Review Information
Game Reviewed Super Mario: Mushroom Chaos, by ShyGuy182
Review Author Vitiman
Created Jul 16 2021, 10:22 AM

General Commentary and Game Overview
I took down some behemoths to start off my yearly binge of old fangames. I finally reviewed the likes of Nintendo vs. Everyone Else and Paper Mario World, among others. There was a lot of really intense or historically interesting stuff on the board that I went ahead and took care of.

And then there's this.

Well... it's... not bad? It's, uhm... unremarkable. I suppose you could say. I don't know what drew me to it. I'm going way out of order here (as I tend to), since this is from like 2004. But something just... made me come to it. It's one of ShyGuy182/Nightchaser's only fangames I haven't looked at yet. Maybe that's it? Who knows, who cares. This isn't an especially eye-opening title. I beat it in one sitting, that's how easy it is.

All right, let's rock and roll.
Pros + Everything generally works well, which is great considering you're using the default platform movement
+ Music choices were 10/10 great. Some lovely MIDIs here
+ It's brief enough to not get grating?
+ The title screen and credits were surprisingly competent for the era
+ Any usage of Ninja's Mario sprite is a plus to me
Cons - The phrase "bog-standard" was crafted solely to describe this fangame
- Blind jumps, my man... and a coin toss of whether they lead you to peace or war
- Enemy variety was staggeringly nonexistent
- One boss. First level. Not even a final boss. Kind of amusing, in its own way
- Left very little of an impression on me
5 / 10
The gameplay's only scoring well purely because of its competency. The engine is well made and, for 2004 standards mainly, that deserves some genuine kudos. Congrats!

So what is there to say otherwise? You have five levels here, and one boss. That singular boss is a rudimentary bout with a Koopaling right after the first level that amounts to basically nothing. It's predictable and fairly easy - an expectation of such an early boss fight - and then that's all. You beat the final level and there isn't even a Bowser or some other adversary waiting for you! Talk about a rip-off.

What else is there... oh yes! A "leap of faith" is a colloquial turn of phrase referring to taking a risk in an activity that could yield either successful or disappointing results, often used to describe dangerous prospects. Well, this game's got plenty of that in the form of blind jumps. Blind frickin' jumps. I swear, every early fangame dev's favourite level design tactic. What a travesty, right? It's so hilariously overused that any given level will have you encounter like 10 of them before you reach the checkpoint. That's too many of them.

Worst of all, while most of them drop you to a safe landing, one or two of them decidedly don't - effectively keeping you on your toes until you beat the game or close it off.

The game's short enough that you might be able to beat it before you decide it isn't worth your time... but I'm sure most people won't have the patience for such mediocrity and quit early. I can't say I blame them. No real power-ups (other than your trusty hammer), barely anything to do (all ?-blocks are coins, so don't even bother checking unless you like hoarding coins), and every single enemy is either stompable and hammerable, or neither but easy to dodge. Trivial, trivial stuff.
5 / 10
It's all stuff you've seen before, but at least it's handled well. I liked the title screen a lot, even if it was a tad basic. Something about the dark blue gradient was appealing to the eyes. Some of the backdrops in the levels were quite nice as well!

Otherwise, there isn't a whole lot to say. An effort to tile things was made, but it falls a bit short. Everything looks all right, but nothing is terribly remarkable.
7 / 10
Solid. Very, very solid. I liked the music choices a lot, especially. The sounds are your run-of-the-mill ones, of course... but that's to be expected. Ultimately, this is probably the game's most shining feature for the present day.

And I still can't think of a lot to say about it. Hrm.
Final Words
5 / 10
Milquetoast. Predictable. Simplistic. Average.

You can use a lot of words to describe Mushroom Chaos (which has a hilariously inappropriate name given how unchaotic it all truly was), but ultimately you'll find yourself at a loss to describe any of it meaningfully. It's all just rather bland. Acceptable, but bland.

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