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[FAN JUDGE] ECS' Fan Judging Experience!

Originally posted by ECS.98
Originally posted by MarkVD100
I'm thinking if you should consider trying SomeGuy712x's level or I should wait for the real judges' result as a surprise.

Well, yea, i'm actually pretty curious about SomeGuy's entry! I saw his teaser video on his channel (i've been subscribed to him for a long time) and it seems like a pretty unusual idea! I'm excited to see how it would work!
But right now, it'll take quite a while until i get to it (unless i get a request to play it), because i'm reviewing the levels in order of submission, and his level is the 84th level.

If you want to give my level a go, I'd be interested to hear what you have to say. Download link.
(BTW, I just decided to update my entry again. Mostly very minor things which don't affect normal gameplay. And, none of the changes would be visible in the screens shown in my preview video. The current version as of this post is V1.3 now.)
Originally posted by ECS.98
Well, yea, i'm actually pretty curious about SomeGuy's entry! I saw his teaser video on his channel (i've been subscribed to him for a long time)


You knew SomeGuy for that long? I didn't even know you until couple weeks ago right here! I knew SomeGuy since between late 2014 and early 2015 I believe, but my first comment was around Feb 2015.
100% Orange Juice Playthrough:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLf1kPWkjcurtA3xPP3TybfqSiEn1AcX2A

VLDC9 Playthrough:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLf1kPWkjcurtiP5de_-e6q0hSVrY37RB-.


Hey guys!
2 more reviews coming! Before i get to them, i want to say one thing though:

I've tweaked some of the scores i gave in previous reviews. These are mostly small changes.
It's just that i felt a few of the scores didn't represent my opinion on the levels as much as they should. And some were a bit incoherent when compared to some other scores.
Mainly, i noticed i was kinda holding off a bit too much with 40+ Design scores. I consider the 40 points to be a kind of 'barrier' for levels, with the 40+ levels being levels i'd consider "great". Due to that, i ended up being a bit more restrictive with 40+ scores than i should. And this led to many levels having pretty similar scores, most notably, a lot of them having 36-39 scores. So i did some changes to make 40+ scores a bit more accessible.
Note that most changes affected the Design scores, though i did a few tiny changes to Creativity scores as well.

Originally posted by Falconpunch
Think you'll be able to review my level, Flames of Muspell, before the deadline?

The link to the bps is right here.

Your level will be comign next! I'll do my best to post it before the deadline!

Originally posted by SomeGuy712x
If you want to give my level a go, I'd be interested to hear what you have to say. Download link.
(BTW, I just decided to update my entry again. Mostly very minor things which don't affect normal gameplay. And, none of the changes would be visible in the screens shown in my preview video. The current version as of this post is V1.3 now.)

Hey SomeGuy! It's nice that you saw my totally not a hint for you to request your level post xD
I'll be glad to play and review your level! It'll be coming on my next post!

Originally posted by MarkVD100
You knew SomeGuy for that long? I didn't even know you until couple weeks ago right here! I knew SomeGuy since between late 2014 and early 2015 I believe, but my first comment was around Feb 2015.

Yea, i've been subscribed to him for quite a while, i think i found his channel by around 2015. But i've mostly only watched the videos, i didn't interact with the community and stuff too much.
Also, i've only started interacting with SMWC community around 2 months ago as well. I've been here since 2015 or 2016, and created my account in 2017, but back then i only downloaded and played hacks. I only started interacting here by the time VLDC11 started.
I also just started to hack SMW, even though i've been learning Lunar Magic since mid-2018, and i have a hack planned, i still didn't start to work on it.

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

Ok, now, for the reviews!

The Frozen Way by Slakkmichael



Design: 40/60

Pretty cool level!
It’s pretty fun and has a great theme! The gameplay is pretty engaging, and it flows quite well!

The design is pretty nice overall! The gimmick is used well throughout the level, and it has some pretty interesting setups! I really like the idea of having objects and sprites freeze and lose their original behavior! And even with everything just acting as solid tiles, the fact that they’re different objects/sprites makes for a pretty varied design around it!

I like the use of the terrain in this! The beginning is a bit straight-forward, but when we get to the Castle segment it starts to get more engaging! Also, the use of the gimmick makes it quite fresh as well! I also like the variety in the gameplay with it having both a horizontal and a vertical section! The vertical section is my favorite in the level! It has a great combination of climbing and using frozen stuff to get through some areas!

Also, i like the exploration bits with the little secrets and alternative paths! Having to use the P-Switch in the beginning to access the bonus area with the Cape and Yoshi Coin is a pretty cool one!

The use of sprites is pretty nice! It’s mostly simple, but the setups are quite interesting, and make the level pretty engaging! I also like how the use of sprites actually compliments the level’s design around the gimmick, with sprites having a similar placement to their frozen counterparts, which really contributes to the theme of things actually being frozen!

The Big Boo boss is kinda standard, and doesn’t stand out much in terms of gameplay, though the room itself is pretty neat, as the frozen objects make it look like it was a totally different room before being frozen!

As for gameplay issues, it comes mostly to issues with the way the gimmick is handled, and some could be considered aesthetic issues, but i’m mentioning here because they affect gameplay:
- Be careful with the hitboxes. Frozen sprites have different graphics, but all of them still act as an entire solid block, so some hitboxes can be pretty misleading! The most noticeable example is this Piranha Plant. I died a few times trying to land on the edge of the pipe, before remembering the Piranha actually acts as a 2x2 solid square!
- I don’t like the use of half-buried tiles in this level. The main issue with it is that it goes against the main idea of the gimmick! While frozen objects are usually solid, these half-buried tiles are not! It can be pretty misleading!
- The spikes in the first half have a light blue-ish palette that makes them very similar to frozen tiles, i’d recommend you change it to make it more clear which spikes actually hurt!
- Two of the Boos in the Big Boo boss can hide behind him! This can lead to some pretty unfair hits.

Creativity: 17/30

The gimmick of the level is pretty cool! It’s not exactly unique, as i’ve seen ice themed levels using it quite a few times, but it is still a really nice idea! The execution of this one is great as well! I really like the way the sprites are used in a similar manner to the frozen ones, in a way that actually makes it feel like they’re a part of the level that was frozen, instead of being just randomly placed tiles!
Some setups that stand out quite a lot for me are the ones where the level seemed to play differently ‘before being frozen’, and now have an ‘alternative way’ to complete them. For example, the parts in the vertical section where there’s a frozen Platform near a Line guide, indicating it was a line-guided segment that doesn’t work anymore, and so we have to use the frozen objects as an ‘alternative’ way to complete them!

Aesthetics: 7/10

This level looks pretty good! And i really like the theme!
I like the graphics used! The use of plains and castle tilesets is pretty nice! I liked the castle segment the most!
The palettes are pretty nice! They blend in pretty well, and really compliment the level’s theme! The only thing i could mention is that the red dirt in the first half stands out a bit too much, and i think the purple palettes in the second half’s FG is a bit too dark and saturated.
The BGs look great! I like the color gradient used in the one on the second half!
The songs are pretty good! And fit the level quite well!
As for aesthetic issues, i mentioned it in the Design category, but i really don’t like the half-buried tiles used in this. Not only because they aren’t solid, but because they don’t look good as well! And the amount of frozen Bullet Bills used as decoration in the first half is pretty exaggerated anyways!
Also, the Translucent Blocks used as ground on the vertical section don’t look good. You could have used frozen spikes instead!

Total: 64/100

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

G.U.C Plains by Toad64



Design: 37/60

This is a great level!
It’s pretty fun and has quite a lot of exploration potential! It also flows pretty well with all the different paths!

I really like the use of terrain in this level! It makes a great use of Extended Level Height and level dimensions! There’s a lot of variety in platforming, with each of the different areas having a different focus on gameplay! Such as how Grasslands areas are more horizontal oriented, while Cave areas are vertical oriented.
Also love the focus on exploration! There are a lot of different paths to take throughout the level, and each of them is pretty interesting on their own! Each section has a different design focus that makes them pretty fresh and interesting!

