yuriks's Ratings and Reviews
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Super Junkoid by P. Yoshi [SM Exploration], rated by yuriks on Sep 29, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
100% in 5:33
Deserves all the praise it's gotten!

The overhaul of the visual style and several crucial gameplay changes from SM overall make this feel like a completely different SNES game. The new mechanics all felt innovative and the map design is stellar, with the possibility of multiple intended paths through the game that all feel natural.

It's not an overly long hack, but what is there is tightly designed and excellently executed!
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 CRE by Tundain [SM Quick Play], rated by yuriks on Nov 10, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
92% in 1:04
Looks better than it has any right to, and I got a good laugh out of the enemy sprites made out of various CRE blocks.

Sensible map layout and rooms that are fun to play and explore. Doesn't last very long but is definitely worth the short time to play if you're looking for some thing short. I particularly liked the grapple beam changes. I'm not sure exactly what they were but they made grapple a bit more fun and pleasant to use.
Ancient Chozo by Albert V. [SM Vanilla+], rated by yuriks on Sep 29, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
96% in 4:10
Gorgeous hack, but I think I didn't really gel with its approach to map design. There were *tons* of redundant corridors and ways to access the same areas, and it made the map confusing to explore at times. It also keeps the same style of map as vanilla, so no doors or dynamic items dots on the map to help either. Fortunately, the layout was usually similar enough to vanilla for me to be able to use my knowledge of it as a guide.

The tiling is definitely the high point of the hack. Rooms are extremely detailed and vibrant, even to the point of being excessively busy in some areas.

There were also various annoyances such as many arbitrary one-way doors forcing long run-arounds if you took a wrong turn at times, the just downright mean escape sequence with no saves near the final boss, the frustrating grapple puzzle above the sandpits in Maridia leading to an upgrade, and some missile doors that are very easily mistaken by grey locked doors in Tourian. These were all somewhat frustrating when they happened, but overall I still enjoyed it.
Super Metroid Nature by Jefe962 [SM Exploration], rated by yuriks on Aug 14, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
89% in 4:27
(time is IGT)

A pretty enjoyable hack which, unfortunately, ended up not feeling super memorable. The themes and ideas here are mostly really well executed, but there's not much in terms of those ideas, environments or mechanics that stand out or feel very original. Some areas are better about this, I felt like the Wrecked Ship and Lower Norfair in particular stood out as being more unique. The map is pretty well laid out and I never really got lost, even after taking a long break in-between sessions.

The tiling was a stand out and one of my favorite aspects of the hack. It's really detailed without looking too busy or out-of-place, and I thought the area color schemes all looked very good. I do wish it had been a bit more consistent with hidden passages: There's secrets required for progression that are only hinted with barely noticeable flipped tiles, while at the same time having lots of suspicious-looking details that ended up not being anything. Not enough to be annoying but it felt like wasted potential when those could be incorporated as clues a bit more frequently instead.

Difficulty was pretty easy as a seasoned SM player, except for a sudden difficulty spike during the escape, which has a very tight timer and took me a few tries to beat.

Recommended, especially if you're looking for something pretty Vanilla-ish. 3.5/5
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!
Super Metroid: Z-Factor by Metaquarius [SM Exploration], rated by yuriks on Nov 10, 2023 (Star Star Star Star Star )
73% in 10:01
A textbook example of how to ruin a promising hack through lack of restraint. It starts out giving a great first impression, with excellent tiling work, some cool custom visual stuff, and novel rooms. However, by the time you get to Norfair, the problems start to creep in as progression starts to become more and more obscure.

By the time you get to the infamous Zaridia, every single room has become an obtuse puzzle and the momentum grinds to a halt as you're forced to bomb/xray every single unassuming room and block to try to find progression. Couple that with a basic in-game map with no door transitions marked (which I assume was just the norm in 2013) and crumble blocks that repeatedly send you back several rooms, requiring you to backtrack to where you were just to try a puzzle again. By the time I got to Lower Norfair I found myself mostly playing out of spite, looking at a map every time I invariably spent several minutes scouring the available rooms searching for the hidden path needed to progress, without success.

I will give it that the Tourian section was pretty tense and novel, and where I finally found myself having some fun with the hack again. Ultimately, although it has a lot going for it in terms of room and world design, and the occasional really cool idea for a room, the majority of the minute-to-minute gameplay on the second half is so soul-crushingly miserable I can't recommend this to anyone actually looking to have fun playing a hack, unless you really enjoy spending most of your time xray scanning every room.