Just because sands of World 2 is too dry for mushrooms to grow doesn't mean there aren't any challenging midair courses to be found. Hitch a ride on some large moving platform to fly over the sandstorm swept ground below, but watch out for Piranha Plants looking to ride along. Don't fall off, as there are no checkpoints to save your progress!
At the start, jump into the red Warp Pipe to enter the athletic section. You will come out on a long platform, which will automatically start moving to the right on its own. You will first move past some coins, then some blocks, the right of which contains a power-up. A Super Mushroom would be useful to take some extra hit, while a Fire Flower will be immensely helpful for defeating the numerous Piranha Plants you will encounter soon. Two Piranha Plants will scroll by on two separate platforms, but they don't pose much of a threat.
After a while, another Piranha Plant will move on to the screen on its own platform. However, it will be deposited on the right edge of the main platform, where it will remain a constant threat if you don't take it out with a fireball. After some more coins, a second Piranha Plant will join the first, this time at the left edge, forcing you to stay at the center. Soon, a green pipe will move overhead. Watch out for the Piranha Plant inside, move past it as soon as you can. An empty moving platform will carry away the right Piranha Plant, freeing up more space on the main platform. Shortly afterward, prepare to jump up to collect the first Star Coin.
The lowest of the set of blocks after the Star Coin contains a power-up. After a while, a narrow platform will move onscreen. Quickly use it to reach some blocks high up, the middle of which contains a 1-Up. Another Piranha Plant will occupy the right edge of the platform again, and soon a second long moving platform will scroll alongside you. The right Piranha Plant will be shifted to the top platform, leaving you with hazards on both platforms. Thankfully, both Piranha Plants will be moved off both main platforms after a short while, but two more Piranha Plant will replace them exclusively on the top platform.
The second Star Coin will scroll by around the top of the screen. If you didn't remove the two Piranha Plants, you will have less space to jump to the coin. A Super Piranha Plant will move ominously by below the bottom platform, and it can hurt you if you stay on that moving platform as it shifts upward. After this is a period of inactivity, until eventually both long platforms move offscreen, leaving you to cross the remaining sections of the abyss using vertical-moving platforms. A variant of the Piranha Plant, the Venus Fire Trap, will appear out of reach. This plant can shoot out straight-moving fireballs, complicating your movement across the platforms.
Past the Venus Fire Trap is the final Star Coin. The method for getting it is a no-brainer, the only difficulty here is purely skill-based. The screen will start to scroll down as well as forward, signifying that you're very near the end. Once you see solid ground, you have practically cleared this course. A Piranha Plant stuck in a cork prevents you from going in the exit pipe. Jump on the pump next to the pipe multiple times to launch the cork out of the way, letting you exit to the flagpole section. There is a pit and one more Piranha Plant here, but you should have no risk on dying as you go to the flagpole.
- Openly hanging in midair, soon after the green pipe.
- Easily visible in the air near the top of the screen. There might be two Piranha Plants on the top platform when you approach it.
- Also in the air, near the end of the aerial section with multiple vertical moving platforms.