"why do you make a post for every single entry you fucking cuck?"
because i have more posts than you ever will and the extra 30 i get from this thread isn't going to change that L M A O also each entry deserves some spotlight
Hi - long-time actual judge, first-time fan judge. Since I won't get death threats for giving disagreeable ratings this time around, I wanted to throw some thoughts on the submitted levels thus far into the ring.
My goal with these reviews is to be as specific as possible about everything I like/don't like. As such, I'm treating these comments as more of a play-by-play as I'm going through the levels. I know Impetus wanted to do something similar during the CLDC, but since that had a deadline, it was a bit excessive. I wanted to see how such a set-up would work with no timelines/pressure.
Without further ado, here we go. I'll try to do at least one of these a day.
Design and Execution: 37/50 Design Creativity and Aesthetic Creativity: 20/30 Aesthetics and Polish: 15/20 Overall: 72/100
Right away, I like the introduction to the 1F0 mechanic. It almost feels a bit reminiscent to how SMB1 used a Goomba right at the start of 1-1. The difficulty progression shortly after that is quite nice as well, and the part with the four rocks is nicely though out (i.e. forcing you to go down, then back up again).
The aesthetics in this level are quite nice. They're straightforward, fit the theme, and they don't try and totally overpower you. Solid work.
I think the first Paragoomba underwater is a bit pointless - the second one is a more fair introduction, and feels like it fits more as an obstacle. I'd also recommend raising the ledge over the second mushroom up by one tile, as it's pretty easy to jump a bit higher and land on it by mistake.
Nice little puzzle @ getting the second Dragon Coin by utilizing a more interesting set-up of the "buoyant Paragoomba" mechanic from before.
The introduction of the Bouncin' Chuck is a little iffy, given that if you may be given very little time to react depending on how close you land to him.
Thoughtful placement @ the Puntin' Chuck after the midpoint, and it's neat how you have to use him to get the Dragon Coin above him.
I think the area around the fourth Dragon Coin is a bit messy, as you have to contend with a couple of fish jumping down into the water, a rock, and the Bouncin' Chuck. Might want to remove one of these sprites or reorganize this area a bit.
Neat idea with the spin jumping rock and four Shelless Koopas that come right after, though it comes across as a bit dull. Would be nice if there was a smattering of coins, or something worth collecting here.
I found the last Dragon Coin disproportionately harder than the other four. It was very easy to bounce on the lower football and be hit by one that is sliding along the top row next to the Puntin' Chuck.
I think the last area with the rope feels a bit tacked on. It doesn't do anything particularly fresh, nor is it really that interesting. You could honestly end it right after the three Bouncin' Chucks through the pipe and I'd be satisfied.
OVERALL THOUGHTS: This was definitely a more safe usage of tile 1F0. It's unfortunate I guess, because if you had submitted this level like three years ago, people would have been all over the idea, but I guess it's been done to death at this point. It almost feels like what a 1F0 level would be like if it was designed by Nintendo, if that makes sense .. feels like it would be at home in a NSMB-styled game.
yeah i guess that's only like, a tenth of his normal daily intake.
realtalk i was going to turn this into a drinking stream where i drank each time 1f0 or last bible 3 underworld forest popped up, but...
Luansilva12 - Dolphin Beach
Design and Execution: 23/50 Design Creativity and Aesthetic Creativity: 12/30 Aesthetics and Polish: 16/20 Overall: 51/100
The opening aesthetics are rather nice, but there's something disorienting about layer 3 not scrolling at all. Others have been able to pull off decent parallax scrolling - I'd see if you can do the same.
The red Koopa at the start of the cave turns and walks away. Kind of a pointless obstacle that adds nothing to the area. I'd move that sprite to the far right so that it actually walks towards you as you're crossing the bridge.
The two upside-down Piranhas on that same bridge are also relatively pointless, as there isn't really a reasonable scenario where you'd jump up and touch them (and they stop coming out once you're under them anyway). I'd remove them completely.
I'd remove the two springboard "guide blocks", as they kind of render the rightmost Koopa in the cave harmless.
Bit of a blind jump right after you come out of the cave - you can jump to the ghost house platform, but from there it's a bit hard to see what's down and to the left.
The whole area to the left of the pipe once you come out of the cave serves no purpose other than blindly falling down a one-tile gap for two coins. Give the player incentive to explore there, or remove that area completely.
Your dolphin set-ups don't seem to progress or get more interesting at all. They're just kind of .. there, and you have to do the same jumps on each set-up over and over. Perhaps consider throwing in some obstacles? Parakoopas? Anything at all?
