Much time has gone into profiling and optimization, leading to the unfortunate removal of shadows. In utilitarian terms, though, our decision to severely restrict movement along the Z axis and standardize platform widths makes this a net zero, since shadows are no longer necessary to indicate relative position in 3D space.
Game data is now being saved, including collectible items (story pages are the new Star Coins) and level finish times. New levels are unlocked by completing previous levels.
Bounce pads now visibly wiggle on contact. Matrix manipulation shown to be vastly more fluid and efficient than model animations for simple non-deforming transformations. 3D artists still not convinced. Speaking in the third person linked with sounding officious. More at 11.