Tip: Patches for all these hacks are available over at along with lots of other good romhack resources. All you need is a copy of the Super Mario World ROM which i am sure you can figure out how to obtain :) More kaizo related stuff coming to this here page very soon!!
= favourites! The more s, the more favouriter...
Absolutely loved this one, and was pleasantly surprised. While it's true that this is a very easy hack, the levels feel like they are designed to be good levels, not to be easy specifically, which is where a hack like Super Moo World (while on the whole a very good hack) occasionally falls down. One thing that Sweetdude does really well in this hack is tight winding corridors, which feature prominently in multiple levels in Climb The Tower. While a lot of the time, setups of this sort can be incredibly frustrating and uninteresting, because the difficulty level is so low in this game, it's more than compensated for, making for what is quite frankly some very unique level design. One level that sticks in my mind in particular is "Vitamin K", a great carrot platform level that had shades of Invictus, and for an 'easy' level was incredibly inventive in how it used a classic sprite. This hack also confirmed that Sweetdude is a master of speed retention levels, with that kinda rhythm gamey feeling to them. The penultimate level (i think?) was cool in how it combined ideas from earlier levels, but in a very smooth and natural way as this concept can sometimes be clunky. My main take away from this hack is that it manages to be very easy, while also constantly coming through with fresh and unusal ideas, something that i've never really seen in a hack this low down on the difficulty scale. In fact, for this reason i probably wouldn't recommend this as a first hack, as while the execution is all pretty straightforward, some of the setups actually took me a minute to figure out because they weren't things i'd seen before. But then again, perhaps that makes it even better for someone with no preconceptions. Great hack and so nice to breeze through in less than an hour, will be returning to this one soon.
Review on its way!
Still working away at this classic! Enjoying it a great deal so far.
I'll do a review of this one soon.
I promise this is the last one that i've both finished and not written up yet :]
Had a fun evening with Mischievous Mouser, most levels are pretty simple, and a fair few strange and/or inconsistent setups don't stop this from being a fun and relatively easy-going time. There were a couple of levels i didn't care for, such as the wall jump level (wall jump patch's fault, not level design's fault) and the final boss (vertical screen wrap's fault, kinda level design's fault) but these didn't hold the hack back over all. I liked the variety of levels, it was interesting in that every level kind of has its own unique style; in one sense this means the hack lacks cohesion somewhat, and that MagmaMouse's voice perhaps doesn't make itself present as clearly as it could, however there is definitely something really cool about this eclectic style that more than makes up for those drawbacks, and overall i really wouldn't change anything about that as in itself it's pretty original. Special mention for the super fun special world level "Shell Sity", it's the first very shell-y level of this style that i've played i think, and it's a very very good introduction to different shell tricks, and how shell levels fit together. I'm glad i played it before trying any harder shell stuff and i'm glad MagmaMouse made it and included it in the hack.
Played as a chill change of pace while hacking away at Riff world, and it provided just that. It also lived up to its name! A very cute hack with lots of cute aesthetics and fun, simple, readble setups. While i found that a couple of things didn't totally line up to my liking this wasn't necessarily a bad thing overall, and no level outstayed its welcome. Really like this one, and i would probably recommend it as a second hack after Super Moo World, i think it's a little easier and less frustrating than the Quickies. While i can't honestly say anything in this hack totally wowed me, there were a few really cool things, some stuff in the last castle especially. I also really enjoyed both secret exits. A good time! I am now very intrigued to play slopcore's more difficult stuff as i like the level of restraint and effective simplicity in their level design and am interested to experience how that traslates to something a little harder.
Only got two exits to go but i've taken a very extended break. The level design is strikingly brilliant but tbh i was just having a really rough time with the game. I'll finish up some day.