The dolphin right before the midway also serves no real purpose since you can just jump right over that gap.
If you get a fire flower in the box right after the midway and hit a coin block next to it, you can knock it off-screen and cause it to vanish. I know this is more of a personal preference than an objective fault, but it would be nice if you could lower these blocks a bit to prevent this.
The part with the one-tile drops between the two green pipes is boring. There's really nothing going on at all in that entire two-screen span.
It's very annoying to try and get the fourth Dragon Coin above the springboard.
..and then the level completely loses its focus, and you pull in grey platforms, a random Bullet Bill shooter, and Monty Moles. What happened? I thought this level was about dolphins. I feel like I'm playing something completely different. I think I saw an expanding pipe and a P-Switch there for some reason too.
..and then we're back to a dolphin set-up that's only marginally more interesting than the ones early in the level.
OVERALL THOUGHTS: Although the first half of the level lacks polish, it at least has a central theme. I have no idea what happened in the second half. You suddenly decided to introduce a whole bunch of other sprites that have one appearance and then nothing. The design goes from being focused to being all over the place. I would highly suggest scrapping your entire second half and rebuilding it to focus purely on interesting dolphin set-ups. After all, wasn't that supposed to be the main idea behind this level?
The level author is Luansilva12, not Lunasilva12, but that's a minor detail. That said, wow, there is so much detail in your reviews, looking forward to more (and I thought I put much detail, but apparently not compared to this).
-------------------- Legacy ports zip (now that those went down because Dropbox)
Design and Execution: 32/50 Design Creativity and Aesthetic Creativity: 16/30 Aesthetics and Polish: 14/20 Overall: 62/100
Oddly enough, I don't think the Alcahest track fits the aesthetic you've put into play at all. Seems very upbeat and darker compared to the generally bright tone of the level.
Ah, the inevitable 1F0. Thanks for the drink, amigo. Well, the introduction to it seems decent enough. Let's see where you end up going with it.
There are three grey platforms with no obstacles or coins shortly after the 1F0 introduction. The bottom one on the right serves no purpose because you don't actually need to wait around for the Ninji on the ledge - you can just jump right over him.
Oh, you're the Moon Temple guy from VLDC9. I recognized your style as soon as the Thwomps kicked in. I like the set-up with the falling Grinder at the end of the spin jumping part.
Is there a way to even get those two ? blocks over the pit? If not, they seem like they shouldn't even be there.
At the part right after the above with the grey platforms, you have to spin jump on the Thwomp at the end. You made an A out of coins, but it's still not very obvious and requires much quicker reflexes than anything else in the level thus far.
I like the set-up with the three Thwomps on 1F0 tiles and the Grinder going back and forth above them. It means you have to actually be careful with your spin jumps such that you don't go too high.
While I like the Thwimp set-up in the secret pipe room with the coins, you can actually jump over the ceiling, run right, and fall into a pit to your death. What makes this really unfair is that there is a trail of coins leading downwards into said pit. Not good.
The set-ups right before the second midway (nice use of that by the way) are okay, but it seems odd how the Thwimp gets glitched into the walls.
Very boring set-up right after the second midway. It's more brown-platform-on-1F0 action, but the design is super generic and we've already seen it before in the level.
Cute side room where you have to duck under the Thwomps while on a brown line guided platform, but I don't think three full rows of them were really necessary.
The set-ups right after the pipe to the second secret room were very clever. I like how you actually mixed platforming on the grey platforms with the brown platforms + 1F0 in creative ways.
Actually, everything from the second midway to the goal is quite good, barring the set-up right after said midway. I wish the level had more design like that.
OVERALL THOUGHTS: Breaking this level into thirds, the final third is by far the most well-designed. The beginning strikes me as rather slow and uninteresting, and the while the middle third of the level starts to pick things up a bit, it still feels a bit slow. I would really go back and analyze the design of your level. Look for set-ups that are clearly more boring than others, and scrap them. This will not only allow you to shrink your level (which is quite long), but it will help the experience feel much more full.
Design and Execution: 46/50 Design Creativity and Aesthetic Creativity: 16/30 Aesthetics and Polish: 13/20 Overall: 75/100
Nice to see an attempt at a purely vanilla level, down to the music and graphics. I initially got a strong Donut Plains 3 vibe.
Good use of the diagonal ropes, and I like how your sprites were placed in a way that they don't get stuck/turned around by the lower plant platforms.
