One thing I have really liked about Mario level design is that it usually hints a player if a secret is near.
I recently decided to look into where some of the secret exits are in NSLU because I wanted to play through all the star levels. I did this after spending a few hours in World 1 looking for that secret exit. I haven't played NSMBU, so I played through all the levels, but mostly the castle and mushroom levels because the Blooper hint indicated a ocean level and they were the closest to the ocean. After finding out which level I actually needed to play, I hopped around for a while trying to find it. Then I looked at the full description and saw that the level doesn't give the player any sort of hint. No coins, no noise, no little detail meant to tell you to ground pound a seemingly random spot in the level to find the secret exit.
They also repeat this with World 2 and while some might be able to argue about the placement of World 1, in World 2 it is done in a way that is impossible to determine without a guide or a lot of time on your hands to experiment with every possible method.
This just comes off as terrible design meant to waste a players time.
I agree with you 100%. I just started looking for all the secret exits and had to cheat on 2 out of the 4 I've found so far (which I really hate to say!). The ones I cheated on were so random I really had no chance of finding them in a reasonable amount of time (Both were ones you just had to randomly ground pound a precise point to access a pipe). I'm all for a good challenge but just random stuff like that is just a huge time suck that I don't have time (or patience) for...
I also agree.
The only way you would find the secret exits in this game is if you ground pounded every spot in the game and walked up or swam up to each wall in the game.
Lazy design but there is a lot of that in this game.
Well I guess I'm not alone so I don't feel as bad about cheating now lol.
I don't think 2d Mario has had particularly good level design since 2d was all there was.
Mario 3 had levels where you had to fly up to the ceiling carrying a koopa shell to find stuff. Mario World had a lot of cleverly hidden secret exits that involved riding a lakitu cloud vertically, carrying a P box through a level to reveal a door, getting Yoshi all the way through a tough level because he's the only way to get the key, things like that.
Now it's just, oh, find this random spot you have to stand and poke around randomly.
I feel the same way about the new DKC games. DKC2 was awesome because the team mechanic and Dixie's gliding made it so there was more tricky stuff you could do to reach odd areas, and the secrets were well hidden. In DKCR, they made the physics boring, made Diddy into a jet pack, and have the same approach to hiding stuff that NSLU does.
I was about to start a topic about this, I have found the secret levels on worlds 3 and 5. Are 1, 2, and 4 the ridiculously hidden ones that are okay to cheat for or are there any reasonably findable ones left that I'd feel bad about cheating on?