Review Information
Game Reviewed Super Mario Sketch, by Yoshimaster
Review Author Cap'n Coconuts
Created Jan 11 2016, 8:50 PM

General Commentary and Game Overview
If one looks up pencil art, one can find a large quantity of high quality--even photorealistic--drawings made with nothing more than paper and pencil. Even if some of those drawings aren't photorealistic, they often have shading, neatly drawn lines, and otherwise show great effort and care.

Super Mario Sketch is a game that relies entirely on its art style. As a game, it is a shallow, bug-ridden mess. And let's be honest, even its art style has room for improvement--a far cry from quality pencil art.
Pros + It tried a different art direction.
Cons - It didn't do all it could with said art direction.
- Glitches abound, even elementary ones that should be relatively simple to fix.
- Level design is uninteresting.
2 / 10

While that is my general thought of the gameplay, it isn't nowhere near verbose enough for a review, so let me elaborate.

Super Mario Sketch is a simple Mario platformer... so simple that Fire Flowers do not seem to exist. Of course they might exist, but the game's physics were so broken that I lacked the patience to get very far--not that I think I'm missing much, given the bland and primitive level design. The simplicity is a little understandable, while the bug-ridden physics are not.

This game seems to be a fan of "precise" pixel collisions. Instead of Mario having a square collision box, he collides with solid objects based on his sprite's actual shape. For example, let's suppose you're right next to a pipe and trying to jump on top of it, except you can't because Mario's foot is sticking out and it collides with the lip. This is an amateur and annoying way of handling collisions, which you can see for yourself by playing it--except you probably shouldn't play it because there are much better games to play.

Besides that, there are many other elemental mistakes. Pressing the SHIFT key plays the jump sound, even if Mario cannot jump (e.g. crouched or in midair). Movement has little sense of inertia; changing walking direction from left to right or vice versa is instantaneous and preserves your velocity in the new direction. Bouncing on an enemy propels you at ludicrous speed for whatever reason. Enemies (if a Koopa shell counts) can fall through blocks, Mario can fall through blocks, Mario can get stuck in blocks climbing up a vine, and Mario can fail to grab the vine with the Goomba on it in level 2.

All in all, the programming in this game is really sloppy. It's like I'm playing a legacy Game Maker platformer tutorial, only WORSE. It's things like this that make me wonder if the creator in question put any real effort into testing his own game, or if he even cared about putting effort into making a good game at all.

One last thing: why do I lose my power-up after finishing a level? I finished the first level as Super Mario, but found myself depowered the moment I started level 2. Was it really that much a trouble to have a mushroom persist in between levels?

I can't really defend this gameplay at all. The programming has the most basic of errors, even when you consider the fact that it was created in 2003.
4 / 10
In case you all have somehow missed the thumbnail and the review's overview, the game's art style consists of pencil drawings. While this is certainly an interesting art direction, it is also handled in a very amateur manner.

For instance, I've noticed there are basically five shades of pigmentation: none, moderate, heavy, erased, and JPEG. Why am I seeing low quality JPEG artifacts in this game? GIF has been around since 1987 and this style is in black and white. If disk space was a concern, why weren't these saved as GIFs? Why is there little to no distinction between objects in the background and things like the ground in the foreground? And why is there no shading? You know what other game has a else has a style that looks hand-drawn? Yoshi's Island. Yoshi's Island has shading and contrast in its style--something that this hand-drawn style lacks.

But besides that, there are problems with the shapes. For instance, a lot of stuff is drawn slanting off instead of going straight up, like beanstalks. The brilliant collisions in the game reflect this, so you have to move both up and to the right to get up a beanstalk. Were image editors so primitive back in the say that Yoshimaster couldn't rotate the stalks a bit and make them go straight up?

In addition to all of the above, there are very few animation frames for Mario and other moving things. This makes the animation choppy and stiff.

All in all, this could be a really amazing art style if Yoshimaster had actually put the effort into making it amazing. I've seen pencil art, and let me tell you: there is much room to improve.
5 / 10
Sound consists of a handful of 8-bit sfx and MIDI files. This being written in 2016, no one is really fond of low quality MIDIs anymore. Even judging by the standards of the day, a couple of these MIDIs are a little meh. But it's all okay, I guess.
1 / 10
The replay value of a game depends greatly on the quality of other aspects in the game. In this case, the gameplay is so bad that I cannot justify giving this a remotely good score, even if it did happen to have secret or bonus content aside from the core game.
Final Words
3 / 10
This game gets a couple of points for token originality, but careful observation shows there is a lot of stuff that could be much better.

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