Greetings, Team Välfärd! I’ve finally had occasion to utterly dissect
your C3 demo, and out of respect for this massive undertaking of yours, I’ve made a deliberate and meticulous attempt to scour every map, learn every character and tear at every loose thread I could conceivably find. I offer this comprehensive collection of my impressions, opinions and bug discoveries for your consideration. In doing so, I ask you to bear the following in mind:
• Emulator of choice was Snes9x 1.55
• All gameplay engaged on NORMAL - EASY and INSANE weren’t so much as loaded
• I play on keyboard
• Co-op wasn’t attempted at any point
• Savestates were generally not used for level completion
As someone who has tried his hand at a “several characters with different playstyles” kind of hack, I appreciate the struggle to make fair levels for multiple unique characters, without any one character being super-broken. I’m also particularly sensitive to the notion of people trying a character once and rejecting him out of unfamiliarity - with this in mind, I made a sincere attempt to really learn
both Kadaal and Leeway. I completed all stages as Leeway, then again as Kadaal (no upgrading), then Mario, then Kadaal again (now fully upgraded). Plus a million replays in the middle to scare out some bugs.
(Also, I apologize for the huge screenshots, my emulator adamantly insisted on this resolution.)
Buckle up, ‘cause this is going to be a looooong, bumpy ride.
001.) Bare-bones, but it’s a demo. Needs more umlauts!
002.) Letting the title screen music play seems to play jump sound effects after a bit.
003.) The title screen mandates “PRESS ANY BUTTON” - the L and R buttons are a subset of any buttons, yet pressing either does nothing.
004.) Clicking on an empty file, pressing X or Y to back out, then clicking on a file with progress will erase all Yoshi Coins and upgrades collected in the latter file.
Stage Select Screen
005.) You’ll get a much better response next demo if you grey-out inaccessible realm panels. I’d also add in a “SEL = HOME” somewhere.
006.) Wraparound on the realm panels is really weird. Pressing up on the top row and down on the bottom works as expected, as does pressing right on the top-right panel. But pressing left on the top-left panel goes nowhere, and pressing right on the bottom-right or left on the bottom-left goes back to the top-left. Most strange.
007.) In the character select menu, the sound effect that plays when switching between characters is picky about when it actually wants to play.
008.) Initial impression - Seems like I can slow-walk my way everywhere or rocket off to my death. This “dash as long as you hold the button or up to a certain limit, whichever comes first” thing feels awkward to control fluidly. For having a large sword, I sure am getting beaten up a lot, often by the things I’m slicing.
009.) I eventually grew to be much more comfortable using Leeway. Grounded dash into jump into air dash/air slash is a fun way to cover serious ground in an instant. Part of the learning curve was figuring out that the wall and ceiling climbs weren’t just for show - they are necessary tools in his kit that make key jumps non-fatal, and indeed alter the way the player must think about available level geometry. For being a flying dinosaur with a claymore, however, he’s surprisingly weak when on the offensive. Grounded sword swings lock him in place and aren’t jump- or dash-cancellable; he can’t even turn around. Slash the red Buff Rex enemy and hit him for one damage - cool, he’ll just tank it and run into you while you're immobile, and he has more health than you do. There’s an unsavory contrast with his aerial swordplay, as well - when airborne, Leeway is free to move and reverse direction while swinging, and his swing is cancelled upon landing. The dashing slash is near-useless for actual attacking - anything you hit that doesn’t die instantly will be knocked in the same direction you’re flying, generally hurting you (cutting a koopa into its shell, kicking it, and involuntarily continuing to dash alongside the shell to get hurt comes to mind). Enemies near walls and ledges are also very problematic for Leeway, as grabbing a ledge without wanting to is very easy. He’s rather vulnerable on a wall, and way
vulnerable when pulling himself up a ledge. For all of his shortcomings in the killing-stuff-safely department, Leeway is fun to play after the learning curve, in part because of the new perspective he brings to what constitutes a useful surface in any given level. Zipping over an open part of a level in two seconds flat is fun, and being able to say “nah” and just climb over hazards that trip up Kadaal and Mario is a sly little treat - it can be fun to feel like you’re cheating a bit, as long as it’s not too broken. If his sword could just be made to feel like it’s killing something other than me, he’d feel that much better - as-is it’s restrictively ineffectual more often than not.
010.) Leeway has no jump sound effect, unless he jumps off a wall.
011.) Swinging the sword while hanging on a non-priority wall looks a little odd, as the sword lines up with Leeway’s offhand during the backswing. It may or may not look more natural to forgo drawing the sword on the backswing at all.
012.) The hitbox for the aerial sword comes out way early - land-cancelling an air slash just right will knock enemies around without even showing the sword. I prefer it this way, honestly - if graphics and hitboxes ever mismatch, it should always
be in the player’s favor.
013.) While hanging on the ceiling, holding up and jumping will make Leeway twitch in place.
014.) Given a solid wall meeting a solid ceiling (i.e. a vertical corner), holding up and pressing into the direction of the wall simultaneously will make Leeway spazz out.
