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Review Information
Game Reviewed Mariovania (beta), by KoBeWi
Review Author steffire
Created Aug 19 2018, 12:01 AM

General Commentary and Game Overview
The latest version can be found in the
Board Index > MFGG > Development Showcase.
It should be 1.2.9.1 released after the date of September, 29, 2017.
This review is based on that version.

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Neutral Notes:
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This game is hard for novice players and being a real time role playing platform exploration adventure requires lots of farming and grinding foes to gain experience including for items power.

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Positive Notes:
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The sheer amount of Unlockables and hidden content especially Weapons and Armor that can be equipped to give effects and resists for the player is highly appreciated.

This Fan Game has changed my perceptions on what a Mario Fan Game needs for me to be satisfied which is the RPG elements.
Nothing comes close to matching this for me.
The Castlevania use of the Weapons which appear as Mario styled graphics has no equal in my current view until someone creates it officially.

Foes are heavily varied and the late elite troops are challenging to any low leveled player and are still respectable for max leveled players.

Bosses are satisfyingly varied and the final bosses are suitable even with powerful Mario builds against them.

2 Boss Rushes are available and the final boss can also be replayed individually in the main game.

There are many items in the game that can be found using other items, gained from beating the last boss events and grown in power and ability by destroying a certain amount of foes.

There's even secret history to find about the story of how the castle operates along with rifts between the main characters.

This Fan Game does what a select few games are able to do which is to provide satisfying extra content in side quests worthy of extending the main adventure.

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Negative Notes:
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Spend time to gain experience and invest effort to find, equip and grow good items otherwise the player will suffer hard hits against some heavy bosses and later with elite guards.

It's easy to miss the secrets and the secret ending which requires an exploration of the entire Castle.
Finding the items or characters who can open the paths to the all important Map Switch rooms is a true challenge.

Some Items that are very helpful to resist certain damage types or status effects arrive a little too late in the game.

The Map is easy to navigate and easy to read however it's very difficult to know when a certain set of rooms can be reached and by what item.

My advice is to use the triple jump as much as possible to check above the top of the screen especially in the long hall where it appears to connect to an isolated group of rooms in the middle of the Castle.
It requires a Triple Jump and Wall Jumping or High Double Jump Suit then Wall Jump to reach the special area.
Another frustrating time to use this is when nearing the top of the Clock Tower where there will be a tall room with no platforms yet the map clearly shows more rooms above... again Triple Jump to Wall Jump or Double High Suit Jump then Wall Jump to reach this area.

Some of the late foes are so annoying and strong to beat such as any of the Magikoopas found even in the mid game.

If you are approaching the lower, higher, secret or spirit sections of the Castle then beware of the improved guards and their speed, power and defenses including the Castle defenses like the jumping fire bubble.

Eventually some early Weapons will be outclassed by later Weapons simply because of the strength or position of late foes.

Sometimes early Weapons are better than late Weapons simply because they are so effective in their attack trajectory or the price of using them requiring only cheap refuels.

These negatives are acceptable in terms of the fact it does add to the strategy or the ability to increase the difficulty by using items that are harder to win victory with.

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Redeeming Qualities:
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The game has an amazing replay value for anyone who enjoys this mix of genres.

The difficulty, strategy, build and dexterity required of the player more than makes up for the annoyances found in the lack of signs or clues although some are provided.

The physics and use of equipment are not complex and that is appreciated when the game is confusing in other aspects to find secrets.

Variety of foes and the ability to defeat them which captures their data into your dictionary and items that can reveal what items they drop is a wonderful feature.

Bosses are varied and very original or feel unique from each other for this Fan Game.
They all require spamming of hits however the position of the Bosses is different so it requires various Weapons or movements from the player to be effective to defeat them.

The story is the surprise in this Fan Game since it references a possible theory about the nature between Mario, Luigi, Peach, Various Toads, Bowser and a few important hidden characters tied to the Castle or the Guards themselves and the early history of their relationship before the modern characters even existed.

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Weapon Notes:
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Fire and Ice Flowers are reliable and should be used often or on the swap hand ready to be used to clear waves of foes or dropped from above.

Various Koopa Shells and Thrown Daggers are very useful for their trajectories some of them even able to move through the air and strike parallel targets.

Hammers are costly yet effective if a target is directly above and no other weapon can target it reliably.

Avenger Goomba is a late Weapon that is worth upgrading and using against ground bosses and strong ground foes.

