sound (and really the game, for that matter) is the annoying crying sound that Baby Mario makes when you get hit (I'll explain that in more detail later). That is one heck of an incentive not to take any damage.
This is where the game really shines, which is good since it's the most important. The gameplay is very different from that of other Mario games. Here, you're playing as the different Yoshies, carrying Baby Mario on your back. (There's no difference between the different Yoshies other than their colours). If you get hit by an enemy, Baby Mario will fly off Yoshi's back and float around in a bubble. From there you have a limited amount of time to get Baby Mario back before Kamek's Toadies come and get him. (And boy is there incentive to do it quickly, given the annoying crying sound he makes). In addition, Yoshi can also make and throw eggs. By throwing eggs, you can defeat enemies (some of which can't be defeated simply by jumping on them), grab items that might be out of your reach, or break open winged clouds, which can cause a whole variety of effects (basically this game's version of ? blocks). There's a total of 6 worlds, each of which have 8 stages (9 if you count the special levels, but I'll get to that later). The 4th and 8th stages in each world are fortress/castle levels, each of which features a boss at the end. I have to say that all the levels are really well designed and the bosses all require very unique strategies to beat them. In addition to amazing levels and boss fights, scattered throughout every level are stars (which give you seconds on the countdown timer for when you get hit), red coins (which are disguised as regular coins, but turn red when you get them) and flowers (which give you and extra life if you can collect them all). When you complete a level (except for the forts/castles), you'll jump through a roulette wheel. If it lands on a flower (which you've been collecting in the level), you'll get to play a bonus game after the level, where you can win either extra lives or items, which have a variety of functions. These items are kind of like the inventory items in Super Mario Bros. 3, only they can be used at any time during a level (except during boss fights). In addition, when you complete a level, you'll get a score for that level, depending on how many stars, red coins, and flowers you collected. If you managed to collect the maximum of 30 starts, all 20 red coins, and all 5 flowers (which are worth 10 points each), you'll receive a perfect score of 100 points. If you manage to get a perfect score of 100 points on every level in a particular world, you'll unlock a secret level for that world and one of the bonus games to play whenever you want. While it is by no means necessary to get a perfect score in any of the levels to beat the game, the secondary objective of getting 100 points in every level adds a great amount of challenge for the more advanced players.
Being a SNES game, this game isn't terribly long. But the secondary objective of getting a perfect score gives you great incentive to go back and replay stages with the ultimate goal of trying to get a perfect score in every single stage. Even after I beat all the stages for the first time, it was years before I could get a perfect score in every single one. Overall, this game has a very high replay value.
This game is a must-have for any SNES owner. I believe it's also been ported to the GBA and DS, but if you can, get it for the SNES.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 05/31/11
Game Release: Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (US, 10/04/95)
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