Mario & Luigi: Kola Kingdom Quest is a reboot of Super Mario Bros. 5 Reborn. This 74-level hack uses many of the same tilesets and music tracks, and World themes, but contains completely redesigned levels and a new, much less blocky Overworld. It also features REAL HDMA gradients and custom Layer 3 images. Difficulty is probably comparable to the average Mario game. It starts out easy, but gets harder as the game progresses.
UPDATE 7-23-17: Fixed the level intros so that they no longer glitch out on hardware thanks to Ladida
Kola Kindom Quest is exactly the kind of hack that I like to play. I want something that feels like a legit Mario game and this ticks that box... for the most part. Where new ideas are introduced, they usually add a new challenge which is either a nice new thing to play or a frustrating part that you'll be glad to beat.
Level design and difficulty generally fall into the 'legit' category that I mentioned. It plays out with the right amount of challenge and exploration. Most importantly, you can pace through levels that feel like they could be in Mario 3 or Mario World.
The challenge increases in World 7 with slippy ice levels. Personally, I think that became frustrating and overused when it appears in 10 consecutive levels (a winter theme doesn't have to mean slippy ice throughout). World 8, again, offers more challenge than a legit Mario game with conveyor belt levels that remove the running and jumping freedom. I think more power-ups would have removed the frustration of many deaths. I didn't enjoy the Lunaria levels either but they add extra challenge. None of them would be included in a Nintendo game because they lack the polish and playability of the main game. That's not to say they're unplayable but they do feel unfair in comparison.
Graphical changes and upgrades are great to see. The dedication to building all this, fitting distinct themes of the worlds and presentation of the game is impressive. The standard HUD is removed and replaced with animated displays (much like Donkey Kong Country), giving the screen a much cleaner appearance. The new overworld is nicely designed. There are a few instances where background and foreground aren't entirely clear which they are, where foreground items (trees and clouds) hide something that might kill you but these are rare. Even the final two worlds have fresh graphics that don't appear elsewhere. There's lots of extra effort and detail, even in places that you wouldn't expect to see it.
There are many new enemies that weren't included in Mario World and the new bosses are great. Beating Bowser is a bit underwhelming since there's no animation to show that before the credits roll. There's new end credits though.
The soundtrack is much more varied than the original game. I'm really not a fan of using Sonic music or tunes that are clearly from a non-Mario game (keep it Mario!!) but all the choices fit the theme of the levels and the standard of music is very high. I prefer to hear Mario reworks and new, original tunes that fit.
I played this on an original Super Famicom and it all works great. The save features all work correctly, auto-saving after every level and mid-level (except it doesn't save a half-way point in a level if you die on your final life). This is an important part of making a real SNES game compared to a game that only works on certain emulators... which isn't a really a SNES game and where a lot of hacks don't make the grade.
I've seen criticism of this and other works by Gamma V with levels described as 'generic', importance being heavily placed on new game ideas, not offering more challenge. I'd say that can all be easily dismissed. For those out there that want that, there are plenty of other hacks to play. There's good reasons why Nintendo's Mario games sell in their many millions, why Gamma V reaches a much wider audience and why the harder hacks appeal to a different minority. People like familiarity, the mechanics of Mario World and the level of challenge that Nintendo's releases give them. Remember that time when Nintendo increased the challenge for the Japanese Super Mario Bros sequel? and it ended up becoming Nintendo's smelly, forgotten baby that was replaced with a different, easier sequel everywhere else in the world? I don't need to explain the lesson.
In conclusion, this is a brilliant, unofficial SMW sequel for anyone that wants to play a fresh Mario game on a real SNES or an emulator. It's impressive in so many ways and even the parts that I would change are still kind of enjoyable in their own frustrating way. A solid 9/10 from me.
Gamma V is good at making very well polished hacks that have what I think of as "Nintendo levels" and this hack fits the bill. Difficulty sits just a bit harder than vanilla SMW, especially in the last world and maybe Special World.
Bosses are all custom. There are a lot of custom sprites, tiles, and music. The HUD is also not vanilla, it's the fold-in left side version.
This could slip in as "the lost Super Mario World sequel" and no one would bat an eye. It does a great job at being what it's trying to be. Would recommend.
Very good overall. Got all 86 exits, but the last couple of levels were frustrating to the point of being not-fun. There were a few bugs (for example, unpausing in the lunar fortress made Mario jump, and the fireballs in Bowser's castle didn't always spawn), but it was generally well polished.
Yet another fantastic hack by Gamma V. Gamma V's hacks are arguably better than the vanilla game, and this hack is no exception. I enjoyed the heck out of it.
Graphics - 20/20 - Very original graphics, which I really enjoyed. I especially enjoyed how the HUD moves itself off-screen when it is not in use.
Level Design - 20/20 - The levels were very well made, and they were incredibly fun to play through.
Difficulty - 16/20 - The hack starts out at a good difficulty, and progresses upwards smoothly. The one exception of this would have to be Metal Kingdom, where the difficulty really jumps. I think that maybe Lunar Kingdom should have been the last world, and Metal Kingdom should have been the secret world.
Music - 19/20 - I either don't play as many video games as I think I do or most of the music was original, which was really nice, and sounded really good.
Overworld - 17/20 - The overworld was pretty cool, and designed in a very original way. The one problem I have with it, and it's a problem I have with most hacks, is that the overworld is not very interactive. The trail appears and that's it. In vanilla Super Mario World, the world interacts with your level progression much more.
Overall - 5/5 - Still remains an incredibly fun hack, and one of my all-time favourites. If you're looking for a good hack, you've found it.
Great job with this hack, really enjoyed playing (still got 3 exits to find though!) Last couple of worlds really kept me on my toes and I must admit I had to use the rewind function on my SNES mini quite a few times haha.. Great choice of music for the credits animation, took me right back to my childhood and the first Mario game I ever completed.
I'm trying to apply the bps patch, keep getting an error saying "unsuccessful"
- i used both "rom patcher" on android device, and i used "beat" on windows pc, got same error with both, using the exact same rom i've used for all other patches that successfully worked; "Super Mario World (U) [!].smc".
I tried it with un-modified rom.. and i tried it with modified rom (as in opening it with Lunar Magic, cause with IPS patches i needed to do this to extend map or something like that for ips patches to work good)
BPS still not working...
I found an IPS format of the file from: "https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/2364/"
- the IPS one successfully worked for me.
The level design is very consistent and very well done. After getting all 86 exits, I was left with only a handful of complaints. What I liked is that each world had one or two gimmicks that were built upon and made progressively harder as you went forward. Seems standard, but not many pull it off as well as this hack. There were a couple of gimmicks that felt like I had to die or get hurt to learn about, and that wasn't great, but it was infrequent.
The art is good. The hack felt like it had a really consistent style through the whole thing which was nice, there were no jarring or out of place tilesets.
Music was awesome, well utilized, and hugely varied. A lot of love went into the music selection of this hack, and I approve.
Overall, this is the best hack I've played. A lot of effort went into making every part of this hack. I only wish there were more secret areas, but that's a minor complaint. It wasn't too short, too long, too difficult, or too easy. Great job!