yuriks's Ratings and Reviews
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Super Metroid: Subversion by TestRunner and AmoebaOfDoom [SM Exploration], rated by yuriks on Nov 08, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
100% in 9:28
(Initial playthrough done on v1.1)

A landmark hack that sets a new standard for quality.

There is so much to love here that I had a hard time figuring out how to write this review. The game is set in a new fully fleshed-out planet, and the bits of lore provided in the new logbook really help contextualize and let you immerse yourself in the world. The level design is excellent. Each area is reasonably sized and given its own memorable style and atmosphere, meaning that even though the world is about twice as large as the original SM, it is possible to navigate without necessarily consulting the in-game map very often. The item placements are carefully designed so that, if you take all the right turns, backtracking is actually rarely required just to collect optional items.

Many of the (lovingly called) "trash" items from SM have received additional or completely new functionality to redeem them here. The new additions to the mechanics and item pool feel universally like interesting improvements on the formula of the original SM, with many incremental powerups that feel useful and break the monotony of "just yet another missile pack", making exploration more rewarding without breaking the progression flow wide open.

There is a fair amount of care given to accessibility for casual players, with features like auto-run, an unobtrusive hint system that helps you remember places you might want to revisit without spoiling the progression for you, and easy mode. And even after you think you're mostly done with the game, it still has plenty of secrets and post-game content that will blow your mind.

More-so than any other hack I've played until now, this feels like it could have been a legitimate sequel to Super Metroid. I might even recommend it to someone who has is a fan of metroidvanias and liked SM, even if they're not necessarily into hacks (yet). If you're a fan of SM, then this is pretty much a must-play. There is an unbelievable amount of love and effo
Super metroid familiar by Tundain [SM Exploration], rated by yuriks on Nov 08, 2022 (Star Star Star Star Star )
70% in 3:17
Played v1.03.

Good hack, and a very interesting take on a "Vanilla++". Despite being entirely based on vanilla rooms, the layout did not at all feel like vanilla, and a lot of the rooms came across more as homages to the originals, with some fun and amusing twists, while others only barely resembled the originals other than tileset/enemy selections. Good vanilla-style tiling and polish throughout.

I was never able to get a good sense of the "flow" of the hack, which left me feeling like I was just involuntarily stumbling upon new rooms without really having any agency of where I was going. There were several rooms that felt overly big, and some detours that were quite long but didn't seem to have very good rewards at end. While there are several points where the map loops around to earlier areas, the length of these loops and the complexity of the larger rooms made it time consuming to revisit some sections. End result of all these is that I usually felt discouraged from going back for items or branches that I had missed during my first time exploring.

I also found the difficulty to actually be somewhat harder than vanilla. This owes mostly to the stinginess with e-tanks early on, and several very unforgiving rising acid rooms later on. Many rooms also felt kinda unfair forcing you to either do blind drops in very tall rooms or climb up with offscreen enemies swooping down on you from where you can't really see them first. I think I only died once, but I found myself on the verge of death often, and I consider myself a decent SM player.

Overall, good polish, good concept, and a pretty good time!