Posted By: wraggster
Format: SNES Publisher: Nintendo Developer: In-house Review: E26
There aren’t many games that it’s hard to imagine looking any better than they did in their original form. Especially of those released in 1995. But Yoshi’s Island, or to give it its complete name, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, still looks as cheerily pristine as the day it emerged, thick crayon lines, plump patchwork textures and all.Styled around appearing like a children’s picture book, Yoshi’s Island exhibits singularly cohesive art direction and a rare synergy with its host system, even if it required an extra chip in its cartridge, the Super FX2, to achieve it.It extends and builds upon the Super Nintendo’s sprite-manipulation capabilities with beautiful logic. Enemies squidge and bounce with almost tangible elasticity, popping with force when jumped on, tautly growing and flabbily shrinking, reacting to Yoshi’s actions with a materiality that prefigured the present-day impact of realtime physics.Though wonderfully engaging and pretty, these effects aren’t just window dressing, because Yoshi’s Island always ties them right into its mechanics. They’re an intrinsic part of the boss battles, in which Yoshi finds itself trapped in the glutinous depths of a frog’s belly, or running around a spinning moon after a raven. They’re also present as part of the standard levels – providing a revolving barrel for Yoshi to cross, a plank that falls from the wall, a balancing beam, a rolling rock. Each incarnation makes the world a little more engaging to play in, a little more substantial. For all that it’s rooted in childish imagination, Yoshi’s is one of the most authentic-feeling two-dimensional worlds videogames have created.