Super Mario World 2: Yoshiís Island
Because I donít believe graphics make the difference between good games and bad games, I wonít bother to rate graphics in my reviews unless there are glitches or abnormalities that affect gameplay. In this case, there are no issues of that sort. If you wish to judge the graphics, you are free to look at the screenshots and decide for yourself. I took these shots myself, so enjoy.
Our good friend Koopa Troopa
Story/Concept (Genre) 8.5/10
This game took a pretty nice risk in that it introduced both Yoshi as a playable character, and Baby Mario and Luigi. Taking the main character of a series and turning him into a baby is a big risk, but it pays off well here.
Bowser is still the main bad guy, but youíre not rescuing the princess here; youíre rescuing Luigi. Kamekís botched abduction attempt leaves the baby Mario falling from the sky and onto Yoshiís Island, where a team of Yoshis set off with Mario to find Luigi and put Bowser and Kamek in their place.
For Mario titles, this is a welcome deviation from the norm. Itís not complicated and it works.
Beautiful art style
Gameplay is simple and brilliant. Yoshi can swallow enemies and turn them into eggs, which he can throw at other enemies, burst clouds with (and these clouds contain items), bounce off walls, or throw through obstacles. There are several different types of eggs with various effects, and up to six can follow Yoshi at a time.
Four different types of eggs shown here.
Yoshi can jump, flutter jump (which can get a little more distance out of his jump), transform into four different vehicles, and pound the ground, which has become a series staple. While Yoshiís moves are all new to the Mario series (except jumping, of course) theyíre easy to understand and pick up, and they fit.
Also unique is that Yoshi has no health meter. Instead, when Yoshi takes damage, Mario is thrown off and floats around the level in a bubble. A timer begins to count down and Yoshi must recover Mario before it runs out. The timer starts at ten seconds but can increase to thirty if enough stars are collected.
Grab that whiny baby!
While the game mostly consists of Yoshi moving from the beginning of the level to the end, players are encouraged to set high scores for each level. Points can be gained by collecting stars (and keeping them by not being hit), flowers, and red coins. There are five flowers and twenty red coins hidden in each level, adding to the replay value of the game and giving players more to do than simply find the end of the level. 100 points is the max score for every level.
Perfect score? Me? Of course.
Controls feel natural and are easy to pick up and play from the beginning. Not much to say about them. The only complaint is that when throwing eggs, a crosshair appears in front of Yoshi and bobs up and down; pressing the A button again launches an egg in whatever direction the crosshair is at the time. This makes precise multiple shots difficult to pull off in a timely manner, but itís not a major issue during gameplay.
Bounce eggs off walls to reach coins and items otherwise unobtainable.
The sounds here really impressed me. Everything is crisp and clear, and the music was catchy and iconic while being a departure from traditional Mario tunes. The only problem is that when Yoshi is hit and Mario is throw off, he floats around and cries incessantly, and thereís few things more annoying than a crying baby that cries in the same tone every second.
Replay Value 6/10
Going back and earning perfect scores should keep perfectionists busy for a while, but you might find yourself earning perfect scores quite often if youíre skilled enough, and that means you wonít be playing every level more than once unless you want to. Thereís also secret multiplayer mini-games to keep you coming back, but thatís about it.
Grabbing a red coin.
Just secret mini-games. You can look up the code online or discover it in-game. The games are pretty lame with the exception of one, and they donít offer much in the way of entertainment.
Fan Service 8/10
Yoshi fans got what they wanted, thatís for sure. Old enemies from Super Mario Bros. 2 return for the first time in seven years along with classics like Goomba and Paratroopa, and thereís plenty of new enemies as well. The only problem is that our favorite princess doesnít make an appearance, and this is the first console Mario game where Luigi is not playable and there is no two-player option.
What Makes This Game Great
Great controls, great new art style, great music, and just general greatness. It was new, it was a risk, and it worked. The bosses were all new except the last one, but you played against him in a totally new way. The bosses were really what sold me on this game. Kamek comes by and pumps a normal enemy up to gigantic proportion, and you have to find a way to defeat it. Awesome.
Kamek turns regular enemies into huge bosses.
What Could Make This Game Better
Honestly, not a whole lot. I would have liked it better if you were rescuing Baby Peach and could have a second player play as Baby Luigi, and I suppose there could have been better multiplayer, but thatís not really what this game was all about, so Iím not complaining.
The Bottom Line 8/10
This game is a classic and definitely worth picking up. One of the best games of its time and still holds its own against other 2D side-scrollers today.