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Review Information
Game Reviewed Super Mario Prism, by Hello
Review Author WreckingGoomba
Created Mar 18 2019, 2:38 PM

General Commentary and Game Overview
After more than a decade of using his SMB3-styled engine, Hello finally decided to create a game completely from scratch, a 3D game no less. That is very refreshing to see, and something I did not see coming. That being said, it's clear that the game has some issues, which I hope to address in this review.
 
Pros + Models and lighting look great
+ Mario's abilities, once mastered, open up a lot of opportunities
+ Some creatives ideas for stars
+ The music remixes, while repetitive, are good on their own
 
Cons - Very janky controls
- Default Unity physics do not work well for a Mario game
- Environments feel very rough, with little detail to them
- Some level design and design choices are very frustrating
- Sluggish animations
- Collisions are unreliable
 
Impressions
Gameplay
2 / 10
In theory, the gameplay sounds like what you would expect from a 3D Mario game. Mario can jump, backflip, triple jump, crouch jump, long jump and wall jump, while collecting stars hidden in several worlds. The concept is a near-perfect copy of Super Mario 64, which is not a bad thing.

In practice though, it leaves something to be desired. Mario feels incredibly slippery and hard to control, with collisions that can fail at random, or push you into directions you did not mean to go. This makes the game way more difficult to play than it should be. Once you get used to these physics, though, they do allow for some ridiculous movement that wouldn't be possible in any other Mario game. Hello clearly realized this, and required a ton of tricky platforming in his level design, as well as other stars that exploit the "unique" physics engine. For example, to press a switch in the second world, you need to guide a Goomba off the ledge, then make it walk in mid-air towards a hole in the wall, followed by guiding it on top of the switch. While creative, these stars feel janky, and only serve to further show how bad the physics are.

All worlds also follow the same trend. There is one central area, with three branching paths, all containing a star. There is a secret star that you have to push a box (or Goomba) to a switch for, there's a red coin star and a final purple coin star. This makes the missions feel samey. It is never a matter of exploring the world to find a star, it is always very clear where you have to go, taking away from the collect-a-thon aspect of the game. The purple coin star also requires you to redo all three branching pathways, with extra challenges to locate the coins. Given how frustrating some of these pathways can be, most notably in world 2, these stars are a nightmare.

For some reason, I was crazy enough to 100% this game. I am sad to say that there is no final boss, nor are there any rewards for completing the game normally or collecting every star. No end screen, not even a little star on your save file, nothing. This was pretty disappointing, especially considering how painful some of these stars were.

In short, the physics have a certain charm once mastered, but this is not enough to offset how unreliable they are, and how precise some missions in this game require you to be.
 
Graphics
5 / 10
At first, I was pleasantly surprised by how this game looked. The models looked great, and the lighting felt fitting for a Mario game, which is something a lot of 3D fangames tend to struggle with. The HUD and menus, while basic, also looked clean. First impressions were good.

When I entered world 1, it became clear that the environments themselves had little effort put into them, however. Backgrounds are practically non-existent, everything looks blocky and artificial, there is little to no scenery, and the secret areas especially look bland. World 2 was even worse, as it for some reason used a very faint red or brown color for everything; it was not nice to look at. World 3 was a big step up, with great lighting and crystals that made it feel somewhat alive, although more scenery and an actual background would have still helped here. The last world was a basic lava world, but it worked, and was not the worst in terms of aesthetics.

Mario's animations felt very slow, and the transitions between them were awkward. For some reason, one animation had to completely finish before another one could play, meaning Mario could be in his jumping pose after having already landed, among other things. I assume this is a default setting in Unity that may work well in some games, but for a Mario game, this is not the way to go.
 
Sound
8 / 10
World 1, 2 and 3 all have remixes of Super Mario Land's ending theme as their main background music. Some may say this gets boring, which has some truth to it. However, the remixes still felt distinct and felt fitting with the level's theme, and were pleasant to listen to on its own. Super Mario Land's ending theme is also one of those songs you can listen to for a while without getting bored, at least for me, so the music never got in the way for me.
World 4 has a remix of Super Mario 64's Bowser level theme, which is kind of generic, but it's a good theme that fits the environment well nonetheless.

The sound effects were nothing special, although I felt like the game would have benefitted from having more, as the environments themselves produce no sound whatsoever. Mario doesn't talk nearly as much as in Hello's 2D projects, which is a good thing.
 
Replay
2 / 10
I suppose you could go back to grab the last couple stars once you complete the game, but given that there's absolutely no reward for doing so, this feels kind of pointless. Beating the game 100% felt like a waste of my time, but at least there's something to do for those who want more of this game.
 
Final Words
3 / 10
I appreciate Hello trying something new, but the terrible controls and lack of polish keep this game down. There are some positives though, and if the physics are fixed in a potential sequel, I think it could be great.

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