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With just a little bit more spit
and polish, Mario’s Keytastrophe: Rebirth Edition could be
released by Nintendo as a
companion DLC alongside Super Mario World for the Nintendo
Switch Online service. The 2017 ROM hack by SNN takes the key
and keyhole mechanic from Super Mario World and expands it into 27 levels
of single screen puzzle platforming alongside four optional challenge
courses that you have to unlock. Rebirth Edition is a nice diversion
that didn’t consume all of my free time. The game uses lots of clever and ingenious
mechanics that caused me to think very carefully. The challenge is not so hard that
casual players will quit in frustration, although some platforming that I was
required to perform created some odd difficulty spikes. If you like brain teasers and can
stomach repeating a couple of tough platforming sections just to
get the key to the keyhole. This ROM hack will probably be
a lot of fun for you to play. So before we get too far into it, I just
want you to know I’m not a kaizo god, they actually scare me still. I don’t have any special insight
as to what makes a good game. These are just my opinions. What I really wanted to do was to make
a place where newbies to the Mario community could find quality ROM hacks.
I just had a lot of trouble doing that, so I wanted to provide that
service for other people. So with that out of the way,
let’s get back to the review. The challenge of each puzzle lies in
your knowledge of the general play mechanics of Super Mario World as well
as with experimenting with new mechanics that eventually come into play. You
grab items, flip switches, toss shells, or perform any number of other actions
to retrieve the key and then carry it to the keyhole. And if you
get stumped or soft locked, pressing the L and R buttons together
will completely reset the puzzle, allowing you to try again. The first puzzle is super easy and only
exists to teach you the basics of how to play. Later puzzles do get harder and a couple
of them had me thinking for nearly an hour. This can be a good thing, but sometimes the difficulty seems to
suddenly spike in a way that made me feel like I’d missed a previous puzzle that
was supposed to teach you something important about how to play later ones. After breezing through
the first six puzzles, I sat stumped in frustration
on the seventh for a good
40 minutes because of the moving snake blocks, which was a mechanic that had
appeared in a few previous puzzles, they were required to be
used in a completely brand
new way that the game never hinted at. I didn’t notice any clues that implied
that I could manipulate them outside of triggering them to start moving, and it seems to me an odd choice that
the solution requires using snake blocks in a way that wasn’t previously implied.
But when I finally did figure it out, I was surprised that I ended up
with the biggest grin on my face. I was happy that I’d solved the puzzle
rather than just being happy that I’d never have to play it again. That’s a huge point in favor of this
game because I’m not the biggest fan of brain teaser games. I want to quit whenever I get stuck
instead of stopping to think about how the parts of the puzzle could
relate to each other, so I was surprised to find that solving
the puzzles that stumped and frustrated me mostly added to my enjoyment of the
game and actually made me want to keep playing. Even with the
seventh puzzle’s odd solution. There was one notable exception, however. The hydrologic puzzle required
me to perform a tricky
kaizo maneuver in order to solve it. It’s easily my least
favorite puzzle in the game. If you’re a kaizo novice like me or are
playing on any kind of emulator that introduces lag, like Retroarch
on the SNES Classic like me, then you can forget about easily
getting the key into the keyhole. Although it’s possible, because I
did do it. In all but this puzzle, the input lag was not a factor, but here
I was only happy because it was over. There’s nothing more frustrating to
me than knowing how to solve a puzzle, but being unable to because you can’t
do the platforming required. Thankfully, most puzzles are fairly laid back. There are perhaps three levels
that increased my anxiety
levels to uncomfortable highs due to a constant fear of dying to
flames or failing a crucial platforming maneuver. In another game
that wouldn’t be a bad thing, but it comes across as a
disruptive change of pace. here. At first glance, this game seems to
be a very vanilla experience. That is, that it would just use assets and
mechanics from Super Mario World, but before I’d hit the
first required castle, it became extremely obvious that the
mechanics that were being introduced in each were as chocolate as they come, which means that they didn’t
exist in the original Mario World. Most of the new mechanics are
very thoughtfully designed, Mario’s fireball melts ice
blocks, a la Super Mario Bros. 3. When hit from below, the arrow blocks temporarily spawn up to
