Review Information
Game Reviewed Superstar Mario, by dr luigi
Review Author Vitiman
Created Feb 10 2024, 10:10 AM

General Commentary and Game Overview
Oh hey! It's 4 AM, and you're really bored, what do you do? Go to sleep? What, no! Sleep is for the weak and the depraved. No-no-no, we must do something far more ridiculous: we must play a one level demo from 2004! Something that came out nearly 20 years (give it a month and it'll be precisely 20 years) is in dire need of critique! Something that was forgotten about probably a month after it was released, even by its own creator!

THAT is what we shall do.

Friends, it is time to look at Superstar Mario. A game that is paradoxically as unremarkable as it is completely remarkable. Join me on this journey of self-discovery, analytical recourse, and "video gaming" as the young people say. We're gonna do a deep dive.

Spoiler alert: we're wading in ankle-high waters here. You might splash some ants, but that's about it.
Pros + Cute premise!
+ Even cuter custom sprite work! In 2004, that's quite remarkable
+ Competently made
+ Nothing truly made me go "I hate this game and the creator and everyone who was involved in its creation"
Cons - It's a very terribly bland experience
- Super shallow level design, very rarely outright unfair (sort of)
- The demo resets abruptly and I guess we move on with our vapid lives
4 / 10
HOO BOY, what charms lies beyond the pixelated curtains of Superstar Mario? How can a game with such a grandiose name even possibly begin to live up to its reputation? What reputation? This game has like... 4 comments, and half of a review. Yeah baby, you heard me. If you're writing reviews and you write like two sentences, that's not a review. That's just a longer comment. I'm calling all y'all out. I'm over here finding ways to write entire novels about "Mario & Luigi's Two-Man Circus". You think I forgot about that? From the Yoshi Quest review? I'm STILL waiting for that. Nobody's gonna find it, though. Somebody please call those Lost Media YouTube people and tell them there's a bounty on that fangame. Don't tell them it's 4 dollars. That's my entire budget for the search effort.

Okay, but for real... this isn't really a game you can write much about! I can try to pad it out, but it won't amount to much. I can dress this review in as much over-the-top observational writing as my tired, carpal tunnel syndrome-infested wrists can muster—but it's not going to make a difference.

So what is at stake here? It's a very basic "drag & drop" Game Maker demo from the early aughts that does all the very basic Mario engine stuff, and it succeeds at basic competency. Collisions sort of work, enemies never killed me when I was trying to jump on them, and I was mostly able to smash "?" Blocks and get their goodies inside. Which were coins. No powerups really! There's a Yoshi you can ride, but it appears to be purely cosmetic. Oh well.

There's a blind jump you have to make to active a switch. That's pretty uncool. There's a really long sequence of blind leaps you have to make horizontally, and one of the platforms can only be reached at the absolute apex of your highest jump, so you'll 100% miss it in a first playthrough. But don't worry, a second playthrough will likely allow you to cross the gap without much hassle.

Then it's over. You go back to the opening credit sequence (while the MIDI music still plays), and you do it all over again. That's Superstar Mario. What else can even be said?
7 / 10
Now here's something interesting: totally custom graphics in 2004! That's unthinkable to me. Why, I'd go as far as to say it's still something of a novelty (albeit far less so) in this day and age, if only because it's such a massive undertaking that most talented folks would sooner go for making an indie than putting all of that energy into creating wholly original Mario assets for their fake Mario game they can't even sell. That's why people make games, right? To make money? Maybe I'm getting the games industry confused with the music industry again. To be fair, they're basically the same.

I enjoy the graphics a lot. They're not perfect, and some of the deformities of the proportions don't work... the backgrounds look like they use very early Photoshop brushes and they kinda stick out... but man, it all has a weird charm to it. I love it in spite of that. It's so wonderful for the time, and even quite a bit now.
3 / 10
Yeah yeah, same old same old. I think maybe some of the SFX were a bit different, but nothing stood out to me to remember it or point it out here. The MIDI is Bob-omb Battlefield from SM64, the same old MIDI you've heard a hundred times over. Moving on...
Final Words
5 / 10
Superstar Mario does not earn its blunt and very bragging title, but what it does earn is a few coolness points for managing to be a fangame from 20 years ago that does a few things competently in a piece of software not many people on this site had quite figured out yet. Furthermore, it even has nearly totally unique assets made by its creator at a time when people were re-using a lot of graphics and sounds from actual Mario games.

In that sense, Superstar Mario is weirdly prognostic of what fangames would ultimately become on MFGG: Game Maker-dominant, and with a significant slant toward custom assets and trying to stay within the realm of Nintendo-friendly.

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