Kind of a shame that the jumping Piranha Plant at the top of the slope doesn't spit fire when you're on the left side of it, but only when you're on the right.
I really like the descending part with the Volcano Lotus + line guided platform. It's both a clever and a dangerous set-up.
Seems a bit weird how the three greys platforms does not have a center block (the one when the autoscroll starts going upwards). Looks a bit odd. Design-wise, this part is cool, as you have to use it to ascend while dodging another Volcano Lotus.
OVERALL THOUGHTS: It's a shame that this level won't really have a chance at winning because it doesn't do anything extremely creative, nor does it do anything extra with the graphics. However, from a pure design standpoint, this is very solid, and if such a contest ever comes up where the only ranking is design (i.e. a -true- vanilla contest), then this would be a strong contender for winning it. I can tell a ton of thought was put into each and every sprite placement, and it didn't feel like you just threw stuff everywhere like a lot of other entries do. You should be proud of yourself for that aspect alone!
Thanks for the review. This level was a fun challenge for me in trying to make an interesting autoscroller, which I feel others shy away from too often, so I'm glad to see it's been received well so far in that regard. Some might argue that I'm wasting my entry by committing to a pure-vanilla, pure-platforming type of level, but I can't say I didn't enjoy making it, and I can only hope that once I'm able to perfect the design others will enjoy it for what it is.
Design and Execution: 11/50 Design Creativity and Aesthetic Creativity: 8/30 Aesthetics and Polish: 7/20 Overall: 26/100
The Rex at the start doesn't seem to serve much of a point - you can easily just go under him and through the Goombas.
As you start the second area, the sprites literally just walk off the edge. Completely pointless. Add a cement block or something on the end so that they at least pose a threat and can't kill themselves.
Sprite saturation right after the Volcano Lotus. There are like 4-5 different sprites all haphazardly placed. Feels more luck-based than strategy-based trying to get through them, to be honest.
Suddenly you've brought in a Sumo Brother and a Pitchin' Chuck, both of which can simply be passed by going over top of them. Not only does this demonstrate a lack of focus, but it also doesn't feel very well-crafted. There's too much being introduced and not enough being done with them.
When you enter the dark area, there's a Mechakoopa walking back and forth between a wall and a Ninji. It serves zero purpose whatsoever, and screams bad design.
..and then the level just kind of abruptly ends right after the dark room.
OVERALL THOUGHTS: This level lacks focus and feels very unpolished. The biggest issue is that you keep introducing random sprites throughout the level, using them once, and then not really using them again at all. As I mentioned, the biggest offender was the Sumo Brother/Pitchin' Chuck portion - very easily skipped by jumping over the cement blocks. Between that and a ton of sprites which either a) serve no purpose, or b) end up killing themselves/getting stuck/etc., I think the entire level needs to be revisited. Focus on creative sprite set-ups in such a way that they integrate with your object placement, and make the player have to actually think about their moves rather than just blindly rushing through the level.
Design and Execution: 34/50 Design Creativity and Aesthetic Creativity: 14/30 Aesthetics and Polish: 15/20 Overall: 63/100
The opening aesthetic is nice. I like the mix of the castle and ghost house tilesets, and neither of them are too visually overwhelming. Can't say I'm a fan of the track though.
I like the little set-ups with the Mega Moles trapped between the two rows of throw blocks.
Some fairly bland design comes up after the previously mentioned section up to the second Yoshi coin - two turn block bridges, and then three wooden stakes. Feels like more of a waiting game than actual interesting design. It's also a bit annoying to make the jumps over the stakes if you're Super Mario.
The set-up with the timed lifts over lava + Sparkies was decent enough, but then you have three turn block bridges .. again. Not sure why you're bothering with these if you're not doing anything particularly interesting with them.
The Bowser statues + Sparkies are the most interesting part of the level so far. There's some actual skill required here rather than just waiting around .. though there are like 5-6 of them back-to-back with Rexes. I'd shorten this section a bit.
The first part of the castle portion feels decent enough, and it actually feels like something out of SMW itself.
I don't care much at all for the Yoshi coin room before the boss (with the water + Sparkies). It's a bit of a drag to get through, and most of the ones on the left side are completely pointless and can easily be skipped.
OVERALL THOUGHTS: This level has some decent parts, especially in the second half, but a lot of it feels like a waiting game. The first half was a bit of a slog to get through, and I don't feel like many of the sprites were used to their full potential. The set-ups with the Mega Moles were decent enough, but then you threw in a bunch of other sprites with no real challenge (i.e. the turn block bridges, wooden stakes, etc). These sprites go great with other obstacles, but on their own, they're not particularly exciting.
