Riff World 2 is a kaizo Super Mario World hack that I have been working on for quite a long time, it has been in development since mid 2018. This hack features a blend between modern and old kaizo level design.
The main inspirations for the hack are familiar to most who play or watch these games
The Kaizo Mario trilogy
Banzai Mario World
Grand Poo World 1/2
This hack is fairly difficult and meant to serve as a sequel to Super Riff Wolrd. Much like the original it remains very largely vanilla (few custom enemies/gimmicks) although there is the odd custom thing here and there, similar to the first game.
The driving idea behind the hack was to constrain the design to similar limitations as the first, so it keeps that same feel. Working within those limitations was very difficult as it was very hard to continue to come up with ideas that felt fresh and fun while largely working with the same toolset as the original, which makes it hard to innovate. Hopefully those goals have been met as fun was the most important thing while designing it.
There’s lots of tileset mixing, both foreground/background and sprites, which hopefully leads to some interesting and fresh combinations of enemies and themes.
The game does not feature what many consider to be common “quality of life” patches or blocks, such as instant/prompt retry, nor does it feature instant death blocks, fast overworld, or auto save, however, these design choices were NOT made with the intent of punishing the player or being inconsiderate of their time etc. These were decisions that were not quickly or lightly made, and were largely to preserve the mood and feel of the game, which the levels are designed to reflect.
The design in the levels is very often intentionally lenient at the start of sections to prevent repeated death in a very short period of time. The obstacles are all designed around the idea of consistent “first cycling” allowing the player to get back to where they were quickly once they know the level, and the sections are generally in the area of 35-45 in game seconds. All of these choices were made to compensate for what many consider mandatory features in modern kaizo hacks.
Obstacles are also designed so they can be played going quickly (one cycling) or taking your time to look at and size up. I have designed it in a way so going slowly will often change how you need to approach an obstacle. Sometimes an entire section may play differently, at times even similar to a non kaizo hack when played at a slower pace.
I very often allow the player to respawn needed items for a second chance or to approach something in a non optimal way. For example killing enemies that serve as obstacles and then respawning the remaining setup to play in an easier manner, or using a cape to slowly fly through a section rather than use the fast one cycles built in.
The game features 32 exits and has taken nearly 3 years to complete. Thank you to all of the people who helped make this game, it wouldn’t have been possible without you.
I have also included 3 versions of the game, one with custom music, one with vanilla music, and one with no music, so you can listen to your own!
The first hack I've played to bridge the difficulty gap between Invictus and the Kaizo Mario Trilogy genre of hacks. If you're comfortable with
Invictus and want a challenge, but hesitant to grind a hack with significantly heavier difficulty spikes, Riff World 2 gives that balance of increasingly tough setups with fun and fair level design.
For the final world, I have two setup-specific tips for players who might not be sure what is intended (and have no intention of using save states or rewind for their playthough). They are not spoilers necessarily, but challenged me in a not so intended way:
At the end of the second section right before the midway, there is a mid-air thwomp bounce. I had to keep repeating this until I got it. What I wasn't aware of, until I came back to that jump to find a clear strategy, is what I'd describe as pumping the jump button - cycling hold and release, hold and release with what feels like pumping - rather than finding the perfect time to either let go of or press jump. It's very easy to duplicate, but I'd never been taught or required to use it before. Glad to now know such a seemingly basic but useful controlled slowfall.
I might've been the only person who experienced this, but I'll mention it because it involves cape. In the first section, after gaining spin flight, you're meant to land on the rotating platform only once. This makes the setup trivial. I'd assumed, this being a late-game level, this was some insane cape tech with multiple jumps on the platform. It set me back when the intended way is laughably simple, and painfully obvious.
There is not much to say that has not already been said about this hack. It was worth the wait to be able to play it. It is easily in my top 3 hacks of all time. Thank you Freakin_HA for the time and energy it took to put this together.