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It'sa me, Kaizo Mario!

MCBanjoMike

Sudden chomper
(He/him)
I thought that the intended way to make that jump in Caradhras was to thread the two rocks? I’m pretty sure I’ve seen people do that, but it strikes me as being the much harder option. Then again, beating them requires taking a pretty specific path up the platforms so as to delay triggering the camera movement (and rock falling), so I don’t know how many people would find that on their own. Shrug?

I played the first Nightmare Café game! It took me an hour and I really enjoyed it. There were three or four rooms that took me a couple minutes to figure out, but for the most part it was smooth sailing. I don’t know if I’ll play all ten of these, but I’m definitely coming back for more - it might make a good series to stream until I figure out what I want to focus on next.

On a related note, I put Purps on while I was having breakfast this morning and he was playing…a new Lush_50 hack??? How does he do it? It wasn’t a Nightmare Café in name, but definitely in a similar vein, composed of more single-room challenges. Seems like it’s meant to be harder than the NC series? Either way, that man’s hack output just boggles the mind.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I might be remembering wrong, but I'm pretty sure I died to those Caradhras rocks consistently until I just made a point to go faster than them. Then again, all I've seen of GPW2 for a while now has been speedruns, so maybe the intended strat is different. When I have the chance, I'll look up Barb's playthrough from early last year and see what he does.

It looks like that new Lush hack is maybe somewhere in between Nightmare Cafe and Mad with Kaizo Power, and if that's the case I would like to play it! It's wild how quickly he can churn hacks out.

I'm 9.5 exits into Peachy Moat World, and for the most part I'm having a really good time! Every so often there's something that I get hung up on (like the ASM that lets you reclaim a shell after you throw it), but so far it's actually been easier than expected and quite fun. The things I haven't enjoyed so far are relatively few: the aforementioned shell ASM, a skull raft autoscroller with ice physics, the infamous underwater switch palace. That's about it. There's a double jump level, and while I've yet to meet a double jump level that I liked playing, this one was straightforward enough that it wasn't particularly odious. It's funny that this was recommended to me as something in between Invictus and GPW2 in terms of difficulty, so far it's felt much easier than Invictus. Maybe the other shoe will drop soon but to this point it's felt like a true intermediate hack. (That's a compliment!)
 

MCBanjoMike

Sudden chomper
(He/him)
It could also be that you’re just better now! Although from what I understand, Peachy Moat gets tougher in the second half.
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
Welp, I just beat Shallow Pits. End time was 18:42:05. Overall I enjoyed most of it, though several rooms were pure pain. It's the very definition of a hack that's not for everyone. Still, glad I saw it through.

Now I think I'm going to pick Storks back up again. I left off on Sticky Keys, so we'll see how much further I get this time.
 

MCBanjoMike

Sudden chomper
(He/him)
That's a lot longer than your average Nightmare Café! Well, I'm sure this will at least add a little to your encyclopedic knowledge of SMW glitches and weird interactions. Good luck with Sticky Keys - do you already know the puzzle solution for the first half?

Speaking of Morsel, I realized I'd never really seen anyone play Don't Spare the Horses, so I fired up Kezcade's clear compilation on YouTube this morning. That game looks stressful as hell to play, do not want. There's something I like about watching clear compilations - players don't have the ridiculously-honed skills of speedrunners at this point, so you get a much better idea of which parts are particularly difficult. There's a spot where Kez runs back and forth on a series of falling platforms for ages because he's trying to line up the timing for a very difficult jump and you can really feel the tension. A speedrunner would know that it takes exactly x cycles and then probably execute it flawlessly, but watching that as a viewer, you don't realize how much work and practice went into that one moment. Anyway, as for Don't Spare the Horses: Don't Expect Me to Play It.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Speaking of Morsel, if you haven't read the comment he left on the SMW Central page for Odd Sands, I highly recommend it.

Anyone know anything about Weekend at Luigi's? I only got to see one level of the hack but it looked like it was maybe cool.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
12 exits into Peachy Moat World (through the entire left-side path) and while I'm still having fun, I'm definitely hitting some uneven difficulty spikes. There's a rope-riding level a la Danger Zone where the first half took me a long time due to a couple of obstacles not feeling like they lined up properly, and the second half took me literally two minutes. But my pace is slowing, overall. I was previously clearing exits in maybe 20-40 minutes, but I only got through two today in a two hour session. Overall it's still not super hard yet*, in the grand scheme of kaizo, but like I mentioned before I keep getting hung up on one particular obstacle in any given level. In any case, from this halfway point I'd still heartily recommend it.

*The final door entry in the screen wrap level is just as fucked up as any door Barb made for GPW2.
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
Hey, guess what? 8 exits down in Storks! Not only did I finish Sticky Keys tonight, I also finished the cape level after. The latter is really fun, some of the most fun I've had with cape that's not Let's Give up.

