Super Mario World is a 1990 platform game developed by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). The story follows Mario’s quest to save Princess Toadstool and Dinosaur Land from the series’ antagonist Bowser and his minions, the Koopalings. The gameplay is similar to that of earlier Super Mario games: players control Mario or his brother Luigi through a series of levels in which the goal is to reach the goalpost at the end. Super Mario World introduced Yoshi, a dinosaur who can eat enemies, as well as gain abilities by eating the shells of Koopa Troopas.
Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development developed the game, led by director Takashi Tezuka and producer and series creator Shigeru Miyamoto. It is the first Mario game for the SNES and was designed to make the most of the console’s technical features. The development team had more freedom compared to the series installments for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Yoshi was conceptualised during the development of the NES games but was not used until Super Mario World due to hardware limitations.
Super Mario World is often considered one of the best games in the series and has been cited as one of the greatest video games ever made. It sold more than twenty million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling SNES game. It also led to an animated television series of the same name and a prequel, Yoshi’s Island, released in August and October 1995. It has been rereleased on multiple occasions: It was part of the 1994 compilation Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World for the SNES and was rereleased for the Game Boy Advance as Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2 in 2001, on the Virtual Console for the Wii, Wii U, and New Nintendo 3DS consoles, and as part of the Super NES Classic Edition. On 3 March 2016, it was released for the New Nintendo 3DS XL. Since 5 September 2019, the game has been playable on the Nintendo Switch through the Super Nintendo Entertainment System app.
Super Mario World is a side-scrolling platform game in which the player controls Mario or Luigi, the protagonists of the game. The game has similar gameplay to earlier games in the Super Mario series – Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2, and Super Mario Bros. 3 – but introduces new elements. As well as dashing and jumping, the player can also fly or float with the aid of the Cape Feather and P-Balloon and can execute the new Spin Jump move. The game has 96 level exits in total.
The player navigates through the game via two game screens: an overworld map and a side-scrolling course. The overworld map displays an overhead representation of the current world and has several paths leading from the world’s entrance to a castle. Paths connect to action panels, fortresses, ghost houses, castles, and other map icons, and allow players to take different routes to reach the world’s goal. Moving the on-screen character to an action panel or castle allows access to that course. The majority of the game takes place in these linear levels, populated with obstacles and enemies, which involves the player traversing the stage by dashing, jumping, and dodging or defeating enemies. The player is given a number of lives, which are lost if Mario comes into contact with an enemy while Small Mario, falls into a bottomless pit, gets crushed, or runs out of time. The game ends when the player runs out of lives, although the player can continue from the most recent save point (a successfully completed castle, fortress or haunted house) by selecting “Continue”. Each world features a final stage with a boss to defeat; each of the seven worlds features fortresses controlled by one of the Koopalings, and the player also battles Bowser in his castle in the seventh and final world. Super Mario World includes a multiplayer option which allows two players to play the game by alternating turns at navigating the overworld map and accessing stage levels; the first player controls Mario, while the second player controls his brother, Luigi.
In addition to the power-ups from previous games, such as the Super Mushroom and Fire Flower, Super Mario World has a new power-up named the Cape Feather, which gives Mario a cape and the ability to fly, glide in the air, and use the cape as a sail. The game also introduces the ability to “store” an extra power-up in a box at the top centre of the screen. For example, if the player obtains a Fire Flower or a Cape Feather, then a Super Mushroom will appear in the box. If Mario gets hit by an enemy, the stored item in the box will automatically drop. Alternatively, the player can manually release the stored item at any time.
The game introduces Yoshi, a dinosaur companion Mario can ride who is able to eat most enemies. If Yoshi attempts to eat a Koopa or its shell, he can spit it out and fire it at enemies. If the player fails to spit the shell out within a certain amount of time, Yoshi will swallow it, rendering it useless. When holding any Koopa shell in his mouth, Yoshi gains the ability that corresponds to its colour: a blue shell enables Yoshi to fly, a yellow shell causes him to emit dust clouds that defeat nearby enemies, and a red shell allows him to produce three fireballs that defeat enemies. Flashing Koopa shells produce all three abilities, while green shells produce none. The default Yoshi is green, but the game also has hidden blue, yellow, and red Yoshis; the player can obtain each coloured Yoshi by finding its egg in hidden areas and feeding it five enemies or one star, Super Mushroom, Fire Flower or Cape Feather, causing the baby Yoshi to mature.
Although the main objective is to navigate through seven worlds to reach the end of the game, the player can beat the game much faster by using secret Star Road routes. To access a hidden world, the player needs to find keys scattered throughout the game’s levels. When a key is found, it must be brought to a keyhole to unlock either a new level or a Star Road. Exploring these secret stages can lead to other stages, such as Special World. Completion of Special World permanently changes some of the enemies’ sprites and alters the overworld map’s colour scheme.