I’ve been playing Super Princess Peach recently. I’d heard it was easy, but as much as I love video games, I’m not that great at them. It is generally forgiving compared to traditional Mario games. You have a life bar instead of only getting one or two hits, the game auto-saves after each level, and there’s no life system. That said, I still haven’t been able to get past World 7-2, particularly the part that auto-scrolls upward. That’s still pretty far into it, though, right? The general idea is a pretty obvious one, having the Princess rescue Mario instead. Of course, she was already playable in Super Mario Bros. 2, but that wasn’t a total reversal. I’ve heard complaints that Peach’s power being based on emotions is too stereotypically girly, like her powers are based on having her period or something. In fairness, though, she’s actually one of the few characters who’s able to use her emotions to her advantage rather than being overcome by them. The story has it that Bowser has found something called the Vibe Scepter on Vibe Island, and by simply waving it around, a Goomba makes everyone in Peach’s castle randomly and uncontrollably emotional, which is what allows the villain’s henchmen to capture Mario, Luigi, and Toad.
Throughout the game, many of the enemies are stuck in a certain mood, presumably without any choice in the matter. The bosses, however, do use them to their advantage. Peach has access to four Vibes, each of which has a power that can help her out: Joy makes her float upwards in a whirlwind, Gloom produces a flood of tears, Rage burns things, and Calm lets you gradually regain health.
In addition to this and the usual 2-D platforming that involves a lot of jumping on or over things, the Princess is accompanied by a talking parasol she receives from Toadsworth, who got it from a wandering merchant. Cut scenes throughout the game reveal that Perry was a person who was transformed into a parasol by an evil magician. Peach can use Perry to hit or lift enemies, and additional abilities you can purchase at a Toad-staffed shop also let the umbrella float, ground pound, and charge up and fire a shot.
Vibe Island includes a lot of the familiar Mario settings: grasslands, forest, haunted house, fire, water, ice, and sky. There’s a mood-related twist to the names, however, including the Ladida Plains, Fury Volcano, and Giddy Sky.
Each world normally contains six levels, although I understand you can unlock new ones by beating the game. The sixth has the boss, including both some familiar faces (Petey Piranha, King Boo, Gooper Blooper) and a few new ones like an owl and an ice-breathing fairy dragon. The pattern to boss fights is that each one has five hit points, and after losing three they go into a more challenging mode where they use a Vibe to their advantage. There isn’t much said about the location of Vibe Island other than the typical “near the Mushroom Kingdom,” but suspect it might be near the Beanbean Kingdom, since that’s largely emotion-themed as well. One weird thing I’ve heard about this game is that the ending scene seems to suggest the Vibe Scepter is a vibrator. I’m going to guess that’s not really the intention, but look!
I guess we still don’t know what Toadstool’s ??? (Peach’s XXX in Japanese) actually is.
I’ve also played a little of Bowser’s Inside Story recently. While a very creative and generally fun game, I find myself getting stuck fairly often, especially when having to get timing just right in a boss battle. I put the game aside after being unable to defeat the Stone Blooper, which can only be harmed through Bowser’s counterattacks. Then I got to the Wiggler farmer, and while the principle of that fight is pretty simple, there’s a lot coming at you. But I eventually beat him; and now I’m at the Durmite, a bug inside King Koopa’s body who not only has erratic attacks that are difficult to dodge, but also can call reinforcements and heal herself.
I’ve also taken to watching playthroughs of games I haven’t played, which I’m sure some people find lame, but how else am I going to learn how they expand the universe when I don’t currently have access to the actual games? The first Wario Land (which is also Super Mario Land 3) has Wario visit a place called Kitchen Island, where most things are based around food and cooking.
This is a direction the Mario games go in fairly often. Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros. U have a lot of food-based areas, and there’s the Luncheon Kingdom in Super Mario Odyssey. Anyway, the game ends with Syrup Castle being destroyed, yet it seems to be back in the sequel.
And there, it’s near a town, something we don’t see on Kitchen Island in the first game.
Wario’s own castle is on a heavily forested island that we could perhaps call Wario Land, although I doubt that’s its official name.
Wario also has a castle in Wario’s Woods, but Toad blows it up at the end. I don’t know much about the WarioWare series, but they have Wario living in a place called Diamond City, and not in a castle.
I just learned that the beginning of Wario Ware: Gold shows the city in a place that resembles the Mushroom Kingdom’s continent.
I’ve seen it suggested that it could be in Jewelry Land, although that’s just based on the names. Diamond City has an eclectic mix of inhabitants, but I don’t believe it has any characters or types of beings from the other Mario or Wario series aside from Wario himself. If he still has the castle, I’d be tempted to place it close to Diamond City in order to minimize his commute. I placed Kitchen Island to the northeast of Toad City to go along with the placement of Sherbet Land on the Super Bell Subway map from Mario Kart 8, although I know some people prefer the idea that it’s a different Sherbet Land. I’ve been trying to include some of these locations on my ongoing map of the Mushroom Kingdom area, but it’s difficult to read as I’ve been cramming a lot in. I guess I can always go back and clean it up later, and maybe use a key so I can replace some of the more cumbersome text. I zoom in and out a lot in order to place smaller features, but I can’t get the text any smaller than eight points in Paint 3D. (I don’t use the 3D part, but that’s what my computer has.)