Love the opening sound to this. The initial Toad SFX ducked in a seemingly sloppy way at :26; it may be totally purposefully, but awkwardly cuts/drops in a way that felt like a mistake. Melody came in also and things were very structurally conservative; that along with the very steady beats, this was sounding very by-the-numbers and limited in interpretation. By 1:25, I was waiting for this to break out somehow -- not to get crazy, mind you -- just to embrace some additional and distinct interpretive ideas. I really liked the gliding lead at 1:44-2:13; arguably mixed too quietly, but the writing was creative and the effects on all the parts throughout the soundscape were solid. But going back into the source melody at 2:12, the ideas were retreading without much other development. I love the groove, but without something more substantive taking place from 2:12, this is coasting off a great groove and too repetitive.
This works great in the sense of a sound upgrade for in-game use, as the groove is nice and you have a logical loop point. Love what's here so far, and it wouldn't take much -- just something meaningful -- to help push this over the top. Changes/variations to the instrumentation (read: percussion!), textures, rhythms, tempo; anything like that can make the presentation feel fresh and evolving. Nice work, so far, Neon, and I sincerely hope you'll see what more you can do to spice it up and develop the concept that additional degree to snag those YESes!
NO (please resubmit)