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[FAN JUDGE] ECS' Fan Judging Experience!
Forum Index - Sunken Ghost Ship - Old Contests & Events - The 11th Vanilla Level Design Contest - [FAN JUDGE] ECS' Fan Judging Experience!
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Hey everyone!
I've been taking a look at most of the threads since this contest started, but i noticed i barely gave any feedback so far...
So, i thought it was about time for me to start playing some levels and giving some proper feedback!

While i'm still pretty new to designing levels myself, i have been playing SMW hacks for a while, so i'm a bit more experienced as a player.
I also like to write very detailed reviews, and i guess most people would appreciate that, so let's give it a try!

I think i could start with checking the levels in the submissions thread, but i'm accepting requests as well.
Note that i'd prefer to play levels that are at least in a finished state (like, a first 'full version') because i feel it's better to give feedback this way.
As for updates, i'll try to cover them in case it is requested. But please keep in mind the size and frequency of updates when requesting them.

Levels reviewed (The numbers represent their position on the Submissions Thread):

001 - Muramur by Mandew
002 - Lime Green Land by Young Boi
003 - Vanilla Plains by Enan2017
004 - Sunny Shoreline by TheSpeedyJay
005 - Rocky Forest by Green Jerry
006 - Mushroom Lange by Infinity
033 - Cloudy Lake by Debug001
044 - Ambrose Asylum by Blizzard Buffalo (Outdated)
045 - Oh That's Hot by Mad Lad (Outdated)
007 - Sky Castle by N450
008 - Get the Mushroom! by Manofer
009 - The Red Ghost House by Hayashi Neru
010 - Deep Soda Sea by Kit
011 - Plumbing Job by MercuryPenny
050 - Dimension Traveling by Kusrry
012 - Level Entry by Flabort
013 - Koopa Kaboose by Mogu94
014 - Turrim Caelo by Stiviboy
015 - Blue Dabadi Dabadu by Turbofa
016 - Sunset Land by JLippe
017 - Bounce and Climb by RetroKoopa7170
018 - Frozen Grasslands by Yoshi9429 (Outdated)
019 - Metallic Metropolis by PokerFace (Note about the update)
020 - Easiest Judgement by Crysack
055 - King of the Mountain by MarkVD100 (Outdated)
042 - Temple of Fish Gods by Sancles
034 - Altair by Tweyxx
022 - Athletic Synergy by Crm0622
060 - Caelum Coast by Ruberjig
024 - Deep Deluge by Plasmodium00 (Outdated)
057 - The Leaving Skies by Fullcannon
064 - Moon Temple by TheInsanity115
070 - General Trotyl by Galaer
054 - Industrial Desert by IronFoxGaming (Outdated)
094 - Bouncy Ruins by Dan Drigues
079 - Harmonious Heaven by Emerald Shell (Outdated)
080 - Cold and Colder by Minuy600
092 - The Frozen Way by Slakkmichael
051 - G.U.C Plains by Toad64
072 - Flames of Muspell by Falconpunch
084 - Hide and Seek Items by SomeGuy712x
073 - Forest Blitz by Wolfnasty
021 - The Camping Episode by Silva Teixeira
023 - Muncher Mountain by JP32
025 - Silver Sky by MechaNinji
026 - Night Grasslands by Monkey03297
027 - Adventurous Ascent by Roykirbs
028 - Phantasmagoria by LotusLandSigma
029 - House of holes by Sockbat Replica
030 - Magnetic Net by NextTactics
031 - Bramble Climb by MarioFan22
035 - Tangerine Wetlands by MonkeyShrapnel
036 - Skyway Sanctum by Carld923
037 - Chuck's Norris by Huebrbr
038 - Crystarp Hollow by S.N.N
039 - Brown Block Factory by Sixcorby
040 - Black and White Land by YoshiGamingHD
041 - Buster Quarry by GammaSlap
043 - Boney Basin by Sparky
046 - Le Reservoir by Blind Devil
047 - Coming Soon!
048 - Coming Soon!

044 - Ambrose Asylum by Blizzard Buffalo (Updated)
045 - Oh That's Hot by Mad Lad (Updated)
055 - King of the Mountain by MarkVD100 (Updated)
054 - Industrial Desert by IronFoxGaming (Updated)
079 - Harmonious Heaven by Emerald Shell (Updated)
018 - Frozen Grassland by Yoshi9429 (Updated)
024 - Deep Deluge by Plasmodium00 (Updated)

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My Youtube Channel
*Read with Mario's voice*
Here we go!


Muramur by Mandew



Design: 33/60

The level plays pretty nicely! It follows a nice learning curve, with it initially introducing the gimmick on safe ground and then evolving in complexity throughout the level.
However, I felt the design was a bit repetitive. Even though there was some variety, most of the segments using Timed Lifts followed the same formula of boarding the lift and jumping over a few platforms/enemies ahead, i felt the level could have done more with different setups, like, for example, using multiple Timed Lifts at once and having to transfer between them.

The segment with Podoboos was pretty cool! I liked the way they were enclosed in a small room! And having it reappear later along with timed Lifts was a nice touch!

Most other segments, while not bad, aren't too memorable.
Also, i feel like the Thwomp segments were too hard compared to the rest of the level, the timing to get past them is pretty tight, especialy the one with 3 Thwomps while on a Timed Lift.

Creativity: 14/30

The level has a few clever setups, however, i feel like it didn't explore too much the potential of the gimmick.
Most of the segments were based on boarding a single Timed Lift and avoiding stuff on the way, without going far from this formula.
The only segment that really stands out for me is the one with Podoboos, it's a pretty nice idea!

Aesthetics: 4/10

The level seems to not have a focus on aesthetics, which isn't a big deal in my opinion, but since i have to give a score for it...
It doesn't have any particularly bad aesthetic choice, the palettes are standard and the graphics do their job, but it doesn't really try to do more than the very basic, so most platforms are just a single big castle block or a pipe, cement blocks show quite a lot and there's a lot of empty space.
The music feels enjoyable, but i don't know if it fits the level too well.

Total: 51/100

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Lime Green Land by Young Boi



Design 21/60

This is a pretty average plains level.

It's pretty flat, and quite short as well. The design is very straigh-forward, you have just a set path you follow, encountering enemies on the way, until you reach the end. There's no turn, no alternate path, no hidden item or anything.

It isn't exactly a bad level, as it's pretty fun and plays quite nicely with what it has to offer. The enemy placement is overall nice, and while being on the easy side, it can be engaging on a few parts. (though relying primarily on Monty Moles makes it so you can easily skip most of the level before they even pop out)

The problem here is that it doesn't stand out at all, and does nothing that would be particularly memorable.
So while it could work as a simple level in a normal hack, it doesn't really work too well in a level design contest.

If i could recommend anything to improve it would be to either try to think of a gimmick to focus the design, or, to keep the simple plains feel, just try making it more engaging, adding a few diferent routes (even if just for Yoshi Coins or a 1-UP), making it a little more exploration based, having the level being less straight-forward.
Since the sprite focus seems to be Monty Moles, a good idea would be to make some elevated platforms, having the gameplay focusing a little bit on climbing, as it would give more time for the moles to actually pop out of the ground.

Creativity: 7/30

There isn't really much i could say here, the level is just the average plains level, and really doesn't offer anything interesting to stand out. The enemy placement was somewhat good, though as stated before, moles take too long to pop out of the ground to actually be interesting.

