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[REMOVED] "Mario's Journey" by greyjaybird : "You May Now Post, JackTheSpades" edition

Permanent link to original submission (Demo 1.0)
File Name: Mario's Journey - Demo 1
Submitted: 2014.05.26 ~ 16:17:24 by greyjaybird
Claimed: 2014.05.26 ~ 23:23:21 by Counterfeit
Rating: 0.0
Authors: greyjaybird
Demo: Yes
Length: 5 exit(s)
Difficulty: Normal
Description: This is my first hack, Mario's Journey. It contains a total of
4 complete levels to play. Is compatible with ZSNES 1.51 and Snes9x 1.5.3.
Tags: demo, mario
Download: Download - 41.33 KiB
The title screen has a new gameplay video and level. It's pretty barebones and the dirt's spots blend in but there's nothing wrong with simplicity, especially in an age where a lot of hacks look like Picasso pasta.

The intro level is cyan, blue, and orange, which on one hand is a cool contrast of colors, but on the other hand, is really plain because there's no detail in the background or the dirt. There's no story yet.

At first, I thought the submap was a giant peanut butter and chocolate brownie because it looks really yummy and square. The 'grass' had bad shading; it should fade to darker shades of brown as it gets closer to the edges. The landscaping is blank. The perspective seems to be fine.

Gaea Plains actually has a nice FG palette but the underground cave has weird bones, and the shading of the original palette looks really out of place next to your custom palettes outside. The level starts off decently, but kind of falls on itself towards the end where you have a lot of one-tile-wide cement block jumps. I couldn't find a P-switch anywhere in the level to get access to the vine, so that part of the level is 'broken'.

Silver Mines has strong contrast, which gives it a metallic feel... kind of like a shiny new coin. The way to the secret exit makes stronger use of items, but what really makes me dislike this otherwise enjoyable level is the corridor of munchers you're forced to go through. I don't feel like "one mushroom before the mess" is really enough... I had to come here with a reserve item just to beat the level. Consider redesigning this part entirely -- this is the kind of stuff that belongs either in a Kaizo hack or at the very end of the game.

Red Palace is a muncherfest but it isn't as unfair by any means as the Silver Mines secret exit. It's too bad there was no real bonus or puzzle, since that's what I've come to expect out of switch levels. The message block has all its text removed so you see outlines rather than your full message... I mean, not that everyone doesn't already know what pressing the switch does, but I definitely think you should fill that message back in before your final version.

Blood Lake is scary-looking but the first part is very easy to maneuver through. It's easy to get stuck in that area with the enclosed Dragon Coin; this can be fixed by using a rope top or turn block top to the block formation instead of cement blocks. The, uh, second part of the level doesn't do a good job of preparing you for clearing the gap on top of the Banzai Bills because you can't gauge how much speed you need or what your trajectory should be -- COINS are massively useful here. In addition to that, there are some serious sprite tile memory problems which can be fixed either by using the No More Sprite Tile Limits patch and setting your sprite memory to 10, or by using Bullet Bills in place of the Banzai Bills (but use a Banzai for the last one in line for effect.) The 3up Moon should be placed out of the Extended Objects dialogue rather than the Direct Map16 Access to fix a bug where it will keep on respawning. Lastly, I think a background would be important to have, not just for looks, but I can kind of get a better idea for where I am/how fast I'm going when I don't have any ground to really judge by. The two halves of this level contrasted considerably and I'd split them into two separate levels (but definitely stick them in the same world) and develop each half a little more.

END OF DEMO gave me some weird ground and a mysterious castle door. I secretly prayed for a neverending bonus game for nostalgia's sake because I haven't seen one in a long time, and you delivered. Thank you for restoring this part of my childhood.

Anyways, as far as emulator compatibility goes, you're in the clear. None of the music breaks. The problems I see with this hack are in sprite tile memory issues and testing because there is one oversight in the beginning which makes one part of the level unreachable, and a few parts in other levels which are disproportionately hard compared to other areas of the hack. Try and make some connections here in SMWC. People are always looking to test out hacks and become friends. That second opinion is really important on how stable your level is because as the maker, the level will always be easier to you than it will be to everyone else. (Also, try spicing up your less detailed levels' palettes.)

