Review Information
Game Reviewed Mario Bash, by Mtgames
Review Author AveCoo
Created May 8 2022, 12:10 PM

General Commentary and Game Overview
Mario Bash lies in this strange uncanny valley of feeling almost like an authentic bootleg Gameboy title. From the way you control your character to the presentation, the game has this slightly off feeling aura. It’s an interesting direction to take the game, and seems to actually work in favour of its deceptively simple premise and gameplay.
 
Pros - Unique and interesting game concept
- Engaging high score based shenanigans
- Good attention to audio
- Convincing bootleg feel and appearance
 
Cons - Being forced to commit to a jump can commonly feel like you get jipped.
- Shallow gameplay
- Enemy layouts can feel unfair
 
Impressions
Gameplay
7 / 10
This game’s simple gameplay is simply addicting! There seem to be four distinct worlds that house a number of separate screens brimming with enemies to bash. The game works on a loop once you progress beyond this point. There are three characters that compete to see how many enemies they can beat in one run.

The gameplay is generally stiff and commitment based. If you face in a direction, you are forced to jump in that direction while adhering to a predetermined arc until you land. It is very easy to feel swindled as a result, as the enemy hitboxes can feel a bit off as well. This all, on the surface, seems like a negative element of the gameplay, but works surprisingly well in the context of what the objective is.

The goal is to win against two other human players. Fortunately, being jipped is a staple of multiplayer Mario games. In Mario Kart, a single item can catch you up at the final stretch and, in Mario Party, a hidden block can lead to a last minute victory. This game benefits from a lack of control, what I like to define as “bootleg” physics, to change the game from being purely skill based to introduce an element of luck of the draw. The physics are unreliable, and that’s okay. The shortcut system seems to not make a whole lot of sense, and that is more than fine. The enemies have unorthodox hitboxes, and it wouldn’t work as well any other way.

The element of luck feeds into the competition by making the results unpredictable and therefore more exciting. The “bootleg” feel to the physics, whether intentional or unintentional, are the strongest aspect of the competition this game puts forward.
 
Graphics
7 / 10
Also distinctly “bootleg”. There are some unorthodox world themes that feel right at home through this lens. The Mario brothers clash with the off-model koopas but it all feels congruent. There are little technical issues such as jittering and the ground line changing consistently on a jump-by-jump basis, but it all feeds well into this idea of feeling “off”. It works surprisingly well, and the little extra flair in terms of results screens and character animation feels in line with the world that was set up.
 
Sound
8 / 10
The tunes bop! The final world’s track is so chromatic it almost sounds circus-y, and it just hits home the vibe of the whole game. The voices have been bitcrushed and sourced from the slightly off-the-mark voice actors of the N64 era. Luigi is especially noticeable, but the treatment makes it work in the context of the game. However, it is a bit annoying how the characters repeat their line after selection - saying the line once would suffice.

Sound effects fit their roles, and the results screen is very satisfying with the chosen audio which introduces an element of replayability.
 
Final Words
7 / 10
Mario Bash looks, sounds and plays exactly like a bootleg gameboy game. Its presentation and gameplay loop feel so authentic and off that the core conceit of competition absolutely shines as a result. I guarantee an absolute riot if you play this game with friends familiar with the gameboy era and bootleg culture.

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