Main Walkthrough

A pair of side areas that you can completely skip, the Pipe Vault and Yo'ster Island are the first truly optional sections that you'll come across in Super Mario RPG. Located just outside Rose Town and accessible once you defeated Bowyer in the Forest Maze, the Pipe Vault and Yo'ster Island are straightforward little areas that you can challenge and complete immediately, if you so choose. Whether or not they're worth the time is debatable, but we'll have a look at them regardess.

Pipe Vault


  • Frogog - 80 HP - Weak to Fire, Lightning
  • Goomba - 16 HP - Weak to Fire
  • Pirahna Plant - 168 HP
  • Shy Ranger - 300 HP
  • Sparky - 120 HP - Weak to Ice
  • Spikey - 20 HP

The Pipe Vault is a narrow platforming section akin to the Mario games of old. It consists of several short areas, each with different challenges to overcome.

  • First up is hopping over lava. Mario's jump isn't enough to make it from block to block on its own, so make sure you hold down the run button (Y) as you're jumping for some extra distance. If you land in the lava you'll be booted back to the beginning. Sparkies will leap out of the lava, but they're easy to defeat.
  • In the second section you'll find patrolling Goombas and a Thwomp guarding some stairs. The Thwomp will knock you down the stairs if it comes down while you're standing near it, and flatten Mario (but not kill him) if you happen to be standing beneath it. Wait at the top of the stairs for the Thwomp to land, then start ascending the steps before it comes down again.
  • In the third section you'll find a line of pipes inhabited by Pirahna Plants. Wait for them to dip into the pipes before crossing to avoid battles. You can go down the second pipe from the entrance to find a side area with some coins, three chests (two hidden) that contain Frog Coins and a Flower, and a Frog Coin in a tight space. See below for getting it. The exit is the pipe furthest to the northeast, though if you enter the pipe just before the exit you'll find a secret 'Goomba Thumping' game. Look below for details.
  • The fourth section is simple platforming. Not much to say here.
  • The fifth section consists of a line of pipes. Several of them have Pirahna Plant battles, while others are topped by little Chompweeds. You won't battle the Chompweeds, but landing on one will lose you a fistful of coins.
  • The sixth section has more Chompweeds eager to get at you. There's a floating platform near the beginning that you can use to get up to a chest containing a Flower, and a second chest, beneath a patrolling platform near a bunch of Chompweeds, contains Coins.
And that's it! When you go down the final pipe you'll appear on Yo'ster Island. There's a save point near the exit pipe, and if you check the little space behind it you can find a hidden chest containing a Frog Coin.

The Tight Space Frog Coin

If you go down the second pipe in the third section of the Pipe Vault you'll see a line of bricks above Mario, and at the end of them is a Frog Coin in a tight space. There is seemingly no way to get at the Frog Coin, and most players will likely find the hidden platform at the left end of the bricks and use it to go up and over. Is the Frog Coin impossible to grab?

Nope! This is a reference to Mario mechanics of the bygone years. To get the Frog Coin you need to dash at the bricks (Y button) and press the down arrow on your controller more or less immediately after you reach the bricks. If you time it right Mario will slide beneath the bricks and grab the coin. I found it easiest to hold right, run, and then tap down on the controller just as I reached the brick before the Frog Coin. It's a tricky maneuver, but you only need to get it right once.

Goomba Thumping

The Goomba Thumping game is pretty simple. Pay the attendant 10 coins and you'll play a mobile version of whack-a-mole. Enemies will emerge from the pipes, and hopping on their heads will earn you points:

  • Normal Goomba - 1 point
  • Golden Goomba - 3 points
  • Spikey - -1 point

Successfully earn 20 or more points within 30 seconds and you'll receive a Flower Tab. This will raise the bar, and next time you'll need to beat your previous high score by two points to receive the next prize, which is a Flower Jar. After that you'll earn Frog Coins whenever you beat the high score.

