Super Mario World Review by: geeogreeSuper Mario World - Greatest 2D Platformer Ever
Super Mario World is by far one of the best games ever made. I’m not talking just for the SNES but gaming in general. The premise of the game is extremely simple. You need to get from one side of the map to the other before the time runs out. You have obstacles in the map that prevent you from getting there while also getting power ups and help from Yoshi’s. The execution of the game however is so much more interesting than that. Level design is so unique and difficult at times that it can take multiple tries just to beat 1 part of a level. There is very little disadvantage to dying though.
It would seem that since this game was packaged with the SNES basically since the SNES came out that it wouldn’t have been that great of a game (I find a lot of the packaged games are average at best) but this game is one that didn’t fit that mold. I think the success of the game actually helped to fuel purchases of the SNES console. I don’t have evidence to back that up but if I got a game of this quality with a new console I would be more inclined to buy a newer console.
Graphics – 9/10
The graphics in this game are some of the best for the console in spite of being one of the earliest games designed for it. Each area of the world has its own theme which runs pretty consistently through the area you are playing in. There are also foreground and background visuals in each level that keep the environments interesting. The animations are overall very cartoonish but that’s the overall feel of the game visually. I also appreciate that in spite of how quickly you are moving sometimes that the game doesn’t seem to lag or slow down during that. Flying is smooth and seamless visually which helps to make it easier to do.
There are very occasional slowdowns when there are a LOT of things on the screen at once. These incidents are pretty rare in occurrence but when they did happen it was almost needed to deal with the vast amount of stuff going on at once.
The other nice difference over the NES versions is the overworld is much more interesting to look at. Super Mario 3 brought that concept into the game but Super Mario World made it a lot more interesting to look at and made it more interactive. Although I do miss the random events that you could experience in Super Mario 3 there are enough other nice things in Super Mario World that make up for it in the overworld.
Sound – 8/10
The sound for this game is great. The music doesn’t have tons of variability but it is so well done that you don’t really care how much it repeats. Like when you go into a Haunted House level the music is the same every time. However, the track for the Haunted House fits so perfectly that it doesn’t matter that much to you. Also, being a 16-bit game the music is pretty limited in what it is capable of but again the tracks are done well enough that the music just fits with the gameplay. Like the graphics the music is fairly cartoonish but that fits the overall feel of the game.
The sounds I do find can get a bit annoying. I’m not sure how I would feel if the jump sound was no longer in the game but I also don’t know if I need a sound every time I jump. I’m probably so used to hearing it that if it went away I would notice instantly but it’s hard to say. Still, that is probably the most repeated sound in the game and listening to the game play again while writing this review it did become noticeable. Still, the music and other sounds in the game balance it out enough that it isn’t the worst thing. There are games with far worse sounds and music but that’s part of why I gave it only an 8.
One great thing about the sound though was when you jumped onto a Yoshi. The music didn’t change completely but there was an added bonus of an upbeat addition to the background of the song already playing. It really added to the excitement having a Yoshi to have that extra music playing in addition to whatever was already playing in the level.
Addictiveness – 10/10
I don’t know how you rate this game any lower. I grew up on this game and have played it through so many times that I’ve lost count. I’ve gotten the yellow and green block so many times that I can almost do it without really thinking about it. I can remember basically every secret ending and hidden item in the game. I could very likely play through it and get the *99 total completion even now. In fact I feel like I did that in the last year or 2 after trying to get my daughter into playing Mario. Still, I could sit down and play this game today and still enjoy it just as much as I did years ago. The gameplay is tough but enjoyable especially early on. And the challenge of getting all the secrets again is still fun. Some secrets or special things in games are so difficult to find that it’s more of a chore than an enjoyment. Super Mario World does the special/hidden things much better.
Story - 4/10
There isn’t really a story to this game. Well, it’s the same story as Super Mario 1 and Super Mario 3. Bowser has taken the princess and it is Mario’s job to get her back. Of course this time around he has a friend in Yoshi to help him out in this monumental task but basically it is the same story. Strangely enough the story doesn’t get old. You’d think rehashing the same story would make the game boring but the story isn’t the focus in a game like this. The game play is the focus. The story in this game is there just enough to give Mario a reason to do anything.