015.) By slowly inching up a wall into a ledge pull-up animation, then holding down immediately after it begins, Leeway will slowly fold downwards until “breaking free,” after which he will exist in a state as shown below:
In this picture, the game is unpaused, and my hands are off the controller. Leeway stays in this pose indefinitely but can climb up and down the wall freely. One can also enter this state easily by climbing past a one-tile-high gap in an otherwise lined-up wall, like the one shown in the picture. Tar Creepers near walls can also trigger this. The sword seems to be disabled in this state, but a sword input made at any time will be buffered until Leeway climbs to the ground or completes a ledge pull-up animation.
016.) Leeway walking on a steep slope looks weird. Leeway crawling on a steep slope looks double-weird.
017.) Leeway seems to interact weirdly with vines. Just try holding different D-pad directions as you jump into the vine - he tweaks out a lot. For some reason, he can sort of “peel around” the top left of a block on top of a vine, but top right just makes him tweak some more.
018.) Initial impression - What is this janky mess, will you please
go where I want you to?
019.) Kadaal (unupgraded) took a very long time to get used to, and I’m not sure I like what I got having done so. On the ground, he has a very useful dodge (senku
, if my terminology is correct) and a very situational punch attack. The punch suffers from the same problems as Leeway’s sword, albeit to a lesser degree due to its relative brevity - a punch locks you in place, can’t be reversed and can’t be cancelled into a dash. It can’t be cancelled into a jump, either, though a jump can be buffered during a punch (still not sure how I feel about that, honestly; I’d rather be able to buffer a dash). It can be duck-cancelled, but that’s kinda “whatever.” If Kadaal is dashing, his jump height falls apart, which led me to cancel my dashing by ducking, then jumping to get the full height. Once in the air Kadaal accelerates like mad, making any kind of platforming a real chore, doubly so with his inverse ground-speed-to-jump-height quirk. His aerial shell spin does the thing Leeway’s dashing slash does, wherein it’s pretty easy to hit something sturdy like a parakoopa and knock a still-damaging enemy right on top of you for your trouble. Figuring out that I could jump out of a senku in midair wasn’t just handy, it was necessary to use the character at all, and the discovery of this technique made my time with Kadaal considerably better. After running him through all of the stages, I took a break with Kadaal to run Mario through, after which I unlocked all upgrades at once and played everything again with him.
020.) Kadaal with upgrades isn’t a completely different ball game, but boy
is he a lot less infuriating. With the air-senku, and only the air-senku, Kadaal gains that much, much
needed granule of “doesn’t explode when airborne” that he so badly needs. I found this blurb in… Well, this thread, actually. And I found it after playing everything, to boot:
Originally posted by Von Fahrenheit
Here are some details regarding how he plays:
- Fast and powerful while on the ground.
- Mediocre control in midair (hard to land on enemies).
- Has hit points instead of Mario's powerup system.
- Quickly accelerates and can take out enemies with punches and kicks.
- Original character don't steal.
I’d say this is quite accurate. Kadaal is fluid as water when on continuous (meaning, connected and fairly level) ground - [senku] into [dash] into [shell slide] into [slide attack] into [senku off the ledge] into [a jump landing in a dash], and so on. The ever-oppressive fact is, however, Realm 2 has almost no continuous ground to begin with! The leftmost two thirds of Crossroad Plains, and that’s it. Everything else is pits and jumping, pits and jumping. I’d wager that part of the reason Kadaal rubbed me the wrong way so badly out of the gate is that every stage wants me to be in the air, which is not where Kadaal wants to be. Once the air-senku made it so that most jumps weren’t death sentences, surprise surprise, I started having way
021.) Thinking out loud a bit, but have you ever considered making Kadaal’s air attack give him a tiny upward bump à la the spin in NSMB Wii? He just needs something
, platforming without any air options on top of all his aerial flaws is boring at best and agonizing at worst.
022.) When Kadaal is climbing on a climbable surface against the ceiling, holding Up rapidly plays the “bump” sound effect.
023.) Kadaal has no jumping sound effects when jumping off of vines.
024.) If Kadaal has dashing-momentum when he jumps and grabs a vine, he’ll retain that momentum when he jumps back off, whenever that may be.
025.) When at dash-speed, jumping at a vine and holding Up or Down only (not Left or Right) causes Kadaal to flinch for a split second before falling (he doesn’t grab the vine). This only occurs when approaching the vine from its right, i.e. Kadaal moving left.
026.) Kadaal seems to have weird climbing interactions in general. He can hold onto vines way out on their sides, and indeed from the top as shown below (Kadaal is climbing upwards in place in this pic):
027.) Adding to the above, in the pic below, I am holding Up on the D-pad, yet Kadaal refuses to climb. His “climbable surface detection” needs a bit of a tune-up, it would seem:
028.) Cancelling a senku early by climbing will show Kadaal flashing on the vine/net briefly.
