I don't know why I never played Yoshi's Island back in the day. I mean, Super Mario World is probably my favorite 2D platformer of all time. Probably? No. It must be! But for some reason, the sequel didn't interest me in 1995. I must have moved on to more 'mature' games by then, and the crayon colors and baby Mario must have scared me off.
But I did finally play it sometime in the late 2000's when I picked up the GBA port of the game. I remember being pleasantly surprised. But for some reason I didn't stick with it all that long. And I really haven't thought about the game since.
Luckily, Yoshi's Island found its way back to me via the Switch Online service. My daughter is three months now, and she seems to really like watching bright and colorful visuals. So as an alternative to cartoons, I fired up Yoshi's Island and put her little chair next to mine in the game room.
Well, the bright colors really did seem to comfort her. And me? I had a lot of fun playing the game as well. Visually, the game holds up incredibly. I mean, I'd much rather look at graphics like this in 2019 than say Donkey Kong Country or Mortal Kombat.
It also plays well. Yoshi feels like Yoshi, and the levels are interesting. But with that said, I feel like the game would have benefited from NOT having the Super Mario World 2 title. It should have just been called Yoshi's Island and considered a spin-off, because this doesn't feel like SMW2. It feels like its own thing. And having that comparison in my head kind of hurts it.
Let's be real - we've never gotten a follow up that can compete with Super Mario World. I suppose the closest is that you could call the New Super Mario Bros games spiritual successors. And while I LIKE all of those games to varying degrees, none of them are as perfect as Super Mario World.
But I digress. This is a super fun game. Although one that I need to turn the volume down on. As a new dad, there's a certain level of unneeded stress that comes from hearing a baby crying in a game. C'mon.
I'm currently kicking around in the second world, and having a solid time. Certainly I'd consider this BETTER than any of the NSMB games anyway. And I'll definitely say that Nintendo has done a great job with the SNES games on Switch Online. I feel like even in their first initial batch of games they've out shined the NES offerings.
The cliche when you have a baby or toddler in the house is that the days go slow, but they years go fast. I'm quickly learning that this cliche is true. Take Yoshi's Island as a good example. I very vividly remember firing this game up on NSO and playing through the first world while my daughter sat in her little bouncy chair next to me and watched the bright colors. At the time, she was only three months old. Now she's two years old. It's nuts.
The difference between a newborn and a toddler are vast. The cry is different for sure. Now we're into full on tantrums will full sentences thrown in. It's just crazy.
But I digress.
I was re-reading HG101's book on their 200 Greatest Games Of All Time for the umpteenth time and was reminded of Yoshi's Island. So I've been playing through it at a leisurely pace over the past couple nights.
I definitely respect Yoshi's Island. It's just beautiful to look at. It's got to me one of the most visually appealing SNES games period. I still play it with the sound off because frankly, I can't stand baby Mario's cry. But it's a solid game.
It doesn't REALLY feel like a sequel to Super Mario World, though. That game is pure perfection in my mind. And lately I wonder about my own fondness for platformers. I mean, I definitely like a lot of them, and I love a few. Super Mario World is the best. But there's so many I just don't get the appeal of - stuff like Donkey Kong Country, or Klonoa, or Rayman, or many other critically acclaimed games. So it's hard for me to put a finger on what it is that I do and don't like in a platformer. I only know that I do or don't like one.
But Yoshi's Island is a really good game. It's not NEARLY as good as Super Mario World, though. SMW is about legit platforming and this... I don't know. It's focus is so much more about navigating the levels. They're almost maze-like at times, which inches into Sonic 3 territory for me - and that's a game I hate. Luckily, I don't hate this one. Maybe it's because this one is more about puzzle solving, which again - I don't LOVE in a platformer, but it's been interesting and there are saving graces.
The boss battles are certainty interesting. I mean, I've fought a frog from inside its own belly before it pooped me out. I've pushed a boss off of a ledge, almost negating the boss battle altogether in a weird almost Monster Party kind of feeling.
That said, I don't like playing as Yoshi nearly as much as Mario. And let's be honest, this is Yoshi's game. Call it SMW2 all you want. This is really just the first game in the Yoshi series.
I don't love this game, but I like it a lot. I get why it's achieved a sort of cult status. I think it's fun, and interesting. I'm currently in World 4 (of 6) and still having a good time. Where it would rank on my list of Mario platormers (if we're letting it in because of the SMW2 title, that is), I don't know. Kind of medium-high? If we're just talking about 2D games then my top tier is Mario World, Mario Bros 2 and 3, and Mario Land. This falls below all of those, but it's definitely in the next tier, which is still definitely something good.