Magic Wand may be dropped by defeating a Magikoopa and I recommend the Haunted Area to upgrade it quickly.
It's one of the best Weapons to deal damage and land hits against any foe provided the player is positioned correctly at an angle.

Thunderbolt is an amazing late game Weapon that can strike a part of the screen and also be double activated and slid through space when upgraded.
Easily the best Weapon potentially.

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Armor Notes:
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Almost any piece of clothing found is worth equipping.

Anything that trades stats to gain power, health and treasure is very good. Consider these Items over "normal" Items and collect lots of money and material since they do affect certain Abilities and can also be sold to buy better varieties of Clothing or Weapons.

Defeating an Eye and Haunted Piano have chances to drop some very useful items.

Check the Shop near the start of the game whenever the Map is upgraded or a important character is spoken to or boss defeated as new Items may be available.

Certain clothing provides protection against Status and is well worth using even if when more powerful options are available or swap clothes when useful.

Health Regeneration is all important and should be prioritized always.

The Luigi and Athletic Suits provide good jumping boosts and are useful to reach areas that would otherwise require difficult Triple Jump to Wall Jumps.

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Status Afflictions:
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Throughout the game in specific rooms there are some nasty foes with attacks laced with crippling effects.

Poison / Burn : May require a Cure Item and Health Regen helps against it.

Stone : Usually avoidable since certain Pipe foes carry this and shoot down or from the side so Hammers are useful.

Curse : The worst. Can't use Elemental Weapons for quite a long time. Equip special clothing or be very careful when fighting dark Magikoopa types.

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Bosses, Exploration, Power:
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Without spoilers I will say:

Powerful Items are found in the hidden or difficult segments of the Map.
Explore everything and jump into walls or damage floors just to be sure everything was found since it will make hard Bosses much easier especially the later Dark Bosses which require Equips that can protect better than normal.

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My Conclusion:
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It's worth a play and yet those who don't like Castlevania may find the Mario theme quite refreshing.

The Items, Foes, Bosses, Dictionary, Maps, Lore, Power Quests, Room variety and Game Design are all appreciated.
 
Pros * The Music and Visuals are editable.
* All opponents are varied and worthy.
* Ruby Engine, Custom Physics, tailored.
* All rewards and secrets are satisfying.
* Far more enjoyable the second time.
 
Cons * Hard to know when to reach bonus rooms.
* Requires lots of battle to match foes.
* Long game and hard to find clues.
* Helpful equipment found late game.
* Satisfying yet frustrating.
 
Impressions
Gameplay
9 / 10
I've played many Fan Games, watched many people play other Fan Games, compared designs and game mechanics between Fan and Official designs and I can say:
Mariovania is worth it as a game.
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Worthy Mentions:
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* Good varied spacing of rooms.
* Good variety of challenge offered.
* Good Items and Quests are reasonable.
* Good design for opponents and levels.
* Good interaction of secret lore.
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Contrasted Issues:
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*Not easy for new young players.
*Need calculated mind to read stats.
*Items to find Items are hard to find.
*Some Levels are quite a maze of jumps.
*Some Bosses require the best Equips.
 
Graphics
10 / 10
Totally customizable content and the default stuff is well made especially if using the latest version which drastically improved on the previous generic sprites into custom sprited designs.
 
Sound
10 / 10
Castlevania music at it's finest and one of the few places where a direct link to that series is made in this game besides a couple of Bosses. Can be customized which is highly appreciated.
 
Replay
10 / 10
Play it for Castlevania, play it for Mario, play it as a platform RPG, play it for the Items, play it for the foes, play it for the secrets, play it for the puzzle, play it to find hidden Fan Art paintings in the Castle, play it to see Mario fight Luigi, It's a solid game if you like these attributes.
 
Final Words
10 / 10
Mario fights Luigi once in one of the best Brother Boss Battles I've ever played... If you can't finish the game then please play it just to reach that point in the Catacombs and go thank the Author on the MFGG Forums for an amazing tribute to historic video game designs.

Mariovania Updated Version 1.2.9.1 Late 2017 Review Summary (check the MFGG Forums to find this version): One of the best Mario Fan Games ever made. Not perfect and can be very frustrating to navigate without help from online videos however it's an impressive use of the Ruby Engine and the game's items, foes and bosses allow it to outshine many other 2D games even from official developers. It deserves a "10" for the effort and a "9" for it's acceptable flaws. This proves an official Castlevania Meets Mario needs to be made as the two genres suit each other so well. My personal congratulations to the Author of this Fan Game.

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