029.) Kadaal flashes some garbled graphics on level load:
030.) Kadaal cannot high-jump off of a springboard.
031.) Kadaal can briefly become invisible by starting an air-spin as he lands on a springboard.
032.) Falling onto a climbing net while holding Up snaps Kadaal down onto the net rapidly.
033.) Ending a shell slide breaks dashing state, which feels counter-intuitive.
034.) The shell slide in general… It’s kind of lame as-is, I’m sorry. First off, players will, whether you like it or not, compare it to the NSMB blue shell powerup (Kadaal is even blue too, y’know?), and they’re going to torch you for how differently it behaves. Even within this game
, you can kick a blue shell and watch it decimate a pile of enemies, but if you touch any while looking like the same thing, you
get hurt? You get a mobile attack and slightly increased speed in exchange for being unable to cancel a dash by ducking for more jump height - a trade I personally dislike. If shell sliding were to, say, override Kadaal’s normally poor jump-height-from-a-dash, it might make for a high-risk, high-reward speedy platforming scenario.
035.) The senku attack is a bit finicky if using manual timing, but mashing attack while dodging works in general so it’s good enough.
036.) Using an air-senku straight upwards into a solid ceiling rapidly plays “bump” sound effects.
037.) Using a horizontal air-senku while flat against a ceiling makes Kadaal wiggle back and forth rapidly, going nowhere.
038.) Shell-senku will make Kadaal stand up for a frame.
039.) Kadaal is allowed to senku out of a shell drill; after the senku is completed, Kadaal will resume falling straight down. In this state, he is no longer in his “upside-down spinning shell” form, though he’ll still make the “pound” sound effect when hitting the ground. After hitting the ground, he will be able to transition directly into a dash.
040.) Shell-drilling through enemies who don’t die in one hit gets Kadaal hurt.
041.) Kadaal doesn’t bounce off of walls when in shell slide state if airborne. He’ll just stick to the wall until he hits a floor. Doubly weird because, if Kadaal jumps out of shell slide state and touches a wall, the state is cleared. Jumping itself does not clear shell slide otherwise. Troublingly inconsistent.
042.) The player can “kind of” control Kadaal when he’s airborne in shell slide state.
043.) Kadaal can shell slide into a one-tile-high passage, then stand up to become completely stuck. He can perform any action, but given a suitable passage, there is nothing he can do to escape. Holding Down after a senku does not initiate a shell slide in this state. If this occurs on a level that has not been cleared, the player is met with a softlock.
044.) Shell-drill status is not cancelled by water.
045.) Performing a shell drill over a net and grabbing onto it with Down will allow Kadaal to climb. So long as Up is not pressed at any time, when Kadaal jumps off the net, he will shoot straight down with no drill animation as in point (039).
046.) If Kadaal shell-slides off a ledge and grabs a net to begin climbing, Kadaal can fall off the net back into shell slide state so long as Down isn’t released.
047.) Initial impression - smooth, intuitive, responsive, versatile and brokenly overpowered? Yep, this is definitely Mario!
048.) It’s hard to improve on a character that’s this good, I’m thankful to you for not trying to do anything silly to him. I’d be one-hundred percent okay if Mario got zero upgrades whatsoever all game, he’s just that good. He runs fast and jumps high. He can spin-jump many tough enemies apart in one go, and bounce unharmed off those he can’t. He can manipulate carryable items, turning the common shell into a powerful (long-range) weapon. He has a reserve system for more hits, and a fire powerup with unlimited ammo that can shred enemies from across the screen. What more could you ask for?
049.) When killed, mario jumps a bit in the air, freezes for a big long while, then falls off the screen. I’m assuming this is a side effect from something else.
050.) The game doesn’t pause anymore when Mario grabs a powerup - I have no issues with this. But Mario, and only Mario (i.e. not the enemies), will pause when losing a powerup from damage - this hasn’t posed a serious problem for me in any of the stages offered, but this quirk could end up turning a hit into a death in more demanding levels.
051.) I didn’t experience one single crash at any point in my testing, and that’s not for lack of trying. Maybe to some of you out there that sounds like your boss saying, “hey, you showed up to work today!” - but I know better. To change all of this everything and have zero crashes, with another coder trying as hard as he can to force crashes, is huge, and I commend you, Von Fahrenheit, most profusely.
052.) I asked Von Fahrenheit about the intended difficulty of this game overall, and received the following response:
Originally posted by Von Fahrenheit (Discord)
1.) Our original intention was for Normal to be about as hard as vanilla SMW. It turns out that might be a little too easy, so we're aiming for something a little closer to SMB3 (which we think is more difficult) right now. Difficulty will slowly increase in realms 2-5 and then spike at Realm 6, with 8 being the hardest. That's kind of the curve we're going for.
2.) Obviously you couldn't know this since Realm 1 wasn't included in the demo, but the first two levels in Realm 2 are meant to be kind of a breather after the first boss. Path of Thunder is meant to be the hardest level. I'm aware some people thought the first level was too hard, so we might have overshot our goal.