Aesthetics: 4/10

The level seems to have a very defined visual style, however, it isn't too pleasing on the eyes. There's way too much focus on green! Not only on the Foreground palette, which feels too bright, but also pretty much everything else used in the level!
I feel like the level could benefit from a bit of variation, there is already a random bit of water in it, you could have a few more segments like that.
Some of the decorations do feel pretty nice, but they don't stand out too much when everything is green.
Also, as for the music choice, personally i'd say the standard 'Overworld Theme' would probably fit the level more than 'Athletic Theme'.

Total: 32/100

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My Youtube Channel
Ok, next ones!

Vanilla Plains by Enan2017



Important: Your level may not be longer than 500 SMW seconds!
Your level starts at 600 seconds, so it's breaking this rule. Even if the level isn't too long, and doesn't use the whole timer, you should set it to a maximum of 500 seconds.

Design: 13/60

This is an average-ish plains level.

A pretty short level, with some basic platforming.
The level is pretty straight-forward, though the platforming can be engaging at times.

The level seems to lack a bit of focus though, the design is a bit random at times, sometimes focusing more on flat platforming, others making use of Vines and Floating Platforms to cross gaps, and there's a random piece of water in there too.
I'd recommend trying to get a focus and make your design around that.

My biggest issue with it though are the huge gaps that show constantly between platforms! Every few steps we find a gap that requires a very late jump to be able to cross, the last one being especially aggravating because it requires running speed and the player jumps from a Falling Platform, which means we have only 1 try on it.
This is not a way to make platforming more engaging, all it does is increase the difficulty for the wrong reasons, and can be frustrating for many players.
I recommend shortening all these gaps, and try to focus more on platforming on safe ground, rather than jumping over pits.

The enemy placement is actually good for the most part, it shows some thought has been put into it, but it seems like you're playing way too safe with it. Most enemies don't really pose much of a threat, and many segments feel empty.
I think the level could greatly benefit from a few more enemies to make it more engaging!

As it is right now, this seems like a simple plains level (with a few issues that need to be fixed) that could go in a normal hack, but it doesn't really do anything to stand out in a level design contest.

As for improving it, other than what i already said, you could make the platforming a little less straight-forward, make a few alternate routes (even if just for simple power-ups or Yoshi Coins), having a little more exploration, something so the idea of the level is not simply "keep going right and win".
I like the way you use pipes and skinny pipes in the design, so i think this could be expanded more, having bigger and more complex pipe formations, making more platforms for the player to climb.

Creativity: 6/30

There isn't much to be said about this level in creativity, it is a very basic plains level, and does nothing that really stands out.
The enemy placement is kinda good, and the use of pipes in the design is something i personally like.

Aesthetics: 5/10

The level is basically a normal vanilla level in aesthetics, it really doesn't try anything more than that. But it also doesn't do anything wrong, so it is as pleasant as a normal SMW level to look at.
I do like the use of pipes and skinny pipes in the design, and i feel like they look good for the most part.
Also, the music choice is pretty fitting.

Total: 24/100

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Sunny Shoreline by TheSpeedyJay



Design: 31/60

This level is pretty fun! It has a nice platforming that flows well! Even being a little short, it manages to keep the player entertained!
The little 'islands' based design, with big Foreground pieces separated by a small gap with water feels pretty good! And it fits well the theme the level is going for!

However, i felt the design was playing a bit too safe, it kept pretty simple throughout the entire level, and never really tried to do anything too interesting.
The entire level has the same basic platforming feeling of going forward and dealing with enemies. Also, i feel like the water could have been used more, instead of being mostly a visual aspect to enhance the theme. There could have been a few swimming segments, or maybe the use of sprites that interact with water.

The enemy placement was pretty good! It felt very entertaining throughout the level! Every 'island' had a moderate amount of enemies that allowed for some engaging gameplay!
One thing i feel could improve the level is using more water specific enemies/sprites, Dolphins, Porcu-Puffer, Spike Balls and Floating Platforms come to mind. These could be used to make water a bigger part of the level's gameplay.

The underwater room feels like it could have been improved, right now it's just a slow swimming part. As someone who likes water levels, i feel like that segment could have been a little more engaging, like having more enemies that would need to be avoided, or maybe use items to swim faster.

Also, there's one part that felt pretty random and out of place, the one right after the Midway Gate, with 2 Floating Platforms and a pipe. It just really doesn't fit the theme, and doesn't play too well.

Note: The Midway Entrance to the level starts in water, so if the player doesn't react fast, he'll fall in the pit!

Overall it's a fun level with a nice theme! It just doesn't stand out too much...

Creativity: 9/30

The level doesn't have any particular gameplay gimmick or any creative idea overall. Also, there aren't any specific memorable segments that could stand out.
However, the idea of the theme is nice, and well executed! The aesthetics manage to create a nice beach-y feel, and the design based on Foreground 'islands' contributes to that too!

Aesthetics: 6/10

The theme of the level is pretty nice! And the aesthetics do a good job in setting up the atmosphere!
The cave foreground graphics and palettes work well, just like the use of water!
The music is also pretty nice, and fitting to the theme.
However, again, the random floating platforms and pipe segment doesn't really fit, and i think it gets in the way of the beach-y feel in the level, not to mention there's some cut-off with the bush and the cement blocks.

Total: 46/100

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My Youtube Channel
Glad to see you join in on the fun of fan judging as well. Incredible job on these first few reviews. They are well written, super detailed and include tons of helpful suggestions. For the most part we seem to have very similiar opinions on the levels quality so far (except Mandew's level). I'm sure the thread will get the attention it deserves. I'll definitely be interested in a review of yours when my level is finally finished.

--------------------
Check out my new hack thread:
I've read the reviews and they are accurate. Good job!
Hey, nice reviews! Could you please find the time to play my level?
https://bin.smwcentral.net/u/34088/CloudyLake.zip
"Blasted!"
Murder me and my level please

https://bin.smwcentral.net/u/21984/Ambrose%2BAsylum.zip

--------------------


Have a frost day~
Puyo Maguro World Creator
Originally posted by Mad Lad
Glad to see you join in on the fun of fan judging as well. Incredible job on these first few reviews. They are well written, super detailed and include tons of helpful suggestions. For the most part we seem to have very similiar opinions on the levels quality so far (except Mandew's level). I'm sure the thread will get the attention it deserves. I'll definitely be interested in a review of yours when my level is finally finished.


Thanks for the welcoming words and the support! It's been really fun!
I always like to be very helpful, and i saw in this the opportunity to both have some fun playing the many great levels made by other hackers and provide some helpful feedback and suggestions to make their levels even better!
Yea, i see our opinions have been kinda similar! I imagine i had a bit of a subconscious inspiration by some of your reviews, since i've been following your thread for a while now xD.
I'll also sure be glad to review your level when you're done with it! You did a great job reviewing my level (i still gotta get some time to answer your review. I'll do that soon!), it provided a lot of helpful feedback and suggestions!

Originally posted by N450
I've read the reviews and they are accurate. Good job!


Thank you! Your level will be coming soon!

Originally posted by debug001
Hey, nice reviews! Could you please find the time to play my level?
https://bin.smwcentral.net/u/34088/CloudyLake.zip


Originally posted by Blizzard Buffalo


Thank you for the words, and for trusting me your levels!
I'll be coming to them as soon as i finish the current levels i took from the Submissions Thread!

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My Youtube Channel
Originally posted by ECS.98
You did a great job reviewing my level (i still gotta get some time to answer your review. I'll do that soon!), it provided a lot of helpful feedback and suggestions!

I'm so glad to here that the feedback was helpful to you. Comments like these really make fan judging all the more fun #ab{;)}.

I finally found the time to finish my level this weekend. Would you be willing to give me some feedback on how to improve my level? I really hope it's not too difficult. Thank you so much.