Next is the autoscroller with the high jumps with blocks. Gotta say, this hack is really doing it for me.
 

MCBanjoMike

Sudden chomper
(He/him)
I'm glad Peachy Moat is holding up for you so far, lincoln, that's one I would definitely like to try some day. And great job with Sticky Keys, Snake, that's supposed to be a real...sticking point.

I had a chance to play a little more Ako 2 last night, clearing the Tower of Fate and the first section of the "final" level. I had recently re-read some of your comments about Tower, so I was able to intuit pretty quickly what to do and I wound up really liking the level. It was definitely one of the more memorable levels in the game for me, short and punchy to boot. The next level seems pretty cool, too, with all the throw blocks and Reznors scattered around the level. My main gripe about Ako 2 has been how samey I've found most of the levels, so it's nice to have a couple of more distinct ones at the end. Hoping to clear any% pretty soon, then we can see how hard the special stages are.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Nice job clearing Sticky Keys, Snake!

Tower of Fate is super fun once you know what to do with the first jump, and that's something Scott changed in 1.1, but I still maintain it's an awkward way to start a level. High Peak was also pretty fun, and he nerfed the hardest bits of the final room, so hopefully it's a good ride through the end. As for the special world, it was really just that one Yoshi toss in the first level that was a sticking point for me. I know that also got reworked in 1.1, so maybe it's not so bad now. I think you'll dig that level either way, it's very different from everything else in the game.
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
So I had so much fun with the cape level in Storks that I went back to Let's Give Up today and cleared out the switch level. Gosh this game is fucking fun, and might just be my favorite hack of all time. I now have 5 exits cleared, so one more and I'll have beaten Any%. Hopefully the rest of the game doesn't take too long, because the newly released Let's Give Up DLC is sitting there waiting too.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Today I learned that Fishing Boo is the ghost of Lakitu and it blew my mind a little bit.
 

MCBanjoMike

Sudden chomper
(He/him)
There’s Let’s Give Up DLC now? Man, microtransactions are ruining everything. Still, it’s awesome you’ve made it this far. I really want to play Let’s Give Up but I’m going to stick with GPW2 for my challenge hack for a little while yet.

Lincoln, you never noticed the similarities between fishin’ lakitus and fishin’ boos? Then again, the lore is anything but consistent with this stuff. Sometimes, dry bones are said to be koopa skeletons, but other games claim they’re a whole separate species.

As for me, I finished Ako 2 any%! The last level was quite good, but the final section (with all the key juggling) had some teeth to it. I saw a video of the middle section being played on 1.0, and the biggest change is that there’s only one Reznor guarding the exit now. That move where you kill one and sneak into the pipe under the second looks pretty tough, but I’m not sure the nerf was really necessary, since that section is fairly short. I stuck my head into the post-nexus yoshi level, but didn’t really put any time into it yet. Also, it looks like you don’t need to hit all three switches to get past the nexus? That’s an unusual choice. Next time I stream, I’ll probably play a Nightmare Café and then work on the Ako 2 special stages a bit, I would like to be done with this hack at some point!
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Nice work on good progress in Let's Give Up, Snake! Soon you'll be speedrunning Volpey's Senpai. And nice work on your Any% completion, Mike! You should look up the 1.0 version of the key section too, the beginning was so much rougher then. I think there are only two more exits after High Peak, so you're nearly done!

I'm 21 exits into Peachy Moat now and I still can't tell if the difficulty has spiked yet. Like the rest of the game, it still feels like most levels aren't that bad except for one really tough obstacle somewhere in the middle. Even the motor skills level was pretty straightforward. Though I do think the past few exits have taken me closer to 40-60 minutes to finish, as opposed to the 20-40 of earlier levels. Make of that what you will, but I think it's still easier than Invictus.
 

MCBanjoMike

Sudden chomper
(He/him)
I went back and looked at the differences between 1.0 and 1.1 in the final levels, and there are quite a few! The original start of the key section didn't look all that bad to me, but without playing it it can be hard to evaluate. The very ending was also changed, and if anything I thought it looked like it was a hair easier? But the change that really interests me is at the start of the flying yoshi level. I've spent about 10 minutes on that level, enough to succeed at landing on the grown yoshi a handful of times. It's pretty tough, but I remember it being a huge sticking point for lincoln back in the day. The only real difference in that section is the last thing yoshi eats - initially it was a coin, but now it's a mushroom that falls straight down. I assume the change was made because the trajectory of the falling mushroom was either more consistent or easier to read (or maybe both?), but it doesn't seem like it would make THAT much of a difference. I generally consider you to be the better player, but this was also a few months ago, so it's also possible that August Mike is a bit better than March lincoln was.

How many exits total in Peachy Moat? I know it's kind of long, but it seems like you've made really good progress.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
The difference between the coin and the mushroom is that the coin would fall in a random direction, so there was no way to work out a consistent strat for the Yoshi throw. I hated it and I'm glad Scott made that change.

