Review Information
Game Reviewed Mario's slightly Unusual Boss Rush (v2.0 Release), by OssieTheOstrich
Review Author Bstudios
Created Oct 17 2023, 1:05 AM

General Commentary and Game Overview
Mario's Slightly Unusual Boss Rush is a game absolutely overflowing with creativity. When this game says the Boss Rush is unusual: it truly means it. Characters from media such as Ice Age and even Hilda (the animated Netflix Series based off the Children's Book series) are represented with boss fights and stages in this game. The plot is little more then an excuse plot to kick off a wacky adventure: with the Princess inviting Mario and Kamek interrupting him and sending him flying back to about 9 unique stages with 9 unique bosses in each of these.

Despite the game labeling a boss rush: it's really more of a traditional Mario game; albeit a short one. As the bosses are not fought in consistent order like you'd expect for a boss rush. You instead have to go through a small stage, each with a checkpoint and 3 collectibles inside, in order to reach the boss. And overall these are generally fully fledged Mario stages, with power-ups and small secrets in a few even. I, personally, would have likely named the game something else, as the Bosses ultimately don't come across as a particular focus in gameplay itself.

Regardless of the overwhelming creativity at hand: the fangame suffers from numerous issues that snowball into something that severely harms the overall experience. While I don't regret the fact that I played it... The amount of frustration I experienced with a small fangame is far more excessive then it had any right to be.

One of the greatest issues is Mario's control. Three Specific Points in particular: his Top Speed, his Acceleration, and his Jump Fall Speed. Controlling Mario can often be a sluggish affair: as despite the game near perfectly replicating the general aesthetics and sprite art of something like Super Mario Bros 3, with a personal twist, the game controls little like its inspiration. Jumps are exceedingly heavy, your speed is highly limited, and the fact Mario can be so sluggish can make landing precise hits on enemies or bosses an absolute nightmare. Oftentimes I would find myself overshooting what should have been simple jumps... Not at all assisted by the oftentimes confusing hitboxes of some of these foes and enemies.

Level 8: Cog, in particular, is a standout example of the game's flawed design. The sluggishness of Mario and the poor hitbox communication to the Player (The enemies of the levels, the Cogs, do not have collision on their heads) results in immense confusion. Combine this with poor telegraphing and enemy design (One particular enemy possesses a projectile attack that can be shot in 1 frame, with less then a second of cool-down between potential shots, creating an element of randomness so frustrating that you WILL find yourself yelling at the screen) and Power-up Starvation, especially post checkpoint: as there isn't a single Mushroom or Bunny Carrot for you to use to give yourself even the most minor leeway. The only thing you have is a 1-Up Mushroom left in the open: giving off the idea that this was a patchwork band-aid by the developer to cover for the immense difficulty of the level.

What are promoted as the main attraction; the bosses, are underwhelming as well. Despite the immense creativity of the foes themselves: attacks are highly limited and their hit count is ultimately left to 3. Level 4's Boss in particular is an extremely underwhelming foe. For a level based on the Ice Age films, you'd expect a far more iconic character rather then a large bird who hovers over you, hits the ground, and repeats for 2 more times.

These are just a few examples of some of the major and minor design flaws the game has as a whole, and especially for what is called a 2.0 Release: you can really see the holes, so to speak.
Pros Creativity: The game is overflowing with a wealth of bizarre ideas that truly earn it the title it was given. From Despicable Me, Ice Age, to Hilda: there's no end to the wild ideas that the game has on offer.

Spritework: The sprite art of the game is wonderful. Each sprite is fantastically designed to faithfully replicate the look and animation of Super Mario Bros. 3 to a fantastic degree. Every stage feels coherently "itself" while never departing too far from the Mario style.

Music: While not original-- the music is still well picked and fitting for the worlds and situations. There was never a track that seemed out of place or ill-fit to the area it was in.
Cons Poor Control: The issues with Top Speed, Acceleration, and your own Jump Fall Acceleration are insane. Controlling Mario can sometimes feel like watching an elephant plummet off of a trapeze.

Poor Bosses: Despite the game being based around bosses, I assume: the bosses fall very flat. Each boss is reduced to 1 or 2 attacks with no variance no matter the hits. All of them take 3 hits, and poor design can result in them being either pathetically easy or nightmarishly frustrating. Special mention goes to the boss of Bridge Zone and the extremely poor hitbox communication.

Severe Difficulty: Particularly in levels like Bridge Zone or Cog, you'll find yourself dying a LOT from a combination of bad enemy placements, bad enemy behavior, and Mario's poor overall control. Each of those two levels took me upwards of 20+ tries.

Limited Options: There are no options for screen resolution, or sound, or music. This can get especially frustrating on a Desktop with a large screen: as you'll find yourself squinting at the very small natural resolution the game has.
4 / 10
Poor Control ultimately brings down a generally solid experience: resulting in moment that can oftentimes result in it being a complete nightmare to even finish a level without any of the 3 collectibles in each.
8 / 10
Fantastic spritework lends an authentic feeling to the game that truly helps it stick out among its contemporaries, with particular talent for merging the styles of two different properties.
6 / 10
Good music choices ultimately find themselves unable to cover for some very basic Sound flaws, as the game will layer sound effects rather then interrupt one for another to play. This can result in ear-splitting moments of bricks being destroyed or coin collection loudly blaring out in the style of a Youtube Dank Meme.
Final Words
4 / 10
A game with a lot of unique ideas and creativity, marred by bad control and some glaringly poor design across the board.

User Icon
Oct 17 2023, 6:27 AM
This is very well done and thorough review, I appreciate all the feedback you've provided.

I've been given conflicting reports on Mario's control; some folks said he controlled well while others had issues with his movement (such as yourself). I have no idea why this is the case, but my guess might be some optimization issues. That, or I might've broke something between the 1.0 and 2.0 versions..

On the subject of the Big Eagle (the Ice Age level boss), this particular boss was based on one from the Ice Age GBA game, and most of his attacks are just ported over from it.

About the options, I was actually planning on adding the features you bring up, but my game software license expired during it's production, which prevented me from properly adding new code. This might also explain some other issues that came up that I couldn't fix.
Pages: (1) 1 | Last Unread