Difficulty: sine

+1 given to Everest, Wakana-chan-kun-sama-senpai, TheSuperRotom, and Macky.

Just look above you...
If it's something that can be stopped, then just try to stop it!
That was a short hack.

My overall feelings on the hack are ambivalent as I can see many things here. I found the levels in the hack to be pretty barebone. I got this feeling while playing the title screen and that is not exactly interesting to the player which makes a bad first impression. A good first impression is critical for grabbing the player's interest or they may quit either then or early into the hack. Being a short hack, it is pretty easy to give a general analysis. As implied, I felt the levels were very bland in this hack and while they are not "bad", they could use some improvement. Silver Mines is a pretty good example of where this hack can be improved. That level contains munchers all across a small segment of the level and was is incredibly difficult to pass through them. Seeing as there was a mushroom before that area, I assume that you wanted me to take that and take a hit while passing which is pretty much bad level design. Avoid it. The Red Palace is simply a little challenge and I see little relevance of it being there as there are no red switch blocks (that I could see) in this hack. I would suggest getting rid of it as it simply seemed like a time waster. You might also want to avoid repetition in certain areas (like having blocks to jump from and to). The final level has a door which leads to Level 0. Not good at all.

There isn't exactly much else to talk about but I believe that the blandness in this hack is tied to the fact that there is no visible dirt in the foreground of the default grass graphics. The backgrounds in this hack seemed pretty plain as well. I suggest that you spice them up with decoration or "actual graphics" as they do not seem to interest me and I speculate that the average player is not interested in these types of aesthetics. The palettes seem to be okay in some parts although I cannot say they contain the best contrast or look pleasing to the eyes (Blood Lake and Silver Mines come to mind here). I would suggest improving them by smoothing some parts and darkening others. Speaking of Blood Lake, you have disappearing Banzai Bills which kind of intimidated me as I thought I was going to die and the game would be over then. Please fix the sprite memory settings there.

Difficulty: Except that kaizoish section in Silver Mines, I am going to say that the difficulty overall is Normal.

I am going to go with rejection as this hack is pretty bland in design overall (despite that, there is nothing technically "wrong" for the most part), does not have the best aesthetics and the glitches as well as the Level 0 exit at the end of the hack.
Short hack indeed, but I don't think it's pretty good overall.
The level design is...boring. Most of the levels are flat, with few jumps to perform and a few enemis to avoid. I'd say that it wasn't very fun. Other than boring, you got into the frustrating as well (with the mine level), which made the difficult curve pretty silly (look Cou-chan's graph, that pretty sums it up). Unfortunately, not a well done job on this point.
The aesthetics is sad and unpleasant to look: most of the times, the BG had weird palettes, and the FG wasn't pretty good either. Not more to add I guess, other than that you should work on palettes more and more.
In terms of glitches, I met some minor slowdown in the mine level. Nothing major, but if you reduce the sprite number in there, it will sure be better.
For the difficult level, just mix easy and kaizo, and you get normal.
In conclusion, due to terrible level design and awful aesthetics, I'd reject the hack: improve both these factors and get testers for more opinions, and I'm sure this hack will be accepted.
Alright first moderation!

The hack was mostly alright. The palettes were a bit dull, but I'll assume that it was meant to be that way. The levels felt rather un-finished, maybe put an enemy here, another one there. The difficulty was another problem. Sure, the demo is only 3 levels long (4 if you include the "End of Demo" level), but from what I got, this all was World 1 stuff. And the ending of the second level was total bullshit. A precision section in the first world in a normal difficulty hack just shouldn't be there. Not to mention you have to do it twice in order to get both exits. And how do we end it? With an "End of Demo" level you can enter, that leads into Level 0.

As for difficulty, with the exception for the ending of the second level and the Red Switch, the difficulty is normal

While with a bit of work it could be decent, as it is, I have to go with rejection.
Overall I did not enjoy this hack and I will be explaining why:

For starters the title screen looks very bland and unoriginal, and Mario can get pass the title screen. So after a little while, he kills some Koopas and then randomly jump over Munchers. This is clearly not a good thing to do in a title screen.

