This is a neat little hack, which does exactly what it sets out to do: recreate the feel of the original SMW Special World. Each level is a tricky yet straightforward platformer, based around some sort of thematic elements (e.g. flames and spinies, moving platforms and Chucks and Lotuses, P-switch running, etc.). There's no checkpoints, and there's minimal (but well-placed) powerups which make it a nice challenge.
I think if you're a casual player who's beaten the original a few times, this will give you a difficult but rewarding playthrough, and its Vanilla nature really makes it feel like it's an extension of the original game.
This entire hack of eight special world levels is relatively great in difficulty and in quality. Despite the hack being traditional and vanilla, the quantity and quality came together as one.
By playing it last night, I noticed that the only change on the title screen (other than the title of the hack and the creators) is the color palette of the original SMW title screen.
There were insanely hard levels that seem it should have been an extra Special World in the original SMW. Take for example the level with countdown side platforms and banzai bills. Rather than taking a risk of finding 3-up moons, I put myself to the test of finding five dragon coins. With that said, there was one dragon coin in the same exact level (with banzai bills and 4-sec/1-sec platforms) where it was close to impossible of collecting.
The first level with the herd of rhinos got my attention as a great opening level. Even though I collected the first four coins, I noticed that the fifth coin could be collected by means of big pipe blaster. Despite not collecting the fifth coin in that level, at least this level was fun to play.
The other levels I've played in this 8-level hack featured auto-scrolls and Chargin' Chucks, another in the clouds with Koopas in capes, and that last level with a P-switch run to test speed.
The P-switch level was insanely difficult; not only to test the speed and quickness until you get another P-switch but how brave you are to defeat enemies as fast as you can. The only major concern about this level is when you are attempting to grab dragon coins, you might not be able to collect them all. When the switch expires and you mess up, there are no reset pipes or warps. Therefore, you must intentionally die and start over.
Despite some shenanigans with the last level, this is a nice eight-level hack designed between two hack designers. Like I said before, add some reset warps or pipes in the case for some reason you mess up on the P-switch run.
If you're not a good player, this hack will make you suffer, but in all the right ways.
Every level is very well designed in my opinion, and there are some really clever setups. My only complaint is that I think some levels were easier than the ones before them, but they were still fun.
I highly recommend this if you want something that is hard, but not unfair. 5/5