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Super Mario World

スーパーマリオワールド

Developer / Publisher: Nintendo
21 November 1990
Super Mario World [スーパーマリオワールド] - cover art
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4.19 / 5.0
0.5
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2,950 Ratings / 7 Reviews
#58 All-time
#1 for 1990
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Mario and Luigi must travel across Dinosaur Island to rescue Princess Toadstool from King Koopa and his nefarious Koopa Kids where they'll meet new friends like the rideable Yoshi and explore new worlds from mystical green forests to dark crystal caves!
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One of those games you play when you're six and when you're twenty six.
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Im a heretic
I really am, or i feel like it when i see the rating of this one and my feeling towards it. A bit of context: i played this one 2 years ago, and at that time it was the first super mario i had played. I really dislike it back then, and coming back to it now i quickly remember why. Back then i managed to reach World 3 before giving up, and it took me a couple of hours and save states to get there. IM just astonishingly bad at Mario game. Its odd because i can actually perservere through other 2d platformers that have reputation of being hard, but Mario is the one i can never beat. I think that not being able to beat is also because i dislike the core gameplay and have less incentive to keep going at it. Super Mario World isnt as floaty and slippery as the previous Super Mario titles, but it still is far too much for me. I feel that the game is trolling me at some points. Or at least that's the way i view the challenges it offers. They are difficult sure, but unlike in other games, in this one i get really frustrated by dying. Part of this is because i realize that the game is not that hard, and the other is because i know that i only have a very finite number of lives to beat this. And when the challenge is finally overcome, i get no sense of satisfaction out of it, at least nowhere near what i feel after finally beating a Super Meat Boy level. Simply put, at no point i felt like i was having fun instead of simply forcing my way through it.

Besides the gameplay, the visuals and sound have always done very little for me. Im clearly not the intended audience, but the overly greenish and joyful setting is sort of grating for me. Specially since you much it contrasts with the difficulty i am having playing this. The same could be said about the cute sound of the game. Storywise there is nothing to hold on to here.

Overal Super Mario World is one of those games that i can appreciate what it does right. Its ability to show off new mechanics every few levels and it keeps offering creative level design all the way through. Its a challenging game that every fan of 2d platformer should try, but unfortunatly its just not the game for me. It fails for me in terms of gameplay, audiovisual design and narratively.
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Threntall 2016-06-22T20:28:28Z
2016-06-22T20:28:28Z
2.5
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Super Mario World feels a rather bizarre coming directly after SMB3 for a few reasons for the ways it can be seen as such a significant step forward and back at the same time for the way the series was exploring. On one hand, the presentation and general level design is a much smoother ride overall, shedding the last janky remnants of the NES as it gracefully makes its transition over to the 16-bit era. At the same time however, there are a lot of elements that feel like strict downgrades that lead to a game that feels like it clearly went more for a polished experience as opposed to the wildly bold and ambitious nature of SMB3, with a lot of the more unusual elements taking place feeling more along the lines of being a bit strange rather than instantly feeling like a cool and clever addition to the series. This isn't really to say that the game is bad be any means either, in fact, I do still prefer it to SMB3 for a few different reasons, but it's nonetheless interesting to see how such an endlessly iconic Mario title still ends up feeling like such a bizarre outlier in a lot of key areas when stacked against a lot of what else has gone on.

The most immediately apparent way in which this game improves upon SMB3 is with the movement of Mario himself. There's still a distinct sense of weight and momentum, but it's been tweaked in a few key places to stop the player from feeling as if they're slipping around a bit, instead having enough control to be made to feel reasonably confident in most situations thrown towards them while still having enough nuance to allow for some awesome manoeuvres. This is further elevated with tools such as the Yoshis and the cape feather being powerful enough to allow you to bypass sizeable portions of levels while keeping it feeling relatively balanced due to how easily this strategy will lead you to taking a hit and immediately having that power torn away. The way these different types of power are handled is an especially neat little shakeup to the formula that further adds to this sense of risk-reward while also allowing for greater flexibility. It's an idea that has quite a strong impact on the way levels are able to be designed without feeling outright frustrating too, with more specific moments that expect you to use a certain powerup for particular paths being feasible to include without horribly tanking the flow of everything.