This is a very very cool hack. It really uses motor skills in some wild and interesting ways that i never would have thought of, and were super fun to figure out and play. I especially like the first gravity switch level and the cape level. I also really enjoyed the first vertical wrap level where you essentially just alternate between jumps at break-neck pace, ridiculously fun and even more rythmic that kaizo usually is (which is very, kaizo hacks are basically rythm games imho and i'll probably write out my thoughts on this in-depth one day when i can be arsed). Speaking of vertical screen wrap, i truly fucking despise it, and there being quite a few vertical wrap levels in this hack is really the only thing that brought down my enjoyment of the game, but i have to say that they brought it down quite significantly, especially during what if i remember correctly was the third to last level, which got me incredibly tilted. That level was made extra frustrating by the two-tone palette which looked nice but for me made the level incredibly difficult to read. The only other thing i disliked was the final boss which felt annoyingly precise and repetetive - it was also weird that this fight didn't make use of motor skills?? Felt like a missed opportunity. But seriously, overall i absolutely loved my time playing this, definitely a great hack and i'm sure i will be back to play hard mode before too long.
This hack is pretty fun. I like how Valdio really iterates on single concepts in this hack. For example, in the note block level you will only really touch note blocks, etc. This is a level of focus that I feel is quite unusual in kaizo, and it was both aesthetically pleasing and engaging in terms of gameplay, however it did leave some levels feeling a little one note. While there are no specific problems that I have with this hack, I found the level design to be very safe, almost sanitised. While it was certainly a little easier that Quickie World, I didn't think it was massively so, and that first installment in the series managed to keep the difficulty lower (emphasis on the "er", these hacks are nowhere near as accesible as a lot of people make out and I don't personally think either are particularly good choices for a first hack) while being a great deal more adventurous than this game. I kinda left the hack feeling like.... ok and?? Y'know? It never excited me, which I honestly don't believe it's difficult for easier hacks to do, with Quickie 1 being a perfect example.
Just incredible. Or i guess i should say JUZZZZZZZT incredible. (ugh). No but seriously this hack is unbelievably fucking sick. I'm going to get the negatives out the way immediately, and i say negatives plural, but there is only one: Kamek. I did not like that boss fight at all. The ASM is kind of cool like, the first time you see it, and after that it's just like playing the most drawn out auto-scroller ever. The first couple of phases are very easy to get consistent at, but they last a fair while, and playing them again and again and again on autopilot gets pretty mind-numbing pretty quick. The later phases are also more fun which just makes that annoying. Thankfully it didn't take me too long all things considered. Anyway, with the exception of the final boss, every single level is an absolute banger. Like seriously, my least favourite level is the ice one, and even that is a really good level, and the secret exit in there is one of my favourite sections in the hack. Juzcook's level design is just truly on another level, it meanders unexpectedly in on itself, it takes you to places and makes you perform feats that just open the floodgates and let the purest kaizo energy flow through you. Sure, it's difficult, but in Invictus the more difficult a setup, the more mindblowing and fun it is to compensate, which seems to me to be exactly how difficulty should be balanced in kaizo. The sense of rythm and flow in these levels is like nothing i have ever experienced in a video game, it is deeply musical and fulfilling. While occaisionally frustrating, the pay off is always worth it, and i mean have you ever played kaizo that isn't occaisionally frustrating? It's just part and parcel that you'll sometimes get hung up on something in these games, and in this hack i do not think it's ever the fault of the level design. In a more thematic sense, Invictus has some really cool sequencing; for example "Built to Fall" is all about thwomps that can smash in any direction, while the next level "Plumber's Nightmare" brings back these thwomps in the second half, combining them with the new ideas introduced in the first half of the level. This creates a sense of cohesion and flow that transcends the level design and it's amazing. I was going to list some of my favourite levels but when i tried to think about it level after level pops into my head so whatever just go play it. I don't know how i would feel about Invictus if it had a different final boss but i'll tell ya something, it would be fast approaching perfect.
Technically i beat all exits, but i did take the option to skip the second half of the cape level after bashing myself over the head with it for hours. This is overall a super cool hack, i enjoyed most of the levels, some highlights being the 1f0-noteblock level and the one where you throw the key into the ? block and ride a blue yoshi. First level was also really cool and the chocolate stuff was tricky but nice. The toughest hack i've played yet with some tight but stylish jumps + tricks. There are some places where i felt indication (or better indication) was somewhat needed, especially in the cape level.
