vigorousjammer's Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) review

Yoshi's Island took a risk, and it paid off.

Yoshi's Island, regarded as a classic for sure... and it was the follow-up to the incredibly popular Super Mario World. Sounds like Yoshi's got some big shoes to fill... but does he fill them all the way? The short answer to that is "no". However, I feel Yoshi's Island, while not quite as prestigious as Super Mario World is still deserving of some praise. I re-played it recently, and felt I should write something up about it.

First, let me just say that the game was super risky, and it changes so much of what people came to expect from platforming games at the time. Instead of focusing on what people had come to know a platformer to be, with the focus being on running & jumping, it introduced lots of new concepts. Concepts like throwing eggs at enemies & collectibles, changing into different forms (Such as a helicopter that can fly around, a mole that can dig through areas, or a submarine just to name a few). The game also introduced baby Mario, which many people disliked. I've heard much talk about people disliking these new gameplay elements as well... saying that they would have preferred something similar to other Mario games, or your traditional platformer.

I personally think all of the gameplay mechanics worked exceptionally well, and added to the game. It became a much different game than your traditional platformer, sure... but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. It wasn't only innovative, I also thought it was super fun! Throwing eggs, having them bounce off walls & knock into enemies, the way the controls feel differently when you transform into something else, it all felt great, and was complimented by super tight platforming controls that still work, even today. The game just feels really nice, and I think it holds up remarkably well.

The graphical style was really interesting at the time, with it's hand-drawn look. It looked like it came right out of a kid's storybook. It was bright, vibrant, and colorful. It was really a sight to behold at the time, and Yoshi has some of my favorite character sprite work on the SNES. I remember when the game initially came out, looking at it and being blown away, as though someone drew all of these drawings in my video game. Looking at it today, it still holds up reasonably well, but it doesn't look quite as good as it did then. The pixels are a lot more noticeable, and it makes it look more like a video game and less like a storybook. Still, they're very nicely done, and I can appreciate them simply as pixel graphics.

The sound in the game is great. The music is catchy & memorable, and I've gotten it stuck in my head for days at times. The sound effects are nice, and add something to the game's feel, but none of them are really notable or significant... especially when compared with the sound effects from some other prestigious SNES games. Still, the audio does a great job at conveying your actions, and the music is still some of my favorite from video games of that era.

Overall, Yoshi's island has a few caveats, but none that are particularly significant or affect the game that much. Yoshi's Island is a fantastic experience that still holds up, with great mechanics, a catchy soundtrack, and very nice graphics. Most of all... it's super fun to play. Am I going to say Yoshi's Island a masterpiece? No, I won't. I will say, however, that it's well deserving of praise, and that it's a game that any SNES owner should absolutely have in their collection.

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