The 'Shroom:Issue LXXXVIII/Critic Corner

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Director's Notes Palkia47 (talk)

Hiyasss Shroomersss!

Welcome to the special July issue of the ‘Shroom, and specifically, Critic Corner! With this issue, I am pleased to introduce our newest writer, bloo52 (talk), who will be writing his own version of Marioverse Reviews, titled “Bloo’s Reviews”. I hope you all will enjoy his new section and his upcoming work! ^_^;

Section of the Month

We had a small voter turnout for last issue, and between the head-to-head battle of Pyro and guest-writer GalacticPetey, Pyro came out victorious with 6 votes, while GalacticPetey came up close with 4! Both sections were amazing, so kudos to the both of you! (:

Mario Reviews

Bloo52 makes his debut with Superstar Saga!
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Pyro tackles the fangame-made world of Mario!
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Non-Mario Game Reviews
Opinion Pieces
Non-Game Reviews

Bloo’s Reviews bloo52 (talk)

Hello everyone, Bloo52 here with Bloo's Reviews. Today, I will be reviewing the classic Mario game, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga for the Gameboy Advance. About two weeks ago, my birthday happened and one of my friends got me a nintendo eshop card. After looking through the online titles and finding most of them were above my price range, I discovered that a few Gameboy games had gotten re-released on Virtual Console, one of which happens to be Superstar Saga. Having never played the game myself, I decided to buy it and give it a try based on all the positive reception I had heard about the game. The game opens with an ambassador from the Beanbean Kingdom meeting Princess Peach to give her a gift, which turns out to be a ruse. The "ambassador" is actually the evil beanish witch, Cackletta and her "assistant" is actually Cackletta's assistant, Fawful. The two then steal Princess Peach's voice and then leave to head for the Beanbean Kingdom. The game then cuts to Mario and Luigi's house, where a toad goes inside to find Mario, only to see him naked in the shower. The surprised toad then runs into a wall and Mario, hearing the noise, goes to investigate. After hearing the toad mumbling about Peach, Mario & Luigi head off the the castle, and the adventure begins.

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga is a turn-based RPG with some platforming and puzzles sprinkled in. The combat is very simple at first with only one attack, jumping, but you will learn the hammer move later in the game, as well as the bros. attacks. The way you attack in this game is that you select the attack and then you press the button at a specific time to do more damage(such as when you are right above an enemy while jumping or when your hammer is all the way back when using the hammer attack). Another interesting is that the Mario Bros. have different buttons for each bro. Mario attacks with the A button and Luigi attacks with the B button. They also use those buttons to perform actions in the overworld such as the spin jump or the hammer attack. As well as doing more damage with specifically timed button presses, you can also dodge enemy attacks with them, which I really liked because it offered a chance for skilled players to beat even the toughest of bosses with a couple of dodging techniques and bros. attacks. The bros. attacks are special moves that require both Mario and Luigi to perform, so if one of them is knocked out, you can not use a bro attack unless you revive the fallen brother. The bros attacks take button imputs from both brothers, so they might be hard to pull off at first, but they can deal a lot of damage if you time it right.

One of the things I like about this game is the writing. Some of the lines made me chuckle, especially the lines from Fawful. I also enjoyed the puzzles in the game, even though they were a bit easy. It was also cool that each enemy had a different way of choreographing each different attack they had, such as saying something inred or green or making a certain sound. It really makes you want to pay attention the the enemies so you can master their attack pattern and hopefully get in a counterattack.

While the majority of this game is great fun, there are a few things I didn't like about the game. I think that the combat, while fun, can be a bit repetitive at times, especially when you have to fight the same enemies over and over again. I also think the game too linear and doesn't really offer any incentives for exploring besides beans which you can make into coffee at the Starbeans Cafe in the castle town. Also, while the game is very fun, it can get very difficult, which isn't a bad thing, but trust me, you should always have some 1-up mushrooms on you just in case.

Overall, I really liked Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga for its story, writing, and most of all, the wondrous gameplay. While I think the game can be repetitious and linear at times, the pros definitely out-weigh the cons, so this game gets an 9.5 out of 10. If you don't understand numbers as ratings, then what i'm trying to say is that you should buy this game. See you all next month!

Fangame Reviews Pyro (talk)

Welcome, welcome, friends, to a very special Critic Corner section in a very special issue. I will be seeking out current fangames on the website [MFGG url]Mario Fan Games Galaxy[/url] or MFGG for short. On this website you can find a wide variety of fan-made Mario games of wildly varying quality, from gaming masterpieces like Psycho Waluigi to utter garbage like Mario Minigame Mania. I'll be covering fangames of any sort of quality, type, gameplay, you name it. This iteration of Fangame Reviews will include the following games: Super Mario 2D Land, Green 'Stache, and Super Mario Bros & The Midas Machine. All of these are demos.

