Master Higgins finally marries his lovely girlfriend Tina. But out of nowhere, a powerful tropical cyclone destroyed the idyllic mood of their honeymoon. And not only this: it separated the ardent lovers again. After the winds stopped blowing, Tina found herself somewhere on a tropical coast. As for Master Higgins, he went to the king of Waku-Waku and, along with his main quest to save his brand new wife, got an assignment to rescue a princess as well, whom the king was about to marry. Is there a connection between those two events?..
Super Adventure Island II is a platform game. What distinguishes it from most other games of its type (including its own predecessor) are its light role-playing and puzzle-solving elements, comparable to those of Dragon's Trap. The player can navigate Master Higgins on his raft on the overhead map, docking at different islands. Most of these islands are inaccessible in the beginning, but as the player completes stages and receives the necessary items, new areas open up, including interconnected passages.
The islands themselves are large platform stages. Some areas are optional and contain items that permanently increase Master Higgins' health, as well as various weapons, armor, and magic abilities. Switch-manipulating and other types of puzzles must sometimes be solved to access these areas. Regular enemies drop health- and magic-restoring items, as well as coins, while boss enemies often award the player with a key item necessary to advance. Money can be spent on resting in inns, better equipment in shops, and new abilities learned at specific locations. The player can also visit a casino and gamble for money. The game can be saved anywhere, but reverts to the "hub" Waku-Waku island when reloaded.