Design and Execution: 22/50 Design Creativity and Aesthetic Creativity: 13/30 Aesthetics and Polish: 10/20 Overall: 45/100
The scrolling background is a bit of an eye strain with this sort of aesthetic. Nice music choice though.
Speaking of that, the aesthetics once you go through the pipe are sort of nauseating. Highly saturated colors + this "outline" style = severely detracts from the level quality. There are ways to do this kind of art right, but this is too overpowering.
I'm not too sure why the three light switch blocks are included in the P-Switch area. They don't actually have any sort of effect on the gameplay at all. Likewise, I'm not even sure why the P-Switch is necessary - you simply use it to go through two brown blocks and then directly into a pipe. Why even bother?
..and suddenly the level is underwater and has a whole new enemy set. There appears to be a serious lack of focus here.
The Grinder at the start of the post-midway room can vanish really easily, thus causing you to have to go back and forth to respawn it. Also, I'm not really sure why you're using a different song here - there was nothing really indicating that the music should change, and the track doesn't really fit.
The jump below the moving castle block into the door is really tough to make, to the point where it feels unfair.
..and the door leads to a secret exit room with the text "FLANDRE SCARLET" and a key/keyhole. It's not even hidden.
Why is this room even necessary? It's nothing more than an unfun shoehorned secret exit that forces you to play most of the level again. It would be different if you included some actual design in that room, but as it stands, there's .. nothing.
Might want to increase the time limit by about 50 seconds or so.
OVERALL THOUGHTS: I really wasn't a big fan of this level. The aesthetics are far too saturated and that + the moving background makes me a bit queasy. The biggest flaw in this level is the massive lack of focus. It's nothing more than a series of 3-4 short rooms that never fully explore a concept, and instead throw a ton of sprites all over the place (i.e. the previously mentioned light switch blocks, one instance of a moving castle block, etc). I would highly suggest re-evaluating this aesthetic, and modify your level to focus on a few sprites and a couple of rooms max versus such a disjointed run of sublevels.
Design and Execution: 16/50 Design Creativity and Aesthetic Creativity: 15/30 (mostly for the aesthetic creativity) Aesthetics and Polish: 10/20 Overall: 41/100
I don't really think Underworld Forest fits this level at all, based on my first impression. It's a much more somber theme that fits darker levels, and yours is quite the opposite.
The floating words are far more distracting than beneficial. There's a reason people had complaints about Gambly Night's aesthetics in the VLDC9, and a large part of that were the words that were all over the place.
It's weird that you put the green shell after the two multi-coin boxes. I thought you were meant to use the nearby Goomba, so I wasted both of them on that. You should probably relocate the shell.
The brown platform on a chain that pops up shortly after the above section is pointless - it clearly goes in the water, and there's no reason anybody would want to use it when they can just go right past it.
Okay, the black "DEATH" pit is pretty cute. It's about the only instance of those floating words that I actually thought was neat.
You can barely see the first Grinder in the second room because of the rapid flashing animation.
The bit where you have to kill the Magikoopa magic with the turn blocks is interesting enough, but it feels like wasted potential and more like a decorative set-up versus one with an actual purpose (since you're forced to go through them anyway).
The pink and light blue ground looks atrocious next to the flashing castle blocks.
The autoscrolling room is extremely hard to follow, visually. The variable layer 2 scrolling doesn't really work well here because the foreground isn't distinct enough to comfortably deal with it.
The design here is very boring. Slow autoscroll + single tile Munchers to jump over. It feels like artificial padding.
OVERALL THOUGHTS: I wouldn't say that this level commits any major atrocities, but there are a couple of things to point out. First, it feels like more of an aesthetic showcase than an actual well-designed level. I get the impression that you were fascinated by the concept of vaporwave so much that you just wanted to lay out a bunch of decorative tiles to garner a reaction (hence the words everywhere), but that won't really cut it in this contest. Secondly, there is a distinct lack of focus here. There were a lot of sprites that popped up in one set-up and then never again, like the Magikoopa magic and the brown platform on a chain. Finally, the entire last room (autoscrolling) is a drag to play, and it doesn't feel like it fits with the rest of the level at all. There are parts of the level that have potential, but I would go back to the drawing board and pick a few sprites to focus on, and then build your level around those.