Pretty much everything in Realm 2 so far seems overly-difficult, sometimes incredibly overly-difficult, for the target difficulty as described. Keep in mind that, in addition to exploring your brand-new levels full of cool gimmicks, players are likely still trying to grasp the basics of these new characters. Maybe Realm 1 is super good at teaching all this beforehand - I can’t say - but there’s a limit to how much novel stuff you can shove at ‘em at once while expecting them to engage.
053.) Sort of just touched on, but pending whatever form Realm 1 takes, a training area to doodle around with new characters without fear of death would be a much-welcomed addition. Like Home Base, but with more geography.
054.) Is there any particular harm in allowing players to use Start + Select to leave a level at any time, regardless of course clear status? I’d enable that for the demos, if nothing else. Yoshi Coins persist on death anyway, so it’s not like anything is cheesable.
055.) Having to manually reselect Realm 2, then whichever level I was playing after each death is an extra couple of steps I could do without.
056.) Would it be a pain to add a button combo to erase checkpoint progress for a given level? This gripe is mostly about me because I was doing intensive testing that required checking around all over the place; in a general sense, though, if a player got to Crossroad Plains (Caverns) and decided they hated it, they’d be forced to complete the stage before being allowed to tackle the left path.
057.) Speaking of midway points, they were kinda broken insofar as Files 2 and 3 were concerned. I didn’t bother to delete my .srm for more detailed testing, but either Files 2 and 3 are just screwy on their own, or Erase Game messes with midway flags. Evidence is suggestive of the former.
058.) Kadaal and Leeway don’t have pipe-entering sound effects.
059.) Graphics on level load always seem to shift and wriggle for a split second.
060.) Quake sprite handling is truly bizarre. Mario can bump enemies on top of blocks, kill moles inside of coin blocks and flip mushrooms around with bouncing blocks. Kadaal and Leeway are unable to do this. But, upon upgrading Kadaal, both he and
Leeway can now do this? Is this intentional? Seems like it would have to be.
061.) The health sprite spawned from blocks for Kadaal and Leeway is dependent on Mario’s
powerup status. If Mario is big, Kadaal and Leeway get the easy-to-grab flowers instead of skittish mushrooms.
062.) Blue kicker koopas get up really fast when knocked out of their shells. When such a koopa touches a shell and prepares to kick it, they can be kicked to death by touching them from the side.
063.) The game in general seems to have a bit of a verticality problem. Stuff that you can’t see because it’s above you (Crossroad Plains, right path pre-cavern), stuff that you can’t see because it’s below you (several areas in Living Garden, Crossroad Plains).
064.) I don’t really get a chance to harp on it in any of the points below, but your spritework is simply gorgeous, Eminus. Fantastic job on all of this!
065.) The injured Yoshi NPC displays garbage graphics for a second on load.
066.) Surely the greatest ROM hack ever will eventually get around to making the injured Yoshi sprite properly asymmetrical, yes?
067.) Any character is able to jump, spin, attack, run in place and more during active dialogue here, which is weird to say the least. More weird is the ability to pause the game mid-conversation; one can in fact keep reading dialogue up to and through completion while paused.
068.) Kadaal and Leeway (but not Mario) are allowed to re-enter the entry pipe in order to do battle with King Rex. This is why, Von Fahrenheit, I asked what was supposed to happen upon collecting all 25 Yoshi Coins - I thought a ladder would appear or something that would allow all three characters to challenge the boss. Didn’t know it was intended to be Kadaal-only - whoops!
069.) In the “learn shell spin” upgrade message, the word “dashing” is cut apart by a line break between N and G.
070.) In the “senku improves again” message, there is a missing space in “again!You”.
071.) This level looks great. The song is “okay,” functional but basic. The level setup feels somewhat uncoordinated, but it’s workable for the most part. The yellow koopa corridor is the most notably bland piece. I didn’t have any problems with the “left or right” idea, seems solid enough to me.
072.) Leeway can remain underground after the intro launch with a well-timed dash.
073.) Mountain King needs to shut his yap
- I got soooo
tired of talking to this fool every single time I passed him by.
074.) One can jump over Mountain King without grabbing his coin - he’ll give you some dialogue and a few coins. You can then continue on a few tiles, turn around and approach him again, for the same spiel and more money. You can do this as many times as you please for free cash.
075.) Reloading the level after talking to/dying inside of Mountain King yields free money.
076.) Approaching Mountain King for the second time from right to left shows a portion of his castle/crown graphics inside of the dialogue box.
077.) This is just kinda dumb, conceptually:
078.) I noticed that Leeway can climb pretty far down in the pits in this level before dying. I thought I softlocked the game somehow the first time I accidentally grabbed the wall after falling in a pit, before I realized I was wall climbing way down offscreen. Not really a bug or anything, just an observation.
079.) The delayed kicker koopas seem to respond primarily to vertical range; if you pass above and behind them with only a few tiles altitude, they never react. Easiest with Leeway.