The first level was boring in my opinion: The background is bland, the palettes are not pleasing and the level design itself is boring. For the most part of the time you don't even need to get a P-swith (There is no P-switch) So I simple did the duplication block glith to realize that it only takes me to a Dragon Coin. Then there's this part where you have to be precise when jumping or you die; Not a good idea.

Silver Mines is the hardest level in this entire hack due to some parts supposed to Kaizo but really are not. The palettes aren't the greatest but for me the biggest flaw was the music, the loop was annoying and it's the whole level and you eventually get sick of it. I really can't reall say much about the design since for me it has been the most enjoyable level so far in this hack.

Red Palace is the second most flawed level in the hack for all it has are some plain blue hills in the background along with bad colored platforms, but I liked the palette you gave for the foreground because it's a nice blue and everyone likes blue. Back to the level, I enter a pipe and oh no.. ..a black background with some Muchers with Koopas and some platforms along with the swithch, and when you press the swith you don't really get the message saying you pressed the switch.

I played the last 'playable' level and it takes me to level 0.. ..once again, it's a good idea to do this..

For now I'll go for rejection, but I'll gladly review it again if there's a new demo of it. But for a beginner, this hack is pretty good to be honest.

I couldn't review Blood Lake because it would get the same treatment as the first level got #ab{;_;}.
Link to new demo (v1.5)

Gaea Plains fixed the problem where the vine was blocked, and modified the cement block section to have platforms of variable width and threat. Overall, the level was more enjoyable.

Silver Mines played largely the same. The muncher part was watered down to the point where it's now comfortably passable without being forced to take a hit. Difficulty felt more consistent and appropriate.

Red Palace is virtually the same, but the message is filled in.

In Blood Lake, you can still get stuck in the Dragon Coin box if you're big because it's still walled off by cement blocks - again, the top side of the box should either user turn blocks or ledge tiles, since that way you can swim through them from underneath, but not be able to enter the box from above.

The ending is drastically different. The presence of water makes it seem more related to the level's namesake than the last version of the demo, but it also felt more mindless this way. On the upside, there is no blind jump-and-pray segment so it is an improvement in a technical sense. I didn't like the all-white background.

Castle #1 is a new level using line guides. The lines are very "twisty" and progress is slow. This gives new players plenty of time to study their surroundings and react to it, but at the same time, there's not really enough going on to warrant that kind of slowness.

The boss room comes rather quickly. It caught me completely off guard that the pipes would hurt me and I think even though logic dictates that metal above lava is going to be piping hot, it's probably best to warn the player because it's non-standard behavior. It's a little yucky to place Mario behind the status bar for his safety areas but I can't complain too much because I know the physics well enough to know exactly where I'll end up. Anyways, it's a spin on the Lemmy battle that I haven't seen done yet, so Kudos.

DNC Entrance again has dangerous pipes, which I dub "Shadow Pipes" because they're black. I think it's even more unclear that these are dangerous because there's no environmental factor suggesting a threat, so some forewarning would be great. This design warrants caution around such pipes and munchers lining the ground. There is no part I deem unfair, though it is the Mario equivalent of tap-dancing.

Overall, this demo is definitely more solid than the last with only one design flaw that is still easy to avoid falling into on the player's end (and also easy to fix on the designer's end, but point is it's minor.) I feel like the new castle could've used a little more development and that munchers are starting to become a little too prominent (I'd suggest changing up the Red Palace) but no complaints otherwise. While not a show-stopper by any means, it is enjoyable.

Difficulty: Normal
The +1 League:

Just look above you...
If it's something that can be stopped, then just try to stop it!
Originally posted by Counterfeit

