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nin8halo's "How to Make Excellent SMBX Levels" - The Game

  • Ratty524
  • 04/09/2013 04:35 AM
In a site that predominately focuses on making Role Playing Games, it is often difficult to find games that offer a change of pace from the genre. I admit that my heart truly lies within the platformers, as that video game genre allows complete control over your actions. Super Mario Brothers X, in particular, is an engine I seek after to relive the days of simple, 2D side-scrolling games that have been on the decline in the market as of late. What is disappointing, however, is that there are only a handful of notable projects developed with this engine. Super Mario Bros. 3X is one of them, and it is truly a diamond in the rough. The game is not only a great Mario game, but it serves as a fine example of how to make a Mario game the right way.

Let us start with the level design. Every level is short, taking at most two and a half minutes to beat each one. While it sounds bad, it actually stays faithful to the level design of the original Super Mario Bros. 3, short stages filled with challenges, and every level is fun and challenging enough that there is really no reason to care about its length. No level overstays its welcome, and every level offers something new, so unlike other Super Mario fan games I have played, this game never got stale.

In addition to the perfect length of these levels, every level is chock full of secret paths, bonuses, and fun puzzles that feel very rewarding for advanced players and expands this game’s depth. This game took me roughly an hour to beat, and I still feel like I have only scratched the surface of this gem of a game. These secrets are not only contained within the levels themselves, but in the hub world as well. While I feel that the game is a bit too lengthy to warrant it, I still have a strong desire to replay this game due to the amount of well-disguised depth it really has. In that regard, a minor fallacy exists that makes the concept a lot less forgiving.

You cannot backtrack to the previous world after you have beaten it. The only way to do so is to find a secret Warp Room by triggering special exits in certain levels, but these are as well hidden as just about every other secret in this game. It’s a nitpick coming from someone who enjoys having the “100% completion” record on his save file, and part of the fun of this game, as well as any “real” Mario game, is being able to uncover seemingly cryptic secrets and beating the game in multiple ways, so I was only slightly disappointed.

For the sake of pointing out other things to improve on, the scrolling levels near the first world moved a bit too slow paced. A fundamental problem with these types of levels is that they take control away from the player, forcing them to play at a pace “the game” wants them to. While it is certainly not something you should never do in a Mario game, it can be fun if done similarly with the tank/airship levels; your level can become tedious very quickly if your player feels like they can go faster than your level. Above all, this and the lack of backtracking are the only issues this game has, and they are highly subjective ones.

Getting back to the great things about this game, I would say that compared to most other Super Mario Bros. X episodes I have played, this game is the most stylistically and visually consistent. The creator of this game did not just throw in items and monsters because he could; no level has a checkpoint out of all the levels that have none. Every world has a theme, and the levels contained within them stay true to that theme. As a result, this game flows very well and presents no harmful surprises, which every Mario fan game should have.

All in all, Super Mario Bros. 3X is not only a great game to play, but also a great game to study. It is clear that the creator of this game studied the structure of Mario games and how to make such games fun. To anyone who is willing to develop an episode of SMBX, or to those wanting to submit to another Super RMN Bros type of gig, take a fine look at this game. You will really learn how to make your own levels shine.

The Verdict:
4.5/5 , Great


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"My father told me this would happen."
About time someone reviewed this. This is by far his best SMBX project as of now.
The 524 is for 524 Stone Crabs
About time someone reviewed this. This is by far his best SMBX project as of now.

I know. I really think it deserves a bit more recognition than what it's currently receiving.
Thanks for the review! I didn't expect such a high score, but I do agree that this is my best project so far. The previous ones had some pretty glaring problems. I'm considering making another game like this in the near future.
I have a strong desire to replay this game.
One of the best games ever i played.the levels are interesting.you created graphics in your own style.i will congratulate for that.
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