080.) It’s possible to have delayed kicker koopas get killed by their own shells the second they spawn on screen. I can’t seem to consistently make it happen, either. Odds seem to increase if Mario is carrying a shell, for some reason. Sprite slot shenanigans maybe?
081.) There’s one particular yellow parakoopa in the left path, this guy:
For whatever reason, he has to walk way over to the right before his wing will spawn. I didn’t see this issue elsewhere, and even this specific koopa doesn’t have this issue on the other side of the screen.
082.) The “mole chain” towards the left exit is cute, but not airtight enough for a “just before the exit” gimmick. Each character needs to move over it carefully, and it’s not fully obvious how at first glance (and the penalty is death, so…). Mario, for example, can’t jump at the mole chain from a full sprint, or he will be hurt then killed.
083.) For moles that burst out of coin blocks, Kadaal and Leeway can time bumping the block just before the mole bursts so that the bounce sprite respawns a used block. Mario always ends up doing this regardless of timing as he kills the mole with the bump. (Though per point (060) the others do too, eventually.)
Crossroad Plains (Cavern)
084.) These are some fine-looking cave graphics right here. All in all I quite like this little cave segment. It’s just… None of how it’s paced feels “Realm 2” to me. Nothing is introduced, there are spikes aplenty and lots of instant death pits and lava, in world 2
. Out of 8
. I’d fill in all of the instant death traps, cut the spikes in half (or less), and then
you might be talking world 2. As-is were on 4 or so.
085.) Favorite song in the game. It’s well-composed, it’s catchy
, and it fits like a glove. Great work!
086.) The Tar Creepers are super cool, I can’t imagine what kind of nightmare it must have been to make them play ball graphically and functionally. Which is why I hate to pick on ‘em, but they’re capable of deploying some jank as they are now. The third Creeper in the cavern section will waddle up to you and will, like clockwork, attempt to punch or throw you. I imagine many players will do what I did, and instinctively try to leap onto it every time because we’re impatient and want to play the level. But he’s too busy killing us to catch us and ferry us about, so we die. Took me a few lives to figure out that, yes, he really was going to punch or throw on approach, every single time. Being able to play with one of these things for the first time in an area not lined with spikes and pits and low ceilings would be lovely, especially given the complexity of this critter.
087.) Playing off the above, there’s a section in the cavern whereupon the player rides a Tar Creeper across a bed of spikes. On a few occasions I had to jump to avoid a mini-mole; I landed back on the Creeper (his hand was up, he was carrying me), and a second later he dropped me right into the spikes because he wanted to punch something. Inconsistent, and rather annoying.
088.) There’s a part of the level that’s a low blue pillar between two Tar Creepers on higher ledges - Molemancer doesn’t pop out here on his own to provide a boost (and he could be killed beforehand if he did), making it particularly difficult to escape alive, if even possible.
089.) I respect your execution on creating a truly hateable enemy in Molemancer - mission accomplished, he’s a real troll. My only valid
complaint is that his rate of fire is too fast relative to his spawn time - surprise-he’s-under-you-boom-you’re-mini-mole’d. (His constant shatter sounds stop me from grooving to this cool BGM, too. Lil’ freak.)
090.) A “you’ve been mini-mole’d” sound effect would be appreciated. Those little critters can be hard to see, and anything that takes control away from the player needs to be as well-communicated as possible.
091.) Mario was unable to exit the level just by climbing. I had to jump at the exit area while holding Up a few times to get it to take.
092.) Mario is able to jump through the exit zone and into the wall on either side. If he lands in the (deep) right side, and the level has not been cleared, the game is softlocked.
093.) No way on this Earth this is a “Realm 2” level. This level plays real fast and loose with its lotuses. Volcano lotuses control a huge
amount of space, and here you have them in the middle of wide gaps, or encased in stone such as to be invincible. Mix into that a brand-new enemy that reacts to your positioning, takes two hits to kill, and is placed at end-of-jump areas, and you have a nightmare of a platforming segment (for early game, anyway). Playing this stage with unupgraded Kadaal was the only event in my experience with Extra Mario World that made me legitimately upset. Please, either tone this way down, or bump it out to Realm 5 - 7. Yikes.
094.) I thought the pillars at the end of this segment before the pipe were solid on the side, though that might have been because I was Leeway and was just over-used to climbing everything at that point.
Melody’s Mountain (Sunset)
095.) This part is much more sane than that first bit. Palette’s super pretty, too. The climbing slime attacks were tense without being unfair, and the Yoshi Coins were engaging to snag without being lodged in hazard-city.
096.) A close second for favorite song. The “flutey-whistley part” (I am not a music major
) is a flourish that adds a lot of charm to the song, which is why it’s such a shame that pretty much any sound effect will cut it apart.
097.) Red slimes don’t seem to stop interacting with things when they’re squished. Kadaal can make noise by punching them, Leeway when slicing them; if they squash themselves by climbing up into the player while the player is against a ceiling, they’ll spit out a ton of “contact” graphics with matching sound effects. Seems they can also hurt you, too, which is pretty weak.
