Please forgive the recent lack of updates. Major events in my offline life have taken precedence, but I hope to get back into my regular groove now.
Justin and I have been playing through Super Demo World– or rather, I’ve been playing while Justin looked on and made fun of me for falling into pits and getting chomped by piranha plants. Super Demo World: The Legend Continues is a hack of Super Mario World that incorporates many elements from Super Mario Bros. 3, and feels a bit like an extension of both. Although it’s “just” a fan hack, it’s a complete game by itself, and every bit as engrossing as the original SMW.
We haven’t quite gotten 100% yet, though we are close; this game is tricky. It was supposed to be “an example of what [the hacking tool] Lunar Magic can do”, but in fact it’s also an example of what SMW’s own game rules could do, and didn’t. The structure of SMW, the available possibilities, the items and techniques, weren’t fully explored even in as many levels as the game had, and SDW takes it to the next level by exploring a large handful of those– feats we might have been asked to pull off in SMW, but weren’t. Add to this various nostalgic homages to SMB3 and a trick or two from SMB1, as well as a scattering of new items to keep things fresh, and you get the feel of a game designed by people who loved the original games inside and out, and knew what made them great.
Of course, the game doesn’t take itself so seriously that it’s above humour. The original plot, rescuing the unhatched baby Yoshi eggs from Bowser’s evil clutches, has turned into a mildly disturbing quest for breakfast omelettes. And the ending– well, you’ll have to see that for yourself. It’s not worth more than a suggestion of parental guidance, but seeing my childhood skewered was not my favourite part of the game. I doubt anyone would find it upsetting, at least no more than a peeing Calvin sticker on the back of someone’s SUV; it’s simply aimed towards a dark sense of humour that I unfortunately do not share, but which may amuse many players; so, let that be your guideline for suitability.
I would highly recommend this game to anyone who grew up on SMB3 or SMW; it strikes just the right balance between challenging enough for an experienced player, and easy enough to be reasonably completed. The developers clearly wanted people to find the secrets; they just didn’t want to make it too easy. “Oh no, they didn’t!” sums up my reaction to the skills required, an expression of combined appreciation, enthusiasm, and gaping dismay; but I was never really stuck beyond my ability to proceed. And, after all, the developers knew when they designed it that gamers might make use of save states, so I consider them fair game. In the end, I’m simply glad for the chance to further explore the horizon of possibilities.
[Edit: We’ve now completed all 120 exits. It was satisfying.]