The use of sprites is the simplest portion of the level’s design. It doesn’t really go far from the traditional sprite usage. Sprites are used mostly as simple obstacles that appear in our way as we’re going through the platforming. There aren’t really many interesting setups with sprites overall, though they do sometimes compliment the design. I’d say the most interesting for me were the Grinders in the Castle area.

Also, since this level has a lot of exploration, it can feel a bit long sometimes. Though ut isn’t long enough to become an issue. I finished it in 250 seconds with all 5 Yoshi Coins in a moderately optimized way, so there’s still some time to spare. But, due to the fact it’s exploration based, i’d say setting the timer to the full 500 seconds could be an extra safety measure.

As for a few issues i found:
- This Puntin’ Chuck can be pretty annoying, as his Footballs can go really far! And since he spawns while we’re on our way down, we can get hit by a falling Football while on the bottom!
- The Goombas in this Wall-Running segment spawn while we’re still down there, and we can get surprised by them when running up.
- Not a fan of having Rexes placed at the end of slopes, as they’re immune to sliding.
- The jump to that Yoshi Coin is pretty annoying because of the very steep slope.
- I know you gave the Cape in the second cave section as a reward for exploring, but with it, we can easily break this puzzle.
- This jump is quite tall. Choosing to go for the upper route is harder than it should be due to this. (Especially because the lower route is the Yoshi Coin route)
- Most of the coin trails in this falling segment disappear pretty often. I couldn’t find the cause to this though.

Creativity: 14/30

The level doesn’t have any specific gimmick, though it has quite some focus on exploration!
The exploration portions of the level have quite a lot of variety in the design! Some sections have a pretty distinct design focus, which makes them pretty interesting individually! My favorites are the freefall segments and the Throw Block puzzles on the way to the third and fourth Yoshi Coins!
Other than that, it doesn’t have much more to offer in terms of creativity though, there aren’t any interesting setups with sprites, and the platforming, while pretty good throughout the level, isn’t that innovative in some sections.

Aesthetics: 7/10

This level looks pretty good!
I like the variety in theme, being a mashup level, it has a combination of different themes, but each section still has a focus, which is nice!
I also like the tileset mixes used! The level makes a nice use of decorations! And i like the way it combines graphics of different sections in transition segments!
The palettes work pretty well! Though the green objects used in the castle area look weird!
Also, i like the BG used in the grasslands area! The one in the castle looks a bit weird though.
The songs used are pretty good! The cave one certainly fits the theme a lot!

Total: 58/100
My Youtube Channel
Hey guys!
We've come to the end of the contest! I hope my feedback has been helpful for everyone during the contest's duration!

Also, i want to apologize for taking so long with Falconpunch's and SomeGuy712x's reviews, i wanted to post them before the deadline, but i haven't been able to finish them yet. I got pretty busy with real life stuff and college in the last few days.
I'm glad i was at least able to PM Falconpunch with the main issues/suggestions i had, and he was able to update his entry before the contest ended. Also due to this, i'm reviewing the latest version of his level, which also explains why it's taken longer.

I'll make sure to finish them as soon as i can, and they should be coming either tonight or tomorrow.

As for this thread, i plan on keep going with it, as, like i said before, i still want to play through every entry on this contest, and write a review for them!
I'll finish the current requests i have (including the two re-reviews for Emerald Shell and IronFoxGaming), then go back to working in order of submission.
I don't know if anyone would still want to request their levels now that the submission deadline is over, but maybe if people want to just know my opinion or have a base idea of what score to expect, i'm still here!
My Youtube Channel
Ok, these reviews are finally here!
Sorry again for taking so long guys!

Next i'll be going to do the two requested re-reviews, Emerald Shell and IronFoxGaming!

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

Flames of Muspell by Falconpunch



Design: 38/60

This is a great themed level!
I really like the execution of the theme, and the design is pretty good! It has a nice flow, and it’s very engaging!

This level is pretty challenging! It has a lot of action going with all the sprites and the Skull Platform rides! This makes the level very engaging and i enjoyed the challenging nature of its design! The difficulty is mostly pretty fair and quite balanced throughout most of the level, but there are a few minor unfair moments i’ll talk about below.

I really like the ideas and execution of this level! The second half was particularly interesting with the use of Skull Platforms and Smashing Layer 2, which is a pretty unusual combination and made for some nice platforming! The use of Skull Platforms was also mostly pretty good, and they rarely feel slow with all the sprites and obstacles maintaining some action throughout the level!

The use of sprites is mostly pretty good! Most of them are used in a somewhat traditional way to this style of level, but they are still pretty interesting, and manage to keep the level very engaging! I also like the consistency in use of sprites with the level’s theme!
However, there’s one sprite that felt pretty annoying in particular, and this sprite is also one of the main reasons why i’m not a big fan of Volcano/Lava Cave levels. I’m talking about the Podoboos!
Basically, Podoboos are the fiery equivalent of Bullet Bills, they stay hidden in the lava, completely undetectable, and then jump up in a somewhat regular timing. They jump up really fast, which means you’ll certainly get hit if you’re above them when they jump! They’re just a really unpredictable and annoying enemy that can pretty often lead to surprise hits! Also, Podoboo’s use is heavily affected by their placement, especially on ‘scrolling’ levels like this. In this level, for example, most of them are timed to jump while we’re going right past them, which is pretty frustrating, as we don’t know they’re there until they jump! And this can lead to a lot of surprise hits until we get used to their placement!

As for the Lakitu, he can be a bit annoying at times, especially due to sniping us with Spinies and the Spinies being able to land and walk on sloped lava. But he’s at least quite acceptable on the first half, as it’s a pretty open area. And i appreciate that you removed him from the second half of the level!
The Bowser Flames generator plays quite nicely in this section, though, due to its random nature, it can sometimes lead to situations where it’s really hard to dodge upcoming obstacles! It’s not too common, but can happen!
As for other segments that feel pretty hard or unfair, the setup with 3 Bowser Statues and Layer 2 smashing is pretty hard! And the flame in the edge of this platform is hard to see due to the BG!

Also, the bossfight is pretty cool! It is a bit simple, of course, due to limitations of making a custom boss in Vanilla SMW, but it’s still a really neat boss!

The level can feel a bit long, especially on the first half, as its pace is mostly defined by the Skull Platforms. It takes around 350 seconds to clear with all Yoshi Coins. The length isn’t that big of an issue in terms of a time-out possibility, since the level defines its own pace. However, the length paired with the difficulty can make some deaths quite punishing!

Overall this is a great themed level! It’s challenging, very engaging and has a great platforming! But it can get quite frustrating due to the use of some sprites, most notably the Podoboos. These would benefit a lot from a coin guide, similar to what you used for Layer 2 lava pillars. (I realize i should’ve mentioned this in my PM, when you could still update the level to change this… but i didn’t really think of it back then, as i was focused on other issues that stood out more for me)

Creativity: 20/30

This level has some pretty interesting ideas! I really like the use of Layer 2 Smashing along with the skull Platform ride! It made for a lot of really interesting setups! And i especially like how, in the fast smashing part, a pillar smashing down into Mario only pushes him to the side rather than killing him!
The use of fiery enemies such as Hopping Flames, Blarggs and Sparkys was pretty nice as well! They were used in a somewhat traditional way, but still made for pretty interesting obstacles!
Also, i really like the creativity with the theme and aesthetics! These have been executed really nicely!

Aesthetics: 9/10

This level looks really good!
I love the execution of the theme! The visual style is really consistent and really well executed!
The graphics were used really well! I like the way you used castle rock walls to make Lava in the FG platforms! The enemy reskins are also really cool! And the BGs are great! Especially the one on the second half! Everything fits the theme really well!
The palettes are also really good! And they do a great job with the level’s fiery atmosphere!
The songs used are pretty cool as well!
As for aesthetic issues, the only thing i could mention is the fact that Blarggs appear behind the Layer 3 BG.