I do think that the Yoshi did add something to the game though. If it had just been Mario on his own again then it wouldn’t have had nearly the staying power that it has. Adding Yoshi added a new dimension to the game. More things were possible with a fire breathing, flying, super stomping Yoshi as a helper. Without Yoshi I don’t know if this game would have been quite as popular as it was.
Depth – 7/10
It’s not the biggest game out there by far but I feel like Super Mario World has enough in it that it is quite a long game to beat. I know it is possible to beat the game in 20-30 minutes if you know the way through the Star Road but if you play the game through properly you can probably spend 5 or 6 hours on it. That’s nothing compared to A Link to the Past or Chrono Trigger type games that can take 20-30 hours to beat but this is a side scroller so to offer up 5-6 of solid gameplay I think is commendable. Plus, there is beating the main game and then beating everything to get to the *99 total. This will take the average person WAY longer. Especially if it is your first time trying to do this. Beating all the stuff in the Star Road and completing other difficult special endings to levels add a lot of depth to the game that isn’t required but is easily available to be attempted.
Something else to point out for the depth that I hadn’t really thought of before. Your NES platformers were pretty standard in their level types. Ice levels, fire levels, tree levels. Not much else. And there was little variety to the levels themselves. You had to get to the end and that was basically it. With Super Mario World you added some variety with the Haunted Houses which were puzzle or maze styles. Also the Castle levels had some really difficult forced scrolling types that challenged your ability to navigate obstacles and remember patterns. These kinds of levels really added to the variety of what you had to expect from Super Mario World in comparison to the NES level of scrolling games.
To go along with the new level types were the hidden or 2nd way to beat a level. This was basically unheard of in a platformer before the SNES and Super Mario World. Most of the time you beat a level and the only difference was whether or not you found everything as you went through the level. If you missed something then you missed it because the level was over. Super Mario World not only gave you multiple chances to play each level but in many cases required finding 2 ways to beat the level in order to access different areas of the map. This makes the game much more interesting to play. It give you incentive to not just beat each level as quickly as possible but to investigate things and try out new ways to beat levels. I remember at least 1 level that depended on how fast you could get through each section of the level to determine which ending you achieved. I loved this concept for a level. Obviously in limited use but it forced you to learn the level and get better at it before rewarding you with the secret outcome. Adds to replay-ability of the game.
Difficulty – 6/10
I’m giving this 2 ratings. To beat the game itself I would say 6/10. It’s not that difficult of a game to play. The average player can beat it easily without too much of a learning curve or too much trouble. Most of the regular endings to levels can be figured out in one try and the tougher ones might take 3 or 4 tries to complete at the most. This to me gets an average difficulty rating.
However, to fully complete the game gets a 9/10 for me. Even now after playing this game dozens of times I still have trouble with the final 8 levels in the Star Road. The ones that you get to by going through the very middle star portal. Those 8 levels aren’t long but they require a lot of precision to get through. I’ve beaten many of them in 1 try and died 20 times trying to beat them. I’m not sure if I’m just lucky sometimes or if I really am no good at the game some days. These levels (and a handful of other difficult to achieve secret levels) are the reason for the 9/10 rating. It’s not the most difficult stuff I’ve ever come across but it is up there in challenge.
The game does balance the difficulty well though. The main game is tough enough that you have to improve as you play and learn different things in order to have the skills to get through the final levels but the precision and complexity of these things is not so extreme that you have to spend hours honing those skills in order to beat the game.
Overall – 10/10
This is by far one of the best games for the SNES. Not just my opinion but the overall consensus of millions of people agree with that. It even stands up as one of the best games ever made even now for me. The fact that I willingly go back and play it again after 25 years of playing the game is a testament to how well it was made. I also think that this game was the peak for Mario gaming for many years. I haven’t spent a lot of time playing Super Mario Wii but I think that game brought back a lot of what was great about Super Mario World and is probably on par for me as one of the best Mario games after this one.