--------------------
Check out my new hack thread:
Hey guys! Sorry for the delay, i've been pretty busy today!
I've finished the 2 reviews i had on the Submissions Thread. Next i'll be taking the requests!

Rocky Forest by Green Jerry



Design: 32/60

This level has a pretty nice design!
The platforming is great, there's a lot of terrain variety which makes for a very engaging gameplay!
Also, it has a lot of alternate paths throughout the level which really adds a lot of non-linearity! It has a lot of exploration potential, and even then, it manages to guide the player well without making him feel lost or confused!

The enemy placement is pretty good! It fits well the level theme, and adds to the design making a good use of the terrain!

I also liked the fact that there are a few rewards for exploration, with 2 hidden Yoshies, as well as the Yellow Switch Blocks making a few segments easier/safer to play!

However, the level does have a few noticeable issues.
The main issue i could mention is in the layering, a lot of the decorative objects have priority on! It really gets in the way when playing!
There are a lot of trees and bushes constantly hiding enemies, getting in our way when we try to land a jump, covering the terrain, making it hard to know what's safe ground and what's a pit, and such. It can get pretty frustrating!

Also, there's something weird happening with the Piranha Plants in this level, because they jump out of the pipes even when Mario is directly on top of it! I died twice due to this. I had never seen this happen in a Vanilla level... Nevermind, this seems to affect every level.

Last, there are a few jumps that feel pretty unfair, i'll go through them in detail:
- This jump is pretty long (note the platform is already falling in the screenshot), and the coins are a trap, if you try to jump to collect them, you can't get back to the Lift in time! I recommend changing the coins so they indicate safe ground instead.
- This jump is quite long too, and the bush is hiding the pit! A player might think it is safe ground and fall, especially if coming from the upper platform.
- This jump is quite long too, and the second Lift only appears when the first one is already falling! It could use a coin guide!
- Here the pipe is too low, and the player can easily hit the head there if big or riding Yoshi. You could move the platform 1 tile up.
- And last, here, the Timed Lift is way too high, so once you see the Goal Post and safe ground, the lift is already falling! A coin guide would really help!

Creativity: 14/30

While the level doesn't really have a defined gameplay gimmick, it still manages to have some creativity in its design.
Many of the segments with alternate routes seem to have quite some thought put into them, each route feels pretty interesting!
Also, the overall theme of the level is pretty good! And the execution is nice, both in design and aesthetics!

Aesthetics: 6/10

The level's aesthetics are pretty decent!
I really liked the tileset mix you did, and it was executed pretty well! The graphics go well together, and the palettes are good too!
The decorations look great as well!

However, i feel like there has been a bit too much focus on aesthetics, in a way that it negatively affects gameplay. There are way too many decorations with priority on! These end up being more an annoyance than actually complimenting the level's visuals.

I'd recommend removing some of them, especially ones that could possibly affect gameplay (the ones close to where Mario has to jump/land, or close to where enemies appear), or just removing priority on them. I never particularly liked decorations with priority on (even in the original game), in my opinion they don't need to be on top of everything to make a level look good.

Total: 52/100

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Mushroom Lange by Infinity



Important: Your level must use the VLDC11 Base ROM (provided in the Rules and Submissions thread), otherwise it will be disqualified!

Design 26/60

A nice little 'elevated' level.
It plays quite nicely, having a pretty standard elevated design. The platforming can be quite engaging at times.

It is quite fun, but also pretty flat and straight-forward. It doesn't really try to do anything too interesting other than the very basic jumping on mushroom platforms over pits. The level can feel a bit long, but that's more due to the fact that it's very straight-forward than actually for it taking a long time to complete.

Also, i feel the level sometimes loses a bit of focus on its design, between every set of Mushroom Platforms there is a big flat piece of land that really doesn't add anything to the theme. I think these could be toned down a bit so the level could focus on some more interesting 'elevated' setups.

Also, the enemy usage seems to be a bit on the safe side, most sprites are the very basic Goombas and Koopas, and while their placement is sometimes good, i think you could have experimented more with the tileset specific sprites.

As it is right now, it's just 'another' standard level that could go well in a normal hack, but doesn't stand out in a level design contest.

If you want to improve on this level and make it stand out more, i'd recommend focusing on line-guided sprites. I see you have some potential with designing line-guided segments, as those were the segments i liked the most in the level!
You could also try some more climbing and exploration to make it a little less flat.
I'd say the use of Floating/Rotating Platforms, like the ones used in Yoshi's Island 3, would help make the level feel more 'alive' (right now pretty much every single platform in it is static, so nothing stands out too much)

Also, the bonus room could be improved, as right now it's literally just an empty room with a Yoshi Coin.

And last, i feel like a few gaps are a bit too wide, and require the player to get some speed and make a full jump. These are mostly the jumps used for Yoshi Coins (the most notable being the 4th Coin, which has a jump from a lower platform to a higher one), but they don't really flow well, i'd recommend you try to come up with more interesting setups for them.

Creativity 10/30

Well, this is a pretty standard elevated level, so it doesn't do too much to stand out.
The only segments that really stand out for me are the line-guided segments, most notably the one with 2 Saws and a note Block, those were pretty clever. I feel like you could come up with more interesting setups if you tried to focus on these!

Aesthetics 5/10

The aesthetics in the level are pretty basic, it doesn't really try to do anything more than just looking ok.
With that said, the visual style does work, the graphics are nice, the use of Mushroom Platforms is something pretty common in this kind of level, but it looks good, and the palettes work well too!
Also, the music is quite catchy!

Total 41/100

--------------------
My Youtube Channel
Ok, here are the 2 first requests! These took a while to come!
Next i'll be taking Mad Lad's level, and then resume working in the submissions thread if no other request appears.

Cloudy Lake by Debug001



Design: 21/60

This level has an interesting theme idea. But it's an idea i personally find hard to execute well. The choice to make an underwater level is a bit risky, and so is the cloud theme.

With that said, the level isn't exactly bad! The underwater segment has been executed mostly well, it feels engaging at times, though on others it can feel quite slow.

The use of enemies is also good for the most part, they're used in a way that feels dangerous, yet doesn't make it feel cramped.
In my opinion, enemies are a pretty important part of what makes a good water level, because these levels don't rely on movement as much as platforming levels, so enemies are what change a straight-forward swimming segment into an engaging one! With that said, i feel like you could have used more enemies, and spread them more throughout the level (especially the 'Fishs' and Urchins, which have a fixed movement pattern), because a few parts are pretty empty, and can feel quite slow due to that.

Also, SMW swimming mechanics allow for a good control of Mario's height while swimming, as such, i always like to see levels that require vertical movement. I think you could focus a bit more on that (not necessarily make it a vertical level, but make it a horizontal level that requires a lot of vertical movement). I like your usage of Muncher pillars, i feel like those could be a good way to give more vertical movement to the level.

The second half has quite a change in gameplay, and feels like it has potential, but right now it doesn't really do much to be interesting. The water isn't really used in any interesting way, being mostly used in a "surface jumping until you reach solid ground" way. It also feels pretty repetitive.
The use of water in "puddles floating in the air" like seen here is actually a lot less common than it might seem, and it has a lot of potential to make really cool setups!
I feel like this segment could really be improved by making a better use of water, such as having to use the water clouds to swim over dangers (spikes, pits), having to transfer between water clouds, having enemies in these clouds you have to avoid. I'm sure you can come up with some very interesting setups.