098.) Slimes can bounce on top of Kadaal with the “sproing” sound effect during his senku, which has weird effects. More testing is needed, I couldn’t force this scenario reliably.
099.) The first kicker koopa in this segment is completely out of sight if you’re taking your time climbing. The setup isn’t cruel or anything and I’m not demanding a change, I’d just play through it again with fresh eyes and review.
100.) I found an invisible coin block over here:
Is this supposed to indicate something else that I missed? One coin seems like a dinky reward for scouring the level for secrets and finding something invisible.
101.) There is one block in this stage that is particularly odd:
Smashed from below, this block plays the shattering sound effect and scatters brick pieces, but doesn’t actually get destroyed. One can do this again and again. If Kadaal shell drills into the top, it’ll “fake shatter” rapidly over and over again until the drill duration is exhausted.
102.) The jump over the first lotus here seems disproportionately tricky for not-Leeway relative to the rest of the segment.
103.) It would seem that only Mario is allowed to exit this stage. Kadaal and Leeway can hug the top right all they want, nothing happens.
104.) I like this stage. It introduces a new gimmick (destructible terrain) in increasingly complicated ways, then combines it with something complex we’ve seen before (Tar Creepers). It knows when to stop doing completely new stuff, and when to do new things with the old stuff, if you follow me.
105.) I was going to give you a stern warning that you’d better use that cool cave song from Crossroad Plains (Cavern) somewhere else, but you already did! Good, this song deserves its own level. That said, there’s this weird… “Chimey?” part that seems like it plays only sometimes. In tune with the melody, but slightly out of sync. It seems inconsistent enough that I’d still be willing to call it a bug, but I don’t know what to call it for sure other than weird.
106.) The background immediately shifts itself and snaps into pieces upon loading the level.
107.) If Mario kills the second piranha plant head, getting him up the resulting lack of vines is disproportionately difficult.
108.) After the midway point, the landforms in the ceiling stop stretching all the way up to the canopy - Leeway can climb over the entire second half of the level without issue. Which is strange, because before this point the walls would stop him.
109.) Sometimes I get a glitch tile for collecting coins, or for destroying destructible vines (especially the one shown below):
It’s always this tile that appears, when it happens. This picture also shows the sheared background mentioned in (106).
110.) Tar Creepers bein’ janky again - the mobile one just before the midway point can push Kadaal through the wall if he’s doing stuff. “Stuff” taken to include shell sliding, dashing or spamming senku. I had Mario get punched clean through the wall at least once, too. I didn’t spend too long trying to get Leeway pushed through, I’m sure it can be done. Granted this whole section is intended to crumble away anyway, but it’s still a performance issue worth pointing out.
111.) Entering the stage from the midway point and immediately backtracking consistently loads garbled graphics for the Tar Creepers’ hands, as shown here:
112.) If a Tar Creeper doesn’t want to be boarded, it just isn’t happening. I’ve had Creepers just keep punching and throwing and throwing and punching, non-stop, and all I wanted was a ride! Maybe put a “consecutive attack” limit on mobile Creepers?
113.) Creepers can throw the player into a VRAM error:
I’ve gotten this in Crossroad Plains (Cavern), as well.
114.) Some of the vine-platforms can be difficult to see in a pinch. Nothing extreme, but sometimes I was surprised to find myself as having landed on something solid, or as getting damaged by thorns I didn’t process.
115.) The yellow piranha plant heads’ rate of fire is pretty harsh for Realm 2.
116.) In this picture, Kadaal has no horizontal momentum at all. He is moving straight upwards:
As you can see, he has no health, but isn’t in his death frame yet - this is because he died just now, on this frame. My point? The hitboxes on these things are really bad. I don’t know how morbidly complex these guys are, but if it’s at all doable, I recommend giving them a small damaging hitbox completely contained within their graphics, and leave their destruction-hitbox the size it is now. As I stressed before:
Originally posted by me
...if graphics and hitboxes ever mismatch, it should always be in the player’s favor.
117.) The “red shell and vine block” setup leads to two red piranha plant heads blocking a flashing mushroom - if Mario kills the first and jumps over the second, he is stuck. Also, the Creeper up there is a jerk, and is the one I was talking about in (112).
118.) In the above setup, if Mario spin jumps the shell, or burns it then takes a hit, he can become stuck.
Path of Thunder
119.) Now we’re talking. As with the rest of the levels I’m not sure I’d tag it as Realm 2, but difficulty aside this level is the best-designed, in my opinion. The lightning gimmick is intuitive; it’s a constant threat that governs the overall flow of the level, but its brief enough when it strikes and consistent enough in its strikes that the pace doesn’t suffer for it. The music is right-on, too.
120.) What is the lotus directly above the player’s starting position supposed to accomplish? Seems like a waste of time.
121.) The red flower platforms could use a red color that pops more - I had no idea they were platforms the first time through, and even after learning so I still got surprised when I would land on them later on.
