Super Mario World: Story, Gameplay and Worlds
This article is about the video game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. For other uses, see Super Mario World (disambiguation). “SMW” redirects here. For information about the game known as “super mario world rom” in South Korea, see Super Mario Galaxy. Not to be confused with Super Mario Land or Super Mario 3D World.
Super Mario World is a 2D Mario platform game and a launch title released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1990, developed by Nintendo EAD. Being a sequel to Super Mario Bros. 3, the game retains many of the elements that debuted in Super Mario Bros. 3, such as the world map and Koopaling boss fights, while introducing a large variety of new gameplay mechanics, such as an expanded and less linear world map and the ability to save the game. Introduced in Super Mario World is Mario’s sidekick, Yoshi (and his species that shares his name), where he serves as a playable mount for the Mario Bros. with his own unique abilities and gameplay style.
The game was released to best-selling status on the SNES, received large amounts of critical acclaim, and is commonly seen on Nintendo’s best games of all times on various critic listings. Much of the game’s introduced characters, game mechanics, and artistic themes influenced later titles in the Mario series, where the character Yoshi was popular enough to receive a series starring him. The game was followed in 1995 by a prequel, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, which is set many years before the events in Super Mario World. The game has spawned various non-game media such as a cartoon series that is based on the game, which debuted on September 14, 1991, one month after the American release. Various manga adaptions of the game have sprung up, one notable series being Super Mario-kun, which has its first volumes based on Super Mario World released in 1991 and is still ongoing today.
Super Mario World is included in the Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World compilation title released in December 1994. An enhanced port of Super Mario World was later released on the Game Boy Advance as part of the Super Mario Advance series, titled Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2. The original version was also rereleased on the Wii’s Virtual Console in 2006, the Wii U’s Virtual Console in 2013, and the New Nintendo 3DS’s Virtual Console in 2016. Super Mario World is one of the included titles in the SNES Classic Edition and Super Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online.
After Bowser’s previous defeat, Mario, Luigi, and Princess Toadstool decide to recuperate in Dinosaur Land. Meanwhile in Dinosaur Land, the Koopa King and his Koopalings trap Yoshi and his friends in enchanted eggs, eliminating the opposition as they secretly rebuild their forces. Shortly upon their arrival, the Mario Bros. realize that Princess Toadstool is missing. While searching, they find the Koopa Troop army. Upon the Mario Bros. freeing the friendly Yoshi, he exclaims that the Koopas have invaded, confirming that Toadstool’s persistent captor has indeed returned and taken the opportunity to claim the princess.
As Mario and his friends travel through Dinosaur Land, they uncover the Valley of Bowser, where Bowser is fought on his castle roof in his Koopa Clown Car, holding Princess Toadstool hostage. Upon his defeat, he gently drops the princess and retreats. Princess Toadstool rewards Mario or Luigi with a kiss as fireworks celebrate freedom, signifying that their vacation can resume with their new good friends. The reunited team returns to Yoshi’s House, where they and three other Yoshis watch the eggs hatch into babies, removing the spell.
As the game is a 2D platformer, the object is to get to the Giant Gate to advance to the next level before the timer runs out. Mario (or Luigi) can jump over and on top of various platforms and obstacles and stomp on various enemies to defeat them. In addition to these basic moves, Mario can spin-jump to destroy certain types of blocks and enemies, whereas or lets Mario dash if held down. When the player presses either of those buttons when Mario is next to some items, he can pick them up and carry them through the level as the buttons are held. Mario can now hold objects underwater; when he does, he can swim quickly using only without pressing the jump button. When Mario hits the Giant Gate at the end of the level, if he touches the vertically moving bar between the gate, he gets awarded star points depending on how high the bar was when he touched it. If he collects 100 star points, Mario can play a bonus minigame that helps him earn extra lives. Some levels contain a Midway Gate, which not only powers Mario up to Super Mario when touched but also serves as a checkpoint for Mario to respawn near if he gets defeated in the level.
In order to obtain most power-ups, Mario has to hit various blocks, which may contain items. The basic Super Mushroom, which turns Mario into Super Mario, causes Mario to grow bigger and allows him to sustain an extra hit. When Super Mario hits a block, usually a more powerful item spawns in the Super Mushroom’s place, such as a Fire Flower or the newly introduced Cape Feather. Introduced in Super Mario World is the Item Storage system, where Mario can hold on to extra items should he find them while in powered-up forms; players can manually drop their reserve item by pressing . If Mario gets damaged and turns into regular Mario, the reserve item automatically deploys. A newly introduced character and power-up in Super Mario World, Yoshi, appears when Mario hits certain blocks. Mario can ride Yoshi when he jumps on him, who helps Mario with his own unique traits and abilities.