As for a few issues with the design. The most noticeable one is the use of orange clouds for danger. That doesn't really work well at all, and their hitboxes are terribly misleading! You use Muncher tiles for their 'act as', so their hitbox is a square, but their graphics are often represented as slopes, so you can get hit even while not touching it. I'd recomment you either avoid using slopes at all with these clouds, or just entirely get rid of them and find another way to represent dangerous objects.
Also, in the second half of the level, i didn't really like the forced damage boosting segments, even if you give a power-up (which is only a Mushroom. I usually get there with a Flower, so i'm at a loss anyways...). I recommend removing those as well.
And last, i'd say you could tone down a bit the use of slopes in the underwater segment, slopes don't go as well with swimming (example) as flat ground or walls. I think you could use less slopes, and instead use more walls and pillars.

Right now i quite like this level already, and i think it has a lot of potential. But it still needs some work and polishing to actually make use of that potential.

Creativity: 12/30

The theme is pretty interesting overall. The use of clouds isn't something commonly seen, and even less with water.
The gameplay ideas are pretty good, and i see they have a lot of potential! Especially with the "floating water puddles", as i said in the design category. these can make some really clever setups!
However, the level doesn't really have many interesting or creative setups, and nothing really stands out too much gameplay-wise. It still has a lot to improve on that.

Aesthetics: 3/10

The level doesn't really seem to focus on aesthetics. And, while on most levels, the use of Vanilla aesthetics is good enough for it to look ok, with this one there are a few noticeable problems.
The main issue with it is the fact that vanilla cloud grapics don't look that good. They do their job when used just as simple ground and such, but not when you make an entire level with them...
I'd recommend you try to find a few more graphics that could compliment the level's aesthetics (maybe use more of the wood pillars and wood platforms, for example).
The palettes are mostly nice, the cloud palettes look good, even though there's a lot of white (which is mostly a side effect of using clouds). The only palettes i don't like are the orange clouds and the blue wood pillars (their standard brown color will probably work better).
Also, there are a few tiles that look pretty weird, the most noticeable being the 1-tile wide clouds.
One last thing, there is a lot of cutoff in many parts where there are other objects connecting to the clouds. I don't know if that could be fixed easily, given the graphic rules, but they're pretty noticeable...
Oh, the music in the first part is pretty cool! And fits well the level!
The second one, while being a nice song, doesn't fit as much the level's theme.

Total: 36/100

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Ambrose Asylum by Blizzard Buffalo



Design: 35/60

This is a pretty interesting level! It has an interesting theme, the flow is overall pretty good, and the gameplay is very engaging!
There's a lot of variety in terrain, there are some nice bits of exploration and the platforming is pretty enjoyable.
The sprites are used very well, there are a lot of interesting setups that feel and play pretty nicely! The sprites make a good use of the terrain, and always keep the player busy and engaged with the design!

Also, this level is pretty hard!
Personally, i really enjoy playing challenging levels! And i don't really think it being hard is a bad thing. However, one thing i didn't like is how there are a few very noticeable difficulty spikes. While the level overall is pretty hard, it's mostly fair, but these difficulty spike sections are where it can get frustrating!
The most noticeable examples are:
- A few instances of the rope climbing segment, mainly the falling Grinders. The exclamation marks don't help at all! I'd recommend just replacing the falling Grinders, this segment is pretty creative, and i'm sure you could come up with some clever setups to replace them! (Also, would be nice to use coin guides to show where the player has to be in order to avoid the incoming hazards)
- The last jump in the first half, the combination of 2 Grinders and 2 Saws is pretty exagerated! There's barely any opening for the player to fall there, and sometimes it requires damage boosting. You could use 1 of each instead, and it would still be challenging, but fair. Also, the Bowser Statue firing below can surprise the player since it isn't visible from above.
- A few Thwomp setups in the second half, mainly the second one. These segments use quite a lot of sprites, and can be quite overwhelming for the player while trying to get past the Thwomps. I think you could remove a few sprites there.
- The climbing segment with Bullet Bills and Sparkys. Again a segment that overwhelms the player due to the amount of sprites around. Also, the Bullet Bills are pretty unpredictable, which gets in the way when trying to climb.
- This segment near the end where you have to fall through a few platforms. Basically, it's hard to see what's coming below, and the shell kicker can surprise the player.

As for a few things that could be changed/improved:
- The spike segment feels really out of place, it doesn't fit the level at all, since you rarely used spikes in the level. Also, the Podoboos are place in the most frustrating possible way, since they go directly into the safe spots the player is supposed to stay! I'd say to just entirely change that segment into something that fits the level's theme better, as the upper route which is supposed to be an alternate route is a lot easier and enjoyable.
- The coin exclamation marks don't help at all! They don't really indicate what you're supposed to be careful with, or where this thing is coming from. The most noticeable example being the Grinders in the line guided segment. I'd say you could come up with better ways to represent danger.
- I think you could give out a few more power-ups throughout the level, having 3 power-ups in each half (instead of the current 2) could help with the difficulty.
- The segment with the secret room gets the player stuck. After falling down there, there's no way to climb back to the main path. There's only an outlined block with a coin there, which i believe was supposed to be a vine.
- The block in the end of the line-guide is solid! It can get in the way when the player jumps into the rope in the rope climbing segment. I suggest moving it up a bit or making it passable.

As of right now, this level is very interesting, it plays well and is very fun and challenging to play. But it still has a few issues and some polishing that could be done to make it even better.

Creativity: 18/30

This level's theme is pretty interesting, there's a nice work on the aesthetics, with a lot of graphic edits that work pretty well.
But it's on gameplay that the creativity of the level shines! There are a lot of interesting setups throughout the level! It has a lot of creative ways of using sprites and having them work together with the terrain.
My favorite setups have to be the line-guided ones! There are a lot of really clever setups with those, such as these instances where different sprites are used together, as well as these platform jumps with Grinders, and of course the rope climbing segment, with a really clever use of Net Koopas as obstacles!

Aesthetics: 7/10

This level's aesthetics are pretty nice! As said before, there are some nice creative ideas with aesthetics.
The graphics used are pretty interesting, the lamps, pillars, bridges, platforms and other stuff look pretty good!
The outside area looks really nice! Probably the best part of the level aesthetic-wise!
Also, the palettes look good! I think you could experiment a bit with the foreground purple palette, but it still looks pretty good!
There are a few issues though:
- A few graphics look a bit weird. Namely the lamps in the ground, as only half of their yellow part is animated, and the cannon decorations (don't know what they're supposed to be), while they don't look bad at all, they look a bit weird.
- Also, i found a few bits of cutoff, this minor one in the wall, and these pillars in the first area.
- And last, this pillar in the midway area isn't solid, so you can go through it and inside the wall in the beggining area (or you could also fall below the platform and die)
The song is pretty good! It fits well the fast paced and action packed feel of the level!

Total: 60/100

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My Youtube Channel
Oh That's Hot by Mad Lad



Design: 46/60

Oh my, this is awesome! This level is really fun! The flow is excellent and the gameplay is very engaging throughout the entire level!
Even though it uses the Skull Ride platforms, the gameplay is actually pretty fast paced, as it always has something happening to keep the player busy!
Also, the difficulty feels incredibly well balanced! The first half is fast paced, but pretty simple, and the second half has just the right difficulty curve you'd expect from a second half!

The sprite usage is great! I especially liked the use of Swoopers in little swarms, placed in strategic spots to always feel dangerous! All the sprites used in the level contributed a lot for its fast paced feeling! It shows a lot of really clever setups!

The gimmick has been executed really well! The design makes a good use of the Skull Platforms, and i like how it always keeps us moving, so we don't just ride the platform, we always have to get out of it, and then catch it back later to keep progressing!
The second half was especially cool! I really liked the setups used there with the Skull Platforms!

