Prankster Comets appear randomly on previous levels, giving them a new objective, sometimes with adaptations of the level design.
A prankster comet level is shorter than a normal level, with an objective is only found with the comets. They add gameplay variation, but re-use most of the levels environment and design. Here is the complete list of possible variations:
- Time trial (some have collectible timers along the level, preventing the player to go to far if too much time has been lost before the next collectible timer)
- Race against a scripted ghost
- 1 life point (finish without being hit)
- Increase speed of obstacles and enemies
- 100 coins to collect
- Special star to collect, hidden in a hard to reach place
- Multiple Mario clones follows what the player did with a slight delay. Touching one of them makes you lose a life point
- Many enemies to defeat within a time limit. A power-up is automatically given at start
Most importantly, it is the way they appear, breaking the linear structure of level progression, that is interesting. Prankster Comets incentivize the player to come back to a previous world or level. After playing the prankster comet level, why not—while you are here—try to get the stars you missed in this level or world?