Thanks Virus for putting in to words how I feel about this hack, but in a much more eloquent and non-sweary way than I would!
Also, like I mentioned before, one of the keys in a level is hidden behind a tree sprite with absolutely no indication that the key could be in there or that you have to jump behind the tree and press Y to grab the key. How are you ever expected to know that? You never had to do that in normal SMW. Then those bloody green blocks that are only passable by sprites. Perhaps a message box in that room telling you that and giving a clue as to what item is needed etc. would help.
I too enjoyed the hack, but to see the amount of mistakes you have made or the things you have left to chance for a player to randomly discover just infuriates me. You should fix all these problems people have mentioned to you and release another update. I think Yoshi only appears in like 2 levels also so if you need him and haven't got him, you have to almost go right back to the start of the game. Not very user-friendly. You even took the Yoshi block out of the secret bonus level which would have made it a lot easier too.
This hack had a decent start. Not overwhelmingly difficult or anything, albeit not incredibly outstanding either. I enjoyed it enough to play to the final boss and rescue Rochie.
There are a number of level design decisions that I tend to disagree with, though. A significant number of secret exits that require the player to bring in items/powerups from other levels.
One example of this is: I'm not pleased about slowly swimming all the way to the end of a level with no Yoshis in it, only to find that the key I need is inside a wall, and I needed to have Yoshi from another stage.
What I really didn't appreciate was mostly after rescuing rochie. I started to explore star world, and found that - for one - it's pretty frustrating that getting a secret exit locks you out of replaying the level for the normal exit. I had to reset and lose all my lives (Which is just an unnecessary annoyance) because I got an exit that I didn't even KNOW was the secret one. Is this really necessary?
The straw that broke the camel's back was that bramble stage in star world, though. Those barrels are WAY TOO FAST. The player has 4 frames to shoot a barrel in the direction they want to go, and just about every single barrel after the first 3 results in death if you're off. 4 frames. 1/15th of a second, or 0.067 seconds. That's not the end of the world if it's once or twice, but as far as I saw, it's the ENTIRE LEVEL. Just a series of super precise taps, with some extra obstacles thrown in just to make it even harder to get that perfect moment. Nevermind the fact that people playing on emulator can encounter up to 2 frames of input delay. Suddenly the half of the time that the barrel is in the ideal looking position, you're already too late.
And things like removing a secret exit from that desert stage and forgetting to change a dot? Make another update for cryin' out loud. That is just misleading and annoying. This frustrates people, instead of entertaining them. Not to mention, looking at that comment of yours about the green blocks. Do you not think that's incredibly convoluted? You have to bring a star from another stage to kill some random thwomp in order to make an invisible door appear? Please.
This hack wasn't the worst thing I played by a long shot, but it was very disappointing, and I have no interest in completing it 100%. Which is sad, because I was looking forward to seeing Mandew in the credits after all that music of his was featured in this hack.
If there's anything the author should take away from this review: It's to build your levels with some empathy. Sure, that obscure secret exit makes sense TO YOU, because you made it. But to people who have to find it by accident or not find it at all, that makes no sense whatsoever. And test your stuff before you release it. You shouldn't have red dots on single-exit levels, or levels that require acctions with 0.67 second precision 20+ times in a row. That nonsense is going to drive so many people to use savestates. As far as I'm concerned, once you've driven people to using savestates to beat a stage of yours, you've failed at level design.
Those green blocks are passable only for sprites (forgot to mention that).
What you have to do is: go the castle of the desert -grill castle I think, don't remember very well-. In the second room (after the midway point), you'll see a Thwomp near the end, kill it with a star, so you need to bring a star in the item box.
After you killed this Thwomp, an invisible door will appear at the beginning of the room. This door will take you to another room where you will find a red question block with a vine! Use this vine to go through the green blocks (yes, it's inspired on demo world).
Can you tell me then how to get past those 3 green blocks so I can hit the red ? block and get a P-switch in my item box (which enables me to get the secret exit in another level in that world)? I've tried throwing shells up to hit the box but even when they do, it won't make the box open to get the P-switch.
The level "Desert Shifting Sand" has no secret exit. I removed it because the next level is very hard to go through. Just forgot to change the level tile in the overworld (to a yellow spot); and now I notice that the hack has actually 78 exits rather than 80.
I eventually found the exit behind the boo going through the wall.
I have to say, some of the game is rather hard and expects the player to be willing to try all sorts of things to find the secrets, some of which are unheard of in a Mario game or are plain unfair. Also, there's no hint on how to do it. For example, in "Dark Water Cave" you need to go up past 3 green blocks to get to the red ? block, in order to get a P-Switch so you can find the secret exit in another level, yet there is no indication on how to get past those 3 blocks. I have tried everything I can think of, but nothing works. Taking the secret message block into the level just repeats the first message and isn't helpful, so how do I get past those blocks??
I also have not found the secret exit in the quicksand level (screenshot 7). I have found the two pipes, one leads to a bonus room, the other to the end of the level. I cannot see where the secret exit is in this stage.
@Paddy: You didnt look hard enough
Me guess the second infobox was intended to show the second text instead of repeating the first. In this area you can "go through the wall" behind the boo to find the secret exit.
So, do you know the secret exit in the (northern) desert with the quicksand?
You can go down 2 if the "tubes" for a bonus and the normal exit.
Enjoying the hack so far, but have got to the Forest Ghost House and have completed it, but cannot for the life of me find the hidden exit to progress through the forest. What am I missing? I've went over every inch of the level several times!
Also, in Really High Hills, there is a yellow pipe at the start that leads to an end of level bonus stage that doesn't end so you are trapped. The level also has some points where if you go off the screen to come in at the other side, you are instantly inside a wall and die. You should fix these.
In Goonie Sky, the key for the secret edit is on a platform behind one of the trees in the background with absolutely no indication it is there. I found it totally by accident. That's way too hard to expect someone to just find by themselves or know to do.