You've always wanted control over Mario, right? Build your own levels, yada yada yada. Most people who are desperate for this will likely turn to premade engines such as Hello's or Catzee's and be able to make levels with an incredibly minimal amount of effort (and usually, quality). This accurately describes Super Mario 2D Land. For some reason, after release of DrageeZeeY's Mario Engine 7, some people got the idea that since it's not Hello Engine, making clones is fine. No, it's not. This fangame goes for no originality at all. You know you're in for a bad time when the game presents you with an incredibly unappealing title screen with a logo that was made in ten seconds in MS Paint. Oh, and it still has the exact same disclaimer from the engine...yeah, zero-effort. Upon starting a game, you're thrown to the world map, where you learn that for some reason the "unlock exits with Z" debug feature was not removed. The first level...isn't too bad, although for some reason it's playing a MIDI of New Super Mario Bros.' athletic theme. The second level aboveground cave? It has a cave and grass background at the same time. Mmkay. Suddenly, after the second level, any sort of effort or quality goes down the toilet. The third level is a vertical one, and instead of doing something smart and using trampolines and platforming challenges, you get to traverse random floating platforms mostly copy-pasted and ride very sloooow moving platforms with very loooooong paths. I barely made it to the exit, with only 13 seconds left on the clock. The fourth level ice level. In a grass world. There's nothing even remotely special about it - just another level. Plus, this level is incredibly short. The fifth level is a BEACH level, which starts off with a Cheep Cheep glitching above the water and floating. Due to this, the level is called "WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CHEEP CHEEPS ?@4@%4463@@!!" or something like that. Here's a tip - lampshading the problems doesn't make them go away. The beach level is also boring, short, and generic. The castle, firstly, plays the athletic theme of all themes, and I guess it goes for somewhat of an overarching gimmick with the extending platforms...? There isn't even a boss fight, either, just a bunch of unneccesary enemies and an exit. I don't think I need to play any more of this to know what it's like...and with 2-Castle's name being "Castle of Average", I don't want to find out. Most likely, they're hacked-together, boring, generic levels using objects that came with the engine...

On a more positive note, I played a short demo of Green 'Stache. The plot, as said on the site, is as follows: King Boo has gone insane, driving his own followers away. In desperation, they come to Luigi for help to find out what King Boo is up to. The demo is very short; only five or so levels of not very long length; but still, the gameplay is great. It's basically normal Mario - run n' stomp. Luigi, however, can find Boos that grant him special abilities to help him defeat foes and solve puzzles. The red Boo lets him shoot fireballs, killing enemies and melting ice blocks, the green Boo grants Luigi a double jump, and the blue Boo allows him to throw hammers in an arc, activating switches. The first three levels show off these Boos in a way so they're properly introduced instead of "Hey! Here's some stuff, figure it out". The last two levels really make use of these three - you have to switch between Boos to solve puzzles and defeat enemies blocking your path. The game also includes "L Emblems", special items that are collectible like Star Coins. They're not hidden very well, as I found them all with no problem - this isn't really a flaw though, as I assume the demo is the first world. If you collect them all, you are given a rank; "L" is the highest. However, before you are ranked, there's a boss fight...and that's a big flaw of the demo. The boss fight, as far as I could tell, was a standard Boom-Boom fight. The boss has a ton of health at first glance, but since there is a Red Boo in the arena, the fireballs can make his healthbar disappear. It's a very boring fight and it shows that this game would work better as a puzzle platformer. If there still are bosses in the next demo/final version, I hope for them to be puzzle bosses instead of "spam the X button" bosses.

Now for the last fangame - Midas Machine. This fangame is incredibly profilic in that it used to have its own subforum on the MFGG board. The graphics, music, programming, levels are all original, giving the game a fresh feel only matched by Psycho Waluigi, the greatest Mario fangame out there. The music is catchy and very relaxing, although I was quite disappointed that the old grass theme was replaced, so I outright got the .OGG file from the older demo and replaced the new .OGG file with the old one (this concludes Pyro's Story Time). I played a good chunk of the levels - six of them, if I recall. I decided to stop playing after the game unexpectedly crashed after bouncing on a lot of trampolines in quick succession (This is NOT the game's problem, it's Windows . The controls are great - it's not too floaty or stiff, and they're configurable. Despite that, swimming It feels very heavy and floaty, so much that if you mash the jump button you'll go rocketing into the ceiling or an enemy. TIt's not that bad, though, it just needs some adjusting. You can play as Mario, who can walljump, or Luigi, who has a Super Jump ability. I understand that you can also play as Wario and Waluigi in the demo, but I did not play up to that point. A common point in many existing reviews is that the level design isn't perfect and could use some polish, but I don't really think the levels are too bad. However, again, I played six levels. The game includes a function called the "DSe", a device made by none other than Professor E. Gadd. With this nifty device, you can answer calls, take snapshots, configure options, and use items to recover health. These items can be earned in Mystery Boxes. There's also a new helper buddy, named Takko, who pops out of a vine...bud...thing and follows you. You can hold down the jump button for the Takko to help you float down. It can also be powered up into Fire Takko, which allows it to shoot fireballs. Probably the best part about this game are the graphics - they're pretty, Mario-like, and look great. The graphics really add to the experience in this one.

Overall, the first was terrible and the other two were great.

Super Mario 2D Land: 1/10

Green Stache: 7/10

Midas Machine: 9/10

If you enjoyed this section, check out MFGG itself for waaaay more fangames, and if you have a fangame you'd like me to check out, tell me on my talk page or PM me on the forums. See ya!

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