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SAGE 2022 - Demo Essence Of Waluigi II: Eternal Awakening (SAGE '22 Demo)

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In order to avoid confusion, it is recommended that you play the good ending of the first Essence Of Waluigi before playing this game.

One year after the events of Essence Of Waluigi, Mario & Luigi are knocked out. While they were sleeping, Waluigi brings back the Essence thanks to the help of a mysterious new partner. Soon, the Mario bros. wake up to find that Toad Town is in ruins. Along with that, a strange looking moon has started to travel towards the planet.

Essence Of Waluigi II, like it's prequel, is a 2D Mario fan game that aims to be a darker take on the Mario universe. This demo includes the Prologue, which contains 2 levels and one boss. Along with the Triple Jump and Dive, Mario can now Spin Jump, Ground Pound, Crawl and Backflip. The game contains 3 playable characters: Mario, Luigi and a secret unlockable character.

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Comments

The graphics are bloody beautiful, and the gameplay isn't bad either. I will say that the dialogue is painfully slow and it'd be nice to have some way to speed it up a bit in the full version, but other than that, a bang-up job, mate. Keep it up. Tea and biscuits and all that.
 
I played extensively through the demo and I have a bunch of notes
  • Mario's ground pound can be stalled in the air indefinitely by tapping the down arrow shortly after the flipping animation ends, though I don't think this gives any sort of advantage
  • As Luigi, sometimes doing a crouch backflip then spamming roll/dive results in the rolling using the dive animation
  • Crouch backflipping into crates lets you sort of stand inside of them, and I managed to get stuck twice without being able to get out by spamming dives & crouching. On that note, it might be useful to have a way to quickly die or restart the level if you do get stuck
  • You can sort of walk into the powerup stations and be unable to jump up from there
  • One of the Ninjis somehow ended up moving higher and jumping near the top of the level
  • When the boss attacks from above, the bullet spawns exactly where the launching animation has started, which can look weird if the boss has moved far away from that position. I recall it's something that happens with the "Launch an Object" event
  • Would be nice if there was a way to speed up text in cutscenes, also there's a small visual issue with words starting on the previous line then getting moved to the next line once they can no longer fit
  • The game window keeps getting resized to the default 1280x720 size every time a level starts. Maybe that should be included in the options
  • Even though the application menu is hidden, some of the default Clickteam menu options are still available as hotkeys (Ctrl+P to pause, Ctrl+Y to change control settings, Ctrl+S to mute sounds)
  • There is an option for frames in Clickteam to not include them in the public version of the game. I'm mentioning this because through Cheat Engine I was able to access a test level with features not seen elsewhere and a frame that unlocks the secret character (unless that's already possible without hacking, but I haven't found that)
 
As far as the presentation is concerned, this is leagues above the last one. The sprite-work is beautiful, the menu and HUD is great, and the sounds and music are pretty good. My only complaint here is the brick breaking sound is a bit loud. The controls feel good, though I wish there was gamepad support, and I appreciate the variety of characters. The story seems interesting, but I have to echo Roo's sentiment in that the dialogue progresses way too slow without any way to speed it up.

The level design is just middling. While I understand it's a prologue level, there's nothing really interesting going on it terms of obstacle or enemy setup. I'm also not a fan of how the dive is basically just used for blind jumps. I died once thinking I was supposed to do a dive across a pit, only to see that I was supposed to wait for a slow moving platform to get to me. Speaking of death, its implementation befuddles me. Dying returns you back to a checkpoint, but everything remains. Coins remain collected, blocks remain destroyed, switches remain pushed, and enemies remain defeated. It makes death feel pointless.

Finally, I don't want to be mean, but the boss was just not fun to fight. Mario's basic jump just barely gets above it, which makes dodging and hitting it annoying. It's too fast for the amount of momentum your movement has, making it difficult to get more than a single hit per cycle in without getting hit yourself. And for how difficult it is to hit and repetitive it is, it has too much health. I honestly didn't actually beat it. After three cycles of getting two hits in per cycle, I died without any hint of it being close to beaten. Was I one hit away? Four? I don't know, and I didn't feel like finding out. It does the same pattern over and over, with a long period where you just run around dodging projectiles, and just after two cycles it gets tedious.

Overall, the game is a big improvement over the first, and it has a lot of potential. It just needs a bit of tweaking and I think it will be great.
 
I think it could use a tighter controls more akin to actual Mario games, but this may be a preference thing. Overall the improvement over first game is outstanding, can't wait to get my hands on the full game. Also some press button to advance text mechanic would be welcome
 
  • Big fan of the aesthetics: the mode 7 effects, parallax backgrounds, and sprite work specifically are all appealing and visually distinct from other Mario fan games.
  • The sound mixing has improved a lot compared the previous game.
  • I thought the boss had too much health
  • The text could use an option to jump to the end of a text box.
  • As with the prior game, I enjoy the more somber tone of the game.
    I'm looking forward to playing the full game when it releases
 

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