These sections either being put on levels with multiple exits or simply to put down extra items further helps this by ensuring that you still feel like you're able to make progress even if you can't immediately access these areas that are out of reach. The level design in general just tends to have this rather strange quality about it for a lot of the best stages too, with a lot of moments that almost feel like something you'd find in a Mario Maker level, with so many slightly off ideas using existing mechanics rather than explicitly making something wholly unique to fulfil this one purpose. It works really well for the most part too, usually leading to a sort of vibe where you're always slightly on your toes because you're just not entirely sure which convention will be mildly messed with next and where you should potentially look to find another secret. I love how the very first level of the game establishes this with the random giant bullet bill that comes out of seemingly nowhere as the player runs through a mostly flat field with a few enemies scattered around. It's such an interesting way to kick off a game even if it doesn't especially follow a lot about what one might expect an opening level to involve. Really the main problem is the fact that the game is perhaps a bit too cursory with some of the entirely unique mechanics they bring in with the way they often serve as such minute obstacles that never get expanded upon and end up never moving past the initial phase of being introduced to the player. While it's a bit of a double edged sword, where you want to include a decent variety of scenarios for the player to deal with while also organically increasing the complexity of what's already there, I definitely get the feeling that this just led that tiny bit further into the former category.

I'd also say that there are a few too many levels that feel like rather uninspired experiences, especially a lot of the fully linear ones where it becomes a more pure platforming exercise. This is especially egregious with the autoscrollers, which move at a snail's pace and often set the player up in such a way that they're likely to get caught off guard by something they could not have forseen. I'd honestly say that this is the worst the autoscrollers have been in the series from what I've played, as while the amount of them in SMB3 was pretty ludicrous, it at least came with some seriously imposing atmosphere and they helped contribute to the final world being as wonderfully memorable as it was, where comparatively, these ones just embody all of the most infamous elements of them and roll them up into one huge ball of boredom and mild frustration. On the topic of other steps backwards in the series, I find it bizarre how this game feels like it focuses on gaining extra lives as strongly as it does, especially after the way that the significance of them had already been de-emphasised in SMB3. Making most of the optional challenges just provide extra lives just takes some of the value away from such ideas, especially since the game is both relatively easy and also has multiple quick and easy ways to gain a ton of 1-ups. The decision to do things this way is also incredibly off the mark when taking into account the way that both lives and points don't seem to transfer over in-between play sessions, which ends up undermining a lot of the reward of exploring to begin with when your prizes fade the moment you want to fully put the game down.

