#61 Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island

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  • Original release year: 1995
  • Consoles: SNES (later: GameBoy Advance)

Ever since the release of the 1995 masterpiece, Yoshi’s Island, there have unfortunately been a whole load of mediocre games to bear the Yoshi name (although the new one on the Wii U isn’t too bad). It’s unfortunate that Nintendo have never managed to match the quality of Yoshi’s Island.

I still find it odd that Nintendo opted to title this game as Super Mario World 2, as it’s obviously a spin off, rather than a sequel to the Super Mario series. Nevertheless, it is still one of the finest platformers not just on the SNES, but also of all time.

When you first boot up Yoshi’s Island, the first thing you will notice (and this was a pretty big deal in the 16-bit era), is the visually striking and unique art direction. The game is simply beautifully, resembling something that has been hand drawn with soft pastels. It is in stark contrast to the movement, at the time, towards more realistic and 3D visuals in the video games industry.

Is this the most beautiful SNES game?
Is this the most beautiful SNES game?

Gameplay-wise, Yoshi’s Island is a 2D side-scrolling platformer, with Yoshi this time being the star of the game. The story takes place when the Mario Bros. are still babies and, as Yoshi, it is your job to look after baby Mario and deliver him to his parents (I think… The story isn’t really important). The gameplay is quite unique. You carry Mario on your back and if you are hit, Mario is sent floating in a bubble. There is a countdown instead of a life meter and you must retrieve Mario safely before the countdown hits zero, otherwise you lose a life.

The level design throughout is beautiful, allowing Yoshi to transverse across fantastic scenery. It’s a great platform game, but Yoshi’s Island also focuses more on puzzle-solving and item-collecting, adding depth to the genre.

Overall, whilst Yoshi’s Island is an amazing platform game, it is also more than that. It is a standout video game, because of its amazing and unique visuals and phenomenal gameplay. It is a game that everyone must play.

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