I'm not even going to try to crack jokes at this game's expense. Now I know what you're thinking - why would I have a problem with a Flash Mario game? Mario is a gaming institution, a superstar of the platform genre. And I actually like a lot of the online Mario games that I've played. But New Super Mario World 3 takes a big steaming dump on everything the Mario franchise is known and loved for.
First of all, it's a good thing this is just a simple Mario game, because there are no instructions. It's up to you to discover that you run and jump by pressing the directional buttons. There's no equivalent to the B-button, but you're not going to need it anyway.
At first this looked like any Mario game and the design was as good as what you might have pleyed on an old Nintendo. I was a little surprised to find this hallway of man-eating plants, however. It seems a bit much for the first level, don't you think?
I mean, damn, there's a lot of these plants to get past. Having never played Super Mario 3, I can only hope this is not a faithful representation of what the first level in that game must be like. If someone had handed me this game as a kid and I had to get through a hallway full of man eating plants in the first level, my still-developing hand-eye coordination failing me on a regular basis, I would have been pissed off.
Hell, I'm pissed off now.
The point of all this is to collect power-ups that will create platforms elsewhere in the level, so that you can reach the exit. And I must say, as far as power-ups go, I'm disappointed. I've played plenty of online Mario knock-offs and each one has included the classic yellow blocks from the original. All except this one. Whether it was down to inexperience or laziness, I don't know, but it just looks poor. Plus, the mushrooms don't do anything but replenish your health, which is handy, I suppose, since you'll need to go back through the hall of plants to get the last power-up for this level.
OK, going back and forth across a level is fine. I have no problem with that. What I have a problem with is having to go through the same obstacles three times just to give the illusion that the level is far longer than it actually is.
But for all the faults of Level 1, they pale in comparison to the shit sandwich that is Level 2. It starts off reasonably enough. The exit is blocked and the only way to unblock it is to collect eight red coins. How hard can it be, right? let's just say I still have a fucking migraine.
If you want to make a gamer hate you and the game you've designed, include platforms made from single blocks. I have rarely, if ever, seen these in anything other than Mario games, and there's a good fucking reason for that. You need to have perfect aim if you want to land on these things. It's not just a case of jumping as high as possible and moving to the right position, either - you're so damn close to the ceiling that if you bump it you lose all your momentum and come up short over and over again. It's ridiculous, but I spent anywhere up to five minutes trying to reach some of these coins, and it was all because of those God damn single block platforms.
Eventually I just said, "Fuck it" and moved to the next coin, which unsurprisingly is also only reachable by single block platforms. What sucks more than anything is that you can't just forget about these coins, either. You have to collect all eight coins to unblock the exit, meaning that no matter how long it takes, if you want to reach Level 3 you've got no choice but to try again and again and again.
When the game isn't laughing at your inability to jump from one tiny platform to another, it's testing your patient with how incredibly slow it is. Two of the coins are located at the end of long halls. But why? There are no monsters on this level, no bad guys to stop you from reaching the coins. Why do they have to be spaced out so far? The reason, clearly, is because if they weren't distributed far apart or located on almost unreachable areas, you'd be finished this level in two minutes and the developer would have to explain why they didn't make a more interesting game.
OK, this is just unfair. I know I keep harping on about this, but seriously, do you really want to have to make the same jumps again and again because you were a few millimetres out, or because the controls weren't responding fast enough, leaving you to fall off the platform and look like an idiot? It's a terrible idea, and if I ever meet the developer of this game I will hand them the bill for the stress-induced heart attack their shitty game gave me.
OK, I'm close. I just have to jump to the next platform, which is easy enough, then land on the coin. All right, here goes...
You've got to be fucking kidding me. You've got to be fucking kidding me! Jesus God damn it!
Why, God? Why do you punish your snarky game-playing servant so!?
But you know how it is. You can only push a gamer so far. I wasn't going to let it get me. I wasn't going to give up. I'm better than that! I was not going to let these fucking platforms stop me!
And you know what? I didn't. I got those coins. I beat those platforms. I did it! I DID IT!
It almost cost me my sanity, but I did it. I must have been hallucinating, though, because this is what I found in Level 3:
You see them too, right? The pipes? The pipes that are there for absoultely no reason whatsoever? They don't anywhere. If plants are supposed to pop out of them, I didn't see any. So what's going on?
Oh, great, invisible platforms. They, like the pipes, are pointless, and I'm sure they were only included so that the developer could show off. "Hey, look guys!" they might say. "I can do invisible platforms!"
To which the general gaming public replies, "Big deal, make a good fucking game" before returning to more stimulating activities like masturbating or flaming noobs on message boards.
At the end of the pipes I found these black and white boxes, as well as a gap in the floor. Hell, I'll admit it, I just wanted it to be over, so I jumped in the hole, expecting death or a lower level.
I was not expecting this:
Oh. My. God.
That's it? That's the entire game? Three short, boring, infuriating, crappy levels? You can't be serious? That was the most anti-climactic ending to a game that I've ever seen.
I'm sorry, but come on! After all the bullshit, I would have appreciated something a little more than just a blank white screen with some text on it! God damn it! I wasted my time for this!? I want those tenty minutes of my life back! Dear God...
I need a drink.