August Mike is probably better than February/March lincolnic was, but August lincolnic has also beaten Mad with Kaizo Power and Grand Poo World 2 (amongst several easier hacks). I've definitely come a long way over the past few months. We all have!

Peachy Moat is 29 exits, which is probably too many? Right now I'm at 23.5 (halfway through the Ultra Star) and I think the other shoe has finally dropped. Levels are becoming a bit of a grind to get through, and I'm also running into some design elements I don't enjoy (I'm looking at you, switch palace with six survival rooms and no checkpoints). I think I've got maybe two exits left before I have to do the moon physics level, and I'm really not looking forward to that. I know the final level is super long, too. Don't get me wrong, I'm still having a good time, it's just that the late-game difficulty spike is real. So far it still feels easier than Invictus, though!
 

MCBanjoMike

Sudden chomper
(He/him)
Oh yeah, that survival switch palace is kind of notorious. But hey, if you've made it through there, you're probably past the worst of it!

After another 45 more minutes of playing the flying yoshi level, I found myself consistently getting to the end, but losing my yoshi as I tried to spin jump the last turn block that you have to break. Confused, I watched a video and realized that I was doing the last part all wrong - you have to get knocked off the yoshi and let it run along the bottom of the screen, then meet up with it later. I had noticed that there was a red coin at the spot where you need to get hit, but I didn't realize it was telling me to take damage. So I guess that one is on me? Either way, it was a pretty annoying finale to a level that I actually found to be pretty enjoyable, if a little stressful to play*. The falling mushroom does indeed make for a consistent setup, so it's a definite change for the better. You should maybe come back to this game at some point, it seems like it got a major overhaul with the 1.1 update!

Just have the final tower level left to play, and I can go see credits any time I want. I'll try to actually complete all the levels before doing that, though. It's a little ridiculous how long this hack has taken me to complete, but I really lost steam about 2/3 of the way through and kept putting it on the back burner. There are a few really strong levels in here, and a whooooooole lot of pretty OK ones, but I think it would have benefitted from just being shorter overall. Then again, I feel that way about any hack with more than 20 exits...

*I don't like Pepe emotes, but there's something about monkaSteer that I feel encapsulates a certain kaizo-specific emotion really well. Flying my yoshi through that level had a definite monkaSteer vibe.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Yeah, I'll likely play 1.1 sometime, I definitely liked the game enough to warrant a runback. Glad you've stuck with it to the end. One more level to go!
 

MCBanjoMike

Sudden chomper
(He/him)
So here's a question for you two, then: once I've got Akogare 2 in the books, what should I play next? I'll try to make a little progress in GPW2, but I know I'll need something for nights when I'm not feeling quite so ambitious. Purgatory and Unintended Behavior are both relatively high on my pile, but if you have any other suggestions I'm all ears.
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
Well you know I love me some Unintended Behavior, though it depends on how confident you are at reading setups. If you play it on stream, I can be there to give you nudges in the right direction if needed.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I'll tell you this: I gave up on Unintended Behavior at literally the first obstacle, because I am a smooth-brained dumb dumb. Be ready to do some thinking if you pick that one up next! I do think you'll like Purgatory, because it has a bunch of cool levels that are also a little weird (and I know that's your wheelhouse).

I also enjoyed Super World a lot, which was fairly breezy (total playtime 3-4 hours over two sittings), but with pretty fun level design. Difficulty clocks in probably somewhere around Little Mario World/Take it Easy. That's a good palette cleanser if you don't want to do anything too strenuous. I'd recommend it along with Purgatory.
 

MCBanjoMike

Sudden chomper
(He/him)
Well it ain't Let's Give Up, but I just (finally) closed the book on Akogare 2! I think I've been pretty transparent about my criticisms of the game - I basically put it down for a month because I was finding it to be too samey from one level to the next - but the last four levels in the game were all really good and it has somewhat redeemed itself in my eyes. I just wish there was more variety in the stages, because 3/4 of them are all variations on left-to-right obstacle courses with few surprises. They're almost all well-made (except for the stupid switch gate at the end of Northern Range), but after 15 of those levels, I just didn't want any more. Happily, Mega kept some really cool surprises for the last handful of levels: Tower of Fate's vertical screenwrap climb, the block throwing and key juggling sections of High Peak, the devilish flying and item manipulations in the first special stage. Hell, I would take an entire hack based around the snakey block/P-switch section of the ultimate level, it was incredibly cool. The incrementally-dropping layer 2 in Obsidian Vale was another highlight. But along with those were about 20 levels that I can't really remember now that the game is over, despite the fact that they were uniformly well-made. Ah well, I think the real takeaway is that Mega's creations just aren't my favorite style of kaizo. That's a little vindicating, after all these months of wondering whether I should go back and play the first game in this series. At the very least, I can now claim the unlikely title of the only kaizo player in the universe to have finished Ako 2 but not Ako 1!
 
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