122.) Falling off the bottom of the stage causes the splashes to wrap around and appear off the top of the screen. Leeway can make a show of it by dashing as he falls.
123.) I found some V’s at the top of the screen, no idea what that’s about:
124.) Kadaal has a heck of a time
doing anything without upgrades
jumping off of the floating platforms in this level. He also needs the air-senku to be allowed to dodge off of them.
125.) There was a weird but consistent glitch that kept getting me killed - when standing on the far right of the third floating platform after the midway point, I would get hurt an instant before the warning flash, well before the entrance of the bolt itself. Very strange.
126.) The growing vine sprite that must be produced to grab the last Yoshi Coin has a platform piece for a head.
127.) There seem to be three “lines” of swimmable water at the bottom of the level. Kadaal can swim through the top line, but seems to fall through the next line down as though it were air. Inching up to the bottom boundary of this line, Kadaal can enter a state in which holding Up splashes rapidly without allowing him to move upwards and out of the water, at any horizontal position. Moving down a bit and then moving up with some momentum is enough to “break through.”
128.) The background for this sublevel just imploded for some reason:
129.) There’s a wooden decoration that seems to be used exactly once before the pipe to the midway point. No real point to make, just seems like a lonely piece of architecture.
Tower of Storms
130.) I actually quite liked this level, too. The tileset is, as always, very well drawn; the music explodes out of the gate with the crazy organ piece before calming down, and it makes quite the impression. My only gripe is the stage’s length - you get one pre-boss checkpoint, and there’s a great big pile of stuff on either side of it. I have to say, though, long as it is, dying in this stage didn’t feel like a colossal setback that made me want to stop playing, so you must be doing something right.
131.) Similar to the Living Garden example, there seems to be a seldom heard piano tune in the BGM that’s easy to cut apart with sound effects. Glitch, or feature?
132.) Why did the level feel it right to taunt me with a “PLAYER FAIL!” every time I died? None of the other levels were this rude.
133.) Upon dying with anybody, the level will suddenly shift about and tear for some reason.
134.) Mario has a bad fireball palette in this level.
135.) I wasn’t able to reproduce this, but I used Kadaal’s shell slide attack to strike the first red dance koopa, and it’s shell turned blue. I haven’t seen this before or since.
136.) Why are there two spike tops at the beginning of this level? They don’t really fit in, and they aren’t used anywhere else for the entire rest of the stage.
137.) Dance koopas had a habit of going invisible, sometimes for a full second and change, upon being damaged. Even if the shelless koopa were knocked out of the shell, both shell and koopa could disappear.
138.) It wasn’t until I reached the dance machine on the bricks at the end of the first segment that I even saw that the dance machines were visible sprites. I don’t know how you’re set for palette space, but the sprite itself is pretty dull (and kinda ugly, but it’s 8 x 16, I’m not looking for miracles).
139.) Blue kicker koopas spawned from dance koopas… Don’t seem to actually kick shells.
140.) The “dance machine settings” sign disappears while you read it. Hardly an issue, but it’s there.
141.) Server galoombas have a nasty habit of depositing the player on any surface they bump into. Annoying if they plop you on the ground you just walked off of or onto some spikes, but dangerous if they start doing this:
Happens to all characters.
142.) Dance pads don’t care if you’re busy getting hurt or pausing the game - the dance will continue regardless. Certainly thematic, but not really fair.
143.) The “dancing” state is a lot like dialogue in the Home Base - you can kind of do anything, even if it’s not appropriate. Mario can spin jump right before touching a panel to jerk back and forth in a weird pose for a second, and Left/Right inputs cause him to bob up and down as if walking.
144.) Kadaal is able to senku-attack dance pads - he’ll freeze on contact, dance, then vault off once dance-state is cleared.
145.) Some (but, oddly, not all) dance pads are able to be killed with shells. The very first pad is invincible, but the pads pre- and post-midway point are not, for example. A killed pad can simply mean getting stuck, if it isn’t touched at any point. Touching a pad after killing it may only pull a few inputs of the rhythm minigame or it may pull all of them, but the game will never end and the dance state will never be cleared. If the player hasn’t completed the level, this is a softlock.
146.) If Mario touches a shell-invincible dance pad while holding a shell, he will be forced to kick the shell, generally bouncing it off a wall and hurting him as he cannot move.
147.) Some of Mario’s dance frames contain glitchy tiles (I believe they were the “climbing behind net” poses).
148.) What’s the point of the “this is the high level dance floor” message? I’m generally jumping over to attack the green dance koopa when the level freezes to bring me this amazingly trivial fact. Can’t this be a sign, instead?
149.) In the Yoshi Coin bonus room, the cultist riding the server galoomba rocks back and forth violently while readying his magic.
150.) In this picture, Mario has built a little shelter inside of this cultist’s head:
I get what you were going for with the “top hitbox is mask, bottom is enemy proper,” and how changing that would take some of the bite out of your gimmick, but this is kind of a stretch, here.
