It's been a while, though I finally managed to finish up another Super Mario world romhack. These days I play a lot of Minecraft and do a ton of speedrunning, but I never truly lost interest in level design, among other aspects of SMW hacking.
As a side note to anyone familiar with my history of hard and long levels, I tried to make something more reasonable in terms of difficulty than older hacks such as Colossus and early revisions of Bits and Pieces.
4 stars. It has great music and graphics, but most of the levels are range from ok to good, wuth only a few great ones.
My biggest complaint with this hack has to do with spawning. Sometimes moving and falling platforms or enemies don't spawn, or spawn in a weird way.
My biggest complaint not exactly with this hack has to be, how it's labeled as just hard. It should definitely be labeled as very hard. A lot of the levels in this hack are harder than some easier/earlier levels in kaizo hacks. The Cliffhaven at one point has a very precise jump on a moving down platform and from it, and this takes place in an autoscrolling section, entering that pipe in a raising water section in Red Switch Sewers is a nightmare, and it gets followed by a very long section, Blue Switch Palace combines puzzle, speedrun and an escort mission, Water Temple has a very hard boss, Frenzy is filled with though enemies, Diver Down 2 is ridiculously long, Nearing The End Requires really good reflexes and both exits in Volencia Mansion are just as hard for variety of reasons.
But all of them pale in comparison to what I think is four hardest levels in the hack:
4. Forest of Legend. The first part is already hard, but the second part requires you to carefully dodge fireball barages from walking munchers, while being bombarded by lakitu, and it goes on and on and on. Took me 2 to 3 hours to beat, but I think, I've got very lucky.
3. Red Switch Palace. It's an average level by this hack's standarts, until the final section. Triple key throw/grab on a weird scrolling platform, without the ability to jump. Seriosly, this section would not be out of place in a kaizo hack. Took me 4 to 5 hours to beat.
2. 486DX. Even with the easiest route it's still hard and long marathone level. Surprisingly, I've beaten the final boss on the second try. Took me 5 to 6 hours to beat. Third hardest SMW hack level, I've ever beaten.
1. Yellow Switch Palace. This is just a flat out kaizo level. And the last section is just above everything else in this hack by an order of magnitude. Took me 10+ hours. Second hardest SMW hack level, I've ever beaten.
I haven't played much of this hack yet but it seems pretty good so far. Really appreciate all the effort you put into the music selection. Mushroom Plain, Blue Switch Swamp, Muncher Path, and Life in Motion are all rather simple, conventional levels that nonetheless have a professional, focused feel to them. I would say that Blue Switch Swamp suffered a bit from an unbalanced midpoint, but it's still a good level that does a great job using its setpieces. Blue Switch Palace was a tad tedious but still a solid novelty.
In Blue Switch Swamp, running up the pipe with the triangle blocks in the first half of the level results in Mario getting hurt as he rounds the corner of the top of the pipe even if the Venus Fire Trap isn't out. You may want to do something about that, though the pipe is also easy enough to simply jump over.
Also, if I may ask, is there any reason to collect Dragon Coins aside from lives and completion? Do they unlock new content?
This is another solid hack by the author, and a fair bit easier then some of his previous work, albeit still certainly no walk in the park. A lot of the ideas here are adaptations of things seen in some of his previous hacks, or some other popular ones such as the works of JUMP team, but despite maybe lacking in innovation the ideas are generally well executed and the levels are a lot of fun.