By: Lara Murray
ESRB Rating: E
Release Date: April 26, 2013
Reviewed on Wii U (also available on Wii Virtual Console. Used cartridge copies available for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and the Game Boy Advance)
Older fans have long argued whether it was Super Mario Bros. 3 or Super Mario World that was the strongest influence on the modern Mario games of today. Both titles have lent features to latter games like multiple power-up suits and hidden levels that have helped the popularity of the series stay fresh. Available on the Wii U’s Virtual Console, Super Mario World is back again to resurrect the old dispute.
Family Gaming Assessment:
Like most Mario games, the premise is simple. Bowser and his Koopalings have overtaken exotic Dinosaur Island, kidnapped Princess Peach, and imprisoned all the friends of Yoshi, a happy but hungry cute green dinosaur that assists Mario and Luigi in saving his island home. Despite the name “Dinosaur Island”, don’t expect a romp through Jurassic Park. The island’s inhabitants all have a cute cartoony look that would leave a velociraptor giggling.
As a direct port from its original Super Nintendo Entertainment System release, the graphics, music, and puzzles are the same as they were in 1990 but their charm holds up to the test of time. There are no online features to the game—another adaption from the SNES era of games. No inappropriate language is used, and the minimal violence is limited to flinging fireballs, twirling in a cape, or jumping on the monsters populating Dinosaur Island.
Up to two players can play as Mario and his brother Luigi, alternating between the Wii U’s game pad or using up to two classic controllers to navigate the brothers through the game’s many levels. The game controls are very easy for anyone of any age to pick up, though later stages can be a little challenging for inexperienced or younger players not used to timing their moves to proceed.
Power-ups are available through throughout the game a la the Fire Flower, which grants the ability to throw fireballs at enemies, or the Feather, which bestows a cape that allows the player to fly through levels. Creative use of the feather power-up helps to discover secret keys and keyholes in select levels that lead to hidden levels, further expanding the game its replay value.
Super Mario World also marks the first appearance of Yoshi, who has since appeared in subsequent Mario titles and starred in his own spin-offs like Yoshi’s Story and Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario World 2. By riding Yoshi, players can take advantage of his ability to eat enemies and, at times, temporarily earn power-ups from certain colored shells, but he will throw off the player and run away if an enemy touches him. It can be frantically fun to catch him when this happens, but it may be distracting to players who misunderstand that Yoshi needs to be saved.
There’s no reason not to buy Super Mario World from the Virtual Console. At $8, it’s a fraction of the cost of a new Wii U game, and as much fun now as it was when it was released over 20 years ago, losing none of its ingenuity over that time. As it only requires the use of the gamepad, there’s no need to go out and purchase additional accessories that don’t already come with a Wii U in its box. Buy it, play it with your family, and discover what all the fuss is about that fans have wrestled with for over two decades.