In one sentence: It’s every NES mario and Super Mario World, all combined.
Yes. That’s right. There are plenty of things missing from it, but man, there is a lot here. Every color Yoshi, the Tanooki Suit, Raccoon Tail, every flavor of Goomba and Koopa, Birdo, Hammer Brothers, vegetables, and level art from all of the above. It’s like playing some weird mashed-up version from a dream where they all just blurred together. The overall experience is addictive, incredibly nostalgic, and well, maddeningly difficult. There are different episodes that various level builders have made (did I mention it has a level editor!) but the one that comes with the game by default is incredibly punishing… yet somehow I cannot resist the urge to keep playing. Eventually, you figure out what they want you to do and you win.
It’s like rewinding childhood memories in fast forward. All the different kinds of brick, the music, the strange enemies, the rare power ups like 3-up moons–all these have some association for me, of who I was hanging out with at the different ages I played these various Mario games, and the general feeling just how life felt at the time. It’s a bit like hearing a song you haven’t heard in ages.
If I had some things to pick on with it, my chief complaint would be that there is still a ton of stuff that didn’t make it into the game. The slot machines from M2, the frog suit from M3, the cape from SMW, a ton of assorted music, etc. And there is a bunch of stuff in here that isn’t Mario as well. You can play as Link, for instance. There is a bunch of art from Metroid as well. It’s cool that the people behind it want to pay tribute to those other games , but personally I prefer it when it’s Mario art only. And there are also strange permutations of Mario establishment. Such as the billy gun, a bullet bill cannon that you can pick up and unleash insanity with. And pink, purple, grey, and black yoshis. The pink one spits vegetables. And Ice Mario (pictured above on the green Yoshi) who shoots balls of frozen ice that turn enemies into blocks which can be grabbed or stood upon. Kinda neat!
All in all, if you love mario 1-3, you gotta go play this. It’s free for the pc, so there’s no reason not to.