When I was a kid, Game Boy was my jam. I've talked about this plenty before, so I won't be a broken record here. But, I loved the original Super Mario Land - it was THEE game that showcased the new system for me back around Christmas of 1989. So when the sequel was announced, I was jazzed. And yet for some reason... I didn't actually get it until the late 2000's. I don't know why. I just never got around to it.
In the twenty or so years between release and me finally playing it, Mario Land 2 had built up a sort of mythical cult following. It was considered some kind of crowning achievement of what the Game Boy hardware could do. Sort of like how Link's Awakening brought a SNES style Zelda to the little GB, Mario Land 2 kind of worked as a low-powered and impressive take on Super Mario World's 16-bit glory.
The weird thing is this. I didn't love Mario Land 2 when I finally played it. I thought it was fine. It looks incredible. The sprites are insanely detailed. The levels are huge and full of secrets and cool stuff. But I don't know. Something doesn't quite click with me. The power-ups feel kind of boring and some of the level design ends up where you can basically just skip the level by flying over it if you have the rabbit ears.
Anyway, playing it again - I feel kind of the same. I like the game fine. But I don't love it. It's not boring me or anything, but it's not blowing me away either. If anything, I find myself marveling at what a well crafted game it is - while not really have all that much fun. It's weird.
What's weirder is the spike in difficulty that happens when you get to Wario's castle. The whole game felt like a cakewalk to me. And when I got to his castle I had stockpiled thirty lives without trying. But his castle felt so hard to me that I ended up rage quitting after losing like twenty lives in a row.
I'm glad people like this game. I'm glad it exists. I'm still impressed by it. But I'm all set with it.