With all that said, with all the complaining I've done, I still think that this is absolutely the best Super Mario game I've played so far, because while it might be lacking in a few regards that stop it from fully coming together, especially with the last world being fairly weak and there being a handful of truly horrendous stages, this is such a comfy game with an amazing foundation that breathes life into so many interactions, no matter how small. It's a great time and one that undoubtedly has the power to make me want to return to this for another chill playthrough almost immediately, and I'm glad that I finally got around to playing it for the first time after so long.
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Kempokid 2022-10-28T14:36:01Z
2022-10-28T14:36:01Z
4.0
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*The* 2D platformer, and *the* Mario game. This is the result of meticulous consideration crossed with love and care. Perfection.
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mcluskyism 2021-06-30T13:28:27Z
2021-06-30T13:28:27Z
5.0
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Standing out from the crowd of platformers (not just in terms of popularity), Super Mario World engineered a brand of world structure that was only superficially linked to the level sequences of old, pairing SMB's secret exits with SMB3's hub map to form an alien approach that favored exploration over parkour challenge. In devising these new level exits and branching paths, the powerups of before now shared a similar function with Metroid upgrades in this regard (notably the cape, which expands on SMB3's tanuki ability, and Yoshi's range of special abilities); utilizing the same means to reach different ends. To account for this, their tentative nature was counterbalanced by its force level-quit and powerup reserve features, ostensibly designed to further reduce the difficulty in an already kid-friendly series. What results is a glorious contradiction: Pseudo-linearity, non-linear progression in an otherwise very linear format, where players forge winding trails that converge to a single endpoint. Effectively, that newfound mission reinvented platformer stages according to their own quasi-open logic: These are more than just levels, these are large, Metroid-esque corridors whose 'secrets' are gateways to a jungle of detours, alternate areas and bonus levels that unveil the true world in small doses. This masterwork - a perfect balance between 2D Mario's straightforward charm and the sandbox exploration of their future, has every right to be listed among the vital forerunners of Metroidvania. However, it surpassed that fledgling genre (and its own contemporaries) by awarding entire levels - not just upgrades, some of which were made strictly for benefits while others even led to secret worlds. A subversive yet monumental attack on the platformer stereotype, proving that the genre can extend beyond the 'point A to point B' format while retaining its linear, level-based foundations. Mario's degree of discovery already existed in the form of hidden, coin-filled areas, invisible blocks, the bonus houses of SMB3, or in the level-jumping of warp pipes, Mario World simply pushed those ideas to their limit.
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Blah_Blee 2021-06-30T16:22:20Z
2021-06-30T16:22:20Z
9 /10
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In the neverending debate on which Mario title deserves the immortal status of the best of the bunch, there is no unanimous pick. Whether the basis of the argument stems from a Mario title’s impact, influence, or objective quality, almost all of the early 2D Mario games are steep contenders. For many years, the game I fervently argued for was Super Mario Bros. 3., as it is arguably the most impressive sequel of all time. The level of quality SMB3 greatly surpasses the first game in every single aspect. Its level of quality also surpasses every single other game released for the NES, extending the limits of the system that gamers during the NES era didn’t think were possible. The game came out early enough in the series to overshadow the impact of the first game, a difficult feat considering it was the savior of the video game medium. Super Mario Bros. 3 is a gargantuan achievement in so many ways that it seems ludicrous to argue against it. However, that is what I’m going to do in this review in favor of its next-generation follow-up, Super Mario World. This is because I’ve deeply considered the role Mario has as the most notable video game series of all time, as a figurehead for the medium. I thought to myself; for those few who have never played a Mario game before, which one would be the most appropriate to start with? The key to Mario is a worldwide appeal, an accessible game that still offers something to more experienced players who yearn for a challenge. Super Mario World is the most appealing early 2D Mario game, and that’s why it reigns supreme over the others.

My evidence to back up this claim can be supported by an early commercial for Super Mario World. The emphatic voice-over claims that Super Mario World is “a bit more” than any Mario game that came before it, relating to several familiar aspects from the NES games. Everything mentioned signaled that this new iteration of Super Mario would be a grander experience, but this isn’t just because of its inherent nature as a sequel. Super Mario World was also a launch title for the SNES, the advanced new piece of hardware marketed as a direct sequel to the NES that Nintendo issued in 1990. Super Mario World wasn’t only meant to prolong Mario’s lifespan with another sequel, but to sell the new system. In many ways, the SNES itself was “a bit more” of everything that the NES was. Nintendo used Super Mario World as an example of what the SNES was capable of and why everyone should buy it. Considering the release of a new console is always a milestone for any video game company, the launch title they highlight needs to catch the attention of the consumer. Given Mario’s iconic status in the realm of gaming, launching the system with him seemed obvious, but Nintendo wasn’t just using Mario’s reputation to sell the SNES.