A real favourite! Kinda on a par with Gracie right now. Despite being mostly quite easy this hack is very creative and fun and did stuff i haven't really seen before. The cape levels were very challenging and my only real criticism of the game is that the "Silver Diner" stage felt like a massive difficulty spike compared to the rest of the game, but maybe that's just my lack of cape experience talking. Anyway, i'm thankful for it because i feel like i better understand how a lot of cape fundamentals work, and Kaizo Kindergarten didn't even touch on turnaround stuff which i think i have a good grasp on now. The abundance of cape shit is actually one of the main reasons i played this (as well as shovda being cool) and it didn't dissapoint.
I have not played the special stages yet, which seem hard af. Obviously difficult to tell how it would be for someone who has played no kaizo, but i think the tutorial levels are on the whole really good and easy to follow, although explantions could be a little more in depth or clearer sometimes. The assessment stages are just straight up great levels tbh, honestly some of the funnest i've played so far. Makes me want to play Super Dram World which i didn't before.
Mostly very fun. Found some parts had somewhat awkward timing that didn't feel good to play. Learnt A LOT from this hack tho, mainly about jump control. Everyone says this hack teaches you about regrabs but, like i say, i prefer to think of it as jump control in general which kinda feels like the foundation of kaizo to me in a way. I guess what gets called a 'regrab' is a big part of it, but i think it goes deeper than that and it feels a little reductive to say that Akogare is the regrab hack when it is so full of creative and instructional jump control stuff, which i see 'regrabs' as a specific application/combination of that gets a lot of attention for some reason. Plan to replay this one soon and i think i'll enjoy it a lot more now my skills have improved.
This game has uh-maze-ing flow. It always feels ridiculously good to glide through these levels even if the setups aren't the most original ever, and that clearly has a place. After finishing i felt that the final special stage was my fave kaizo level yet (the timer platform one) but in retrospect i think i was probably overhyping it due to, as mentioned, how nicely these levels flow. Definitely a sick level tho don't get me wrong. Play this one, it's hard to explain why it's so good because it just has solid fundamentals.
Kaizo finally fully clicked for me in "All Cat Go 2 Heaven" or whatever it's called when i realised how fun it is to go fast, and what people mean when they talk about flow. This hack is also full of weird and tricky stuff that made me go 'oh' and i really really love it, but that's not to say the difficulty is very high because for the most part it's not. I think it will hold a special place in my heart forever. Want to maybe speedrun someday.
Good simple fun. Levels have a really nice aesthetic atmosphere, and the level design tends to meld with this really well. Writing this retrospectively, but don't remember struggling too much with anything except the ghost field bit when you're riding the bubble which is tricky to figure out and make it through. Basically one of the ghosts is placed in a way that when you die to it, it kinda makes you thing you're doing the section wrong,but you're not, it's just weirdly tight for the difficulty level this hack is going for (even if this is the last stage of any%). After replaying this is 100% my recommendation for a first hack to try. It's super easy, but still makes you feel cool when you get through sections. Teaching jump control with a low gravity special stage is actually genius if that's what Jen was going for, even tho i personally find low grav a little boring due to how much work it feels like coz of the slowness. It's bewildering that anyone still recommends Quickie World as a first kaizo hack when this exists. They must not have played it i guess.
Need to replay, don't remember too much as it was my first hack proper so i was essentially learning on the job as it were. Everyone recommends this as a first hack but i would say it's fine for second or later since Super Moo World is basically the perfect first hack. (Note: I have since replayed this hack a couple of times, and although i still would not recommend it as a first hack, it has gone up in my estimations drastically, based on its own merit separate from its beginner reputatuion. I'm sure i'll properly write up my thoughts on it at some stage.)
Don't really have much to say about this. I don't really think it's an engaging or creative way of structuring a tutorial hack but i understand that it's a product of its time. Gave up when i just literally couldn't do a spring jump on the controller i was using at the time and there was no way to skip the level, the entirety of which was doing this one spring jump. Having said all this, i think this hack is a very good reference tool for specific interactions, tricks, etc., i just wish it was actually structured in that way instead of having to beat every level to unlock the next like in a normal game. I guess i could just download a save file i guess! Maybe i'll go back and finish it one day. I can't see the future, fuck