Every now and then, indie game makers bring something new to us gamers sick and tired of the commercial industry’s logic of safety. Everything seems to be become a first-person shooter – even classics like Syndicate, Fallout and Jagged Alliance have gone that way, despite their successes as isometric games. This time, stick it to StabYourself to come out with a game that is a mish-mash between Portal and Mario. This platformer is a unique game, and by default, it comes with both Super Mario Bros levels as well as Portal levels, so you can play a Mario-with-a-Portal-gun game or Portal-with-Mario. There’s also the ability to create your own levels if you’re willing, and despite the really retro interface, this game does have the means to connect to a server where you can find all the DLCs, as well as connect to other players so you can play Portal with others.

Now, a 2D version of Portal isn’t a new thing. A while ago, I reviewed a Flash version of Portal, which is basically similar to this, except it was higher res and less cute. This, however, is a lower-res, cute-to-the-max, 8-bit screecher that is meant to tingle your senses with nostalgia, and the platformer does have some dynamism – as mentioned, you can play this as a full-blown Mario game who has a portal gun, or you can play it in a more serious Portal-only fashion.

Beginners beware: the lack of a save game function will force you to see this at the most unfortunate of times!

The game does have a few issues. Chief of which is aiming your Portal. The biggest issue lies in the fact that this game is windowed, so if you accidentally over-scroll, you will find yourself clicking on the desktop, which minimizes the game and makes you search for it. This is especially common when you’re trying to shoot portals. The programmers would do well making a scroll-limit, so you can actually shoot your portals without accidentally clicking outside of the game.

For a game that is less than 10mb, Mari0 has much to offer. It is absolutely compatible with Windows 7 and XP, and doesn’t require much of your computer for it to run smoothly. It’s a great time-waster, and you’ll thoroughly enjoy the time you spent on this game. Of course, a pet peeve would be having to restart the game all over again just because you lost your last life. That is truly ouch. I wasn’t too good with Mario, and didn’t know that turtle shells are skeeting battering rams – that took a few lives from me. Also,

Portal-with-Mario, instead of vice versa. A second mode of play.

I didn’t know that red lasers meant death and that blue lasers functioned the same way as platforms. Sounds absolutely noobed out, but that can happen Which leads me to highlight the next issue: the fact that you have only three lives to work with, which can make things tough on beginners who aren’t familiar with Portal or Mario. You’ll find that without a save game function, you’ll be losing lives really quickly as you find out how to tackle monsters/lasers/traps.

You can download the latest version here, for Linux, OSX and Windows.

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