There have been a lot of changes since the last post. I can't even remember them all. I'll talk about some of the notable ones.
We added in some new tiles and backgrounds. The game finally starting to look like it is coming together:
We changed the world map to look more like a Mario 3 type map. Different paths will be blocked off until certain tasks are complete within certain levels. There will be 4 different 'worlds' with at least 3 playable stages for each, a survival stage, special challenge stage, and boss stage. There will also be a couple different stores to buy upgrades, possibly along with some other mini-games. Here is a very WIP screenshot of the map with 0% of the final graphics:
We added a new item system to the game that allows the player to pick a series of items for each level. We didn't want to clutter the screen with very many buttons, so we decided on using a card system for the items where you can only use the top item that corresponds with the top card of the deck. You can also arrange the cards you've collected before a stage starts.
Here is an animated screenshot of the dynamite item:
Coming up next is constructing some of the levels for the first world and making the first boss. I'm beginning to become afraid of how long playtesting/balancing is going to take.