Total: 67/100

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Hide and Seek Items by SomeGuy712x



Design: 56/60

Oh my! This is awesome!
This level has a really unique idea! And the execution is incredible!
Its design is based on one-screen puzzles, and there are a lot of really interesting and clever ideas and setups! Including some setups i still have no idea how they work!

Each room is pretty unique! Despite all of them following the same base idea of finding items, all of them do something really interesting on their own!

It has an excellent learning curve! It starts really simple and obvious, with an intro room showing how the level works, and then slowly evolves into more complex rooms, with new ways to hide stuff, more stuff to find, as well as new and really unique mechanics to add a twist to the puzzles! Some rooms also have multiple solutions!

I absolutely love the attention to detail that went into this level! It’s mind-blowing how you thought of every tiny detail when designing this level, and how absolutely everything has a purpose in it! From blocks, to items, to enemies, to objects and even every single coin! Everything in it has a purpose!



I didn’t find any gameplay issue in this level. The only thing i found a bit confusing was this room. It says there’s no need to ban power-ups, but entering it with a power-up allows us to get the exit right away without finding the hidden item in it…

Creativity: 30/30

Well, you just deserve it! This level is mind-blowing!
It has an incredibly unique idea, a fantastic execution of this idea, a lot of really interesting and clever setups, tons of clever and really unique mechanics, and even some extremely clever and well hidden secrets!
The whole idea behind the level is already very unique, and you still managed to come up with so many clever setups with it! Some of my favorites were the one with the Eating Blocks, the one with Water and Fishes, and of course, the ones in the Ghost House area, most notably the ones with Yoshi!
There are a lot of unique mechanics used in this level! The pipes taking us to different places when riding Yoshi was particularly mind-blowing! The path that gets blocked when we collect coins is also extremely clever! As well as the teleporting blocks used for some Yoshi Coins!

Aesthetics: 7/10

This level looks pretty good!
It’s basically full Vanilla, but it’s really polished!
I like the way you set up each room, the use of FG, such as how you made the floating platforms in the first few rooms, or the use of crates in the Ghost House ones. The decorations are also pretty good! I especially love the way you use Line guides for decoration in some rooms!
The palettes are Vanilla, so they’re pretty good as it is!
And the songs used are pretty cool! They fit the level pretty well!

Total: 93/100 (Favorited!)
My Youtube Channel
Please do my level Forest Blitz #wario{:whistle:}. Its been updated for proper submission and to fix a lot of design and aesthetic complaints. It would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!!

Ps. shot out to someguy712x always great stuff. His vids are one of the main reasons I ever found out about lunar magic and this site. Thank you bro!!#smrpg{y}
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
Quote
*The SomeGuy712x review*


This competition isn't quite over yet. There is still the real judge results which will determine the average total score and see how close we are in positions. I actually ran out of time in SomeGuy712x's level probably due to not me being the best at complex puzzles like that in terms of speed and logic performance. I sadly did not find the moons though.

BTW, I thought unique reference designs will automatically make the creativity score go up.

My mind also needs to understand that GD and Mario are two entirely different platformers in terms of how difficulty and challenge logic works where frustration occurs while still being well-designed at the same time. Which I blame the brain instead of the game 90% of a time. Did it poison my logic?
100% Orange Juice Playthrough:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLf1kPWkjcurtA3xPP3TybfqSiEn1AcX2A

VLDC9 Playthrough:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLf1kPWkjcurtiP5de_-e6q0hSVrY37RB-.


Originally posted by ECS.98
I didn’t find any gameplay issue in this level. The only thing i found a bit confusing was this room. It says there’s no need to ban power-ups, but entering it with a power-up allows us to get the exit right away without finding the hidden item in it…

Well, that was meant to be sort of a break room, where you could collect a 1-up from the green star block if you got all 30 coins up to that point, and you'd then just break the turn blocks covering the pipe with the power up you had from the previous room. And, I put the hidden roulette item in there as a novelty. However, I later realized that it was easily possible to enter that room without any power ups, and if you then got the star from the roulette item, you'd be stuck. And, the way I positioned that screen in the level meant I couldn't just add a reset door there without repositioning a lot of stuff. So, I added an extra hidden mushroom to that room so that it couldn't possibly become unwinnable.

Quote
Total: 92/100 (Favorited!)

I'm glad you enjoyed my level! Thanks for playing and reviewing it! And, nice job finding my moons!

Originally posted by MarkVD100
I actually ran out of time in SomeGuy712x's level probably due to not me being the best at complex puzzles like that in terms of speed and logic performance.

Yeah, the strict 500-second time limit was a bit of a limiting factor for me. There were a few other ideas for hidden item puzzles I had thought of, but I decided to omit them because I didn't want to risk the level being way too long, and I think I might've been pushing it with what I have already. If someone does get stumped on certain rooms like you did, timing out is a very real possibility.
Originally posted by ECS/98
Flames of Muspell by Falconpunch

(Critique)


Thanks for the re-review, ECS. I thought your critique was fair and pretty accurate. Shame you never got to tell me that there should be more coin guides though... #smrpg{y}Unfortunately, I'm not very active on the site anymore like I was before; I'm mainly on Discord now. Thanks for understanding.
Originally posted by wolfnasty
Please do my level Forest Blitz #wario{:whistle:}. Its been updated for proper submission and to fix a lot of design and aesthetic complaints. It would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!!

Ok, this will be coming next!

Originally posted by MarkVD100
This competition isn't quite over yet. There is still the real judge results which will determine the average total score and see how close we are in positions.

Well, yea, only the real judges' results will truly decide how this contest will go.

Originally posted by MarkVD100
I actually ran out of time in SomeGuy712x's level probably due to not me being the best at complex puzzles like that in terms of speed and logic performance. I sadly did not find the moons though.

Don't worry, i did run out of time on my first time playing his level as well. That's a kind of trade-off you have when designing puzzle levels, the first playthrough will always be way longer than subsequent ones, as we still have to figure out how the puzzles work.
However, after we figure the puzzles out, it plays completely fine in the given time limit.
As for the moons, they're pretty well hidden (though the level still hints to their location) and require quite a lot of skill and thought to get to them!

Originally posted by MarkVD100
BTW, I thought unique reference designs will automatically make the creativity score go up.

Unique reference design?

Originally posted by MarkVD100
My mind also needs to understand that GD and Mario are two entirely different platformers in terms of how difficulty and challenge logic works where frustration occurs while still being well-designed at the same time. Which I blame the brain instead of the game 90% of a time. Did it poison my logic?

Yes, this is something you should keep in mind, different games play differently, and their levels should be designed as such. GD for example usually has a lot more focus on trial and error and memorization, as it has a built-in practice mode with checkpoints for us to practice and learn each obstacle individually. It also has quite a lot of surprise elements, sometimes these are even considered good design (which i don't always agree with).
Mario on the other hand should always be somewhat intuitive when it comes to the platforming, and trial and error or memorization designs should be avoided.

Of course, this will also depend in many factors, but generally, you'll want to avoid trial and error and surprise elements when designing Mario levels.

Originally posted by SomeGuy712x
Well, that was meant to be sort of a break room, where you could collect a 1-up from the green star block if you got all 30 coins up to that point, and you'd then just break the turn blocks covering the pipe with the power up you had from the previous room. And, I put the hidden roulette item in there as a novelty. However, I later realized that it was easily possible to enter that room without any power ups, and if you then got the star from the roulette item, you'd be stuck. And, the way I positioned that screen in the level meant I couldn't just add a reset door there without repositioning a lot of stuff. So, I added an extra hidden mushroom to that room so that it couldn't possibly become unwinnable.

Oh, i get it!
The power-ups in there are more of a safety measure to prevent softlocks than actually a puzzle element.
Well, i appreciate the thought of putting a break room, as well as making sure the player wouldn't have the possibility to softlock himself there! It's just that your intention with that room isn't exactly clear when we just play the level, which is why i asked about it.

