I stumbled on this little gem by chance, and I wanted to share my review here.
[apologies if this one was already covered]Mari0 (Stabyourself, 2012)The most daring crossover of the year is a gameplay revelationMari0
(spelled with a Zero at the end) includes a complete, faithful remake of the Nintendo classic of the classics... with a twist: the most famous Italian plumber comes equipped with a fully functional Portal Gun (from Valve).
First thing, you will have to love it the same way you would love a good, nonsensical pun when it is kept consistently, with a straight face, for the duration of an entire game or movie. It really is
SuperMarioBros, with all the levels and enemies and secrets etc (and, as far as I can tell, it is faithful down to the last pixel and musical pitch), and you can try to beat it just the way you would on the real thing... only, well, you do
have a Portal Gun, for no apparent reason.
It helps to that impression that the game is absurdly well polished. There can be the occasional glitch, but the physics is otherwise spotless. The portals work the way you would expect, and anything going through them, let it be the player or an evil mushroom or an inanimate object, behaves consistently. And yes, momentum and orientation is correctly preserved. The view of a Goomka or a Koopa Troopa trapped in an endless fall is priceless. Also, it is just lovely that the graphic looks
low-res, but the sprites are actually rotated in hi-res (when rotations are caused by passing through non-parallel portals). Classy!
As if it wasn't enough to revive the original SuperMario levels and explore how a portal gun would have changed things if Aperture Science didn't happen to be in another castle back in the 80ies, there are also the "Portals" levels to try out. There, a puzzled Mario is put in the shoes of Chell. Now, this is where the potentials of the game mechanisms shine. Mari0 stops being an amazingly well done pun and it turns into a real fun game, with quite interesting puzzles. Naturally, it is not the first time that 2D ports of Portals (pun not intended) are attempted, but this one shines, probably because the well-crafted, spotless execution, and because of how many Portals (and Portals 2!) elements have been preserved. Too bad there's only a few Portals levels, but the game is being updated by the day so it can get better (plus: fan contributed levels).
At that point, next thing that will strike you is how much it feels
like portals, and yet how it is so
SuperMario at the same time. Maybe the sound fxs have a part in this: the boings of jumping Mario and whumps of opening Portals are strangely fascinating when inter-mixed! But more than that, it is such a surprisingly seamless mix of real 80's platform challenges and Portal's puzzles/thinking-ahead (what more could you possibly ask for?)
To top, the game comes complete with collaborative Multiplayer (fittingly, since Mario games can be said to have sparkled the genre) and a complete level editor with customizable tile-sets.