Review Information
Game Reviewed Mario Dash 2 Demo 1, by bowser2k
Review Author SuperSledgeBro
Created May 9 2020, 4:16 AM

General Commentary and Game Overview
"Mario Dash 2" is one of those runner games, like Super Mario Run, but... Very lacking in content. Mario will automatically walk to the right, you can make him run and jump, stomp on enemies and beat blocks. The goal is to reach the flagpole and collect Ace Coins. That's about it.

I want to let you know that I was only able to fully play the first four levels of the game. When I get to Level 5, the castle-themed level, the game just crashes for me.
(Am I the only one with this problem? Let me know)
 
Pros -You can choose between more than one path in a level, which makes the game not too linear.
-There are Ace Coins in every level, which gives you a reason to replay the game.
-Requires skill in some parts.
 
Cons -Not original gameplay.
-Very little content. Always the same enemies and items.
-No momentum in movement, and Mario's jumping feels floaty.
-Weird hitboxes.
-Can't kill enemies by bashing the blocks below!
 
Impressions
Gameplay
3 / 10
The game is very, very simple! In fact, too simple for it's own good. Mario automatically walks to the right, and you can change the pace by holding the Ctrl key which makes him run faster. You make Mario jump by pressing the Shift key, and you can make him jump higher by holding that key, like in most Mario platformers.
The goal is to reach the flagpole at the end of the level and react to the obstacles that come along the way, those can be blocks, coins, enemies and walls. That is all. Mario Dash 2 in its current state barely has any content. The title says it's an Alpha so I assume Bowser2k is planning to add more things.

The first thing you see is the game's title falling from the top and smashing a poor unsuspecting Toad, then "press start" appears. It's silly but it doesn't tell anything about the game you're going to play.

Unfortunately, most of what I have to say about the game are its problems:

The lack of momentum on Mario's movement is not too much of a bother, but would overrall make it feel better. When you press Ctrl, he immediately starts running at his maximum speed. When you release it, he goes back to his slow walk with no in-between.

One thing that makes jumping feel less smooth is that when you release the Shift key, Mario isn't naturally affected by gravity, but rather his vertical speed is set to 0 and then starts falling. Another thing that makes jumping annoying and even a problem in some parts of the levels is that Mario can't fall too fast. It's as if he were on the moon or wearing a parachute. It makes it harder to predict where Mario is going to land. The game would really benefit from heavier jumps.

Another problem is the camera. It's always centered on Mario. For a game that only scrolls right, is it necessary to have half the camera showing the past part of the level? Sometimes I can't react fast enough to what's coming, and this would be fixed if the camera was shifted to the right, focusing on what's coming and leaving Mario more on the left. In fact, this is what Super Mario Bros. does.

The collision with enemies is weird. Level 4 (the sky-themed one) is such an annoying level, and a lot of it is thanks to those Para-Troopas! If Mario's foot is less than 7 pixels away from their eye, he still gets killed. How large are these hitboxes?! Another issue with enemies is that you can't stomp on two enemies at the same time, or else Mario dies. Huh?

Still on the subject of enemies, it's weird that Goombas, Koopas and Buzzy Beetles don't behave differently. Koopas and Beetles die when you stomp on them, like Goombas, so what's the point of having them?

After playing the same levels over and over, I noticed the enemies don't always start at the same position. I assume that all the enemies outside the screen are active and moving. It's kind of a problem, because sometimes the enemies start out in very inconvenient spots, and I end up getting killed by a faulty jump.

Now, the weirdest problem I found: You can collect coins that are on top of blocks by bashing those blocks from below, but you can't kill enemies that way! If you break a block that an enemy is walking on, it will keep moving in mid-air as if there were still a floor underneath. Why???

On the level design, there's nothing too wild about it, so I don't have a lot to complain. Like I've been saying, most of the frustration in this game come from faulty gimmicks and Mario's physics. The levels have usually two paths you can choose. One may have more coins or be more difficult to reach than the other one, but it helps making the game less linear.

The Ace Coins are a good thing to motivate the player to play the game more than once. But unfortunately there's no reward for getting them all. Because of the way the camera is centered on Mario, you can't see which path has an Ace Coin until you've made your pick, so if you miss one, you'll only get a second chance if you die and restart the level.

The same problem with the camera also happens with enemies, like I previously said. Sometimes you can't react fast enough. Good thing you can stop at a wall and wait for a nearby enemy to appear. This is required in the underground level to safely pass through pipes with Piranha Plants. That same level also makes use of the Flip Blocks from Super Mario World to make it not too easy to get the Ace Coin above. So the levels do require some thinking from the player in a few spots, which helps making the game more than just walking and jumping. But that's not saying much. The game has very little content so it's very repetitive, the enemies behave the same way and the only collectable items are coins and Ace Coins.

The game becomes progressively harder as you pass each level, which is expected and fair. But Level 4, the sky level, is the hardest and least fair I have played. One reason is that it's filled with pits, the other reason is Mario's weird jump physics. It's incredibly easy to fall in those pits, or die by a Para-Troopa. I would assume the castle level that comes afterwards is worse, but the game crashes when I get to that point. Maybe it's for the best, to save me some frustration.
 
Graphics
4 / 10
90% of the graphics are from the SNES and GBA versions of Super Mario Bros. 3, with absolutely no changes except for the color change in the underground level background.
But... These are exactly the same graphics that are used in Hello Mario engines. I'm assuming that's where Bowser2k took them from. Which is funny, because the game doesn't seem to be using Hello engine as base! I'll give a 4/10 because they don't look bad, but you could've been more original.

There's one place where the graphics were poorly chosen and that's Level 3, the underground level. It's decorated with those moving grass tufts from SMB2, and I was misled into thinking they were veggies I could pull. I was wrong!
 
Sound
5 / 10
The music are all MIDI renditions of usual Mario songs. Similarly to most of the graphics in this game, some of these songs are also found in Hello Mario engine. MIDI music used to be more common in old fangames, so I'm glad to hear them! I think they sound nice!

The sound effects are all from Super Mario All-Stars. Not much to say about them.
 
Final Words
3 / 10
"Mario Dash 2" is a very rough and unpolished game, but it still provides a little bit of fun and challenge. (Unless you're on Level 4)

Comments
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Q-Nova
May 9 2020, 9:44 PM
Hey, this is a pretty good review! I can tell you put a lot of thought into it! :)
 
1 like from: SuperSledgeBro
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