Originally posted by SomeGuy712x
Quote
Total: 92/100 (Favorited!)

I'm glad you enjoyed my level! Thanks for playing and reviewing it! And, nice job finding my moons!

You're welcome! Your level is truly impressive and designed with a lot of attention to the tiniest of details! It's certainly clear the amount of effort that went into this! And you deserve such a great score!
Also, the Moons were extremely clever, and really fun to find! Good job with hiding them!

Originally posted by SomeGuy712x
Originally posted by MarkVD100
I actually ran out of time in SomeGuy712x's level probably due to not me being the best at complex puzzles like that in terms of speed and logic performance.

Yeah, the strict 500-second time limit was a bit of a limiting factor for me. There were a few other ideas for hidden item puzzles I had thought of, but I decided to omit them because I didn't want to risk the level being way too long, and I think I might've been pushing it with what I have already. If someone does get stumped on certain rooms like you did, timing out is a very real possibility.

Yea, having a strict time limit can feel a bit limiting for puzzle levels specifically. In these kinds of levels there's really no way to tell how long a player will take to complete it. It's a shame that you couldn't include more ideas, but what you have here already shows an impressive amount of creativity and attention to detail!
As for the length of the level now, i think it just has the right length to be entertaining! Especially for replaying it to find secrets and stuff!
And i don't really think length is an issue, as the time limit is actually very generous once we figure it out!

Originally posted by Falconpunch
Thanks for the re-review, ECS. I thought your critique was fair and pretty accurate. Shame you never got to tell me that there should be more coin guides though... #smrpg{y}

You're welcome! I'm glad i was able to help you improving your level before the deadline! (Even though i didn't mention the coin guides before)
And glad you liked my review as well!
My Youtube Channel
Hey there guys! Took a while again, but i'm here with some new reviews!
Note that i'm posting 3 reviews in this post, as 2 of them are re-reviews.
As for the next reviews, i guess i'll be going back to submission order, though note i'm still here if anyone wants to request a review for any reason!

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Forest Blitz by Wolfnasty



Design: 17/60

This level has a few nice ideas, but i don’t really like the execution! There are quite a lot of questionable design choices that i’m really not a fan of. As always, i’ll try to not be harsh with my comments, and sorry if i do, but i have quite a lot of complaints about things i didn’t like…

The level has a few nice design ideas. The idea of the theme as a heavy forest is pretty interesting, especially when you use the trees in the gameplay! The use of Spring Platforms is also pretty nice, as those are quite uncommon! And the climbing section in the end is pretty nice too!
However, the execution is really lacking!

The biggest issue in my opinion is how much the visual style gets in the way of the gameplay!
There are tiles that look exactly the same, but have different behaviors! The most notable example are the trees, there are 3 different “types” of trees, depending on their proximity to the screen, but, aside from the top trees having a lighter palette in their trunks, all trees look exactly the same! Some of them have higher priority, others don’t, some are solid, others are passable, but they all look the same! There are also the Translucent Blocks that use Question Block graphics.
Another big issue with the visual style is the use of priority tiles! There are a lot of tiles with priority on! And these really get in the way of the gameplay! One notable example is the top of solid trees, as their leaves aren’t solid. It’s especially annoying how you pretty often hide Clappin’ Chucks behind these leaves! As we have to go through the top of these trees in order to complete the level, these will lead to a lot of unfair surprise hits! There are also some enemies that can be hidden behind the tree trunks.
And in the second half this gets even worse! The whole top and bottom of the level are covered by priority on trees!
There are also the bushes covering bottomless pits in the first half, i’d prefer to be able to clearly see where i can fall on a bottomless pit! And these are an even bigger problem in the areas with Jumping Piranhas! It actually took me a long time to realize there were actually pipes hidden behind the bushes! So i thought i had to Spin-Jump on the Piranhas! (and it still feels like the intended solution on some of these setups) And the Piranhas are spaced in a way that makes Spin-jumping on them pretty hard, as the gaps between some of them are huge!

Another thing i don’t like in the first section is how some paths are very unintuitive and there are a few dead ends. This one is an example: we can’t reach the Spring Platform up there, so we need to go back and do a pretty tight jump into the top of the tree, which is covered by top priority leaves and doesn’t look like a platform at all!
There’s also the fact that the first half has a lot of Big Mario discrimination! A few segments in the first area have a lot of 1-tile gaps that are hard to get through as Big Mario!

Also, i really don’t like the use of sprites! Some of them actually fit the theme, such as the Spinies, Piranha Plants and Wigglers! But others don’t really fit the design! And many times, the placement of sprites really gets in the way of the gameplay, it feels like they actually clash with the design instead of complimenting it!

The biggest example is the Cloud Lakitu in the first half! The level isn’t designed at all in a way that fits the use of a Cloud Lakitu! The level has Vertical Scroll, and has a lot of elevated areas, so pretty often the Lakitu will get in our way when we jump, or sometimes even when we just stand in an elevated platform! This is particularly annoying when we have to bounce on Spring Platforms with Lakitu around. Also, since many times we will be in elevated platforms, the Lakitu can cover the ground with Spinies, and we have no way of knowing where is safe to land. There are also a few cramped areas that become almost impossible with the Lakitu spawning Spinies there! (The Lakitu is hiding behind the trees in the first screenshot!)
Also, in the second area, the use of Piranha Plants is really annoying since they hide in the trees at the top of the screen! And, as you don’t use pipes for them to retreat to, they can harm us even when they’re hiding! And that whole area is designed to have us jumping from one platform/vine to the next, and the Piranhas really get in the way of our jumps!
Another problem in the second area is how most jumps are pretty big, they seem to be specifically designed to be made with a cape, but it’s pretty easy to lose the cape in that segment.

As for the third area, it’s mostly ok, a kinda nice tree climbing vertical segment! However, i’m not really a fan of how the platforms we need to progress are sometimes hidden behind priority trees! And the 1-2 tile vines are kinda hard to grab sometimes due to their hitboxes.

Also, this level is pretty long! I’m not really a fan of having 2 different time limits! (I don’t actually know if this is allowed, as the rules state we can’t reset the timer when switching sublevels to bypass the 500 seconds rule. Though i believe it’s fine since your level is still inside the 500 seconds rule)
It’s especially frustrating because the time limit of the second half is particularly tight! Even knowing what to do and playing at a very optimized pace, i still had around 50 seconds left when i got to the exit. This means that just messing up a little bit on the climbing area we can already get a time-out!

Creativity: 13/30

This level has a few nice ideas. The heavy forest theme is pretty interesting! And using the trees as part of the gameplay is quite clever!
It has a nice variety of ideas, with each segment playing pretty differently! The most interesting one for me was the third area, the vertical climbing segment!
However, when it comes to execution, it’s really lacking! The level doesn’t have any interesting setups with the ideas presented! And the ideas end up being more a nuisance than actually complimenting the design…

Aesthetics: 3/10

While the level has a few nice choices with aesthetics, there are a lot of issues that really bring it down!
The use of graphics is quite good! I like the heavy forest atmosphere you set with all the trees and stuff! But the graphics are mostly a nuisance due to how much they affect the gameplay.
The palettes are quite questionable sometimes. In the first area, the FG palettes aren’t bad, but the BG looks weird! Some objects like coins, blocks, power-ups and berries look weird as well! By the second area it just gets worse, everything, including the sprites, is just a weird mix of green and brown that doesn’t really look good! As for the third area, it gets a little bit better than the second, as the colors are more coherent with the objects. However, there are still some weird brown outlines in a few objects.
Some sprite graphics also look weird, like the Upside Down Piranha Plants using Lakitu heads.
As for the songs, i don’t think they fit the level too well. The level has a bit of a dark atmosphere, but not as much to have a Ghost House song in my opinion. Also, the Cave song in the third area doesn’t fit it too much as well.
As for aesthetic issues, there are some bits of cutoff here and there, such as when blocks are placed on top of trees, when the tree trunks connect to the leaves or when pipes connect to the trees.

