There are some things that changed your life, started your interests. For me and Video games, it all comes back to the very first video game I owned (and aside from various arcade machines I have vague memories of the first I played). Super Mario World was a launch title for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System or SNES as I’ll call it (cause I’ll get fed up if I have to do write up the full name every time) all the way back in 1990 and for this review I got my old SNES up and running. (so it’s a fully authentic experience, no Virtual console or remake)
At the start of the game you get all the information you need, Bowser (gaming’s best dad) has kidnapped the princess yet again (it actually used the term “again”) and you start out on Yoshi’s island right outside on his house. Your mission is to get to Bowser in his castle deep in the Valley of Bowser (I said he was the best dad, not the most humble). Yeah it’s not much of a plot but then with Video games it’s not the plot but the journey, and it’s a journey through one of the best games of all time! Retro platforming at its best (or you can just use the feather, master flying and break the game)
You adventure as Mario (or Luigi if two player) through dinosaur land, starting out on Yoshi’s island, next is donut plains into vanilla dome. Across butter bridge and into the forest of mystery, onward past chocolate island and finally into the valley of Bowser (and if you haven’t noticed a lot of the places are named after food).
After you get through the first world, which is essentially the training world, the game opens up much more, not only can you now get the feather (which as mentioned is broken) but also secret exits. These are alternative exits to levels which go different paths through each world and allow access to otherwise inaccessible levels, you can tell if a standard level has one by the fact its red compared to yellow.
This means you may not be going the same route as a friend on your quest, if you are skilled enough you can actually clear the game by going one route in, about an hour maybe, probably less. Plus there are the switch palaces, activating them makes the switch blocks fill out creating new platforms (this run I chose not to get the last two, partially for the heck of it, and partially for the added challenge) so no two play throughs are going to hold the same experience for people.(oh by the way, you need to get a secret exit to escape the forest of illusion, just a heads up)
The platforming gets openly harder as the game goes on really testing you, though outside of the super secret levels (I’ll get to those later) the fortresses and castles (though mainly the fortresses) are the hardest, and in one I found a super hard extra part that nicely rewarded me with a ton of one ups for my hard work. There are also the ghost houses that are a bit more puzzly than the main levels.
It’s now I realize I forgot to mention one of the most important features in this game, Yoshi. Mario’s enemy eating dinosaur friend, though he can’t produce eggs yet (that’s in the next game) he can still eat them, and gain powers by holding a certain coloured shell in his mouth.
So you beat all Bowser’s minions and free the princess from him and his evil flying clown car (oh memories) bet you think that’s everything… WRONG! as well as completing every level (some which slightly change the map, a nice touch ) you will also find access to the star road. These levels can only be accessed though secret exits and can only be progressed through said exits of the star roads levels. Each of these levels are usually short BUT give you a chance to get a special coloured Yoshi, these will give you a special power dependent on the colour (get blue and ignore the rest) no matter what colour shell its holding in its mouth. BUT THEN get to the final secret exit in star road and IT appears, the super secret zone. These are the hardest levels IN THE GAME and some of the hardest platforming experiences I have faced ( well one was… oh how the name Tubular haunts me). Complete this world and what awaits you? find out for yourself but it’s worth it.
In my opinion, Super Mario World is not only one of the best games on the SNES, but one of the best games of ALL TIME. At no point did I feel cheated if I died, the controls were smooth, levels felt challenging, and it was great returning to this and going a different route to the final boss than I normally went (up the other side of vanilla dome so skipped that boss but had to deal with one of the hardest fortresses, it was under water). If you are a gamer, and haven’t played this game then you aren’t a gamer.