There are two things to keep in mind when Goomba Thumping:

  • First, it is not to your advantage to move between pipes. By far the easiest way to complete this game is to just stand on one pipe and jump whenever a Goomba emerges. You won't lose points from the Spikeys just by standing in front of them.
  • Second, you should not try to over-achieve. Once you hit the exact total demanded by the attendant, stop jumping on Goombas. The higher your previous score, the more difficult it becomes to hit records on your subsequent tries. This place is a quick way to earn Frog Coins if you're careful with your score.

Yo'ster Island

Home of the Yoshis, Yo'ster Island is a nice slice of paradise. You won't have to worry about Smithy, his gang, or Star Pieces while you're here - though there is still a bit of trouble afoot. Speak to the green Yoshi in the south and he'll let you ride him, acting as an interpreter. This will allow you to speak to the other Yoshis, learning in the process that one of them, Boshi, is messing up their fun.

The solution? Beat Boshi in a race. Ready for the slowest track and field event in video game history?

Mushroom Derby

In order to restore Yo'ster Island to its old self you need to complete a one-on-one race with slick dino Boshi. Boshi only races for Cookies, which you can snag from a pink Yoshi roaming around in the north of Yo'ster Island. You'll need to bring Cookies to Boshi every time you want to challenge him to a race.

Your goal is simple: Reach the other end of the racing track before Boshi does. Racing in the Mushroom Derby is not as simple as holding down a directional button, unfortunately. In order to outpace Boshi you need to press and hold the A and B buttons in sync with the rhythm of the music. Every time you hear the crash of the cymbals, alternate buttons. You also have three Yoshi Cookies, and you can use them with the Y button to zip forward. This sounds a lot easier than it often is, for a few reasons:
  • The game doesn't always seem to sync perfectly with the music
  • The music often takes away the cymbals that you use to keep the beat
  • If you mess up Yoshi will either slow right down or hop, and both actions waste time
  • Boshi is very fast compared to you, and if you screw up the pacing more than once or twice he'll dash ahead and destroy you
Keeping to the beat can be quite difficult when the music changes, so my approach is to ignore it and just perform a rapid double-tap of the buttons in succession. In other words, AA, BB, AA, BB, AA, and so on. If you can keep roughly even with Boshi until you reach the midpoint of the track you can use the Cookies (Y button) to blast ahead and win the race. This approach may take a few tries to master, but it works for me.

Beat Boshi and you'll receive three Yoshi Cookies, which summons Yoshi when used in combat. At this point the other Yoshis will join in races, and you can wager your Yoshi Cookies in further races. Speak to Boshi and you'll have the opportunity to either hop on Yoshi and race personally, or let Yoshi race alone and see what happens. If you win you'll earn your wagered Cookies back, as well as a multiple of them based on the odds Boshi gives you before the race starts.

Each Yoshi Cookie you win takes up space in your inventory. This is a bit much once you're pulling in tons of cookies, so one of the pink Yoshis will hold your excess cookies for you, and you can grab them from him any time you like.

Baby Yoshi

Once you've recruited Princess Toadstool you can come back to Yo'ster Island and find a Baby Yoshi by a cluster of eggs in the north of the island. This little critter craves Yoshi Cookies, and if you feed it enough (I believe it took me 25) it'll grow into a Fat Yoshi by the next time you return. Depending on how many cookies you fork over you'll receive random items. 

Give the Fat Yoshi fewer than 10 Yoshi Cookies at one time and you'll receive nothing. Give it between 10 and 19 Yoshi Cookies at one time and you'll receive one of these three items:
  • Bracer
  • Energizer
  • Yoshi-Ade
If you give the Fat Yoshi 20 or more Yoshi Cookies in a single serving you'll seemingly always receive a Red Essence.

(Author's Note: The whole baby-feeding thing isn't worth your time. The single-use items you get aren't terribly good in the grand scheme of things, and you'll need to clear your inventory to carry enough Yoshi Cookies for the Fat Yoshi to give you anything. Even Red Essences aren't that good.)

Main Walkthrough