Total: 33/100

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Industrial Desert by IronFoxGaming



Design: 30/60

Well, i see this level has definitely improved! Thank you for considering all the feedback you received!
It seems you took the time to fix most of the issues i pointed out, and improved many sections!

The first section hasn’t changed much. It still plays pretty nicely, with a nice platforming and use of the terrain, as well as some nice bits of exploration!
The Yoshi Coin bonus room has been fixed in terms of how the light works! But i still don’t like the fact that you use the enemies to activate the On/Off Switches! As i said before, since the light is pretty much essential for playing this part, i’d prefer to have control over it myself! Also, the thing about pace is still valid, if we go fast enough, we get to the second Koopa with the lights still on, so it turns the lights off!

The night sections have been improved! I appreciate that you changed the “fluidous sand” palette to actually make it different in the night! And having it actually behaving as water helps as well!
In terms of gameplay, this part plays pretty similarly to the first area, it has some nice bits of exploration and a quite nice platforming. The night palettes are still a bit harder to tell apart than in the day section, but it’s better now that you removed the “light areas”!
Also, i see you removed the pitch black section and replaced it with an extension to the night area. I actually like what you did in the extension! Using sliding mechanic to kill Pokeys is pretty clever! Especially with the use of Goombas to bounce!

As for the indoors sections, the design has improved, but the main problems still persist.
As i mentioned before, the main problem with this segment is simply the way Layer 2 On/Off works: Layer 2 will only rise up to its top position, so the higher it is, the less time it’ll stay rising, which makes it so the quicker we hit the Switch to turn on the lights, the less time the lights will stay on.
Also, you are still using enemies to hit the On/Off Switches. Again, since the lights are essential to play this segment, i’d like to have control over them myself!
And there’s another problem with the way On/Off Switches work: The On/Off Switches keep their state when changing rooms. That means if we leave the room with the lights on, the next time we come to that room the lights will still be on! And since you have a Koopa placed to turn the lights on at the start of the room, if they're already on, the Koopa will turn them off instead!
Back to the design of this section, it has improved! Now these sections feel less filler, there’s actually some nice platforming to them! But i’m not a fan of the use of Bullet Bills in the second indoors section, especially because we can’t see the Launchers when the lights are off!

And i appreciate that you changed the ending! It’s pretty fair now, and using the Winged Block to stop us is quite clever! I also found the Moon! And i like that you provide a cape after we get all Yoshi Coins, so we can get to the Moon quickly!

Also, i feel this level would be better with a timer of 500 seconds instead of 400, just to be a bit more lenient for first time players. While the level can be reliably completed in 300 seconds when you know what to do, it’s pretty easy to time-out on first time playing due to all the exploration.

As for more specific issues:
- This block is too close to the ceiling, so it’s hard to get the Flower when you’re Big.
- This tile in this ledge isn’t solid, so we can fall through it!

Creativity: 17/30

There weren’t many changes in terms of creativity, though there is one i could mention: the use of sliding to kill Pokeys in the night section is pretty clever! The setups are quite nice and pretty interesting!
Other than that, it’s pretty much the same. The level still has some nice ideas, such as the On/Off Switch light segments and the day/night sections! Though the execution is a bit lacking, mainly due to the way Layer 2 On/Off works.
And there’s the aesthetics creativity as well, with the ‘industrial’ and ‘desert’ themes!

Aesthetics: 6/10

The aesthetics haven’t changed much as well, though there are a few improvements!
The night section improved a bit now that you removed the “light areas” with their white palettes! The section feels more consistent visually now!
The other sections haven’t changed much.
The day section is still my favorite! I like the desert ambient you created with the graphics, as well as the ‘industrial’ parts! The palettes are nice, though the BG ones look a bit weird.
The indoors section is the same as well, i really like the BG and the metal parts of the FG! But i still think the dirt palettes look weird.
As for aesthetic issues:
- There are a few random garbled tiles in the night section.
- There are some cutoffs here and there, such as when you used question blocks in front of the FG in the indoors section. The connection points between “fluidous sand” and “normal sand” look weird sometimes as well.

Total: 53/100

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Harmonious Heaven by Emerald Shell



Design: 47/60

This level is really cool!
It didn’t change much from the previous version, but i see it has a few improvements!
There are a lot of nice gameplay ideas, and it has even more interesting setups now! It was really fun to play!

There are a lot of pretty interesting gameplay gimmicks in this level, each of them having a different depth of execution. The focus of the level actually didn’t change much: the Bob-Omb gimmick is still the most developed in the level, while the others have a shorter appearance. But there was certainly an improvement in the focus of each gimmick in their respective section, and you came up with some more interesting setups for them!
Again, i’ll be splitting the review based on the sections in the level.

First Section: This is the more platforming-oriented section. It has a great platforming and a lot of interesting setups with Line guides, as well as some cool setups with Pokeys!
This section is pretty much the same as before, though there is one change that’s pretty nice, the Scale Platforms setup! I really like what you did with this setup, requiring us to use the Scale Platforms to cut through solid ground! It’s certainly more interesting now! Also, it’s nice that you fixed the softlock with the Line-guided Platform!
I still think the Scale Platforms could have appeared more than once in this section though, as it’s focused on platforming.

Second Section: This is the puzzle-oriented section. It has a clear focus on Bob-Omb puzzles, and executes it very well! It has many clever and interesting setups with getting and using Bob-Ombs!
This section is also pretty much unaltered, with the exception of one new setup using the Layer 2 Clouds! It’s pretty similar to the Chainsaw + Fuzzies setup used in the previous version of the level, though i appreciate the fact you used the Layer 2 Clouds again! However, this gimmick still feels like the least developed one in the level, as it has barely any impact in gameplay.
Also, now that the Scale Platform setup in the first section has changed, the one in this section stands out a bit more!

Third Section: This is the gimmick-focused section, specifically designed around the “No Spin Jump” gimmick. It’s a pretty cool idea, and, despite being already used before, is still very creative!
This section had the most changes made with the latest version of this level, and there’s definitely some improvements made, especially regarding the design focus on the gimmick! This section now has a few more setups that seem to be designed specifically for spin-jumping, which certainly makes this section’s gimmick more meaningful! I like the one in the Line-guided Platform ride, as well as the one with the double Chainsaw!
I still feel there are some setups that don’t fit this section as nicely, such as the common use of Chainsaws placed high, but this is a definite improvement!

Again, i didn’t find any noticeable design flaws, this level is pretty polished!

Overall, this is a great level with a lot of really cool ideas and many interesting setups!

Creativity: 25/30

This level has tons of cool ideas! There’s a nice variety of gimmicks that fit pretty well into the level!
This new version has quite some improvements made to the execution of the gimmicks, especially the ones that felt underused before, and brings some new interesting setups with them, which certainly affect this category positively!
The Bob-Omb gimmick stays as my favorite, though the other gimmicks were made a bit more interesting now!
There are a lot of clever setups with the use of sprites in this! And a nice amount of aesthetic creativity, with a nice and well executed theme!

Aesthetics: 8/10

This level is beautiful! It has a really cool theme and a great execution!
The aesthetics are pretty much unaltered, except for the palette in the Mushroom Platforms, which was definitely improved!
Again, i love the way you use the cloud FG, and how you make it work so well in the level! The palettes are great and really fit the level! And i especially like how they change throughout the level to change the atmosphere! The BGs are great, and so are the enemy reskins!
The song is great, and fits the theme well!
I didn’t find any aesthetic issues, this level is very polished visually!

