Sanrio World Smash Ball, aka Hello Kitty Air Hockey, is a silly little game. It is amusing enough and easy to pick up, so it seems to end up as a side tournament at a lot of the recent gaming events I've been to. It has some pretty significant shortcomings if taken more seriously, however.
-Can't select same character
-Character traits aren't obvious/scaled well
-Multiplayer stages generally suck
-Most powerups are overpowered
With that in mind, I put in a bit of time to rectify some of the issues. To my surprise, the game's data structures and menu systems are pretty amenable to easy tweaks. Changing only 6 bytes of the ROM, I enabled the following features:
-All stages accessible in multiplayer. This means the 30 single player stages are now included with the 20 multiplayer stages in stage selection, and even have previews.
-Each player can pick the same character.
-Enabled Boss Pig and Missingno as characters. Pig is a boss in single player, but is otherwise not accessible. Missingno is a dummy character, but has workable stats and is still easily accessible. Graphical glitches just add to the fun.
I also found the per-character statistics that can be used for balancing later on, but for now I'm not planning to touch them. Long story short, there are only 4 relevant statistics: Horizontal speed, vertical speed, shot speed, charge speed.
Features I'd like to get to eventually:
-Changing the random drops so only a full power drop is available. Should be simple enough, I just haven't gotten to it yet.
-Pressing up/down to scroll through the maps 10 at a time, or just reducing the mapset to the most playable maps. 50 maps is a lot to scroll through, especially when it has to draw up a compressed image of the map layout each time you swap.
-Balance tweaks. Not sure what I'd have in mind yet, but probably some things we can do here.
-Different color schemes for P2. This would take quite a bit of effort, and I'm not sure it would have that much benefit.
-Custom map editor (external tool). This would be quite an undertaking, but I'm not sure how much since I haven't gone through the exact structures of the maps yet. Would be a fun thing to get eventually, but it's pretty low on the list for now.
-Fixing up the stage numbering system so that it is centered properly. Should be another simple fix, but again is a low priority.
That's where things stand. The whole project is on the low end for my priority list, so don't expect updates to come frequently. I can release the changes I've made so far though if people want to play around with it.