I couldn't resist but laugh hard on this one.#thp{LOL}

So, played the new demo. Honestly, while I appreciate your efforts, I still think this needs more and more work.
Level design slightly changed, and I'm happy you fixed the critical parts and even added new levels...but I still feel like it could've been much better, since it's not this great. Again, most of the levels were flat, with few sprites here and there to avoid. I'd like to point out some, um, not intuitive act likes you used for some blocks, in particular, the pipes in the boss room and the blocks in DNC entrance. About the former, to be honest, I liked the idea of the pipes that hurt you (though note that this boosted the difficult factor a lot), but the behavour isn't this intuitive. In the message before the battle I'd point out this thing instead of the tactic you suggested (which I didn't follow anyways >w<). Same goes for the latter, I would have used blocks which gave more an idea of a hurtful block. Overall, the level design still needs improvement.
About the aesthetics, I think it's nothing big changed: most of the palettes still look weird for me. The palettes of the new levels are even worse, I believe you should work more on them, as I said in the previous review. There are some small improvements here and there, though, I appreciated your effort, but I think it's not enough.
The difficult, mix hard (because of the boss mainly) and easy (for the flat levels) and you still get normal.
In conclusion, I'd reject the hack: it indeed became more solid as a game, but horrible aethetic and boring level design take it down, unfortunately.
So, I haven't played the previous version, but going by this one, I don't think I missed out on much.

Let's start with the level design... which isn't all too good. First, there is a clear difference between "can" and "should". As such, even if you can change the palette, that doesn't always mean you should do so. Ok, what I'm trying to say is, the palettes don't look all that good. Custom palettes are nice and all, but only if they actually look good.
Next up: Parkours of hurt blocks aren't fun. Making me jump from one platform to another surrounded by hurtblocks (munchers) or jump through tight openings... that's kinda cheap difficulty. Sure, it is difficult, but nowhere near fun. At least not for me.
Lastly, the levels appear really flat. There isn't much variety in them. They are just kinda... well flat. Try to make the player take different routs now and then (kinda like with the P-switch for the secret exit but a bit more...)

You may want to get some more variety in your levels other than flat land and those green pipe-blocks. Also, if you make sudden grey pipes that hurt you for no reason, at least warn the player about them. Getting hurt for no apparent reason isn't all that great.

I'm kinda sorry for only really saying negative things about your hack, but it's just not my type of hack to have to jump around hurt blocks. That's kinda the same as MMM (which I didn't like either). My verdict is rejection with difficulty being hard.

WOW ok, I just now noticed the title <.<
Anime statistic on MyAnimeList:
400 animes completed ✓
6000 episodes completed ✓
100 Days completed ✓
... what even am I doing with my life?
Change or no change?

I can clearly see some improvements here but are they enough? The early levels did not change very much but I can clearly see some improvement such as in Silver Mines where the difficulty has changed slightly regarding the part with the munchers. Good job on improving them and well done for at least recognizing and fixing certain parts early in the hack but what I am focused on here are the later levels. Blood Lake seems to be different in the second part of the level and it honestly felt different but not really a big improvement (only a slight improvement). I see you have incorporated red switch blocks which is nice but should be used appropriately as to not make the level super easy along with creating a pleasant sprite. The castle seems to be pretty short and the boss was surprising to say the least especially with the pipes there. Information would be nice. The final level before the end of the hack seemed to be interesting but confusing at the same time. It felt like it was trying to kill me honestly #ab{@_@}. I am not sure about my feelings on that level. Overall, some improvement but I cannot say a huge improvement.

The aesthetics don't seem too good in this hack. An example of this would be the palettes present. While they are not downright horrible for the most part, they seem to be a bit "ugly" (for a lack of a better word) in certain areas regarding the darkness and contrast of it. The second part of Blood Lake has a white background which I am not fond of so please replace it with something else. The overworld seems to be generally boring; spice it up with decoration and I suggest improving the palettes there to reflect the reality of the levels. With all of that being said, I cannot say I stumbled across many glitches. The glitches I noticed mainly consisted of one's around tiles but for the future, seek out testers to prevent further problems.

Difficulty: I am still going to say it is Normal.

I still feel that this hack can be drastically improved in the areas I have mentioned so I am going to go with rejection.
(Cou convinced me to write a review)

Right from the title screen, I could kinda tell what I was going to see. It shows a very short and bland level with a textureless ground, which also looks pretty uninteresting. Make sure to have your title screen to give the player a good impression of the game.

I found in the first level sort something that looked like the title, actually; the level is kinda linear and can be very empty in some areas, but I'd say it's reasonable at best for a first level; and trust me, the land and hill graphics will look really bland without their original textures.