Total: 80/100 (Favorited!)
My Youtube Channel
I totally agree with Emerald Shell's Harmonious Heaven getting a good score. Having played it myself (though it was an earlier version that apparently had some flaws that later got fixed), I can definitely say it was very clever and well-designed. I expect that one to rank high with the actual judges too.
Originally posted by ECS.98
The focus of the level actually didn’t change much: the Bob-Omb gimmick is still the most developed in the level, while the others have a shorter appearance. But there was certainly an improvement in the focus of each gimmick in their respective section, and you came up with some more interesting setups for them!

I wanted to do something completely new for me in order to gain some more points for creativity which also well for me. It turned out I could've executed it better. I'm not worldpeace or ft029, but I'm not a noob at level design, either.

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This section is pretty much the same as before, though there is one change that’s pretty nice, the Scale Platforms setup! I really like what you did with this setup, requiring us to use the Scale Platforms to cut through solid ground! It’s certainly more interesting now! Also, it’s nice that you fixed the softlock with the Line-guided Platform!

If they hadn't extended the deadline, I would have some points deducted for such a stupid mistake, but I probably would be able to fix that. It was quite easy to fix this when I did a change for this setup, though.

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I still think the Scale Platforms could have appeared more than once in this section though, as it’s focused on platforming.

I wish I could've used Scale Platforms more in this level as well, but I didn't have enough ideas so this gimmick is symbolic.

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This section is also pretty much unaltered, with the exception of one new setup using the Layer 2 Clouds! It’s pretty similar to the Chainsaw + Fuzzies setup used in the previous version of the level, though i appreciate the fact you used the Layer 2 Clouds again! However, this gimmick still feels like the least developed one in the level, as it has barely any impact in gameplay.

How come I have a level-design block (does a term like that even exist?)? I mean, I want to execute something, but I simply can't think of what I can do with that, and it eventually turns out disappointing to me. I had planned to use layer 2 for one of the Bob-omb setups, but I eventually scrapped it.

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Also, now that the Scale Platform setup in the first section has changed, the one in this section stands out a bit more!

I knew you'd say this.

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This is the gimmick-focused section, specifically designed around the “No Spin Jump” gimmick. It’s a pretty cool idea, and, despite being already used before, is still very creative!

Did you know I had taken this from Swissotel and Wengernalpbahn?

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I still feel there are some setups that don’t fit this section as nicely, such as the common use of Chainsaws placed high, but this is a definite improvement!

It was my maximum. I couldn't think about how to make the player fight with the urge of spin jumping in the last scale platform section because I simply couldn't make it work. As for the part with the springboard, I could've thought about something where I'd usually spin jump, but I gave up once again and used the said springboard. Also, I didn't want to change the setup with chainsaws and Fuzzies because I liked it that way.

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The aesthetics are pretty much unaltered, except for the palette in the Mushroom Platforms, which was definitely improved!

I aimed for improvement on the Mushroom Platforms. I didn't want to alter anything, though, because I was proud of the aesthetics as were.

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Total: 80/100 (Favorited!)

Thank you!
Am I dreaming or did this really happen? I did expect a high score, but not a favorite.
I have a Discord server as well! (by joining, you agree to the rules)
-----
Basically, I believe in peace and bashing two bricks together.

Forest Blitz = VLDC8 Fez 2's cousin.

It totally reminds me of the horrible design of that level.
100% Orange Juice Playthrough:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLf1kPWkjcurtA3xPP3TybfqSiEn1AcX2A

VLDC9 Playthrough:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLf1kPWkjcurtiP5de_-e6q0hSVrY37RB-.


Originally posted by Emerald Shell
I wanted to do something completely new for me in order to gain some more points for creativity which also well for me. It turned out I could've executed it better. I'm not worldpeace or ft029, but I'm not a noob at level design, either.

Don't worry too much about it! The execution of your level was great already!
It's just that i'm pretty nitpicky when it comes to gimmicks and execution. I could say i'm a "Creativity-oriented judge", and i focus a lot on execution of the gimmicks and the potential used when judging a creative level.
There were some things that could have been improved, of course, but that's something that always happens...

Originally posted by Emerald Shell
If they hadn't extended the deadline, I would have some points deducted for such a stupid mistake, but I probably would be able to fix that. It was quite easy to fix this when I did a change for this setup, though.

Yea, the deadline extension was a life saver xD
I really liked the way you fixed that! Not only fixing the issue, but replacing it with a pretty interesting setup!

Originally posted by Emerald Shell
I wish I could've used Scale Platforms more in this level as well, but I didn't have enough ideas so this gimmick is symbolic.

Originally posted by Emerald Shell
How come I have a level-design block (does a term like that even exist?)? I mean, I want to execute something, but I simply can't think of what I can do with that, and it eventually turns out disappointing to me. I had planned to use layer 2 for one of the Bob-omb setups, but I eventually scrapped it.

Yea, creator blocks (i think that's the term) can be a huge problem sometimes! I have those a lot as well! You have an idea, but you don't know how to execute it!
You still came up with some pretty nice setups with the Scale Platforms! And since it wasn't the main focus of the level, it's understandable that it wasn't as developed as the Bob-Omb gimmick.

Originally posted by Emerald Shell
Did you know I had taken this from Swissotel and Wengernalpbahn?

Yep! I know it!
In fact, the main idea of my level was also inspired by Swissotel!

Originally posted by Emerald Shell
It was my maximum. I couldn't think about how to make the player fight with the urge of spin jumping in the last scale platform section because I simply couldn't make it work. As for the part with the springboard, I could've thought about something where I'd usually spin jump, but I gave up once again and used the said springboard. Also, I didn't want to change the setup with chainsaws and Fuzzies because I liked it that way.

Ok, i understand it! You did some definite improvements on this section! Again, it's the fact that i'm pretty nitpicky when it comes to gimmicks and execution.

Originally posted by Emerald Shell
I aimed for improvement on the Mushroom Platforms. I didn't want to alter anything, though, because I was proud of the aesthetics as were.

Yea, i imagined you'd only go for fixing the things i mentioned before. I only mentioned it as a comparison to the last review. As otherwise the aesthetic category would literally be one single line. xD

Originally posted by Emerald Shell
Thank you!
Am I dreaming or did this really happen? I did expect a high score, but not a favorite.

You're welcome!
Also, yes, it is true!
I never liked the idea of having one single "favorite" thing, as usually it means putting one above everything else, not to mention it's a hard choice to do. So instead, i'm making a small favorite list, with the levels i liked the most!
And your level definitely goes into it! It's one of the best and most enjoyable levels i've played so far!
And yea, while score and favoriting aren't strictly related, usually the levels i consider my favorites will also have a high score.

Originally posted by MarkVD100
Forest Blitz = VLDC8 Fez 2's cousin.

It totally reminds me of the horrible design of that level.

Well, i haven't played that level yet, so i can't say my opinion on that comparison.
My Youtube Channel
Originally posted by ECS.98
Yea, creator blocks (i think that's the term) can be a huge problem sometimes! I have those a lot as well! You have an idea, but you don't know how to execute it!

Yeah, I made up the term 'level-design block' because I've heard of the term 'art block'. Who doesn't agree that creator blocks suck?

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In fact, the main idea of my level was also inspired by Swissotel!

I'd been thinking of an idea of a 'No spin jumping' room for long before the contest started while yours was abusing sprite slots. And they both really are from Swissotel.
Coincidence?


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I never liked the idea of having one single "favorite" thing, as usually it means putting one above everything else, not to mention it's a hard choice to do. So instead, i'm making a small favorite list, with the levels i liked the most!
And your level definitely goes into it! It's one of the best and most enjoyable levels i've played so far!

Maybe all the judges should have a list of favorite levels in some future contests, shouldn't they? Also, thank you very much!
I have a Discord server as well! (by joining, you agree to the rules)
-----
Basically, I believe in peace and bashing two bricks together.

I personally wouldn't steal ideas from other levels like that.
100% Orange Juice Playthrough:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLf1kPWkjcurtA3xPP3TybfqSiEn1AcX2A

VLDC9 Playthrough:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLf1kPWkjcurtiP5de_-e6q0hSVrY37RB-.


