This is idea is based off those ice caves from some of the recent 2D Mario games, as well as the ice caves from Donkey Kong Country. But instead of being based around ice (which is slippery), everything is based around crystals and stalactites. So really, this world is based around caves. I imagine this world would derive its content from real-world spelunking and everything that goes along with that (such as creepy spider creatures, like the one that was recently discovered by scientists or whatever). So perhaps these worlds could be more vertical, like Super Mario Bros. 2. Lots of rope climbing perhaps? Maybe branching paths, since that is what you would expect from cave exploration?
Pirate Land is a new and better twist on the stale Water Worlds we keep getting. Instead of being based simply around water, this is based around Pirate Ships and pirate themes. Several of the levels will have you jumping from pirate ship to pirate ship (sort of like tanks and airships), complete with canons launching bob-ombs and whatnot. Instead of going down pipes, you go below deck and explore the guts of the ship. Other levels will take place on the beach (think Donkey Kong Country Returns). There could be sunken pirate ships, just like the crashed airship from Super Mario World (but it wouldn’t be a ghost theme like it was in Super Mario World). This would make underwater levels far more interesting because you’re actually exploring something instead of simply swimming past fish to the end of the level. Instead of Ghost Houses, we get Ghost Ships (above water, not underneath). But they will use a fog element to create a creepy atmosphere. And of course, pirate castles can be really interesting because they’re not exactly medieval themed, but pirate themed. Pirate Land would work wonderfully with Mario. After all, it was great content for the Super Mario Bros. Super Show:
Yoshi’s Island touched upon this, although its themes were far less cohesive. Remember those shy guys wearing tiki masks, holding spears, and dancing around in that game? I think Super Mario Bros. 2′s content lends itself to a voodoo theme. This could have lots of dark/knight areas with torches lighting the way, which would differentiate it from Pirate Land (a water world). I always think of Tiki/Voodoo taking place on the beach, but we don’t want too many beach levels. More of an evening/tropical theme, so we’re talking jungle setting. This means we can steal content from Indiana Jones by having booby traps shooting spears and sending boulders flying after you. This world should be dark and mysterious, but very colorful (many dark games, such as Simon’s Quest, had tons of color, and to me, voodoo/tiki stuff is always colorful). Hell, remember the Dr. Mario commercial? That was full of Witch Doctors. This setting also fits in well with Mario, and was again a great source of content for the Super Mario Bros. Super Show:
That’s all I can think of for now. Returning to SubCon would also be great. Everyone has suggested it, so I think people would truly like that.
I think all of these would work. But they’ve been done by other games. Crystal Worlds have been done. Pirate World was Donkey Kong Country 2. Tiki World seems more like the Donkey Kong Country Returns game. Admit it! You just want more Donkey Kong Country! :)