Guild Wars 2 goes Back to School with new SAB content, gameplay stream inside

By Patrick Garratt, Tuesday, 3 September 2013 14:00 GMT

Guild Wars 2’s latest content, out today, is more weird amalgam of Mario, Zelda and Mega Man. We took a look at the update in action.

Super Adventure Box: Back to School, an update to Guild Wars 2’s retro asura assassin training section, releases today. The Super Adventure Box is a virtual reality simulator designed to train asura children to kill. A noble endeavour. We got a quick look at what to expect.

The new content is World 2, the sequel, obviously, to Super Adventure Box World 1. Developer Arenanet played through some of the second areas in a livestream for us last week, which you can watch above.

The World 2 hub has a smiley sun in the sky. Which is nice. There’s are four houses in the hub, each one taking you into a different section. Three levels of content are access through each house: easy (through a smiley cloud), medium (through a little dude) and hard (through a grumpy cloud).

The dev in the stream played through the second zone. We saw a map called Pink Lips. It’s all very Mario, with lots of bouncy platforming over angular hills and flowers. The Back to School content is an homage to “old skool” games. There are tons of hidden secrets, and new Easter eggs have also been added to World 1.

The levels are checkpointed. If you’re playing with others, you need to reach gates simultaneously to open them. You’ll encounter co-op puzzles, piranha pools, “stealth owls,” inhaling frogs and a fish-eating octopus. It’s all very cute.

As this is an assassin training program, you’ll need to learn to watch for traps as you enter pagodas, inter-levels after sections of platforming. As you go reach larger pagodas, you encounter bosses. The first in the section we saw is a nod to Mega Man.

The pagodas are full of traps, such as darts. We saw the player jumping around on thin ledges to avoid getting wasted. There are push-block puzzles (combined with more dart traps) you’ll need to complete to get through the temples.

At one point you get to smash a hole in a hill to discover a secret shop selling a magic whistle. A bit like an ocarina. Hearts float over character’s heads. It’s that type of vibe.

In terms of achievements and titles, the dev said, “We have a bunch of stuff for doing things. And you can quote me on that.” So we are.

There’s also an update to Tribulation mode, which is an infuriating as you’d imagine. Here, you’re looking for new route through a cute world of insta-death. Flowers explode, spikes spike, and the entire thing looks stupidly hard. There are checkpoints, thankfully.

Aside from the level content itself, Back to School adds new ascended weapons, legendary weapon updates and “account-wide magic find”. Get more details on that here.

You’ll be able to watch a stream of the Back to School content today at 12.00pm PST on Arenanet’s Twitch channel. Get some screens from our previous report on the update.

We’re also running a competition to win a Brickstorm play-set that lets you build your very own Infantile Cloud from Super Adventure Box. Enter here.

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