There's a new Super Mario game coming out in the future, though it isn't exactly sanctioned by Nintendo. Super Mario Flashback has been designed in the mold of a classic 2D Mario title, but done up in the most elaborately animated and colorful ways possible.
The first thing to know about Super Mario Flashback is that, while it certainly plays like its classic counterparts, it takes many mechanics and ideas from more modern incarnations of Mario. Mario can duck and slide, wall jump, and ground pound right from the start. The Flashback team has also opted for the life meter from newer Mario games instead of having Mario switch between small and big forms based on power-ups. Each level also possesses an optional green star for players to collect.
The visuals in Super Mario Flashback stand out as some of the best looking sprite work and pixel art design in recent memory. Each of Mario's movements take on a fluid energy as multiple movements play out through every animation. Even common enemies have the same attention to detail, like the lowly goombas whose aggressive waddling shifts their orientation with each step in a visually pleasing way. People who have been dying for a new 2D Mario in a style that brings Super Mario World into 2018 should find Super Mario Flashback exactly what they have been hoping for.
Though the full game has yet to be released, Team Flashback released a demo over the weekend to show off their vision of what the final product will be like. The demo consists of three levels, each with their own collectible star. With Mario as the only playable character, players are given infinite lives to make their way to the end of the demo. Players can map controls to any keys they wish, though full Xbox 360 controller support is offered, too.
The final game will offer so much more, however. Nine worlds consisting of multiple levels will be available at launch, each based on a classic Mario title. Super Mario Flashback will also have a wholly original soundtrack, a bit of which plays throughout the demo (it's quite good). The devs have promised over 75 power stars, which might correspond to a rough count of how many stages will be in the final game. 36 optional bonus stars will be available to discover, too. The team has also promised "tons of power-ups," which is good as the demo only includes the classic mushroom and flower power-ups.
While Mario holds the honor of starring in the demo, players will actually be able to choose their character in Super Mario Flashback. Players will be able to choose between Mario, Luigi, and Toad, each with different costumes that players can unlock in-game. Of course, it wouldn't be true to classic Mario if each player didn't play a little differently. Luigi retains his high jumping and slippery walk, and Toad walks pretty fast, but takes the longest to reach sprinting speeds.
Oh, and the whole thing aims to have 1080p resolution at 60FPS.
Before anyone goes off on how Nintendo will shut down the project, the leader of Team Flashback, Mons, released a statement via Twitter (condensed and edited for clarity below):
My mentions are literally full of people either telling me that the game is going to get taken down by Nintendo (yes, I had no idea) or getting worried about that.
I think I need to clear this whole thing up.
First of all no, I'm not worried about Nintendo taking down the game. That's mainly because I've noticed some trends in fangames that got taken down by Nintendo.
1) Remakes: Most of the fangames Nintendo took down are remakes or games that are close to being remakes. Super Mario 64 HD, Full Screen Mario, Super Mario ReMaker, Zelda 30 Tribute, AM2R and many others are all remakes. It makes sense for them to shut down these fangames as the original games are still being sold on the Eshop.
2) Fangames that make money: Well, it makes sense that Nintendo doesn't want others to make money with their IP. The biggest example of this I can think of is Nintendo taking down tons of fangames on Game Jolt. This was because you can actually make money there with ads. Though you really really don't earn much. I uploaded an indie game I made for a game jam there with ads and uhh... yeah....
3) Pokemon fangames: I mean, it's a well known fact that The Pokemon Company is really protective of their IP. IIRC this was the reason why the Pokemon costumes in Mario Maker didn't have custom sounds too. So this is also kind of reasonable.
Ok, well, not "reasonable" but it kind of makes sense.
Anyways, there's only 1 fangame that didn't fit any of these categories and that's No Mario's Sky but... I think it also kiiiiind of makes sense when you think about it? I mean No Man's Sky was a controversial subject at the time so I'd assume that they didn't want Mario to be attached to that? I think that's really dumb but again, it kind of makes sense.
And well, Flashback doesn't really fit any of these categories. It's not a remake, it doesn't make money, it has nothing to do with Pokemon and it doesn't do anything controversial with the IP.
Does this mean that Flashback is 100% safe? I wish, it's impossible to know what Nintendo is going to do next. But it gives me enough confidence to share my progress with the game to the public.
Oh and no, we won't turn this game into an indie game if Nintendo sends us The Letter. I'd rather make something original than a ripoff of Mario if I'm making an indie game. We might move onto a different indie game with a similar team using a similar art style, but it would most definitely be a different game.
Those interested in checking out Super Mario Flashback can download the demo on the Team Flashback website.