Originally posted by Lotica
There are a ton to choose from, and I've been out of the scene for awhile. I'll give you three hacks to choose from, but I think the best thing to do is to find a hack that you find interesting, play it, and see what you think. It doesn't hurt to dig through the pile. You might find a hidden gem somewhere.
Personally, one of my favorites is The Second Reality Project 2 Reloaded. It takes the original hack and gives it a quality of life improvement that makes it feel like a new experience. It also feels great without much usage of new enemies and other patches that a number of hackers love to put into their projects to compensate for the lack of level design.
If you want something a bit harder ("A bit" is selling it short), may I suggest Invictus? This hack is a Kaizo hack, but I believe it's one of the best. While it is very challenging, it's not the type of challenge that makes it a chore to play. It also helps that the soundtrack fits well with the action and the game is coded well enough for even novice players to enjoy the fun.
One of the more original hacks you can find here is Sicari 2 - The Brink of Time. Usually, I'm not a fan of stories in SMW hacks, because they're usually thrown in at the last minute and they don't tie too well with the gameplay. Sicari 2 (and Sicari 1 for that matter) creates its own story and the gameplay mixes in with it quite while. I think it's one of the only hacks to create a good looking player sprite to replace Mario, and at some times, it feels like its own game. It's definitely a big surprise.
But yeah, that's some of my personal choices to go from. Give them a try, but, like I said, it doesn't hurt to go out and look at the hacks yourself.
Thanks for your suggestions! I might give The Second Reality Project 2 Reloaded a try.
Commander Ridley, at your service.