The vampire Scarlet lost her brother Crimson during Niscura's invasion of Paradia. Overtaken by extreme grief and distress, she decides the entire human race is to blame and decides to just end it all. She hires Team Supernova, who set up three space stations around the galaxy. The plan is to absorb the power of the stars in order to create a supermassive black hole that will swallow everything. Sicari, being a human, cannot go into space, so it is up to the robot K-16 go and travel up there and save the day!
I have to give credit where credit is due; this is definitely one of the more creative hacks I've seen on many levels; the charming art style and general gameplay for one pretty much turn the whole Mario formula upside-down on its head, the music is some of the best I've heard in these and uses sounds I barely knew were possible in an SMW hack and I can definitely see why a lot of people would keep this hack around for replay value.
However, being very blunt here, I am not one of those people for three reasons. For one, I don't know if I'm in the majority or the minority here but I just can't get into the character K-16's playstyle. Sure, the Mega Man style shooter stuff is neat but it doesn't really do much of anything to most enemies in the game and pouncing is even less effective especially considering most of the generic enemies serve no purpose other than to just be in the way.
Extras are also a royal pain to search for here; the very first one made me look up a YouTube video in order to find it and the solution involving an apparent fake wall was one that made me stare and wonder "How in the holy mother of Yoshi was I supposed to figure that out??" I can grasp the concept of it being called a "secret exit" but that sort of thing tends to tick me off a bit.
What really kept me from having the patience to finish the game (let alone replay it), however, was the level design. K-16's levels do look great aesthetically (with a few notable exceptions; the battleship fuel tanks for one actually made my eyes hurt on several occasions) and it stays comparatively tame for the first big stretch, but its difficulty curves very quickly and involves some choices that almost look like they were designed to piss you off; awkward-looking and hard-to-make jumps paired with K-16's already stiff control scheme, many enemy placements that are up there with Mega Man & Bass on the annoyance factor and require all but perfect timing to jump without getting hurt, a certain ice-related boss, several outright leaps of faith and my personal biggest pet peeve: bullet bills combined with auto-scrolling (which, by the way, can't be jumped on in his game. Most other enemies that have a jumpable counterpart can, but not them), some of which fire from cannons that are difficult to see because they blend in with the entirety of the stage they're in. Oh, and the later levels like to put in the stationary hammer bros. like nobody's business.
It's not exactly terrible; far from it in fact but I personally can't stomach it. I respect what it did do well, though; for one it actually made a decent flying shooter segment that, for the most part was incredibly open and fun to distract myself with (which almost no other romhack I've played has), and it didn't shove an obligatory tight-cornered water level in my face at any point either (which would have been all kinds of intolerable with K-16's controls). It's not for everyone, but if you're into stuff like the classic Mega Man and can stand the mentioned design quirks, take it as a blunt suggestion from me and take this game out for a spin. I don't find it incredibly great, mind you, but it's not really bad either. 3/5.
I made a 3-part review on Twitch. The whole thing takes up around 6 hours and 30 minutes, so if you don't feel like sitting through it all, just skip right to near the end of the third part.
The overall score is 45%. This hack looks pretty, but level design is the core of the hack, and this hack lacks a good way of easing you into the higher difficulty that starts in world 3. It goes without saying that finding the hidden 1-UP in Chapter 11 is pretty much mandatory to completing this game. The level design and bosses are the sort you would expect to find in a Kaizo hack, and only the fact that you can take 10 hits is what makes this hack even remotely beatable.
You can see my full review here:
Story: 10/10. Story really isn't something you overthink in an SMW hack. To have a story that's not saving Peach or Bowser and the Koopa kids seeking revenge at all is a bonus. However, the author goes out of his way to create a mythical world and excellent set of characters. Despite the plot holes the author purposely put, this still deserves a perfect score.
Music: 10/10 fits environments.
Here's where we might argue.
First of all, this hack isn't as difficult as the author makes it out to be and that's a good thing. K-16 plays very different from Mario. If you're looking for a high speed, continuous movement, multiple critter bouncing that the wide levels of the original SMW allow, you won't find it here. It makes much more sense to compare K-16 to Sicari so if you're not a fan of the original Sicari, you may want to pass on this one.
Sicari plays exactly like Mario with added Wall Jump, Ground Pound and Horizontal projectiles. She also unfortunately comes with Knockback and I think that's a good thing to balance her out.
K-16 on the other hand plays a little bit stiff. Unlimited bullets all the time, Not slow but never reaching top speed, Can't bounce on critters but still comes with Wall jump. Also, she doesn't have knockback, the heavy chunk of metal that she is.
The levels of this hack are built around the fact that you have an HP meter. It's a cross between Mega Man and SMW. Levels still have the opportunities to use the Wall jump to save yourself but it's mostly critter killing and terrain mastery for dodging the ones that take more hits or are invulnerable.
One of the highlights of this hack is the custom bosses. They are all pretty challenging and very original (except maybe the first one which is a reskin of a familiar boss you're faced in other hacks).
I've said this before but It's not unfair hard. It's NES hard. That's a good thing.
As soon as you start the hack, you're greeted by a beautiful overworld. Each level looks and feels unique and the author even adds a brief narration at the start.
Replay value: 10/10
Worth a replay alone for its quirks and unique style.
The first time I played through, I didn't bother to look for the extras and that made it very difficult. If you want a challenge try replaying the game straight up all the way to the final boss.
Many people are going to disagree but I'm giving this hack a perfect score.