If Mario gets touched by an enemy or a damaging obstacle while he is in his normal form, he loses a life. If he gets damaged by an enemy while in a power-up form, he reverts to his normal form. If Mario loses all of his lives, the player receives a Game Over and is prompted to continue from their last save with five more lives. Some obstacles defeat Mario instantly regardless of what power-up he has, such as falling into pits or lava, getting crushed, or not making it to the goal in time. Every time Mario gets defeated, he gets sent back to the world map.
Super Mario World retains the world map system from Super Mario Bros. 3 with more expanded features. Rather than having levels and worlds segmented, all worlds and levels are seamlessly connected to each other, with a heavier focus on multiple paths per level clearance, and thus creating a less linear map, with a few exceptions. Typically, prior to entering new areas, Mario has to defeat a castle boss, usually one of Bowser’s seven children, the Koopalings. Once they are defeated, the castles they reside in are destroyed and cannot be replayed, though in international versions of the game, they can be replayed if players hold and on the castles’ remains.
Two-player mode returns, where players take turns playing through the game; Player 1 controls Mario, while Player 2 controls Luigi. Players can opt to use the same controller or two controllers to play the mode. If one player fails to clear a course, the other player takes a turn, and if Midway Gates are touched, the other player starts at the Midway Gate. Players can also hand each other lives on the map screen if they press or .
After the player beats every special level in the Special Zone, a game aesthetic change called Fall occurs, where the world map obtains a different palette and some enemies get their sprites changed. Once Fall is activated, these changes cannot be reversed unless the save file is deleted and a new game is started.
Worlds and levels
Super Mario World takes place on Dinosaur Land, an archipelago of themed areas, and players navigate on this world map, which visualizes traveling through the island. Unlike in Super Mario Bros. 3, the levels on the world map are marked directly on Dinosaur Land, creating a seamless, organic appearance between worlds and levels. Players first start out on Yoshi’s Island at Yoshi’s House, where the path immediately branches off into two levels. The order of the world themes is unique to this title: Players first start in grassy plain-like worlds while eventually venturing into a cave, onto twin bridges, into a forest, onto a rocky island, and finally into the Valley of Bowser, which takes on a subterranean wasteland appearance.
Haunted Ghost Houses are introduced in Super Mario World and populate Dinosaur Land; unlike traditional level layouts, they tend to contain puzzles and traps designed to confuse the player. Cave levels and levels that primarily take place underwater or where water is prevalent are additionally marked such on the map, with most cave levels outside the Vanilla Dome and the Valley of Bowser featuring rocks around them, while Mario gets submerged in water for the water levels.
Super Mario World contains nine worlds and 73 (74 if the Back Door and Front Door are counted as separate levels, and 76 if the Top Secret Area and Yoshi’s House are counted as levels) levels in total, 24 of which have secret exits for a total of 96 exits. Almost all worlds contain four regular levels and at least one secret level. Levels marked in yellow contain one exit, while levels marked in red contain an alternative, secret exit.
Other points of interest include the Switch Palaces, Warp Pipes, and the Super Star-shaped portals to the Star World that are unlocked only when players find the associated secret exit. Switch Palaces activate respectively colored permeable Dotted Line Blocks and turn them into solid ! Blocks that can be stood on or hit from below. Once Switch Palace levels have been completed, they cannot be visited again. Warp Pipes warp players to different areas of the map, usually to different worlds altogether. Finally, Yoshis cannot be taken into castles, fortresses, or Ghost Houses, though Yoshi remains outside for the player if they exit the level. In castles, players have to defeat the Koopalings, while in fortresses, players need to defeat Reznors.
The Star World and Special Zone are bonus worlds that are accessed when players find secret exits throughout Dinosaur Land and are represented by glowing stars, where the player can warp into. Star World levels require the player to find a key and keyhole secret exit to progress through it, while the Special Zone is a linear area that is unlocked when players complete all of the Star World’s secret exits. Special Zone levels are much more difficult relative to the levels in this game; none of the levels contain Midway Gates, and some can be long while others use level gimmicks.