As the advertisement stated, everything about Super Mario World was “a bit more” than what people were familiar with regarding Mario. While the ad is trying to sway people into purchasing a product, it was undoubtedly correct. Super Mario World is an enhancement in every aspect from the NES games, especially in the graphics department. Up until the 16-bit generation, Mario’s sprites had never looked so crystal-clear. The revolutionary 16-bit sprites highlighted every feature on Mario’s body from his eyes, nose, mustache, red overalls, to his schlubby beer gut. The enhanced graphics add a heaping amount of character to the Italian plumber. In the process between four games in a short five years, Mario transformed from a rendered blob of reddish pixels into looking almost like a human being. The same kind of transformation applies to the familiar enemies from the previous games. The Goombas look less mushroom-like but have more pronounced facial characteristics. The Koopas are bipedal creatures now and they march around like the soldiers they are intended to be instead of crawling reptiles. Sometimes when Mario bonks them out of their shells, the Koopa will get visibly upset and throw his shell back at Mario if he gets a hold of it. It’s a small, but amusing detail that most likely couldn’t have been executed with 8-bit graphics. The Boos will cover their faces with their arms if they catch Mario glancing at them and the Thwomps have a range of angry faces that signify their mobile positions to crush Mario. New enemies such as the lava creature Blaarg could not be properly rendered due to the limited graphical capabilities of the NES, so we wouldn’t be able to see its demented facial features. Wigglers could’ve simply changed colors to signify their anger on the NES, but the steam that they expel from their noses coupled with their downward-facing eyebrows do it justice. The only character that is sadly not given more characteristics is Luigi who is still simply “green Mario” for the second player. The backgrounds are more exquisitely detailed with an array of clouds, hills, and blue skies making up the backgrounds of the levels. Darker levels set at night are more akin to a realistic nighttime sky rather than simply having a black background color. The cave levels have dimmed lighting with the twinkling of minerals in the background.

The graphics weren’t the only aspect of the Super Mario series that was enhanced with Nintendo’s new system. Mario has never controlled so smoothly as he did with this leap into the next generation. Mario still jumps under blocks with question marks and on the heads of his enemies, but his movement is so much tighter in Super Mario World. In the NES games, the jump detection tended to falter at times due to the restricted mechanics of the NES, but I never felt cheated by a jump that resulted in Mario’s untimely demise here because the control was much more fluid. The game also introduces a spin jump move relegated to another button that disposes of enemies more efficiently. The number of powerup items from Super Mario Bros. 3 has been greatly reduced. The mushroom, fire flower, and star from the first game all appear here, but the frog suit, leaf, tanooki suit, and hammer suit are all gone. Super Mario only includes two new power-ups, the cape, and the balloon. The balloon inflates Mario to a comical size as he soars like powerup just involves being filled with helium. The cape acts as an alternative for the leaf from Super Mario Bros. 3. It allows Mario to glide as well as lets him fly upward for a short period. However, no variation of the cape will allow the player to fly through the level with ease. The player has to flutter the cape in mid-air to do such a thing which takes some practice. Overall, the limited number of items compared to the smorgasbord that was presented in SMB3 is a more streamlined approach. This was a better decision on the developer’s part as many of the items in SMB3 were either used only once or could’ve been relegated to one powerup. A smaller number of powerups ensures that every one of them is useful and they are used frequently.

Another new feature that certainly makes Super Mario World more appealing is the inclusion of Yoshi, everyone’s favorite dinosaur with a voracious appetite. Mario discovers his first Yoshi trapped in a question box, and this Yoshi claims that Bowser has kept it and his entire race of Yoshi contained in tight boxes and Mario must save all of them. While saving all of the Yoshis isn’t a concise objective in the game, Mario encounters plenty of the cute, colorful creatures by hitting item boxes throughout the game. Mario rides around the island on the Yoshis as if they are his collective, trusted steeds. Not only can the Yoshi stomp on enemies like Mario, but they can also use their long, elastic tongues to grab enemies and eat them. If they weren’t so damn cute, this would be disturbing. Depending on the color of the Koopa shell a Yoshi has in its mouth, they obtain special powers like being able to fly and spit three fireballs. Another perk with riding a Yoshi is being able to withstand a hit. If the player gets hit with Yoshi, Yoshi will get upset and scurry off, leaving the player with a small chance to mount him again. Don’t get distressed over losing him though as the Yoshis seem disposable. I would hope Mario wouldn’t bash the head or sacrifice a true companion by having them fall under normal circumstances. Nevertheless, it’s obvious why Yoshi is aesthetically appealing, but his inclusion as a playable character gives the game an extra layer of depth to the gameplay.

