Three years ago indie developer Jay Pavlina released the brilliant retro throwback Super Mario Crossover, in which you could play the original Super Mario Bros. as various well known characters from that era such as Link, Samus or Mega Man. Amazingly, each characters' special abilities were tailored to their powers from their source material and rejigged in such a way that it would fit the level's framework. As it turns out, smacking one's head isn't the only way to break a brick as shooting them or stabbing them with a downward thrust is equally effective.
Now Pavlina and his studio, Exploding Rabbit, have released a trailer for the third iteration of the fan-favourite spin-off series. Due this May or June, Super Mario Bros. Crossover 3.0 will feature background assets from Super Mario Bros. 2, Castlevania and an Atari-style filter, while you'll be able to play as stranger folks like the sorta pyramid-shaped piece in Tetris.
Curiously, Super Mario Bros. Crossover 3.0 is built upon the stages of Super Mario Bros. Special, Hudson Soft's obscure Japan-only release that slightly proceeded The Lost Levels. Pavlina noted on the Exploding Rabbit blog that The Lost Levels are coming too, but he wanted to try something more obscure this time out. "I know that people want The Lost Levels in the game, but we decided to do 'Special' first since it's something different," he said. "We'll be working on The Lost Levels for a future update."
This not-quite-remake will also feature multiple difficulty settings. "Since I've played the game so many times, I'm used to playing through the levels pretty quickly, but on hard mode, I have to stop and think about what I'm doing," said Pavlina. "It's really fun, and it plays with the player's expectations. Easy mode is also fun. Instead of just making the levels easier, we added tons of coins. It makes you want to collect as many as you can so it changes the gameplay a bit."
Since the Super Mario Bros. Crossover series isn't allowed to make money due to its blatant copyright infringement, Exploding Rabbit is working on its own IP, Super Retro Squad, which raised over $53K on Kickstarter last summer. It will feature original levels and a cast not-too-subtly parodying the famous leads of Super Mario Bros. Crossover.
Originally Super Retro Squad was slated to come out last month, but it's been delayed all the way until 2014. It's hard to stay mad, though, when the trailer for Super Mario Bros. Crossover 3.0 shows so much promise.