Hey guys, 2 more reviews coming!

Back to submission order now!
Also, since i'm going through the Submissions thread, i also decided to check the levels that got updated after i reviewed them, to see if they had enough changes that would justify a new review for them. So a few of my next posts might have 3 reviews, with one of them being a re-review.

Originally posted by Emerald Shell
Yeah, I made up the term 'level-design block' because I've heard of the term 'art block'. Who doesn't agree that creator blocks suck?

Well, i just use creator block as a general term.
And yea, they really suck!

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Coincidence?

I THINK NOT!


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Maybe all the judges should have a list of favorite levels in some future contests, shouldn't they? Also, thank you very much!

Yea, would be something nice, though i know it might be easier for some people to choose just one favorite than it is for me, so i don't know, i guess it depends on the person.
Also, you're welcome!

Originally posted by MarkVD100
I personally wouldn't steal ideas from other levels like that.

Well, i wouldn't really define it as 'stealing'. 'Taking inspiration' and 'stealing' are very different things.

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The Camping Episode by Silva Teixeira



Design: 10/60

This is a very basic forest level.
It’s a pretty short level. The platforming is pretty flat and very straight-forward. The level doesn’t really do anything to try being engaging, it’s mostly just a flat terrain with a few pits in the way.

The use of sprites doesn’t really have much focus, and most sprites are just used as simple obstacles in a flat piece of ground. There are no interesting setups, and most sprites don’t really represent any threat.

The level does have a day and a night section, which is a quite interesting idea, but in the end they’re basically the same thing: a flat piece of ground with some pits in the way, and enemies used as basic obstacles posing no threat. The level seems to state the night section should be harder, but it really doesn’t feel different, the only addition to difficulty is a Lakitu which is fairly easy to deal with.

The level also has a few collectibles in the way, but nothing really interesting, there are Yoshi Coins, a Moon and a Yoshi, but they’re all pretty much handed for free.

There are also a few issues i found in the level:
- The Yoshi can be taken through the door if Mario is small, which means we can take him to the rest of the level, and since there are Blue Koopas in the other sections, we can use them to fly past everything.
- In the night section, it’s possible to use either the Yoshi with a Blue Shell or the Lakitu Cloud to fly on the empty area past the door, and the level still extends for many screens after the door intended to be the end of the section.
- The third Yoshi Coin (in the night section) doesn’t spawn if we collect this coin in the day section. If i’m not mistaken, this happens because both sections share the same Item Memory Index, and the coin and Yoshi Coin are in the same x-position in their respective level, so when we collect the coin, the game thinks the Yoshi Coin has been collected.
- There are two random invisible blocks above this ledge. They’ve killed me a few times when i tried to jump back.

The level is just really bland and doesn’t do anything to stand out at all.
I’d like to see some more variety to the platforming, different platform formations, more elevated/floating platforms, some things that would actually make the gameplay engaging rather than being just a flat walk while jumping over enemies. The Forest of Illusion levels in the vanilla SMW would be a nice starting point.
Also, the idea of a night section is somewhat interesting, but it really didn’t play any different. If you wanted it to be harder, you could have focused a bit more on use of sprites, using more dangerous sprites and making use of their placement to make more threatening situations to the player, in a way that he can’t just run and jump over every single sprite in the level. Terrain variety would’ve helped with the sprite placement as well.
Another thing i’d like to see is some more thought put into the collectibles, so they require some effort to get instead of being handed for free. These could add some tiny bits of exploration that would make the level more enjoyable overall.

Creativity: 6/30

The level is a very basic forest level that doesn’t really do anything to stand out, so it doesn’t really have much to show in terms of creativity. There are no interesting setups with sprites and nothing interesting going on with the use of terrain. The collectibles also don’t add much as they’re free to grab.
The level does have an idea going on with the night section, but doesn’t really execute it well.

Aesthetics: 3/10

I have a few mixed feelings with aesthetics.
Sometimes the level looks quite decent, especially in the day section. The graphics are mostly vanilla, with a few decorative objects used, which is nice. The palettes are pretty decent, though the little bushes in the ground look weird being fully red, and there are a few weird colors in the BG.
The night section on the other hand doesn’t really look good. The graphics are the same, so are the decorations, but the palettes look ugly! The blue palettes don’t really fit any of the objects, the FG platforms, the trees, the BG, the wood platforms, bridge platform, berries, everything looks really weird!
The song choices are pretty good! The day section one fits pretty well! The night section one fits kinda ok, as it isn’t a forest song, but has a nice dark atmosphere.
As for aesthetic issues:
- There are a few tree branches floating on nothing in the area past the door in the night section.
- The berries leave a solid pink tile when eaten (and it’s pretty easy to bring Yoshi to the night section)

Total: 19/100

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Muncher Mountain by JP32



Design: 35/60

This is a pretty nice level!
It’s a quite challenging and engaging level, and it has a quite nice focus with the design.

This level makes a nice use of the terrain! There’s a lot of variety in the platforming, with climbing, platforming and wall-running segments, and the design makes a great use of level height, especially because it uses extended level height!

I also like the use of sprites! The level has quite some focus with the Pitchin’ Chucks in the design, and makes a nice use of them for the most part! There are a lot of interesting setups with them, as well as a combination of Chucks with other sprites! The survival sections were particularly clever!

There are also some nice bits of exploration, with the Yoshi Coins and the 3-UP Moon, and i also like how each Yoshi Coin has a pretty clever idea behind them, such as having to lure a Chuck to destroy Turn Blocks, though i think the fourth and fifth Yoshi Coins were too similar.

The difficulty curve is pretty well done, there’s a nice balance in difficulty throughout the level, and the setups grow in complexity as we get near the end.

Also, i found a few issues:
- The power-up distribution in this level is really unbalanced! There are 4 power-ups available in the first half, and none in the second half! This makes restarting from the Midway Gate particularly punishing, as we have to play through the whole second half as Small Mario! (Also, i know there’s a Hidden Mushroom in the secret Moon’s route, but there’s none in the main path)
- We can mess up the section before the Midway Gate by losing the Shell before killing the Chuck. And since the Shell comes from a Question Block, it has a Shelless Koopa inside, which makes it really easy to destroy the Shell if we use it in the Multi-Coin Blocks below.
- There are quite a few problems that arise due to the presence of a Cape power-up in the level.
We can get pushed through the ground in this segment if we try to get up to the Yoshi Coin using cape spins. Also, with the Cape we can easily deal with the Pitchin’ Chucks in the level, as not only we can kill them by cape spinning, but we can also destroy their baseballs, basically making every survival setup free. We can also fly and skip a few segments, like the Spring setup and the Moon route. And last, we can Dive Bomb in a few segments to kill enemies that weren’t intended to be killed, most notably the Pitchin’ Chuck in the last Survival setup, turning it into a free waiting segment.
I’d say it would be better if you simply gave only Flowers as power-ups for this level, as Cape is a very powerful power-up that can easily break a level if you’re not careful.

Also, i have a few nitpicks to comment on a few setups and the overall design of the level:
- While the level has a lot of interesting setups, the ones like this felt a bit repetitive, as it’s just based on waiting for the Chuck to stop shooting and go up to attack it.
- The Pokey setup is great, but it feels like dragging for a bit too long.
- This setup with the Note Blocks feels very tight with Big Mario.

Creativity: 20/30

This level has quite some creativity on display here!
It’s based around one sprite, Pitchin’ Chucks, and manages to come up with a lot of really cool setups with them! I really like the survival sections you made with them, and how there is enough variety in setups so they feel pretty fresh, even having the same base idea! I also liked the wall-running setups in the beginning! Though i wish those would’ve appeared a bit more in the level.
There’s also some clever usage of the vertical dimensions of the level and vertical level height!