It does feel quite short, especially in the second half (though that might just be because of how fun it was!).
I feel like it could be extended a bit, the second half shows a lot of potential with the setups used, and i feel like the last Skull Ride segment (the one with the spaced skulls) felt specifically short.
You could come up with a few more obstacles in that last Skull Ride segment. There are a few setups that felt a bit underused in the level, and could reappear there, such as:
- The Vine Climb setup (you could use some Net climb instead, having to climb over a platform of Munchers to catch the Skull Platform on the other side)
- The Throw Block gate (maybe a segment where you have to climb a few platforms and remove Throw blocks on your way to be able to get back to the Skull Platform)
- The Timed Lifts used in the second half (could do one where you have to climb up on a few Timed Lifts to go over a tall wall, similar to how you have to spin jump on Spike Tops to reach the high ledge in the end of the first half)
Or you could even transfer to a third Skull Platform.
I'm quite curious about how a Skull Platform with a single skull would play, it could then turn into a Skull Platform with only 2 skulls, having only the 1st and 4th skulls appear, so it'd have a 2-tile gap between them (i hope i made it clear enough xD)

I really didn't find any big flaws, but as for some things i think could be improved:
- The first segment of the first half, the one with a big piece of land, is the only one that requires some waiting. I've despawned the Skull Platform a few times when i played it in a 'fast paced way'. I know the Skull Platform can be respawned, but i feel like you could have removed the need to wait there a bit.
I think the main cause of this is because of how big that piece of land is, it allows Mario to run freely on it, so he can get far ahead of the Skull Platform. I think you could fix that by either turning that big piece of land into 2 medium-sized pieces of land (requiring to wait for the Skull Platform to transfer between them), or just making its design a little more time consuming, by using a few twists and turns, or maybe a few Throw Block gates, just so the the player can't just freely run too far ahead.
- The last jump feels a bit janky, having to catch the Skull Platform while it's falling is pretty tight, and it's a bit unpredictable. I think you could come up with a better way to finish the level (a few of my suggestions above could replace it)

Well, i have to congratulate you! You managed to make an engaging and fast paced level using Skull Platforms!
This level is super fun and very creative! Though it's a bit on the short side, it's still a blast to play!

Creativity: 24/30

Well, this level really impressed me! While the Skull Platforms gimmick isn't something that unique, the execution is incredible!
There are a lot of really clever setups throughout the entire level! Pretty much every jump in this level has a really interesting setup with it! I really liked the use of Swoopers in swarms as obstacles, the setups using Bowser flames (especially the Spring one), the use of Falling Platforms, the spin jump sections... pretty much every setup i'd say xD
But the use of Skull Platforms in the second half is what really impressed me! I'm not even sure if i know how you managed to pull that off, but it's incredibly clever!

Aesthetics: 7/10

The atmosphere of the level is set up really well! It doesn't really try to do anything innovative with graphics, but it does a great use of vanilla graphics!
The palettes are beautiful! The way they set up the lava cave atmosphere of the level is great!
Also, the song is awesome! I love Donkey Kong Country 2! And you really couldn't have chosen a better song to use in this level!

There are just a few tiny aesthetic issues i found. The vine in the first half is cutoff, and the enemies placed in thin air are a little weird (mostly the Swoopers and Spike Tops). I don't even know if it'd be worth to try fixing them, just mentioning for the sake of the review.

Total 77/100 (Favorited!)

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Sky Castle by N450



Design: 35/60

This is a pretty good level! It has a nice theme and plays quite well, with the gameplay doing a good job in setting the atmosphere of 'Castle' and 'Sky' level.
It flows pretty well, i especially like how the design evolves along the level changing the ambience as we go through (It starts in an outdoors section, then going inside the castle, and in the second half we go out on top of it).

The gameplay is pretty engaging, and each parts seems to have a bit of a specific gameplay focus, which makes for a nice variety.
I like the use of sprites throughout the level, especially the Falling Spikes and Bowser Flames, those were used in pretty clever ways!

I also like the little bits of exploration with the Yoshi Coins and the 3-UP Moon!

The design is mostly nice already, though i think a few things could be changed or improved:
- A few sprites and setups felt underused in the level, mainly the Climbing Nets with Net Koopas and the Thwimps, i think they could have appeared more throughout the level. The Climbing Nets for example could be expanded to be a part of the focus of the Indoors section. (especially because the beggining of that section feels a bit filler until we get to the Platform Ride)
- The Platform Ride part, while cool, feels like it could be better. My main issue with it is the use of Jumping Flames, mostly because i'm not a fan of those, their timing is pretty unpredictable. I think that segment could be better focusing more on Grinders, Thwomps and maybe Thwimps.
- I'd say to be careful with this segment. If the player kills the koopa, he'll have a hard time getting up there. Also, the Hothead can get in the way. And last, the Falling Spikes up there aren't visible, so the player can walk directly into them if he goes fast!
I'd say you could remove the Koopa jump and make that climbing more gradual (to give time for the camera to scroll up and the spikes to become visible), using a few more platform/enemy setups (Thwimps could be used here for example).

Overall the level is pretty nice! It's engaging and pretty fun to play! The theme is also well executed and flows nicely!

Creativity: 14/30

The level doesn't really have any specific gimmick or anything too creative. However, it does have some pretty clever setups!
The use of Bowser Flames and Falling Spikes were specifically interesting! They made for some nice setups that played well!
The setup with Bowser Statue and P-Switch at the end is pretty cool as well!
Also, the theme is nicely executed, the design contributed a lot to setting the atmosphere! And changing the ambient throughout the level was a nice touch!

Aesthetics: 5/10

The level doesn't try too hard with aesthetics, it stays mostly with the standard castle feel, which isn't bad at all!
The palettes are quite good, the outdoors palettes set up a kinda dark-ish atmosphere that works well.
Also, the music is really good! And it fits the atmosphere really well! (In fact, it makes me think of Yoshi's Island 5-8, which is a Sky Castle!)
As for things i didn't like:
The corner tiles buried in the ground don't really look good in my opinion.
The brighter palettes used in a few segments don't fit too well with the darker atmosphere of the level. While i can understand the Indoors section palettes being different, i think the second half, being an outdoors section, should have the same palette as the other outdoors sections!

Total 54/100

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My Youtube Channel
Have you ever thought about beta testing hacks? Because this is a nice review! Those tips and feedback will be useful for me and other people in the future.
Some people might say it's not a high score, but for me, it's pretty good, specially being my first level design contest. I've learned more things after making this level. Glad you liked it!
Also, I've played your level and the setup is awesome! I hope yours score between the best 10 levels!
Good work! Waiting more reviews!
Thank you, the main focus of the level was inspiration from WWE Wrestler Dean Ambrose.

I've updated the zip file with the suggested changes

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Have a frost day~
Puyo Maguro World Creator
Originally posted by N450
Have you ever thought about beta testing hacks? Because this is a nice review! Those tips and feedback will be useful for me and other people in the future.

Thanks for the support! It makes my day as fan-judge when i receive such great comments of people saying my reviews are helpful!
As for beta-testing, i never particularly thought of that before, but that was mainly due to the fact that i've just started to interact with this community. But now that you mention, it can definitely happen in the future!

Originally posted by N450
Some people might say it's not a high score, but for me, it's pretty good, specially being my first level design contest.

