[first off, I liked the level. I had a lot of fun, and its probably my favorite looking level. These thoughts are overly negative and critical because i dont think it's entirely beneficial to focus on the strengths, since that's not something you'd need to improve.]
- the fg/bg pillars were cool, but a little disorienting when jumping through them. I think because they're connected to the same fg that mario's on, it adds 3 layers of depth on the same plane. For the rest of the level, I'm assuming that all brightly colored objects will be in front of Mario, when most of them aren't. Similarly, I'll assume that all darker colored objects will be passable behind mario, and again, they aren't (only this assumption killed me while looking for secrets).
- That thwimp obstacle is great, but the way its laid out it looks like you're supposed to spin jump off the thwimp over the spikes. Since it immediately slid off (I wasn't expecting it to slide, since the sparkles stopped the thwomp in its tracks I thought the thwimps would just stop on them) I tanked the hit.
- Might be worth looking at changing the piranha plant's palette
- That 1-up koopa bounce was cool
- I thought that the bottom path at the saws was the bonus path so i went down there and almost missed out on the yoshi coin (fortunately you can backtrack to get up there)
- Try to avoid putting mushroom boxes in front of Layer 2 when you can interact with layer 2. It causes the mushrooms to be invisible
- The platforms that causes the layer 2 to fall are cool
- If you miss the dry bones i guess you just dont get a midpoint? Doesn't seem like the kind of thing you punish a player for this drastically. *you can scroll the screen to respawn him, but even that seems ridiculous.
- those three piranha plants at the start of the autoscroller pose literally no thread whatsoever. they're at the top of the screen and stay there for the duration of their time on screen.
- At the end of that autoscrolling section, I'm assuming you're supposed to jump off that bowling ball to get a secret. But you can't really do that because it's too far away! I tried maintaining running speed for the entire section so i could reach it but lost it at the very end (the door platform didnt have enough space on it to regain my momentum)
-add a reset door at the start of the bowling ball ride. it wasn't immediately obvious i was supposed to ride it (unless im just an idiot lol)
- was that
area your moon? because I gotta say, expecting the player to ride a fish for that long
for that is absolutely not worth the trouble for how long it is and how hard it is to nail the timing down on jumping on a single fish (maybe two together would be better, since you have more than 1 tile moving at an irregular pattern to jump off of)
- Please move the ceiling up on that last goal sphere jump. If you're big mario it's not even a jump you can comfortably make most of the time.
A big problem I had throughout was that in most areas (basically the entire second half) you expect the player to immediately start moving and immediately register everything they're looking at. Which is fine for a heart-pounding exciting action romp, but there are a lot of times where i just want to slow down and breathe. And yet, I never found a room where I was able to do that without being punished with death. For a level as long as this one, I dont think it's unreasonable to ask you to add some breathing room for the player.
I think you could also benefit from picking 1 jumping style and sticking with it: normal jumping or spin-jumping. Countless times I would die because I would spin-jump when i needed to regular jump, or vice versa. You'll go through an entire room or two only spin-jumping, with regular jumping killing you, and then suddenly throw a green koopa at the player and I die because I was still in the mindset of only spin-jumping over obstacles. It's really confusing to keep track of which you want me to do in any given situation, especially because I feel a lot of pressure to keep moving as fast as I can because of these rooms where if you stop you die.
Lastly, it's too long.
I typed that before I learned that skull raft bowling ball section was the last section. It's not too long, there's just no clear sense of progression. Every room looks exactly the same way, every room plays exactly the same, and no one room is harder than any other room. It's just a collection of ideas strung together through doors. I think you need to find a way to give a player a better sense of actual progression. I get the outside > inside bridge, but after that there's nothing to tell you that you're any closer than you just were to reaching the end (one of the detriments of the "many small rooms chained together" design structure). I'm not saying you should
cut any of the rooms, but I will say that if you did, I could only see it improving the flow and general pace of the level.
im dying of hyperbole