151.) If one is able to land directly in the middle of both dance pads under the midway point at the same time, the player is allowed to play one rhythm minigame to destroy both walls.
152.) This picture shows Kadaal, jumping as high as he can (unupgraded) off of the net:
Am I missing something, or can he not finish this level without upgrades? I asked this question of Von Fahrenheit in general terms:
Originally posted by Von Fahrenheit (Discord)
Think very carefully about your decision on this matter.
3.) In the first two realms you should be able to beat any level with any character. Some upgrades might be required in later realms.
Having a character reach a certain obstacle only to be told, “nope, can’t do it with this guy yet, kill yourself and come back with somebody you don’t want to play right now” - I consider that sloppy design, personally. Your project, your call, just… Bear the matter in mind as you move forward.
153.) In the pre-boss chamber, slowly inching up the right wall with Leeway could game the autoscroll into thinking he was on the top level, resulting in the camera shoving Leeway through the wall. If the level has not been cleared, the result is a softlock. Any character can make this happen easily, in fact, by simply standing on the second last platform on the right.
Lakito and Lakita
154.) NO GAME THAT CLAIMS TO BE THE GREATEST ANYTHING IS ALLOWED TO HAVE NON-SKIPPABLE DIALOGUE. PERIOD. (I would also accept, “not skippable but you can advance through it as quickly as you can hit the button.”)
155.) The boss appears to be garbled up for a second upon entry. Leeway specific?
156.) Getting killed by this boss yields a glitched out “GAME OVER” type message.
157.) The same problem that exists with dance pads and pausing the game returns here to the surprise of nobody.
158.) I noticed that Leeway could grab onto the sides of the screen in this fight (thank you for this, a very necessary mercy). Only… The bosses accelerated so fervently towards the side of the screen that they just left and never came back, making the fight unwinnable.
159.) Any spiny eggs summoned in this fight can be burned by Mario’s fireballs, after which they just kinda do what they were doing, but now they can’t be burned anymore. Better to just make them fire-immune to begin with, maybe with a palette change to match.
160.) It’s possible for the wind blast attack to begin with the lakitus forming a spark between them, then rushing to the other side of the castle - this is really really hard to dodge, and is basically hopeless as Mario. That attack in general is actually pretty brutal.
161.) If Mario happens to be ducking when the boss starts its final updraft spiny storm attack, he gets to enjoy a smaller hitbox for that segment.
Originally posted by me, in a different timeline
This boss is incredibly demanding, and is in no stretch of the imagination “SMB3 world 2 boss” tier. They have a ton of complex, unique attacks, and their general movement pattern is highly tricky and difficult to damage. Trying to damage them without getting hurt yourself is basically a game of chance, and it’s all punctuated by a rhythm game to pad things out.
… This is what my rant would have been. Then I tried counting how many hits this boss took to be defeated.
Zero. Zero hits. This is an endurance boss, BUT YOU NEVER TOLD ME SO AAAAAAHHHHH
. Maybe someone thinks this is a fun twist - not I. This ain’t good design, as I maimed myself on these two over and over again trying to up my DPS in between dance-offs. They even play the “damaged” sound effect and start flashing when you jump on them! Is there something else going on here? If you hurt them enough, do they do something different? If not, please find a way to communicate that there is nothing to be gained by assuming the risks of attacking the boss. Even as an endurance boss, this still doesn’t seem like Realm 2 material. New players are probably not even fluent with the characters yet, and now they have to fight this complicated animal while being allowed one
mistake (pending upgrade availability)?
163.) I have to say, I didn’t really invest a whole lot of time into exploring this encounter. That said, the effort put into this guy is just bonkers. He’s so darn fluid, his attacks are constant but generally fair, and he has a crazy phase 2 to boot. What realm is he intended for? (Please say it's, like, 4 at the absolute least!)
164.) Does King’s fireball attack get executed at random, or is it on a cycle I failed to notice? If it’s random, I recommend giving it a bigger tell and a longer startup - I took many hits from leaving the ground aiming for his head only for him to open his mouth as I was descending and spit fire on me, turning a clean hit into a damage trade (spoiler - he’s way healthier than I am).
165.) I’m curious how Mario is supposed to fight this beast (didn’t get to try, which I believe was intended) - he lacks Kadaal’s senku and Leeway’s “hang on the wall and attack when I feel like it.” Having to execute a perfect four-tile-high leap through a firestorm in a field of deadly earthquakes sounds… Fffffun.
166.) Getting killed by King yields a glitched out “GAME OVER” type message.
(004), (043), (078), (092), (145), (153) and (158) are the most serious points to address (softlocks, data loss and unwinnable situations).
And that’s that. All of the things. I spent a great many hours on playtesting and reviewing this game, and I did so willingly because I fully trust you to make something of it. Hopefully all of this grants you some perspective, and some encouragement. If you need any clarification on something or what have you, please ask! Eminus, PercentN, Ruberjig and Von Fahrenheit - Team Välfärd - keep up the outstanding work!