Yea, don't worry too much about score.
Basically, when we are in a level design contest, we have to be pretty strict with scoring. A full score is what i'd consider to be an ideal level, so it isn't really something most levels will achieve. Not to mention there are also different scores, Design, Creativity and Aesthetics, and sometimes your level is just not as good in some of these categories as it is in others. (for example, there will be only a selected few that have a very good score on Creativity)
In fact, i already expected many levels to be somewhere between 40-60 in total score, which doesn't mean i didn't like these levels!

Originally posted by N450
I've learned more things after making this level. Glad you liked it!

Yea, being quite new to hacking as well, i can relate to that! I learned a lot when making my level for this contest!
And in fact, this contest was just the motivational pressure i needed to start making RomHacks! (I'd probably have taken a lot longer to start if it wasn't for this contest and it's deadline xD)

Originally posted by N450
Also, I've played your level and the setup is awesome! I hope yours score between the best 10 levels!

Thank you for the support! I'm glad you liked it!

Originally posted by N450
Good work! Waiting more reviews!

Thanks! More will be coming soon!

Originally posted by Blizzard Buffalo
Thank you, the main focus of the level was inspiration from WWE Wrestler Dean Ambrose.

I've updated the zip file with the suggested changes


Ok, i'll be sure to check it out soon! I'll try to find the time to update the review, so stay tuned!

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My Youtube Channel
Next ones!

Get The Mushroom! by Manofer



Design: 39/60

Oh my! When i saw the title i could already tell this would be great! And i was not disappointed!
This level is great! It's design is something kinda unusual, more puzzle-oriented, but the execution was very good!

The level was mostly on the easy side, though the puzzles made it interesting. Still, i would've liked if it had a bit more action to it, a few parts feel pretty empty, without anything dangerous around.

Also, i liked the attention to detail in it, for example, the fact that we start below spikes, so we don't retain our Mushroom when replaying the level.

As for the puzzles themselves, most of them were pretty well executed!
But i feel a few of them could use a bit more complexity to make them interesting. For example:
- The first puzzle introduced the 'ability' to manipulate the Mushroom's movement by hitting a block below it, but this idea is only used again on the very last puzzle! I feel some of the earlier puzzles could benefit from this idea to add more complexity.
- The 3rd and 4th puzzles in particular are very straight-forward when it comes to actually getting the Mushroom, you literally just hit the question block with a shell and the Mushroom is yours... Even if these puzzles have more steps to them, i feel the most important part, the Mushroom itself, wasn't interesting enough.
- Also, as we're talking about shells, i feel like the puzzles relied too much on getting a shell and hitting the question block with it. The 2nd puzzle used this idea in a very interesting way by using a Vine and a Shell-less Blue Koopa, but the 3rd and 4th weren't interesting at all, as the shell is just lying in the ground ready to be used. If you're going to use shells, i'd say you could make the 'get the shell' part a little more interesting as well.
- As for the 4th puzzle, the P-Switch isn't really interesting at all. It's acquired in literally the same way as the Mushroom (using a shell) and is only used to block the exit (which isn't really needed, because the exit wouldn't be accessible without a Mushroom anyways), so it could literally not exist and the segment would play the same.
I'd say you could have made it so the P-Switch is required to get the Mushroom instead, that way it would have a more interesting use and actually impact the puzzle.

Also, i feel the level is a bit short, particularly in the second half, as it only has 2 puzzles in that half, as opposed to the first half's 4. I would've liked to see 1 more puzzle added to the second half, just so it doesn't feel as short (and because i feel this concept can still lead to a lot of interesting setups).
You could make a segment using Yoshi for example(Yellow Yoshi's ability comes to mind), or maybe one using a Disco Shell.

As for issues:
- This Thwomp only appears and activates when the player jumps on the Turn Block, which is very unfair and almost a guaranteed hit on the first time playing.
- There's a softlock in the 4th puzzle, if we get the Mushroom and kill the shell by Spin-jumping before getting the P-Switch, we are unable to use the reset door (because Big Mario) and can't get hit by the saws because the Used Blocks are blocking them!

Well, this level is a great puzzle level with a very interesting and creative concept! I just feel some segments could have been made a bit more interesting.

Creativity: 22/30

The ideas in this level are really cool! The gimmick is very interesting, and the puzzles are mostly very creative!
Each section feels pretty unique, it has a lot of clever setups, and most sections feel pretty memorable!
As for the sections that stood out the most:
The 2nd puzzle was very interesting with the use of Vine climbing and Shell-less Blue Koopa to get the mushroom!
The 3rd puzzle had a nice idea using a Bowser Statue to enter a door.
Also, the use of a renewable Midway Gate as a Mushroom source is pretty cool!
And last, but not least, the 'kaizo trap' in the end requiring a Mushroom was very clever! My favorite setup in the entire level!
Though, as said in the design section, a few puzzles and setups could have been more interesting, as they lack some complexity in their execution.

Aesthetics: 7/10

Aesthetically this level looks nice! While it doesn't do much with graphics, what it does looks pretty good! I like the rotating saws used as spikes in the damage boosting segments! And the little MechaKoopa tiles are cute.
Also, palettes are very pleasing! And the music is pretty good too!
As for aesthetic issues, the Note Block sprite is glitched, and the 'R' in the reset doors look very weird!

Total: 68/100

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The Red Ghost House by Hayashi Neru



Design: 20/60

This is a level that has potential, but right now i didn't really enjoy playing it too much...
Basically, the ideas and 'gimmicks' used in it are nice, and this is shown in a few clever and interesting sections, but on most others, the execution is very lacking, and there are some very noticeable issues!

The gameplay of the first half is pretty nice!
The outdoors section is simple, but quite fun.
The few first indoors sections are good, and show some potential with the use of Layer 2 commands, but they feel too simple, and could have been made a bit more interesting gameplay-wise.
The Rising Layer 2 puzzle in the 3rd room in particular felt too simple, and it becomes pretty pointless when that room has a Cape in one of the Turn Blocks...
The Yoshi Coin rooms were actually my favorite ones in the level! Each of them had a clever simple challenge in order to get the coin (though some could have been a little more challenging/complex, most notably the one with the Boo Ring). They remind me of the small challenge rooms used for Red Coins/Flowers in Yoshi's Island!

However, when we get to the Midway Gate is when everything starts to go wrong... I'll try my best to not be harsh (sorry if i do), but i didn't enjoy a single bit of this long second half of the level...

First of all, the level seems to lose all the focus from this point onwards, the design varies a lot, and none of the parts fit with each other.
- The midway room itself is fine (except for the lack of a Power-up, which makes restarting from the Midway particularly punishing)
- The path for the Yoshi Coin in the Midway Room is mostly nice, but it has so much waiting! All sprites used in it make us wait, Boo Rings, Big Boos that we have to lure away from the path, Boo blocks that have to be set in position, and this set of Eeries is particularly annoying because of the way the platform is placed (their wave motion goes below and above the platform).
- The "Fast Way" room is one of the 2 worst rooms! It feels like a completely filler room, as all it offers is a rush against a Spike ceiling. Also, this rush is pretty tight, and if we don't start running as soon as it starts, we'll probably not be able to do the big jump before the On/Off Switch without hitting the ceiling! And last, there's a softlock in this room! If we don't rush immediatelly and let the spike ceiling come down, there's no way to reset the room!
- The auto-scroll room is the other of the worst rooms! First of all, it is very slow, and breaks the pace of the level, to the point where it can get boring! Also, there aren't any interesting setups in this room.
And last, the biggest issue i found with this room are the Layer 3 Crushing Pillars! I don't fully understand how they work, but their position can vary a bit between attempts, and this makes for many awful situations!
The 3rd Crusher is the biggest offender, as you see in the first pic, i actually got crushed to death by the autoscroll there! And then, in the second pic, i was in a completely different spot, and there was nothing i could do avoid being crushed!
The 7th Crusher also has some issues, as seen in the pic, there was nothing i could do to avoid being crushed there (The Ghost House Hole was coming on the left)
And the 8th Crusher doesn't go well with Climbing Nets, if the player doesn't hurry to the end of the Net, there's no way to avoid it!
- The next rooms don't really have any issues. But also don't have anything interesting at all! And after going through such a long segment, they just feel like dragging the level for too long! And any death in these last rooms is particularly punishing because we have to go through the auto-scroll again! (could use a 1-UP Checkpoint here)
Also, requiring a Mushroom for the last 2 Yoshi Coins isn't a good move in my opinion, because the auto-scroll section feels pretty unfair, and there are no power-ups after it!
- Oh, and the very last Eerie in the end of the level feels particularly unfair as it appears when Mario is landing a jump! I died to it once... and it was very painful!