three blocks in a row in the direction the arrow is pointing. There are red blocks that disappear
as soon as Mario jumps off them and resurrection blocks revive Mario
if he touches them after he dies. There are timer blocks that appear in
two different puzzles that pause falling platforms until Mario interacts with them, and they freeze all other physics for a
small period of time before movement on those automatically resumes. When winding down with this
game at the end of each day, I would always preview the next puzzle
before I turned my SNES Classic off because of these and
other inventive mechanics. I didn’t want to wait until the next
day to see what would challenge me next. And that’s not just due to the mechanics
but also because of how they’re used in conjunction with the original Mario
World mechanics like block grabbing and shell tossing. They are mixed together
in unique and surprising ways, making most puzzles different
from each other. For example, using the original games on/off switch
to control the path of a moving Thwimp between ice blocks was a delight and
strongly reminded me of the ice block puzzles in Twilight Princess. And the way the game teaches you each
chocolate mechanic is pretty classy too. Rather than ramping up in
difficulty level by level, the difficulty curve is
broken down via mechanic. Each one is introduced with a single
level to itself and a text box or two that helpfully explains what they
are and how to use them. Many times there are one or two more
levels after the first one that require even more careful thought about how to
use that same mechanic to find a solution before another mechanic is
introduced with a simple puzzle. This was especially evident when we
got to the snow levels after one rather challenging course. The backgrounds in music are all custom
and I think they’re from the SMWCentral library because I’ve heard some
of them in other ROM hacks before, but I don’t count this
as a mark against it. The title screen music choice is rockin
and while none of the other music particularly stood out to me other
than some of it feeling familiar, none of it became grating
after listening to it on loop. You’d also think that for game composed
entirely of single screen puzzles that you’d be staring at a motionless monotony
of static sprites for the majority of the time you’re playing this game. But it’s almost as if SNN anticipated
this potential shortcoming, because he added scrolling background
and foreground layers to several levels. It’s like he knew my eyeballs might dry
out if I didn’t have some movement on screen to help me refocus
and blink from time to time, or at least to help make the puzzles
feel more like regular Mario levels. Most of the game uses
standard Mario world sprites, but there are plenty
of custom ones as well. SNN made good selections here because
each custom sprite and background feels like they fit in with the original game. The overworld map created by Koopster is
also a beauty with lots of interesting features, colors, and no
weird perspective issues. There’s several times after completing
a level where I honestly had no idea where the path would go
because it literally sends
you all over creation and in counter-intuitive directions. There is no wasted space
and no boring design here. It’s one of the more varied and
interesting overworlds I’ve seen to date. SNN also commissioned Medic to create
an in-game timer for speed runners that appears on the world map screen, but I’m not sure if it’s considered
legal if you want to appear on the game’s leaderboard. Sadly the game just ends
when you finish the final puzzle. There’s no credit sequence. Just
a Yoshi House with two text boxes. As a kid I always wanted to see good
credit sequences at the end of the games I played and if the game had just a
mediocre one, it just felt disappointing. To this day, Super Mario World’s credit sequence is
perhaps my all time favorite because of the curtain call featuring
all the enemies from the game. It would have been great
to see… something. Mario’s Keytastrophe: Rebirth Edition offers some genuinely
fun and unique puzzle platforming for nearly anyone who enjoyed Super
Mario World and is into puzzle games. It’s chock full of chocolate
game play mechanics, which are utilized in clever ways, but it’s still slightly rough around the
edges by retail game standards due to no credit sequence and a
couple of difficulty spikes. Yet the fact that I’m even comparing it
to a retail game speaks volumes about the overall quality of each puzzle and
that unquantifiable fun factor that makes it one of the best ROM hacks I’ve played. For more ROM hack reviews
and play throughs, subscribe! And then check out some more reviews
by clicking on the playlist and the top left. For free SNES Classic box art and
emulator compatibility info for this game, check out,
and thanks for watching!

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