Aesthetics: 5/10

This level’s aesthetics are pretty decent!
The graphics are pretty good, there’s no tileset mixing, but the use of graphics for FG and decorations is pretty nice! I’d just say that i’m not a big fan of Monty Mole holes used as decoration.
The palette choices are a bit weird. They don’t look exactly bad, but i don’t think the vibrant blue palettes fit the level too well. The decorations used in the FG could use a different color to add some variety, like the green bushes do.
The BG looks pretty good! The palettes are great, and i like the gradient!
The song is quite good as well!
Oh, and i like the Pokey reskin!
As for aesthetic issues, the only thing i could mention is the fact that some ledges seem to be floating in the air (the ones where you place some Pitchin’ Chucks)

Total: 60/100
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Originally posted by ECS.98
Well, i wouldn't really define it as 'stealing'. 'Taking inspiration' and 'stealing' are very different things.

Well, what I mean is it just makes the level seem less original to me. Being creative is making something unique and new.
100% Orange Juice Playthrough:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLf1kPWkjcurtA3xPP3TybfqSiEn1AcX2A

VLDC9 Playthrough:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLf1kPWkjcurtiP5de_-e6q0hSVrY37RB-.


Hey guys!
2 more reviews on the way!

Also, i've been going through a few of the updated levels.
So far i'ver played:
- Sunny Shoreline by TheSpeedyJay (There is only one small change made, as stated in his edited post)
- Get The Mushroom! by Manofer (Only made a small aesthetic change, as Manofer told me he didn't have time to update his level)
- The Red Ghost House by Hayashu Neru (I played it and didn't really see any changes made at all)
Since they had only small changes, it wouldn't be enough to change my reviews on them, so i'll be skipping them, as the previous review is still valid.

Originally posted by MarkVD100
Well, what I mean is it just makes the level seem less original to me. Being creative is making something unique and new.

Well, while i do agree that being creative is making something unique, i'd say this doesn't apply to ideas as much as it does to execution.
I don't really see a problem with taking inspiration from other levels, or using ideas that have already been used, because what counts the most is how these ideas are used. For example, i wouldn't say a level using P-Balloon is less original simply because Tubular already used it, if the execution is well made, the level will be just as original, or maybe even more original than Tubular itself!

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Silver Sky by MechaNinji



Design: 25/60

This is a quite nice level!
It’s pretty good in terms of design, but it’s also way too simple, it plays way too safe, and ends up not being too interesting or engaging.

The platforming looks promising, but it doesn’t really take off. I like the variety in terrain and use of platforms, with the use of static floating platforms, the temple-like sections, the stairs and stuff, but it stays mostly the same thing. It’s pretty straight-forward and doesn’t really grow in complexity.
Also, the level seems to have some explorations segments, but these weren’t really developed! There are no rewards for exploring, the platforms that are out of the main route are simply dead-ends with nothing to see on them. There are also some “buildings” where we can go over the roof, but there’s nothing there either. You could have used Yoshi Coins or other collectibles to give some value to exploration, as right now it’s completely ignored.

The use of sprites is mostly very simple. Sprites are very scarce in the level, and many sections feel really empty. There’s barely any action going throughout a big portion of the sections, and we’re mostly just jumping from one platform to the next. The sprites were used mostly as simple obstacles, not really being anything interesting. The only sprites that can be somewhat interesting and threatening are the Lotus Plants and the Ninjis, but even those could have been used better.

Also, i really disliked the use of Slow Auto-scroll! The level is already very simple, there’s barely any action going on and the platforming is very basic, so by using Auto-scroll, you just make the level feel way too slow and boring! Most Auto-scroll segments are literally just standing still until something that requires us to move appears on the screen. It feels like the Auto-scroll was added only to make the level longer, as it drags for way longer than it should. In fact, this level takes 250 seconds to beat with the Auto-scroll, while it would probably take about 100-120 seconds if it was a normal level.

As for design issues, there’s only one thing i could mention: Ground tiles are set to act as Cement Blocks (Tile 130) instead of Ledges (Tile 100), which makes Mario bop in the side of the ledge when running up slopes.

I could also mention a few minor nitpicks about a few jumps that feel a bit hard compared to the overall difficulty of the level.
- This jump can be a bit tight as Big Mario, as we hit our head on the ceiling.
- This is another jump that’s tight as Big Mario, as it’s easy to hit the ceiling there and fall into the spikes.

Creativity: 7/30

The level doesn’t really try to do much with creativity, the platforming is very simple, the sprite use is very basic and traditional, and there are no interesting setups at all. It seems to sometimes try to make something more interesting, such as the exploration elements, but in the end doesn’t really develop it.
The use of Auto-Scroll doesn’t help at all as well, all it does is make the level feel slow and boring.
The main creativity factor in the level actually comes from the aesthetics! The level has a great theme that is executed pretty well with its visual style!

Aesthetics: 8/10

This level looks really good!
The graphics used are great, and fit really well together with the theme! The Ghost House tileset made for a great ‘temple’ ambience, and the Carrot Platforms go really well with the sky theme! The Castle graphics and Floating Spiked Mines look pretty good too!
The BGs look great as well! I really like the Star BG!
The palettes are great! And the peaceful music really fits the calm atmosphere of the level!
As for aesthetic issues, the level is mostly pretty polished, the only thing i can mention is this Wooden Spike going behind the BG clouds.

Total: 40/100

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Night Grasslands by Monkey03297



Design: 18/60

This is a pretty simple platforming level that feels pretty random at times.
It isn’t exactly a bad level, the difficulty is actually pretty fair and the design is quite good sometimes, but overall it doesn’t seem to have much thought put into its design.

The use of the terrain is sometimes very simple and others pretty demanding! The platforming is mostly pretty basic, but sometimes pretty random as well, there isn’t really a clear gameplay focus.
Also, it tries to focus on exploration sometimes, but it doesn’t really execute that well! The exploration elements feel very disorienting! The level uses extended level height, and most of the exploration bits are very high into the sky, and it’s really unclear on how we’re intended to get to them, there isn’t really a clear path that leads to the upper path, and it seems like the only way to get there is by getting a Cape and then flying up there (and even then, some platforms are too high to reach by flying from the bottom path!) or spin-jumping on the Jumping Piranha near the beginning.
At least it’s nice that the bottom path is pretty intuitive, so we can reach the exit quite easily, but the explorations bits are very confusing.

The use of sprites is also pretty simple. It certainly isn’t bad, and can make the level a bit engaging at times, but it’s nothing interesting as well, there isn’t any setup that can stand out. The most interesting ones in my opinion were the Banzai Bills, but even then, i’m not really a fan of them, especially the first one, as it’s placed to hit us when we bounce on the Koopa.

I found a few issues with the gameplay, though they are mostly pretty minor though:
- It’s possible to fly up into the clouds below the Diagonal Pipe, possibly even getting crushed to death by it.
- The setup with the Moon can be easily cheesed by using the spin-jump through the ground glitch, allowing us to get it without the P-Switch. Also, it’s possible to get pushed into the wall if we duck into it.

Creativity: 7/30

There isn’t much to be said about creativity in this level, the platforming is pretty basic and most of the time doesn’t do much to be interesting. The use of sprites is also quite traditional and simple and there aren’t really any interesting setups.
The level does have some exploration elements, but these aren’t really well executed and end up being kinda confusing.

Aesthetics: 4/10

The aesthetics are mostly quite decent, but i’m not a fan of a few choices.
The graphics are purely vanilla. I like the use of most decorations, the bushes and platform disposition are often pretty good! The only decoration choices i don’t like are the Monty Mole holes and the random corner tiles used on the ground.
As for the palettes, i like what you were going for with the dark palettes, but i’m really not a fan of some choices, like the Cement Blocks, Railings and the Goal Post.
The BG is pretty decent, and so is the song choice.
As for aesthetic issues, there are quite some bits of cutoff in many places, like the Diagonal Pipe on the Clouds, some corner tiles when connecting to Diagonal ledges, Vines with no end, as well as this Diagonal Ledge with priority over the dirt tile.

Total: 29/100
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