"Obey Wario! DESTROY Mario!"
The plot is that Wario took over Mario's kingdom while Mario was away in the first game, and taken over the land's castle. Mario needs to find the eponymous six golden coins to get into the castle and stop Wario.
Whereas Super Mario Land was essentially a handheld version of the original 1985 Super Mario Bros, the sequel took most of its cues from Super Mario Bros 3 and Super Mario World instead, including a nonlinear world map and a new, gravity-defying powerup (Bunny Ears). This game swapped the small sprites of the previous game, and had much more detailed graphics (although still smaller than NES sprites due to the Game Boy's smaller resolution).
- Auto Scrolling Level:
- Before fighting Tatanka, Mario must go through a lot of immobile and some mobile enemies while followed by an invisible wall. To make matters worse, most of them, the stars, are completely invincible, so Mario has to quickly avoid them and the wall.
- Tenboudai Course, where Mario has to avoid some Goombas and Paragooombas to reach the goal.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: Even though this usually applies when Mario goes into space, it's averted here; he dons a space helmet in Space Zone.
- Big Bad: Wario.
- Big Boo's Haunt: Pumpkin Zone.
- Breakout Character: Wario turned out to be so popular that he received not one, but two game series. He has also starred in some other games.
- Breather Boss: Although bosses are generally not the biggest challenge in the game, the Big Bird from Tree Zone still stands out here. Though it looks threatening, it is highly predictable; all it does is swooping in a U-curve pattern that never changes. And if this isn't easy enough, the player can collect a bunny carrot just before entering the boss arena, which enables Mario to jump higher and hit the boss even on top of its U curve.
- Bubbly Clouds: The final level of Tree Zone. Also the hidden bonus level in Macro Zone.
- Cranium Ride: Since Heavy Zed is just a big, harmless owl this is the only way Mario can interact with him, as he isn't an enemy.
- Ear Wings: The bunny ears, although for slowing descent instead of flying.
- Easter Egg: Kazumi Totaka composed the soundtrack, so naturally his trademark tune plays somewhere. In this game, on the Game Over screen, after three minutes, his song will start to play.
- Easy Mode Mockery: This game has an easy mode that can be chosen by pressing Select on the file-selection screen. Playing easy mode will cause the words "EASY MODE" to appear before entering a level.
- Eternal Engine: Mario Zone.
- Built With Lego: Nintendo's Lego equivalent makes up the final level of Mario Zone.
- Everything's Even Worse with Sharks: They appear in Turtle Zone, and Mario can't defeat them without a star.
- Goomba Stomp: It's a Mario game, what do you expect? Just don't try it on the ghost Goombas in Pumpkin Zone, because like Boos and unlike regular Goombas they avert this trope.
- Hornet Hole: One level in Tree Zone takes place in a beehive.
- Lost Woods: Tree Zone.
- MacGuffin: The six golden coins.
- Macro Zone: The Trope Namer.
- Mythology Gag: The final level of the Mario Zone is built out of Nintendo's long-forgotten knockoff brand of LEGO bricks, called N&B blocks, from back when the Big N was a toy company.
- Opening the Sandbox: After doing the tutorial level, there is no set order that the six zones have to be done in, and there is no requirement to do all of the zone's levels at once, so players can complete a couple levels in one zone and decide to do another, for example.
- Palmtree Panic: The hidden bonus level in the Turtle Zone.
- Plot Coupon: The titular 6 golden coins.
- Recurring Riff: The "Athletic" theme has its tune remixed and played in many other levels, even in the file select and game over screens.
- Ribcage Stomach: The whale in Turtle Zone.
- Sequential Boss: Wario has three phases: Normal, Bunny Ears, and Fireball.
- Shout-Out: The Spooky Masks in Pumpkin Zone (which can be Goomba Stomped) walk around wearing hockey masks that have knives stuck in the foreheads.
- Sleep Mode Size: Mario becomes smaller when his Super Mushroom powers are temporarily drained.
- Space Is an Ocean: Space Zone.
- Space Zone: The Trope Namer.
- Super Not-Drowning Skills: This game's manual actually justifies it by saying that when Mario goes into the water he becomes Aqua Mario.
- Theme and Variations Soundtrack
- Three Little Pigs: The boss(es) of the Mario Zone.
- Under the Sea: Turtle Zone.
- Visual Innuendo: In the Mario Zone, there is a level which seems to take place inside Mario's crotch. The level is literally full of balls - the platforms are balls, there's balls in the background, and there are monsters that shoot balls. Possibly accidental.
- Wicked Witch: The boss of Pumpkin Zone.
- Womb Level: The final level of Turtle Zone, which takes place inside a whale.
- Writing Around Trademarks: One level in the Mario Zone is built entirely out of LEGO bricks... or not. They are actually LEGO knockoffs called N&B blocks, which Nintendo made before video games. It is printed on one of the blocks.