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Super Mario MF: Fan Edition Review; Decent Idea Marred by Horrible Physics

Posted by Nin3DS, in Fan Game/Hack/SMBX Reviews 15 November 2013 · 997 views

Usually, you can tell whether a fan game or ROM hack is a decent enough title based on the screenshots and media. Bad ones usually have a whole bunch of terrible clashing graphics and a generally unprofessional look, good ones usually look like they've been made to some sort of competent standard.

Super Mario MF: Fan Edition is an exception to this rule. Indeed, forget all the other games people bring up as being examples of style over substance, this title is pretty much the ultimate example. And it's completely unintentional on the creator's part.

So what's bad about the game? Why is this amazing looking game nowhere near as good as the screenshots and media promise? Keep reading to find out!

Graphics

Aesthetically, Super Mario MF: Fan Edition is a decent enough game, with mostly well ripped and assembled tiles from different games and a look very much remniscient of both Mushroom Kingdom Fusion and Super Mario Fusion Revival (aka its direct influences).

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Now admittedly, it's not perfect here. Some animations weren't ripped, meaning the overworld can look a bit flat and dead as a result, and a couple of the later worlds use somewhat JPEG style graphics for things like maps in ways that don't look 100% pleasant.

But for the most part, this is a decent enough game in terms of graphics, with some nice tileset and sprite choices and a generally polished feel to it.

8/10

Music/Sound

The music on the other hand, is where the somewhat poor construction of this game starts to show through a bit. You see, while the music is mostly well chosen MP3s from the games this thing is based off (which explains the ridiculous 100+ MB file size of the whole deal), not all the music files used are very good ones.

This is very noticeable in world 3 and 4, with a Sonic the Hedgehog series song that seems to be set to loop after about 20 seconds at the most (hence it's the most annoying bit of a modern Sonic tune set to keep replaying until your mind dies of the torture or you enter a level) and a Doom song which again, loops after about 30 seconds. Which for that matter, is the same bloody song from Mushroom Kingdom Fusion, which is used properly in said other game.



Except with only about 30 seconds worth of the song looping over and over. There are also some blatantly poor song choices, like the use of Bowser's Paper Mario theme in his castle (it both doesn't suit and blatantly loops at one point too).

6/10

Gameplay

Where this game truly crashes and burns though is here, in the ever important gameplay part of things.

Put simply, the engine is absolute crap and the game comes crashing down because of it.

This is most noticeable in Mario (and the other characters) movement. Long story short, they move like they're swimming through gravy or maple syrup, with their movement speed awkwardly juddering between 'too slow' and 'too fast' without much in between. Add a jump which seems to be more like shooting straight up with minimal horizontal movement and a really imprecise feel to the thing, and you have a complete recipe for disaster.

But wait, there's more! In addition to a bad engine with poor jump physics and movement speed, you also get such awkward issues as:

Mario flying upwards when he hits an enemy wrong.
Platforms that don't move Mario with them, forcing him to completely walking with them in order to not fall off into the abyss.
Many glitches involving walls and blocks that cause the main character to get stuck in them and have to mash buttons to get out.
A scrolling pipe in level 2 that doesn't work at all, making the level unwinnable by legitimate means.
No invisible boundary at the edge of a level, meaning that Mario can fly off screen past the camera view and fall to his doom immediately (since the ground stops at the edge of the part the camera is focused on).

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I got stuck here. Forever. Had to reset.

In addition to this, the thing is absolutely littered with engine quirks and kind of poorly coded enemies, like Bullet Bill Blasters that fire when you're either on top of them or standing right next to their edge, Thwomps that fall at about double the speed they do in Super Mario Bros 3 or Super Mario World and enemies in general that sometimes don't detect you've jumped on them (killing you instead of them).

It's then capped off with the matter of the level design, which is honestly kind of poor. Flat ground is in abundance, and used to stretch out levels, tricky jumps and dangerous enemies are introduced far too soon into the game and in general, it just feels like the levels and things are too hard and take too long for the point in the game in which they're encountered. Add some completely Schizophrenic difficulty caused by a complete lack of a real difficulty curve, and you've got a game which is just ridiculous infuriating compared to any other fan game I've ever played. Heck, I'm positively sure the first Disney level in world 6 or so was actually easier than most of the later Mushroom Kingdom ones in world 1!

Indeed, the fact these bugs exist and are so problematic is kind of a massive shame when you consider what the game designer was going for and how much effort was put into making this thing. I mean, you've got four interesting characters with unique abilities (Mario, Luigi, Sonic and Mickey Mouse), a whole bunch of enemies from about fifty different franchises and endless amounts of elements that could have been assembled into a decent game, and they ended up wasted in something like this, a half finished, buggy mess that's mostly unplayable.

It's made even worse when you realise that this could have basically been Mushroom Kingdom Fusion, except with Disney stuff in it. Yeah, you heard that right, Disney characters and worlds were meant to be in this.

What ones?

Well, I actually say what appeared to be unfinished level slots based on Pirates of the Caribbean, Aladdin and the Nightmare Before Christmas! Yeah really.

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So we could have seen Mario fighting enemy pirates and the Kraken and Davy Jones alongside Captain Jack Sparrow and the crew. Talk about an idea that could have been freaking amazing!

Unfortunately, this looks like it'll never come to pass, because not only is the game a bit of a flop with poorly done engine and physics, but the game has seemingly been cancelled long before the Pirates and Nightmare Before Christmas levels shown on the world map had even started development. A shame.

As a result of this, I can only give the game a 4/10 score for gameplay, because the ideas are held back by a badly coded engine with lots of limitations and irritating bugs.

Length/Value

But let's assume for some reason you wanted to play this thing. How much stuff is there to do in this game?

Answer? A decent amount. World 1 seems to be 100% complete, world 2 is about 50% complete, world 4 is about 40% complete... and then it just gets less from there, with the Disney and Space worlds only have one completed level each.

Of course, that only assumes you'd have the patience to get through the hellish stages in this thing. Me? No way in hell. The levels are too long, too infuriatingly difficult and stingy enough in power ups that I don't think anyone would find it plausible to get through even the Mushroom Kingdom area without losing their sanity. It's just too unfair.

6/10

Conclusion

Super Mario MF: Fan Edition is an interesting attempt at a crossover in the sense of Mushroom Kingdom Fusion and Super Mario Fusion Revival. It has Disney stuff, interesting ideas for levels and some decent level mechanics.

However, the absolutely appalling engine and the terrible physics that come with it make the whole thing into an unplayable, infuriating mess that just isn't that fun to play. Sorry people, but this game is just not entertaining. A massive waste of potential.

4/10