Originally planned as a fake 8-bit update to celebrate April Fools' Day, Super Adventure Box grew into an expansive three-level homage to the golden age of gaming available to Guild Wars 2 players the length of April, because ArenaNet.
Where other developers might have stopped at mocking up a few screens or maybe filming an amazing retro-style commercial video for their April Fools' prank, ArenaNet took project coordinator Josh Foreman's Super Fun Box idea and ran with it, creating an entire 3D pixel world inspired by Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Metroid and other 8-and 16-bit classics. I got a chance to play through it last week, and it's freaking brilliant.
Nintendo is the obvious inspiration for the Super Adventure Box. It's the creation of an Asuran inventor named Moto (the Shigeru Miya- is implied). Disillusioned by the Asuran college system, he built the Super Adventure Box as a means to teach Asura Progeny the basics of teamwork, financial planning, critical-thinking, attention to detail, sports, combat, and exploration.
Players of any level can enter the Super Adventure Box from the Asuran capital of Rata Sum. Once inside, this is what greets them.
Isn't that beautiful?
Players will track a kidnapped princess across three themed levels, taking on terrifying pixel enemies armed with only a pointy stick. Are you ready for the terror? ARE YOU?
No, you were not prepared for the terror. It's okay, I'm here.
Along with tornado rabbits, bomb-tossing monkeys and a host of devious and familiar enemies, players will also have to deal with navigating the twisted terrain. There are mazes to overcome, bounce mushrooms to navigate, secret bomb walls and more. Oh, and if you like Guild Wars 2's jumping puzzles, this is your jam right here. The whole thing ends with a massive boss fight...
...followed by one of the most devious jumping puzzles the game has to offer. Don't worry, non-jumpers — there's an easy mode that lets you skip the hard parts by walking on rainbows, pansy.
What's the point, other than to have fun and learn about teamwork? Running through the Super Adventure Box earns players baubles. Baubles can be used to buy items in Super Adventure Box shops, purchase retry coins that allow them to continue after death, or combined together to form bauble bubbles (get it?). Those bauble bubbles can be collected and traded in for some awesome Super Adventure Box hologram weapon skins for the main game.
I will be running Super Adventure Box as many times as I possibly can in April, if only to appreciate the amount of love that went into creating it. This is a fully-realized place, packed with puzzles and secrets and some amazing 8-bit music, combining Guild Wars 2 themes with classics gaming tunes. ArenaNet went all-out for this April Fools' Day treat, creating a magnificent experience that'll have players looking forward to April every year.
Oh, and about that amazing retro-style commercial...