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Valtterri Stromboli

This is a Mario fan game (hence, my review name mentioning an Italian food. Aren't we clever? :p )

Mario arrives on the beach of Valtteri Island. Toad tells him that Valtteri brought him here and won't let him leave until he explores the whole island. Also, he's kidnapped the princess. This is weird because you can play as the princess. Actually, the game allows you to play as Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad, and Link.
This sets it to be a bit different from a lot of other Mario fan games. The story isn't that important to this game, but it does manage to be unique. Luckily Toad gives you two mushrooms to help you through the first level.

The world is fairly massive with around two dozen levels. These levels tend to be of a larger size. Some levels have areas that can set you back significantly with a misjump. A lot of levels have multiple paths towards completion, with some harder to accomplish than others. It is a frequent occurrence where you make it almost to the end of a lengthy level, but have to start from the beginning do to a sudden death. There is quite a bit of trial and error involved here and the path forward isn't always clear. The world itself looks really good. Each level is well polished and good looking.

This game starts with a fairly high difficulty and doesn't get easier. You've already got to deal with Lakitus and narrow jumps by even the second level. Don't worry, it only gets harder from there. It isn't the hardest group of levels you could find, but it has genuine difficulty with few cheap deaths. It has a nice variety of mechanics and enemies in each level and is far from monotonous.

Overall, this game will bring back anyone who enjoys a good challenge. I wouldn't recommend it to more casual players.