With the enhanced graphics and gameplay in mind, I’m glad that a more expertly made world accommodates them. Super Mario World is set on an island called Dinosaur Land, which explains why Yoshis and other prehistoric-looking creatures roam these parts. It’s uncertain whether or not this island is a part of the Mushroom Kingdom, but it’s definitely unlike any other location from the previous Mario games. The layout of Dinosaur Island is much more widespread and intricately designed than the level maps of SMB3. The sections of Dinosaur Island are not designated by elemental themes, nor are they progressed through as tightly as the levels of SMB3. If the player presses pause at any point on the map, four arrows from all directions will guide the player around the entirety of the game. Dinosaur Island is one big world of levels with sections of it only partially dividing with subtle theming. Yoshi’s Island and Donut Plains are sections with sprawling green hills with sunny, tropical backdrops. Vanilla Dome takes place entirely in a twinkling cave, so the levels are danker and confined. Forest of Illusion takes place in the towering treetops of a forest so dense it exudes mystique. Chocolate Island is similar to Yoshi’s Island, but the earth of the land is colored brown like chocolate. I suppose it makes sense geographically considering Chocolate Island shares the same longitude as Yoshi Island. All of these sections have a varying number of levels with the bridge section only having a minuscule two. It’s a far cry from the sections of SMB3 which would have up to ten or twelve levels as the game progressed. While the number of levels isn’t as significant, Super Mario World makes up for it with quality. The overall layout of Dinosaur Island feels meticulously designed, much more so than the grid map that made up the worlds of SMB3. One could argue that the level variety is not as vast as what SMB3 offered, but I much prefer the more succinctly planned world design of Super Mario World because using the elements as themes would go on to be a tired cliche in the platformer genre.

One thing the early commercial did get wrong about Super Mario World was stating that the game was “a bit harder.” Super Mario World is much easier than any of the Mario games on the NES. A much-needed save feature that was absent in SMB3 is fully implemented here, and it is so relieving to have. However, the save feature can’t be used liberally as one has to progress to a certain point in the game to access it. The player can only save once they finish a ghost house or fortress level, and the save feature will pop up every time one of these is finished, even on repeated plays. While the save feature makes the game comparatively easier, the player still has to proverbially hold their breath and keep their guard up before they get a chance to save. There is also no steep difficulty curve present in Super Mario World. The difficulty curve in SMB3 was steady until world 7 catapulted it into the stratosphere with incredibly punishing levels with obtuse design. In Super Mario World, that difficulty progression never takes that leap and steadily increases at a sufficient rate. Super Mario World does offer a bit of obtuse level design, but not at the same degree as SMB3. The ghost houses are intentionally askew to accentuate the warped eeriness of the setting. Some of the fortress levels have a multitude of paths and exits that can verge on being indirect. Progression through the Forest of Illusion section isn’t straightforward as the player needs to unlock more paths through less than simple means. With all of this in mind, exploring off the beaten path to find other routes is fairly simple as they only require a bit of deviation to find. This is unlike the level of difficulty in the later sections of SMB3 which felt like the developers were trolling the player.

Unfortunately, one thing Super Mario World has in common with the previous games is that the bosses are still lackluster. Once again, the boss of each world is one of Bowser’s seven snotty, illegitimate children. The fortresses each Koopaling is held in at the end of a world is a swirling maze of varied booby traps with the danger of falling into lava as a consistent hazard. It’s a shame that the boss encounters at the end of each fortress aren’t treated with the same level of intricacy. There are three types of battles presented here, two for each Koopaling. Iggy and Larry position themselves on the edge of a teetering rock and the goal is to jump on them in one direction to make them fall in. Morton and Roy are fought in a caged-in setting where the cage gets tighter as the fight progresses. They will climb up the walls to drop on Mario which is incredibly easy to avoid. Lemmy and Wendy are found in an array of pipes positioned over lava and use decoys to throw off Mario like a game of Whack-A-Mole while a bouncing fireball ricochets overhead. The only Koopaling encounter that doesn’t involve any of these three is with Ludwig who feels like a more realized boss. I’m assuming the developers initially intended Ludwig to be the final Koopaling before Bowser but moved him to the bridge section due to its shorter length. Either or, his boss is still as painfully easy as the others. The one boss encounter in Super Mario World that stands out is Bowser as it eclipses any previous battle with him from the NES games. There is something so menacing about fighting him on a bridge with a black, empty background in the back with the face of his giant clown copter getting more devious as the fight goes on. He’s defeated by lobbing his Koopa wind-up toys back at him which might seem a tad silly, but the presentation here makes the fight seem so grand.

