It's a tough call, and a lot of it depends on whether your level has a midway point (or multiple ones). You can easily get away with not including one in 1-2 minute levels, especially early in the game. My levels tend to be on the longer side and are usually about 5 minutes. I time it to be 2:30 to the midway point and another 2:30 to the end. That being said, you have to consider that you're the one playing the level and that the average player will probably take longer, based on exploring and figuring things out. Lately, I've been trying to cut back a bit and make it 1:45-2:00ish for each half.
I think quite a few people can agree with me that quality is more important than length. A short, very well done level is great, as is a long one (as long as it doesn't have too much until a midway point). A level artificially bloated to be a few screens longer with repetitive and poor design is better cut entirely, even if it makes the level shorter overall. If you have a ton of creative and fun ideas that make a longer level, by all means go for it, but if you run out of ideas, it'll show in the design.
It really depends on what your going for in your hack. Right now I'm make a pretty Lengthy hack so my levels tend to be longer then the average hack; 2:45 are usual how long my short levels are and 4-6 minutes are usual the length of my long levels; that castles a slightly longer.
If you make a short levels; try to make it at least longer then a minute 1; (1:45 at least). If you make a long level; just make sure it doesn't get too repetitive or boring; also try to make the level look at it's best at least. I think long levels can get away with being from 4-6 minutes long; I know SMWCP had some levels that long; but were usually fun to play.
Well... I personally make mine 2-5 minutes. They are also generally tough. But if you hit a snag and can't think of anything to do, but have future ideas for the level, maybe cut off (I have and somebody gave me a new idea and I just inputed it in AFTER)
-------------------- So remember kids! If you ever get caught having tosave a princess from a foreign land after getting dragged down a drain pipe, jumping while spinning in a circle can help you greatly by allowing you to jump on spinning saw blades, ghosts, and allow you to control your jump better!
I'd be careful with that assumption, Jeorge. One needs to keep in mind that as the hack goes on, the levels themselves get harder. It might be a little extreme going from a two minute easy level to a six minute teeth-gritting level.
..but of course, we all have varying opinion. What's mine? For me, it depends on how many levels are in the hack. The fewer levels a hack has, the longer they should be. If you are making a 90 level game, then I would say they shouldn't be overly long (2-3 minutes each), especially considering you might run out of ROM space. Shorter hacks - that is, 40-50 levels - should probably be around 4-5 minutes per level. The "important" levels people mentioned, such as castles, could probably be a tad longer.
(It's wise to remember that one of the factors that made SMWCP weaker than it should have been was levels which were -too- long - that is, probably about 10 minutes in length. Unless you're going to change up the gimmick and include multiple midway points, there is no way you could keep a level fun for that long running off of the same ideas.)
Also put in mind that it probably won't take as long to finish a level if it is played by you. You already know where everything is, and how to get out. It'll take longer for one to get through a level if they have no idea what they're getting into.
I personally think one of the best games to refer to when looking at level length, is Donkey Kong Country 2. Most of my favorite levels of the DKC trilogy were there, and what I like about it, is that they varied the length of the level depending on the gimmick. If you're using a fun and intresting gimmick, it's okay if you drag it out a bit.
Hey, I'm Riot. I used to use this website a lot but it has been quite a while since I've been a part of it. Help me out with any of the changes; it'd be much appreciated.
Remember to use multiple midway points in long levels. If you're making a 1 level hack that is 1h long, it should have some midway points because going all the way back to the beggining is really annoying.