Super Mario World vs. Yoshi's Island

Super Mario World vs. Yoshi's Island

Which is the better SNES platformer?

Alex Legard

Written by for Versus on

Super Mario World was one of the launch titles for SNES and it showed what the console was capable of. It remains one of my favorite platformers of all time because of the pixel-perfect 2D graphics, its secrets, and how fun and creative the levels are.

On the other hand, Yoshi's Island is the sequel to Super Mario World and it's such a different game that many gamers don't consider it a sequel at all. I only played it recently but its quality is undeniable. So, let's dive in and find out which is the better game!

Photo of Super Mario World and Yoshi's Island games on Super Nintendo and Game Boy Advance
There's more than one way to enjoy these classic Nintendo games!

Plumber or dinosaur?

Is it more fun to control everyone's favorite plumber or his friendly companion Yoshi? Mario can run, jump, ride Yoshi, fly with the feather cape, and shoot with the fire flower. Meanwhile, Yoshi can eat enemies and turn them into eggs that you can then throw at enemies as well as spit enemies at each other. His flutter jump can be used to cover great distances and he can also ground pound but be careful because you can pound through the floor to your death in some places. While Mario is fun, I enjoy playing as Yoshi more because he allows for many more interesting gameplay possibilities.

Super Mario World screenshot 1
I love Super Mario World's night sky stages

Dinosaur Land or Yoshi's Island?

Dinosaur Land in Super Mario World was one of the first game worlds on SNES and it looks much more detailed and colourful than the NES Mario games. Each level's background makes the environments look quite lively and the use of colour makes Mario, Yoshi, and their enemies stand out. Plus, there's a solid variety of scenery throughout the campaign. Yoshi's Island looks like a storybook and the levels are packed with many details like seagulls and the little harmless birds that fly away. While both games look amazing, some gamers might be put off by Yoshi's Island's style so I'm giving Super Mario World a slight edge here.

Revisiting Yoshi's Island
Yoshi's Island screenshot 1
The secret levels in Yoshi's Island are impressively challenging

Secrets

Like every good SNES game, both Super Mario World and Yoshi's Island are packed with secrets to reward anyone with the patience to explore. Super Mario World has the entire Star World, the Special World, 4 Switch Palaces, and a bunch of other secret stages scattered around the map. Yoshi's Island is even more packed with secrets and mini-games that were never before seen in a Mario game. The only levels that don't contain hidden areas or mini-games are the fortresses and the secret levels. It's a close call but I give Super Mario World the edge here because there's more variety and Star World and Special World are just awesome.

Top 10 Super Mario World Secrets

Innovation

Super Mario World is a very similar game to Super Mario Bros. 3 but there are some innovations like the complex world map and the feather cape power-up. However, you still break brick blocks, jump on koopas, eat mushrooms, pick up upgrades, defeat Bowser, and save Princess Peach. Yoshi's Island is very different and it feels like Nintendo threw out everything they did before in the Mario series and made it from the ground up. Yoshi's unique ability to make eggs allows for some interesting level designs and I don't think there's any game on NES or SNES that's even similar to Yoshi's Island so it's the clear winner here.

Super Mario World screenshot 2
Mario is enjoying his flashy new cape in Super Mario World

Replay value

I definitely enjoy lengthy games more than short ones because I prefer the feeling of getting sucked into a game for a long period of time. So, which of these 2 is longer? Super Mario World has a branching overworld map and there are many ways to reach Bowser's Castle to defeat him but to get through all 7 worlds (minus the secret ones), you'll have to beat 39 stages. There are 72 stages total and 96 exits and you'll have to find all of them to fully master Super Mario World.

Yoshi's Island has 48 stages but you can unlock 6 additional levels by getting 100 points in each stage via collecting all the flowers and red coins as well as finishing it with 30 seconds left on Baby Mario's clock. I have a similar play time on both games and while I already completed Super Mario World, I'm still not close to finishing Yoshi's Island because I have yet to unlock secret levels 2 through 6. Anyway, Yoshi's Island is surely the longer game to master by a fair margin because of the challenge of getting 100 points on every level.

Yoshi's Island screenshot 2
Here we have an interesting level design in Yoshi's Island with frozen penguins and Shy Guys

Although I love both of these Nintendo 2D platformers for SNES, I have to pick a winner which is...

Winner Yoshi's Island

Super Mario World has a special place in my heart because it's highly enjoyable and Mario is super-fun to control yet its weakness is that it's not quite as innovative as Yoshi's Island. I had so much fun licking enemies and throwing eggs that I can't imagine Yoshi's Island not winning here. I also love the storybook graphics although I imagine that could be a sticking point for some gamers. Plus, it's a rather long game and getting every point on each level is a superbly rewarding feat.

That's just my opinion. Agree? Disagree? Vote now!

Gameplay video playlist for Super Mario World vs. Yoshi's Island 6:53
Super Mario Bros. 3 Trivia

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