Super Mario Bros. 3 pushed the NES right to its breaking point. The world, and Nintendo themselves, marveled at how such a complicated game could run on rather primitive technology. As Nintendo moved into the next console generation and doubled the bits, they had to do more. More colors, more levels, more enemies, more bosses, more Mario.

The Super Mario Bros. trilogy was full of wonderful ideas, and technical marvels, but none of that could compete with what was coming! With 16-bit hardware, they could finally realize everything they’ve wanted to include! Super Mario World introduced a connected world map, Yoshi, and the cape feather! All ideas that had kicked around the mind of Nintendo for years. While Mario could pick up and throw shells in the previous title, he can now throw items directly upwards. You’ll only do it to get a 1-UP or two over your adventure. If you collect another item while already powered up, the item you have will go into your reserve at the top of the screen. If you get hit or wish to use it, your reserved item will fall from the top of the screen.

Super Mario World is well known for its fluid gameplay, challenging level design, and the dozens of secrets hidden thoroughly. While the game sees the most praise from those who are nostalgic for it, it’s availability has allowed many to experience it from the first time recently. Super Mario World is definitely my favorite 2D Mario title. I wouldn’t say it lives up to the “best game ever” by a long shot, but it certainly deserves all of the praise it gets.

The most important thing Super Mario World did for the series was finalizing tone. While character designs would remain fluid until the Gamecube era, Super Mario World shares the same humor as Super Mario Odyssey. The writing and characterization of specific characters, seen in this game would go on to be the foundation for the rest of the series. To put it simply, I’m quite impressed!

Super Mario World (SNES, 1991)

You’d expect me to say the SNES shaped Super Mario World, but it was actually the opposite. The SNES controller was designed to be as comfortable for Super Mario World as possible. Super Mario World doesn’t push the SNES to its limit, but it puts every bit of knowledge the team had on the system to the test.

It’s a common trend for launch titles to have some hiccups, and Super Mario World has its fair share. I noticed slow down or other graphical issues a few times when many enemies and coins were on screen. It’s nothing you’ll see in every level, but it’s something I saw commonly that I’ve never seen anyone bring up before.

The Super Nintendo original has its pros and cons. Unlike my thoughts on the original titles, if you’re eyeing this one, I recommend trying it out. It’s available at almost any time with Nintendo Switch Online and has been rereleased on every Virtual Console service. If you’re into physical collecting, Super Mario World will only run you around $20. I certainly think it’s worth a look.

Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World (GBA, 2001)

After Nintendo launched Super Mario Advance, it was only a matter of time until the other games jumped alongside it! Of course, after releasing the second title as the first in a series of advanced ports, the natural option is to release the fourth as the second right?

There are almost no changes from the SNES original. You can play as Luigi at any time, but that’s the extent of your “upgrades.” Super Mario Advance 2 suffers no screen-crunch but carries over the awfully brightened sprites of the first Advance title. It certainly isn’t a terrible way to experience Super Mario World, but it is a terrible game to look at.

Final Verdict

The Advance port made almost no attempt to be better than the SNES original. I can understand nostalgia playing a key factor for fans of Advance 2, but I can’t get around the horrific saturation and cramped GBA controls. The Mario Advance series will always be there in a pinch, but the SNES version hasn’t been topped. It’s easily accessible on the Nintendo Switch Online service too!