Over the next levels I've seen a nice amount of munchers, which aren't a problem themselves, but I don't think you used them very well. I'm talking about the tight sections with munchers in the top and in the bottom, which require some annoying jumps sometimes, and especially about the muncher corridor in the water level. Munchers are often considered a cheap way to create difficulty, so it's better that you tone them down a bit.

The castle and the level after it were very short if compared to the previous stages; truth or not, that gives the impression that you rushed them. Take your time for every level; each of them is important!
On another note on those levels, I only got to know that those dark pipes did harm by the "bad way". x_x; It would be nice if you added in a message telling about them or something. Only one of those in the castle should suffice.

Overall, this isn't the worst hack I've ever played, but it can be improved a lot. You should try to make the level design more interesting, it's kind of too generic right now. Take effort on each level you do, and have in mind that they're not "just another level"; every level should stand out on something, that's why I like it when each level in a hack has a different (and creative) gimmick.

Also, your palettes also could have some improvement. I don't think they contrasted very well with each other, but well, that could be just me. I guess it wouldn't hurt if you tried to improve them a bit, though; it's all about trial and error, really.

Don't think it's ready to be accepted right now, but I hope that you can make your level design more interesting for the next version, and hopefully also improve the palettes. Good luck! :3

(I'm rather unsure about the difficulty, it's probably worth a "normal".)

EDIT: ddddddddd Cou
It's easily the best thing I've done
So why the empty numb?
This review may be quite shorter than the previous one.

A new demo eh? I promised to review a new demo so here I go: The title screen really has not been edited so I'm going to quote myself here rather than posting the same thing again:

Originally posted by Macky
For starters the title screen looks very bland and unoriginal, and Mario can get pass the title screen. So after a little while, he kills some Koopas and then randomly jump over Munchers. This is clearly not a good thing to do in a title screen.

So now I noticed that the intro level has been edited, but I really don't know if the palettes have changed or not since I don't keep hacks in a folder so that's why. Anyway, the overworld has the same design as before, so I really can't say the same thing again, so yeah~

I played the first level and.. has blatant edits though, but for most part the level is still flat and uncreative. In other words, even if the flaws have been fixed, the level still has the previous things that the other review had, so I'll be going to next level to see how it goes...

The only thing that Silver Mines had different is that it's no longer that hard as it used to be and I'll say that Red Switch has almost nothing different except that it now has a message, but other than that nothing unfortunately.

I played the first part of Blood Lake and nothing has been changed in the first part, but in the second part I've noticed some things; the sky palette has changed along with the Banzai Bills and the design is more fluid, but I really didn't felt like this really was completed so..

Now I take on the castle and I'm surprised to notice that it's now a level, and let me go to it: The palettes here remind of colors that could be in a Japanese hack so it's not very good, but yeah. Also the Dry Bones gets stuck in the conveyor, so as I speak for the level, it really is not long nor enjoyable and you don't even need the platforms. The boss is pretty simple, but now it's been edited to be a bit more challenging, but it's pretty nice.

DNC Entrance.. dear God the palettes! Well, the level here is challenging enough, but the black pipe tiles don't really look that good, so I really can't say that much.. and finally End of Demo, nice music here, but what I hate is that you can't leave the level until the timer ends are you are forced to fast forward to kill yourself. Not a goof thing either.

So again, I'll be going for rejection, but I'll review this hack once again if a new demo is released.
Alright, even though I already reviewed this, I was bored and decided to review the new demo 1.5

The hack was just about the same as before. The difficulty has been fixed in some areas, and in other areas not so much. Palettes are clearly the most major change. As with the difficulty, the palettes in some areas are fixed, but yet some others aren't. While the difficulty in the second level has been improved, the Red Switch Palace looks as if no attention was given to it. It still very hard and more. Castle #1 is a bit short, and Dark Night City...My god... For a normal hack, this is way too difficult for a second world. Not to mention the muncher pipes from Lemmy's fight show up all over here, without any warning or anything. It's better, but not quite good enough for me.

Again, like last time, with the exception of the Red Switch Palace and Dark Night City, the difficulty is normal.

I might have already given it away, but I'd still go with rejection.