Like most games released near the end of a 16-bit console’s life cycle, SMW2 is one of the best games released for the Super Nintendo. Awesome graphics and gameplay, excellent sound and a crazy challenge contributed to a game that was overlooked as gamers began to transition to new systems.
Let’s get the story out of the way first, via Wikipedia: “While a stork carries two babies across the sea, the evil Magikoopa Kamek emerges, and attempts to steal both of the babies. Kamek manages to grab Baby Luigi, but Baby Mario falls onto an island in the middle of the sea, called Yoshi’s Island, home to all Yoshis. He lands on a green Yoshi, who was apparently taking a walk. The Yoshi clan, accompanying Baby Mario, must journey through the game’s six worlds to rescue Baby Luigi and free the stork from Baby Bowser and Kamek. Throughout the game, Kamek tries to stop Yoshi by dispatching his minions all across the island and by using magic spells to transform normal enemies into more powerful creatures that further impede Yoshi’s progress”
SMW2 should technically be considered Super Mario World 0 as it serves as a prequel to the Mario games with the game featuring the Mario brothers as infants but the fact that you don’t play as Mario doesn’t diminish the gameplay. Already a challenging platformer, the game increases the difficulty by including baby Mario into the mix. If a Yoshi is hit then baby Mario floats around in a bubble while a timer counts down, if you catch Mario then you continue playing, if you don’t catch him you lose a life. I had a few situations where I would take a hit while jumping and would need to reverse direction to retrieve baby Mario and then turn around and continue along my original direction.
At the end of each level you’re greeted with a screen that lists how many stars, coins and flowers you collected throughout the level, hitting 100 on each level will result in the appearance of a bonus level and an extra level. Naturally increasing the replay value.
The graphics. Easily the most creative graphics on the SNES, Miyamoto and his crew created a 16-bit game that looks like it was drawn with crayons and markers. The game is bright, colorful and creates an experience that I never thought was possible on the SNES. You have to stop at times just to look at the level of detail found in the levels, it’s impressive.
Oh and we have some technical specs, also from Wikipedia: “The game uses the Super FX 2 microchip to create sprite scaling, polygon effects, and pre-32-bit computer effects called “Morphmation” (in American commercials) that are relatively advanced for an SNES game (a preliminary version of the boxart featured the Super FX 2 logo).”
The game is fun to play, graphically impressive and arguably one of the greatest platform games of the 16-bit era, some may say of all-time but I won’t go that far. Dust off a SNES a experience a forgotten classic, the game that made Yoshi the star he is today. Yoshi star. Yoshi.