Take the visuals, which use a saturated, vibrant-to-the-point-of-searing-your-retinas color palette. Not only that, but everything from the giant undead snake to the levitating, goat-headed sorceror moves with a fluid grace that borders on art. This last bit actually affects the gameplay, making the controls feel tight and snappy.
You'll also have a ton of new gear and abilities to help you survive. You can grab onto ledges and hoist yourself up if a jump falls short, and your weapons include the trademark lance, bombs, a vine whip, a crossbow, a boomerang that can fetch out-of-reach items and more. You can also earn shields, some of which have bonus powers like the ability to hover over lava pits or that tidal wave of blood on level two. We love that gory, gruesome thing.
There's more magic in the mix too. Would you like to cast fireballs at those hulking, poison-spitting Venus flytraps, or maybe just turn them to stone? You'll also find cauldrons that can temporarily make you smaller, taller or into something different entirely, like a chubby old lady. Each of these shapes has slightly unique powers (gliding, jumping higher, etc) that may or may not help you get around the levels - which, by the way, have more hidden items and even multiple routes.