Review by TKDBoy1889
"Yoshi delivers in his first big game"
Super Mario World is one of the best games of the Super Nintendo, helping launch the system to success. Among the many brilliant things it brought to the series, perhaps the best was the green sidekick dino we know and love as Yoshi. Yoshi proved to be so popular that he actually kicked Mario to the sidelines for the sequel, and became the main protagonist. Was that a bad move? Not in the slightest. Yoshi's Island is the sequel to Super Mario World, and I think it's even better. That is saying something, considering that I think the SNES' launch title was among it's best. This game just captivated me in so many ways as a kid. It had to be one of my most rented titles of all time back in the day before I actually owned it. It gives the tried and true formula of Mario games a complete overhaul, and works incredibly, incredibly well.
A lot of Mario games wouldn't get a story section since we'd already know what the story is. Bowser kidnaps the princess, Mario saves her and gets a kiss and a cake, the end. But Yoshi's Island tells a different story, and one I honestly like at that.
The premise is that a stork is delivering Mario and Luigi as babies to their parents (Yes, we're going stork route), but is ambushed by Kamek, assistant of Bowser. Kamek kidnaps Luigi but Mario falls from the heavens right into Yoshi's back. Once Mario develops an instinct on where Luigi is and the Yoshi clan decide to safely take Mario to his brother. Simple story but it's cute and I think a really good one for explaining the beginning of Mario. Not to mention it shows some competency from Bowser's minions as they attempted to kidnap the Mario Bros. as babies. One has to wonder if Kamek was aware of how much of a pain they would become for Bowser in the future, though this is never stated. Even so, it's a cool story.
Yoshi's Island's has some of the most impressive graphics I've ever seen on a Super Nintendo game. It utilized the Super FX chip which was designed to enhance the graphical limitations of the SNES, and my goodness does it show in this game. The visuals are detailed, they are colorful, and they are gorgeous. The backgrounds look absolutely stunning and are multi-layered to create a sense of depth and distance in the background as you move along the stages. The animation is incredibly smooth and flows really well. Whenever Yoshi jumps, pounds the ground, flutter kicks, or even eats and shoots eggs, the animation is really good. Enemy animation is also superb, you can barely distinguish the frames of movement from each other. When standing back a fair distance from the TV, I can barely even distinguish the pixels unless I out active effort into doing so. Occasionally there are sections of background that look like they were hand drawn with chalk, but these sections don't like bad, they actually really well and add a nice touch to the visuals.
There are even a series of cool graphical effects throw in that only make the game more immersive. When you're in underground caves, the rock floors have a shimmering effect. Enemies explode into a star-like effect when defeated, lava bubbles as it flows, there is a small l spray effect when walking on mud or shallow water, everything is just so detailed and well done it's amazing.
Yoshi's Island sports a lot of tunes that are really, really nice. They are definitely what you would expect to hear in a Mario- or in this case, Yoshi- game. You have your normal songs that are more upbeat and happy, and then you have your songs that give off a more creepy or ominous feeling. Those creepy tunes usually play on boss levels and dungeons. Cave and underground sections also have a more downbeat and deep music that accompanies. The songs are incredibly well orchestrated. The boss tunes are especially good, one of them being a fast-paced number that really gets you into the mode to do battle. And the Final boss music? Epic beyond believe, going from the sound of impending doom to the sound of a climactic battle.
Sound effects are also incredibly good. They are really, really clear and just amazing to listen to. From Yoshi pounding the ground to the grinding sound when pushing a rock or object along the ground to the ricochet sounds when Yoshi bounces an egg off a wall, they are just awesome. Some enemies even have voice effects, often to taunt to taunt you or to show that you've damaged them. Such as piranha plants which make a menacing chewing sound when you get close to them. Even Mario makes noise when he gets knocked off of Yoshi.... and it's probably the most painful sound effect in the whole game. Possibly the only bad one, but goodness is it painful to listen to baby Mario cry in this game! At least it'll motivate you to get him back quickly, to shut him up if nothing else.
This is no repeat of Super Mario World. Given that the formula of Mario games was pretty similar up until this point the developers switched things up, and it paid off immensely. Yoshi's Island has to be one of the most unique and fun platformers ever. As established you play Yoshi in this game, and the goal is to safely get baby Mario to the end of each level. Yoshi can do all kinds of things. He can do a flutter kick in mid-air to hover for a second. He can pound the ground to break through certain objects of defeat certain enemies. He can swallow enemies and turn them into eggs, which he can then throw at enemies or bounce off walls to hit switches or objects. This is definitely a more action-based platformer, and it's incredibly fun. The pacing is smooth and the level design is just fantastic. There are all kinds of enemies. Huge piranha plants, shy guys, flower guys, huge chain chomps that try to crush you, bandits that try to steel mario, even monkeys that shoot watermelon seeds at you. Yoshi can die from spikes, getting crushed, pitfalls, and such things, but enemies don't kill you. They knock off Mario and you have to get him back before the timer runs out. This timer can be increased by collecting small stars. Some of the enemies can't be turned into eggs, but they be destroyed by eggs a lot of the time, sort of separating the enemies into tiers. There's definitely a lot going on in the gameplay, and it blends together so well. The controls are laid out well, easy to get a hold of, and very fluid and responsive. That is to be expected of a Mario game, but given how different this game is it's nice that the controls managed to stay fluid and easy to grasp.
Mario is famous for power-ups, right? Well they aren't exactly power-ups but Yoshi has plenty of his own items to help out. Grab a watermelon that can shoot seeds like a good, or get a fire one that burns enemies off the screen. Get star power-ups that boost your timer countdown. For real good times, get the pow item that instantly defeats all enemies on screen.
Breaking up the platforming and egg-shooting sections are mini-game morphing sections. These are parts where Yoshi morphs into a vehicle like a submarine, race car, or helicopter, and navigates a portion of the map using new abilities gained for the moment. These are incredibly fun because they keep the gameplay fresh, they switch things up. And each type of morph has it's own powers, like the sub can shoot torpedoes to destroy enemies. The only thing I have to complain about these parts is that some of them are rare. If anything, I'd like even more of these.
The bosses in this game are amazing, very well designed. Just about all of them require a different sort of strategy, and while once you've played the game a lot them seem easy, first time around there is definitely some thinking required to figure out how to take them down. I love boss battles, they act as climaxes and high points of the game, and I love these bosses. Yoshi's Island also has to have one of the most epic, and in a way scary, final showdowns of all time.
Yoshi's island is easily among the best Mario games I've ever played, and that is saying something. It's a game like no other, and in a good way. It has incredibly impressive and colorful graphics, amazing sounds and music, and a very intricate style of gameplay that changes up the typical formula of the Mario games. It was more action oriented and had a surprisingly large amount of variety without sacrificing the quality of the product. The game is on the easier side but there are moments when it can present a challenge. This is a must for Mario fans to try out. If you can't get the SNES version, there are other versions available on some handheld consoles. To me, classic SNES is the way to go, but however you can, definitely give this game a try.
-Great sounds and music
-Unique and fun gameplay
-Mario is annoying when crying
Replay value: 10/10
Final score: 10/10
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 08/22/12
Game Release: Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (US, 10/04/95)
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