Kids. They’re okay, right?
I mean, sometimes they can be cute, charming, and/or entertaining; but sometimes they can be rambunctious, devilish, and/or draining. Oh, and loud. Very, very loud. So saying that I successfully made it through the 2D platformer Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island — y’know, the one with baby Mario — is saying a lot.
This isn’t to say that Yoshi’s Island was a bad game — it absolutely wasn’t. In fact, I enjoyed it even more than the first Super Mario World because you got to play as Yoshi ALL THE TIME. You got to throw eggs at everything and eat all the Shy Guys! You got jump high, roll boulders, and collect flower points and stars. What’s not to love about all that?! Unfortunately, in return for all the fun, you had to transport baby Mario through each level. Why baby Mario of all people? Because Yoshi’s Island told the story of Mario’s origins (and Luigi’s, as if anyone cared). Side note: how Mario developed feelings for Princess Peach or wanted “human” contact of any kind is beyond me, because he and his brother were delivered from storks. Anyway, at the beginning of Yoshi’s Island, the evil magikoopa Kamek intercepted two storks carrying baby Mario and baby Luigi. Kamek only managed to capture baby Luigi (Kamek was no doubt rightly pissed), while baby Mario safely fell hundred of miles to earth, because, of course. And where did he land but on Yoshi’s Island! Because Yoshies are awesome, they decided to take it upon themselves to not only rescue baby Luigi from baby Bowser (you’re sensing a “baby” theme here, right?), but also transport Mario along for the ride.
Yoshi’s Island had one of the odder stories in the Mario canon, but it worked, especially since it was set in the super happy fun time world of the Yoshies. Truly, the game looked amazing on the SNES. Yoshi’s Island had a “hand drawn,” almost coloring book style, with dark outlines encasing rainbow-bright shades of every color possible. Except for the enemies, everything smiled at you and happily beckoned you through each level. There were six levels (and additional levels could be unlocked by gathering perfect scores), but each level had eight stages, so it wasn’t a short game by any means. As Yoshi, you had his trademark eating and egg-producing abilities, along with his extra boost when it came to jumping. But Yoshi’s Island introduced a new (wait, was it new?) mechanic – egg throwing. Yep, your lovely little Yoshies could collect up to six eggs at a time and aim them at different power-ups/enemies/obstacles. Seriously, one the dumbest and most delightful things about Yoshi’s Island was watching all your little eggs bounce along behind you just waiting to become cannon fodder! Stupid cute that was! Ooo, it makes me so happy just thinking about it.
Which brings me to that which I made me very unhappy — baby Mario. Oh sure, he was cute at first in his wittle red hat and diaper, but first impressions weren’t everything. Yoshi’s Island compelled you to carefully traverse each level because if baby Mario got hit, he’d end up in a floating bubble, crying his eyes out until you rescued him. And I don’t mean just sniffly sobbing; I mean repetitive WAILING over and over and over until he was saved. And not only was that annoying, but when he ended up in that bubble of shame, a timer counted down from 10, which gave you limited time to save him. If the timer reached zero, Mario got kidnapped and you lost a life. Yeah, thanks Mario, you DUMB BABY. Now most of the time, rescuing Mario wasn’t that big a deal. But sometimes, I swear the damn bubble mechanics were just terrible. He’d float away off screen or “underneath” the “ground” to a point I would have never been able to reach. Yeah, thanks, you DUMB BUBBLE. Ooo, it makes me so mad just thinking about it.
Yoshi’s Island is a dichotomous game, and you gotta take the good with the bad in life, right? Baby Mario as a noise maker really didn’t detract from this superbly fun game. I’d play it again in a heartbeat (pretty sure it’s in the Wii Shop, yes?), but I’d make damn sure to keep baby Mario in his place and out of any stupid bubbles.