Also, all these sections make the level pretty long! In a run for all Yoshi Coins it takes about 400 SMW seconds to complete!

I feel like many of these sections could just be replaced, as they don't really seem to contribute to the level, and don't really have any focus.
The beggining seems to have a focus on Layer 2, so i think that would be a nice focus to have, as Layer 2 levels can make for some very interesting setups!
You could experiment with different Layer 2 scrolling options and commands, and try to expand more on it!

Overall, the level has some potential, but the execution wasn't really well done, there's still a lot to be changed and improved in order for it to be enjoyable...

Creativity: 12/30

The level has some interesting bits! The use of Layer 2 in a few parts is pretty creative, mostly in the beggining with the little puzzle!
Also, the little challenge rooms for Yoshi Coins are nice!
But other than that, there aren't many segments that stood out, and it feels like some segments had a lot of unused potential, especially in regards to Layer 2.

Aesthetics: 6/10

This level looks pretty good! The outdoors area looks especially nice with the graphics and the BG.
As for the indoors sections, the BG color is a bit unusual, but it actually works! The color is pretty smooth!
Other than that, it's mostly Vanilla, but it is pretty polished visually!
Also, the song is really cool! Obviously, this song fits better on Castle levels, but in fact, it sounds pretty good in a Ghost House too.
Last, there are a few minor issues:
The layering in the Ghost House entrance. And the door could have a larger hitbox to actually match its graphics (right now it's just a 1x2 tile door). Also, the palette in the No-Yoshi Sign looks a bit weird.

Total: 38/100

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My Youtube Channel
great reviews, ECS. Good thing you liked my level, and I'll consider your criticism of it, maybe I'll do one more update on it to make it even better, but I don't know when. Anyway, very good job! #wario{:peace:}

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Could you test my level please?
2 more coming!
Next i'll be taking Kusrry's request(and i have quite a lot to talk!), along with a level from the Submissions Thread!

Originally posted by Manofer
great reviews, ECS. Good thing you liked my level, and I'll consider your criticism of it, maybe I'll do one more update on it to make it even better, but I don't know when. Anyway, very good job! #wario{:peace:}

Thanks! Yes, your level is great! It uses a pretty clever idea! Looking forward to replaying it when you update!

Deep Soda Sea by Kit



Design: 43/60

A great and fun underwater level!
This level shows a very defined Vanilla SMW style in terms of design, it really managed to capture the feel of a Nintendo styled vanilla level!
Everything in it, from the foreground formations, the pace, the usage of enemies in traditional ways, the few Throw Blocks scattered around, everything just gives the same Vanilla feel as a Nintendo level would! (In fact, it's possible to recognize some clear inspirations from Forest of Illusion 2 and Soda Lake in its design)
With that said, it's still more engaging and action packed than most SMW underwater levels! It feels great to play, and never feels slow!

The usage of enemies was very traditional, just like what we're used to see in Vanilla SMW.
Urchins moving back and forth and partially blocking the way in some segments, Rip Van Fishes lying on ledges or low platforms waiting for us to get near, but never being specifically placed in our way, Blurp Fishes swimming around, 'Fish'es swimming back and forth in some moderately tight passages, Torpedo Teds coming from strategic places that feel dangerous yet aren't hard to avoid, the signature Whistlin' Chuck in the end... there are so many examples!
The level has a nice variety of enemies and they're scattered around nicely, always maintaining the action going!

Also, i like the little bits of explorations in the level! The little alternate routes for Yoshi Coins and a few power-ups. (the one that stood out the most was the first Yoshi Coin, having to swim below the level is quite a clever setup!)
But i feel those could have been a little more interesting, as most of them felt too simple (the 2 last Yoshi Coins are the best examples).
There could also be a few more alternate routes for things like 1-UPs (Forest of Illusion 2 comes to mind) or maybe a bonus room.

I didn't find any issue with design that would need to be pointed out. The level is very polished, and seems the creator really made sure everything was working well!
Just as a very minor nitpick, this Launcher doesn't launch any Torpedoes, not a big deal at all, but since every other launcher using these graphics launch Torpedoes, i think this is the only one that 'hurts' the level's graphical consistency...
Also, this guy seems to like me xD

Well, great level! This level is really fun to play and the flow is great! Always being fun and engaging!
It manages to perfectly capture the traditional Nintendo style, and executes it really well!

Creativity: 9/30

Well, as said in the design category, this level is designed in a very traditional way, and for that reason, it unfortunately falls flat in this category...
It doesn't really try to do anything specifically creative with the enemies, all of them are used in the same traditional ways seen in Vanilla SMW.
While the level as a whole is very memorable due to its great design, there are pretty much no setups that stand out by themselves.
Something i could mention is the theme is quite interesting, the palettes managed to actually capture the feel of the title, "Deep Soda Sea".

Aesthetics: 8/10

This level is beautiful!
The palettes are fantastic! They manage to create a great atmosphere to the level, and actually set the "Soda Sea" theme pretty well!
The tileset mix was really well done! The Ghost House tileset worked really well in the level! And the decorations were put to great use!
Every piece of decoration compliments the level's visuals really well!
Also, you made a great use of the 'half-buried tiles', i'm often quite neutral about these, but in this level in particular they called my attention! I especially love the ones used with the Ghost House spikes!
And last, the music choice is awesome! It fits the level really well!
As for a few minor aesthetic issues:
The Layer 3 fishes get cut off due to the Status bar.
Also, the little algaes used as FG decoration have a weird animation, because you're using the wrong 8x8 tiles.
The 8x8 tiles should be, from bottom to top: 47-45-46-44. You're using: 47-45-45-44(X flipped).
For the 3 tiles high algae, it should be: 47-45-46-45-46-44. While you're using: 47-45-45-45-45-44(X flipped)
And for the 1 tile high one, it should be: 47-44. You're using: 47-44(X flipped).

Total: 60/100

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Plumbing Job by MercuryPenny



Design 40/60

A pretty fun level!
The use of Layer 2 moving water is good, and it manages to make a nice use of both water and land segments!
It flows pretty nicely, and despite being pretty focused on water, it feels pretty engaging!

The use of enemies is great! There's a nice variety of enemies, and they're used very nicely, making a good use of the terrain and the physics of the level!
The ones i liked the most were the 'Fish'es, they were placed in strategic spots that make them feel dangerous, and require the player to use the water scrolling to hit them when they are in land! The Urchins are also pretty good!

The second half is pretty clever! And it's really nice the way it sets the theme of the level! Having to 'unclog' the sewers so the water lowers was a pretty clever idea! And nicely executed!
I really liked the way it takes advantage of the water and land physics, so we can only progress after lowering the water!
However, i think it could have done a bit more to be interesting as a land segment, because it seems most of its design was focused on the underwater segment, so the way back feels too simple and straight-forward.

