Revisiting Yoshi's Island

Revisiting Yoshi's Island

Retro fun with Baby Mario

Alex Legard

Written by for Retrospectives on

I recently had a great time finishing Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island on the Super NES Classic Edition so allow me to share my experience with this timeless 2D platformer.

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island screenshot 1
Don't fall, Yoshi!

Yoshi's Island is an amazing platformer from Nintendo that released back in 1995 and it added a lot to the Mario franchise. I borrowed Yoshi's Island from a friend in the early 2000s and have fond memories of playing it yet I never actually finished it. Anyway, I'm super-excited to talk about Yoshi's Island because it's among the very best that Nintendo has to offer. As one of Nintendo's console entries in the Mario franchise, Yoshi's Island got the care that also went into their very best titles. With that out of the way, let's get right to it!

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island looks and sounds incredible with its hand-crafted graphics and catchy soundtrack. The way it looks is imaginative and appropriate for a sunny island inhabited by friendly Yoshis. Nintendo even added little details like birds that hop around and flowers in the foreground. The effects such as the springing sound each time Yoshi jumps make moving around feel great, too.

Yoshi moves very differently than Mario and I've had more fun with him than I ever had playing as Mario. After you jump, you can hold the button down to flutter. Once you start falling, you can flutter again and you can travel a long distance if you time it correctly. You can also ground-pound to get rid of certain obstacles as well as eat enemies by extending your tongue to turn them into eggs then throw those eggs at enemies, coins, flowers, question mark clouds, or even Baby Mario. I love to use Yoshi's tongue for all sorts of tasks like holding off enemies, making eggs, and catching Baby Mario because it's something you can't do in any other game.

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island screenshot 2
How many games let you transform into a train or helicopter?

If you get hit, Baby Mario floats around in a bubble and lets out a cry that you'll remember forever. Your heart will race as you scramble to grab him in time before he's snatched away by Kamek's Toadies. The timer that counts down is different to anything that gamers had seen in other platformers and it makes the gameplay so much more fun than if it had a generic health system.

Another aspect that I enjoy about Yoshi's Island is its bosses. There are twelve castles and in each one, Kamek appears with a weak enemy standing under him and he uses his magic to make that enemy grow immensely. Even though it doesn't sound very creative, there are some very memorable bosses that I still remember from fifteen years ago such as the frog that you fight while inside its stomach, the slime that you have to chuck eggs at its heart, and the giant koopa that you have to use eggs to knock it onto its back. The different ways you fight them are definitely creative. Of course, the final boss is so iconic that it's still regularly discussed.

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island screenshot 3
Fighting Raphael the Raven in... space?

I love that every one of Yoshi's Island's 54 stages is packed with stuff to collect. Each one has five flowers, twenty red coins, and thirty stars that you need to collect for the maximum score. Once you achieve this score on all of the stages in a world, you'll unlock a secret stage. Collecting flowers also gives you a chance to play mini-games to acquire items or extra lives. I don't really care for these mini-games and I wish you could skip them somehow because you can beat Yoshi's Island easily without these items.

Finishing every secret stage is a huge task but if you're not interested and just want to complete the campaign then that's no problem. Personally, I just got as many points on each stage as I could without worrying about getting everything. I didn't end up unlocking any secret stages but I did get to visit a lot of hidden areas. It makes me wonder what my average score is...

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island is an amazing and innovative platformer that no one was expecting to be so different from Super Mario World. Besides the sometimes annoying mini-games, there's virtually nothing I don't like. Could Yoshi's Island be the best 2D platformer of all time? I can't think of any other game that makes me feel as happy whenever I play it thanks to its music and colourful environments. It's certainly up there with other great games but then again, I have yet to play Super Mario Bros. 3 so who am I to say?

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island screenshot 4
Mario and Luigi: reunited and it feels so good

Yoshi's Island is my favourite retro platformer that I've ever played. What do you think of this classic SNES game?

Gameplay video for Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island 5:00
Yoshi Trivia

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