Super Mario World (known in Japan as Super Mario World: Super Mario Bros. 4) is a side-scrolling platformer developed by Nintendo EAD and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System on November 21, 1990 (in Japan), August 31, 1991 (in North America), and April 11, 1992 (in Europe).
One of the launch titles of the platform (and bundled with early systems in North America), Super Mario World is the fifth main game in the Super Mario series. The game follows Nintendo's mascot Mario (and his brother Luigi) as they explore Dinosaur Land (known for its large amount of dinosaurs) to find and defeat the evil Koopa king Bowser (and his seven underlings, the Koopalings) while rescuing Princess Toadstool.
Along with new abilities (such as the "Spin Jump"), a new power-up (the "Cape Feather") and more obstacles, the game introduces dinosaur companions (known as Yoshi) that Mario and Luigi can ride. Yoshi, known for using their long tongues to snare and eat enemies, have become a fan-favorite among the series (giving them their own games and spin-offs, most notably this game's follow-up).
Special bundles of the SNES in 1994 included a compilation cartridge mixing Super Mario World with Super Mario All-Stars. The only difference in this version is a new sprite set for Luigi, to distinguish him further from Mario. The original game was later ported to the Game Boy Advance on December 14, 2001 (in Japan), on February 9, 2002 (in North America), and on April 12, 2002 (in Europe). Titled Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World (or, in Japan, Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World + Mario Brothers), this port includes a variety of differences, including Luigi as a selectable character (who now has unique features, such as his floating jump from Super Mario Bros. 2), new voice acting, and the ability to save anywhere. It also includes the Mario Bros. bonus game from the original Super Mario Advance (with four-player cross-game compatible multiplayer support via link cable).
The game was later digitally re-released as a Virtual Console title for the Wii (on December 2006 in Japan, and on February 2007 worldwide), Wii U (on March 2013), and Nintendo 3DS (on March 2016). It was also made available for the Nintendo Switch on September 2019 as a Super Nintendo Entertainment System - Nintendo Switch Online title and was included in the Super NES Classic Edition 2017 mini-console. The Game Boy Advance version was also digitally re-released as a Virtual Console title for the Wii U (on March 2014 in Japan, on December 2014 in North America, and on March 2016 in Europe).
Super Mario World plays like a standard side-scrolling platformer (similar to the previous Super Mario Bros. games), where players must guide Mario or Luigi through over 75 stages, split into over seven unique areas (or "Worlds"). Each stage has a goal to reach, usually a giant moving goalpost (known as Giant Gates) at the rightmost part of the level (some levels have alternate hidden exits, reachable by finding and carrying a key into a keyhole).
Mario can ride Yoshi in all stages of the game except for castles and fortresses, and can make Yoshi shoot out his long tongue to snare and eat enemies.
Throughout each level (usually in special Blocks), Mario and Luigi can find power-ups to give themselves special abilities:
- Super Mushroom - Transforms into Super Mario/Luigi, giving them a taller stature while allowing them to get hit once without losing a life. They can also break some Blocks by hitting it from below and Spin Jump on Rotating Blocks to break them. This power-up glides across the ground before collected and can sometimes be found by running over special areas (like some bushes). All Yellow Exclamation Blocks contain this power-up. Running over checkpoint gates as regular Mario/Luigi automatically puts them in Super form.
- Fire Flower - Transforms into Fire Mario/Luigi. In addition to the benefits of the Super Mushroom, they can now throw fireballs (which can damage and destroy most enemies) by tapping the X or Y buttons. Performing a Spin Jump also throws fireballs on both sides of them. This power-up is usually stationary before collected. In the GBA remake, getting hit while in Fire form changes them into Super form (similar to Super Mario Bros. 3).
- Cape Feather - Transforms into Cape Mario/Luigi. In addition to the benefits of the Super Mushroom, they can now glide across the air by holding the X or Y buttons. In addition, making a running jump allows them to fly through the air (allowing them to sail with the cape by holding Up and Down on the joy-pad). This power-up floats left and right downward before collected. All Green Exclamation Blocks contain this power-up. Jumping on Super Koopas cause them to drop a Cape Feather.
Somewhat similar to Super Mario Bros. 3, players can have the ability to store spare power-ups for use at a later time. If a player collects two of the same power-up (or if they collect a Super Mushroom while in Fire or Cape forms), it will be placed in the Reserve Box at the top of the HUD. Getting hit (or pressing the Select button in-game) causes the item to slowly descend from the Reserve Box. Also new to the game are Roulette Blocks, which can carry either of these power-ups (along with the Starman power-up below) and is chosen when the player hits the block.
In addition, Mario and Luigi can find two rare power-ups that do not permanently transform them, instead temporarily giving them a special ability:
- Starman - Grants them temporary invincibility, allowing them to bump onto any enemies to defeat them. Unlike previous games, players can chain combos by bumping onto enemies in quick succession (giving them easier extra lives). Usually found in Roulette Blocks.
- Power Balloon - Temporarily inflates them allowing them to hover in the air and gradually float upwards. Found in only four levels and is not necessary for normal game progression (only required for reaching secret exits).
There are over 75 levels in the game, each split into multiple areas (or "Worlds"). These worlds (along with the Koopaling boss in that world):
- Yoshi's Island (Iggy)
- Donut Plains (Morton)
- Vanilla Dome (Lemmy)
- Cheese Bridge (Ludwig)
- Forest of Illusion (Roy)
- Chocolate Island (Wendy)
- Valley of Bowser (Larry)
While each world can be progressed in a narrow path, the game features an abundance of secret exits and alternate paths leading to hidden levels, bonus areas, and special shortcuts. Some of the more notable secret levels include the four Switch Palaces (allowing players to unlock special Exclamation Blocks for use as platforms and a way to earn power-ups), the Butter Bridge path (an alternate way to traverse both the 3rd and 4th Worlds), the Valley Fortress (a way to skip most of 7th World and end up at the back door of Bowser's Castle), and the Top Secret Area (a hidden one-screen level in Donut Plains that gives players free power-ups and a Yoshi).
In addition, there are two secret areas only accessible through special Star Roads hidden throughout the game: Star World and Special Zone.
The Star World (up in the clouds) acts as a special "fast travel" area between most of Dinosaur Land (from the Donut Plains to the Valley of Bowser). There are five Star Roads that lead to it, each with their own accompanying level. Reaching the secret Keyhole exit in each level opens up a path between the level and another Star Road (eventually making a circular path). All levels in this area also have a hidden red, blue, or yellow-colored baby Yoshi (allowing players to gain Yoshi's with special abilities).
By completing both normal and Keyhole exits allows a new Star Road entrance to the Special Zone: eight challenging levels that must be completed sequentially (each with a level name resembling '80s slang for something positive). Completing all eight levels gives them a one-way Star Road back to Yoshi's House while changing the color scheme of the overworld (giving it a Fall appearance) and giving some enemies a Fall theme (Koopa Troopas wearing Mario masks, both jumping Piranha Plants and Beanstalks becoming haunted pumpkins, and Bullet Bills resembling crow-like Pidgits).
While four of the Star Roads have no exit routes in Dinosaur Land (unless previously unlocked), the fifth Star Road immediately links to the front door of Bowser's Castle, allowing players to skip a large majority of the game.