Also, the little exploration bits were pretty good too! The Yoshi Coins were mostly simple, but each of them had a clever design! My favorite is the 4th one, having to race the water before it lowers!

As for a few issues:
- I really disliked the use of Jumping Fish in the level! These guys are terrible when used with moving water! Their jumping is pretty unpredictable, and it's easy to get hit by them!
- You should be careful with the power-ups you give, it's very easy to get a Fire Flower in the level, and in an Underwater environment Fire Mario is pretty much unstoppable! Aside from Urchins, every underwater enemy is weak to fire! I'd say the Flower is more powerful than the Cape in this situation!
- The above is very noticeable in the second half! Pretty much every enemy used there can be fried instantly! This can make the way back to the pipe feel a bit boring because there are no enemies left. I'd recommend using more Fireproof enemies, such as Urchins.

Overall a pretty good level, with a great theme and nice execution! It's a bit on the easy side, though that's not necessarily bad!

Creativity: 21/30

The execution of the theme is pretty interesting! Having to unclog the sewers in the second half, and having the water lower, turning the level into a land segment, was really clever!
The use of enemies is also pretty interesting! Especially the use of 'Fish'es in enclosed spaces, which requires us to wait for the water scrolling to actually get past them! The Urchins are also used pretty nicely!

Aesthetics: 7/10

The visuals look pretty good!
The tileset mix used is pretty nice! And it was executed well! I like the castle deecorations used in the level!
Also, the palettes are pretty nice! The water palettes are a bit too clear, but it actually works well!
And the music is pretty fitting!
As for issues, there are quite a few bits of cutoff found in many places.

Total: 68/100

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My Youtube Channel
Let's go for the next ones!
I did say i had a lot to talk about Kusrry's entry xD (good luck with reading it haha)

Dimension Traveling by Kusrry



Design: 32/60

Wow, this level is pretty impressive!
There's a lot of creativity on display here! It's a collection of really nice ideas! At first glance it already shows a lot of potential with all the creative ideas presented!

However, as great as the ideas are, i felt their execution was a bit lacking on a few segments...
Since the segments are very defined in the level, i'll be going through them separately:









As of now, this level is quite nice, and it has a lot of really cool ideas! It's lacking quite a bit in design in order to be a more interesting level overall. And it also needs to fix quite a few issues, including difficulty inconsistecies.
But, this is one of the levels i've played that has the most potential to improve! The ideas used in here are incredible, and i'm sure with enough effort put into fixing and improving its design, it could achieve a very high score!

Creativity: 26/30

This level has shown a lot of extremely clever ideas! It's a collection of really creative gimmicks and it has a lot of interesting setups!
It has really impressed me with the amount of creativity it has shown, every gimmick used in it was very interesting and clever, i especially loved the Time Stop room! (and i'm not even sure if i know how you managed to pull off all these setups!)
There are a lot of great and very memorable setups in this, some of my favorites are the Bowser Statues on conveyors, the floating Spinies we have to spin jump, the Spring setup in the Reversing room, the Wall-running through Urchins, and the invisible platforms in the Dark Room!
As said in the design category, the execution of some of these is a bit lacking, and it didn't explore the gimmick as much as it could. So it still has a lot of potential to improve!

Aesthetics: 6/10

Aesthetically this level looks pretty nice! There are a few interesting choices, but also a few issues here and there.
The tileset mix in the first room is interesting and works well! The little tree trunks used as decoration are good! And the palettes are mostly ok. However, the little brown dots in the green foreground look ugly! The cement blocks' palettes look ugly too!
In the Reversing room, the aesthetics are simple vanilla, but there are no particular issues with it.
The Dark Room looks pretty good! I like the dark atmosphere you set with the palettes there!
The Time Stop Room looks great! The palettes are nice! And i like the BG, with the gradient in the sky!
The songs are also pretty good, and fitting to the level! The calm atmosphere of the transition rooms, the fast paced feel of the Reversing and Time Stop rooms, and the dark atmosphere of the Dark Room go well with the songs used!

Total: 64/100

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Level Entry by Flabort



Design: 26/60

This is a pretty fun level!
It has a huge focus on exploration, so there are a lot of different paths and routes to go. The level is very open, especially because it uses extra height, so it allows for pretty much full exploration from anywhere!
The exploration factor in this level is certainly good! And the use of Switch Palace Blocks add to the variety, opening new routes and making a few places easier! There are also a lot of secrets to hunt for! 5 Yoshi Coins, a 3-UP Moon and some hidden power-ups. It has a ton of non-linearity and can be quite engaging!

The use of sprites is quite nice, it doesn't try to go far from the traditional, it does mix some castle sprites with Ghost House ones, which is pretty interesting, but there were no particularly interesting setups. Also, i'd recommend being careful with the use of Boo Rings, as those mostly only make the player wait.

However, with the exploration factor came a few noticeable problems.
Mainly, the level is pretty disorienting. There's so much stuff to do that we don't really know where to go. In a first playthrough it's pretty easy to get lost/confused in it. There are a lot of open routes and all, but there's nothing that particularly guides the player throughout the level. It feels kinda like a maze level.
I'd say you could have focused a little bit more on making a 'main route'.
Also, many of the paths are pretty uninteresting, there aren't many setups that make any path stand out in the level, and many of them don't really have a clear reward, even though there are a lot of paths that contain secrets, power-ups and such, some exist for the simple fact of existing... So in the end the player will usually only want to find the exit and be done with it, or just find the more interesting paths and ignore the others.

Also, a few things annoyed me. The use of spike ceilings in pretty much the whole level is one of them! The level is focused on exploring, the Green Switch Palace unlocks a few cape power-ups in the level, and there are some secrets that require us to fly (And some of them are really close to the ceiling). So, using a spike ceiling so we get hurt if we fly too high is a really bad move in my opinion! If you didn't want the player to fly over the level, just put a ceiling, but don't make it hurt the player!
Another thing is the blind jumps! The level is pretty tall, and there are a lot of routes that are pretty high in the level and then require us to jump down. However, the level also has a lot of bottomless pits! And i fell on those a few times because i jumped down from a high route expecting ground below me, but there was nothing! I'd say you should really have made a ground route in the level, so the player is safe if falling from higher routes! (The ground route could also be defined as the main route, since it'd be more straight-forward)

Also, i'd recommend setting the timer to 500. The level isn't really that long in terms of length, but, since it's focused on exploration, there's no way to tell how long a player will take exploring stuff, so i'd say setting the timer to the highest value allowed would be a safety measure to prevent players from timing out.

Creativity: 10/30

The level doesn't really have any interesting gimmick. But it does have some focus on exploration, different routes, secrets and such, so it shows a bit of creativity on that!
Also, the use of extra level height is a plus here, since it's still a pretty new feature!
The mix of sprites from different tilesets is a nice idea as well, but there weren't really any creative or interesting setups that could stand out.
Oh, and the aesthetics set a pretty nice theme to the level!

Aesthetics: 6/10

I like the the way this level looks!
The palettes are pretty good, a few of them can feel a bit strange, but i like the desaturated colors, giving an atmosphere of an old and mysterious Ghost House!
I also like the tileset mix with the underground bones! The graphics were used pretty well together!
And the music is pretty good, and very fitting to the level's theme!
As for a few aesthetic issues:
There are a few bits of cutoff with the Ghost house ledges and the pipes. And the Big Boo palettes look weird!

Total: 42/100

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My Youtube Channel
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