From what I’ve said about Super Mario World, its wide appeal might just come with its general accessibility. It’s a game that looks and plays fantastically, includes cuddly creature buddies, and is generally easier than the other Mario titles. Accessibility is a core aspect of Mario’s appeal, but all of this just makes Super Mario World sound like the demographic was intended for a younger, more casual audience. This is not the case however as the game’s worldwide appeal extends to more experienced gamers as well. I stated in my SMB3 review that I wished that the levels in world 7 were relegated to a special area. Super Mario World answers my wish with a section called Star World. In many of the levels from the base game, there are plenty of secrets located off of the beaten path that is accessed through exploring the levels a little more meticulously. Once they do this, the star road route offers an alternate pathway through the game that offers a more substantial challenge. The player will unlock extra levels, fight bosses that aren’t the Koopalings (which are still easy), and gain extra rewards. Star Road will then unlock a series of challenge levels expertly crafted by the developers. These levels are just as hard as the world 7 levels from SMB3 but are optional for those who seek the pinnacle of Mario's difficulty. Star Road is like a roundabout difficulty selection that can only be accessed by those who are worthy of facing it. For those who aren’t up to the challenge, the game can be finished regardless. This organic way of providing appropriate difficulty for all players is brilliant, earning its appeal through accessibility instead of watering down the experience.

I can’t believe I thought Super Mario Bros. 3 was the supreme Mario title for so long. After reevaluating both games many years after initially playing them, Super Mario World is the clear winner of the crown. Super Mario World almost seems like the dominant 2D Mario game based on a scale of objectivity. The 16-bit graphics, smoother gameplay, better level design, and more varied level of playability are more than enough proof to come to this conclusion. My reasoning for arguing in favor of Super Mario Bros. 3 was on the merits of being impressive for an NES game, but Super Mario World is on a whole other level of quality. Super Mario Bros. 3 might have been the best game in the NES library, but it was merely the top minor league player. Super Mario World brought Mario into the major league and brought about a new exciting chapter in gaming.
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Also known as
  • Super Mario World
  • Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2
  • スーパーマリオワールド: スーパーマリオブラザーズ4
  • Super Mario World: Super Mario Bros. 4
  • View all [4] Hide

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  • Previous comments (51) Loading...
  • Henricch 2022-05-27 12:01:41.971441+00
    I played this game more times than I can count.

    "Imagine a series (Super Mario) achieving perfection (Super Mario Bros. 3) and then somehow taking a step even further (Super Mario World)."

    100% true.
    reply
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  • blokrenblossbroms 2022-06-01 06:34:35.563712+00
    Seeing "YOU ARE A SUPER PLAYER!!" has made me cry more than a few times.
    reply
    • 666LILGILGAMESH666 2022-07-27 04:30:49.934191+00
      same
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  • WinterMirage 2022-07-03 03:04:13.055033+00
    Why does this 2d platformer from 1991 still have the best controls and the best world map in the genre? And why does nothing else come close after 30 years?
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  • DoubleCakes 2022-07-28 00:51:22.763902+00
    Quit the madness glitchwave and allow romhacks to be on the site so we can all praise The Second Reality Project
    reply
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  • Brandon657 2022-08-11 03:28:20.347591+00
    pretty good game
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  • blokrenblossbroms 2022-08-15 01:28:34.31347+00
    Call me crazy, but I prefer the GBA version.
    reply
    • heavymetalthunder 2022-09-30 18:33:38.202665+00
      dont see much difference but its an ok opinion imo
    • fakeredshoes 2022-10-03 17:42:22.007075+00
      same honestly, something about mario on handheld just feels right
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  • Casting404 2022-10-01 07:19:39.931958+00
    best 2d mario
    reply
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  • A35TH3T1CB01 2022-11-14 02:56:10.541506+00
    i love the little tune that plays after u beat a castle, makes me smile :)
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