ArenaNet’s latest edition to Guild Wars 2, the Super Adventure Fun Box is a nostalgic treat. This isn’t just some half baked attempt to tick the “April Fools” category this year, but an 8-bit throwback jam packed with classic references to your most beloved childhood games.
I would heavily recommend that you stop reading here and go play it for yourself. This is inevitably include a few spoilers, and I don’t want to rob you of that beaming grin when you see some of them.
One thing you will want to see however is how ArenaNet decided to promote this update:
Kudos to those who understood its reference.
Lets get onto the good stuff. The Super Adventure Box is a virtual world, created by an Asuran named Moto to teach the Asura Progeny. Naturally, the Super Adventure Box is located in Rata Sum, north west of the Magustan Court Waypoint. There you can talk to Moto to learn more about his creation, or just jump right in.
Lets take a look at what loot is on offer:
You’ve probably seen the weapon skins prior to the update, as they’ve been viewable in the PVP locker since the last Frost and Flame update. Some of them have unique animations, such as the shield which spins when you draw it, or the staff which is home to a pixilated bird.
There’s also some more miscellaneous prizes on offer:
The Continue Coins let you carry on when you inevitably lose all your lives in the box. They can also be found in any jumping puzzle or world event chest in Tyria, so you should have some stockpiled if you’ve been busy. Obsidian Shards are handy for those of you gunning for a legendary weapon, giving you another source than karma or fractals. Crystals and Philosophers stones are frequently used in the Mystic Forge for the most extravagant recipes. Finally the Super Adventure Box o’ Fun is similar to the Box o’ Fun you can find in the gem store, except with some more 8-bit themed effects
When you enter for the first time, it’s going to take a while to get used to your new surroundings. I was instructed to go pick up a novelty sized coin from the dispenser and give it to Moto to gain access.
I think here is a good time to explain some of the changes and mechanics in this virtual dimension.
The Super Adventure Box can be completed with any number of players, from solo to a full five man party, by using GW2’s nifty scaling system. Currently there are two worlds open to explore: World One with three separate zones, and then a teaser of Zone One for World Two. Each world is represented by a house in the hub, each themed by what that world represents. The Super Adventure Box will be around for the entire month of April, before being locked away. Don’t fret though, because it will be back with more worlds.
Your skill bar has been totally reworked. Health has been replaced by a static heart system, each damage instance taking away half a heart. You can only regenerate health by finding and consuming food or potions, so be careful out there.
Above that is your standard dodge meter, which remains intact in it’s standard functionality.
To the right of your health is your number of lives, reach zero and you’re gonna have to spend a Continue Coin.
Further right is your Bauble count, which is the currency of this world. These are found in the ambient environment, killing evil foes and in secret spots. You can use these Baubles to buy new equipment, items or convert them into Bubble Baubles, which can be used to attain the loot mentioned above. A Bubble Bauble needs 250 Baubles, which coincidentally is the maximum you can carry initially, but can be expanded eventually.
Finally your one through to ten are reserved for specific items and weapons, which you will attain throughout your time in the Super Adventure Box.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, your equipment, level and other stats mean nothing while inside the Super Adventure Box, meaning absolutely anyone can play. It’s also worth noting that entering the box strips you of any boosts and buffs on your character.
There is also an easy mode dubbed “Infantile Mode”, for those of you not too confident with those pesky jumping puzzles. This makes it obvious which way to travel, as well as providing rainbows to bridge those difficult jumps. I would give the normal mode a try before deferring to this however, as all fall damage has been turned off.
Jumping into World 1-1, we’re given a premises of a familiar story. A strangely familiar princess invites our band of heroes to a scenic picnic, only to be rudely interrupted by another familiar evil foe. I’m sure you know the the rest, but the princess gets kidnapped, and we’re given a pointy stick to go get her back.
Finally you’re let loose upon the world, mashed up of half recognised 8-bit textures and themed music. You’re going to want to take your time here, there is no rush. Explore every nook and crag for secrets, treasure and pure nostalgia. The first zone definitely has a Mario feel to it, with the rolling hills and barrel throwing monkeys.
Once you have collected some Baubles, you will want to look out for your first shop. Here you can buy keys, health potions, extra lives and permanent items to upgrade your hero. Go for the upgrades as soon as you can, as they will only increase your treasure finding abilities, with some of them required to gain access to secret areas.
Also, don’t forget to trash the guys shops Zelda style for some extra Baubles. Trust me, he doesn’t mind.
At the end of each zone there is a mini-boss, which guards a chest full of those delicious Baubles. The chest also gives you a daily bonus chest, which gives you two Bubble Baubles, per day, per character. You can get a total of seven Bubble Baubles in a full run through per character from these chests, making those weapon skins easily obtainable before the month ends. You also have a small chance to loot a random weapon skin, which you can use yourself or sell on the trading post for lots of dosh.
I really do mean it when I say explore. The place is scattered with secrets, waiting to be discovered. Pictured above is the friendly “Short-cut Worm”, which provides you handy bypass of most of zone two, perfect if you’re in a hurry and just want the daily chest. If you want to collect all the achievements with this update, you’re going to have to turn this world upside down.
You will eventually reach the finale of world one, but you will need to overcome the final boss too. An oversized 8-bit monster might not look scary, but man are you gonna die a lot. He has some quite subtle tells which let you act preemptively, but I’ll let you figure them out on your own.
It’s not over though once you triumph the last boss, instead you will get a teaser for the first zone in world two. It’s not complete, but acts more of a taster for if the Super Adventure Box became more of a permanent thing.
You see, the Super Adventure Box was nothing but a small side project four months ago. As the small development team started to craft it, they knew they had something more than just a practical joke, turning it into what you see today.
If the reception from the community is of a positive nature, then you can pretty much guarantee the return of the Super Adventure Box, with world two, three and four being added. After all, we have a princess to save right?
I highly recommend you give the Super Adventure Box a try, even if you’ve been away from Tyria for a while.