I'm still going through the updated levels as well. This time i played:
- Koopa Kaboose by Mogu94
I literally didn't see any changes made, i even looked at Lunar Magic, so my previous review is still valid for this level.
- Frozen Grassland by Yoshi9429
This level had quite a few changes! So it's the first one that will be getting a re-review! It's coming on the next post!
This is a pretty cool level!
I like the platforming in it, there’s a lot of variety and it keeps the level pretty engaging! It’s very fun to play, and flows pretty well!
I really like the use of the terrain in this level! It makes a great use of extended level height! And i like the fact that you used a horizontal level as if it was a vertical one!
There is a nice focus on vertical platforming and climbing in this level, and it has a great variety in the platforming, platform formations and climbing setups that makes it very engaging and enjoyable!
It also has some great exploration elements with the Yoshi Coins and a few coin blocks, though a few Yoshi Coins felt too simple: while the first two had alternate paths for them, the others pretty much only required an extra jump.
The use of sprites is pretty good! It has a nice variety of sprites and some pretty interesting setups with them! The sprites really help making the level engaging!
The Dry Bones bouncing setups are pretty cool! It’s quite a nice idea! But most of them can be skipped by doing a running jump, since you put a higherblock in most of them (which wasn’t needed at all, as Dry Bones will already stay on ledges). I also like the way you used Sparkys! They always felt pretty interesting and threatening! My favorite setups are these platformformations! They remind me of setups in Super Mario Bros 2/Super Mario USA!
However, i’d say the use of Dino Rhinos and Dino Torches felt a bit out of place, as the level uses mostly castle sprites. And they weren’t really too interesting, as they’re mostly just simple obstacles. In the beginning of the level they looked quite promising, as you designed around their jumpingmechanics, but then it seems you completely forgot about that for the rest of the level.
Also, i found a few gameplay issues:
- The most noticeable one is this ledge, which is too high to reach. It requires Mario to have P-Speed, and even then the jump has to be quite precise.
By looking at Lunar Magic, i noticed there is a Hothead in that platform, and we’re supposed to spin jump on it to reach the ledge. However, the Hothead can easily despawn when we go to the left side of the area, and since his spawn point is the left side of the platform, we can’t scroll it far enough for it to respawn. If you had placed it in the right side of the platform instead, we would be able to respawn it.
- This Goomba can fall on our head when we jump up here.
- This Wooden Spike is quite hard to see as it hides behind the bush.
- Here we can get up to this Rope platform by using the Goomba to do a “Goomba jump”. This allows us to get the Midway Point without having to go through the pipe, skipping the entire Subroom on level 25.
This level has a few nice ideas! The first thing i could say i really liked is how well you used extended level height! This level has a great vertical oriented platforming!
The idea of bouncing on Dry Bones is quite good as well, though the execution wasn’t the best, and many jumps can be skipped.
As for setups, there are a few pretty interesting ones! The setups with Sparkys were particularly cool! A few Dry Bones setups are pretty good as well! Some platform climbing segments are also really cool!
This level also has a nice amount of aesthetic creativity! It has a great theme! And i love the buildings made with Castle and Ghost House tilesets!
This level is beautiful!
I really like the way you used graphics! The tileset mix was really well done! I love the buildings you made with the Castle and Ghost House tiles! The decorations were also used nicely!
The palettes look mostly good! I really like how you made them work for the buildings! The only palettes i don’t like are the purple ones for the Castle Stone Blocks, especially the skinny ones.
The Layer 2 BG is good, though the Layer 3 clouds are way too bright due to the translucent setting. They look plain white, and feel really weird!
The song is really good! It’s pretty catchy, and fits the level pretty well!
I didn’t find any aesthetic issues, the only nitpick i could mention is some Castle Stone Blocks look strange having no corner tiles.
Uh, this level is just really random!
The design is all over the place, and it doesn’t have any focus at all! The level barely tries to execute any ideas it presents.
Note that i won’t be saying many good things about it, so sorry in advance for being quite harsh.
There are a lot of different ideas and gameplay styles mixed together, wall-running, platforming, bouncing on enemies, vines, flying, but none of them were really executed well, it seems like they were just thrown into the editor with no thought put into them!
The design is all over the place, the terrain is mostly made of random flat platforms, and while it does have a bit of variety thanks to the different ideas used, it really isn’t interesting.
The use of sprites is actually not completely bad, as there are a few setups that can be a little bit interesting, but for the most part it’s purely Boo spam.
If there’s one thing i could say i liked is the Yoshi Coin placement, it’s actually quite decent, and each Yoshi Coin has a pretty unique idea! The problem is that these ideas aren’t always well executed.
- The first one requires spin-jumping on Sparkys, and it’s quite interesting, though there’s a Boo off-screen above it that can hit us as the screen doesn’t scroll up.
- The second is hidden on top of a ceiling, pretty simple, but there isn’t any issue with it.
- The third requires us to lure Boo Blocks and use them as platforms. But the amount of Boos makes this segment really frustrating!
- The fourth is my favorite! We have to drop into a Ghost house hole.
- The fifth is blocked by an invisible block, but it’s quite trivial as we have the P-Switch active.
There are also some very noticeable issues with this level! Other than the already mentioned Boo spam throughout the whole level, the last 2 sections are quite flawed.
- The P-Switch section has a few blind jumps, as we can’t see the rows of blocks below. Also, this section uses the bottom row, which isn’t visible to the player! And it's made of P-Switch Blocks, so it disappears if the P-Switch runs out!
- The flying section is just really random and uninteresting! It’s simply a completely open area with a lot of Boos spammed everywhere! There’s no defined path to take on it, and it’s really easy to just run into a Boo while we’re flying, which interrupts our flight and we fall on the Bottomless pit!
Also, it’s possible to completely bypass this area by going over the ceiling where we grab the P-Switch and then flying above the screen until the end.
Overall it’s a really uninteresting level that seems like everything was just randomly put into the editor. And it’s a shame, as the level actually presents a few interesting ideas! It could have been a lot better if you actually focused on developing those ideas.
This is actually the best aspect of this level! It has a few quite interesting ideas used, especially when it comes to the Yoshi Coins! I like the idea of falling through a Ghost House Hole to reach a lower area! The idea of using Boo Blocks to climb is somewhat interesting as well, and so is the bouncing on Goombas on tile 1F0!
However, the execution isn’t really well done, and the segments are really random, and this hurts this category.
It doesn’t look good.
The level looks really empty, there are just a few platforms, no details, barely any decoration in it, and the BG is really empty as well!
The graphics are vanilla, but they’re as simple as it can get. There are two bushes used as decoration in the beginning, but they feel out of place.
The palettes don’t go well too, especially the back area color. And some choices are weird, like the Boo Block/Reflecting Boo Stream.
The music is pretty good.
There are also a few cutoffs, like the vines, and this dirt has no “ceiling”, you could have used Map16 to put one here. (Act as: 25)
Ok, finally got around to finishing some more reviews! It took quite long this time, as i was busy with a lot of stuff, ranging from college exams to internet problems.
But here they are!
This post has 3 reviews, as i said before, as one of them is a re-review.
Also, about the updated levels, i got around to checking one more:
I'll be checking other updated levels as i keep going, but i think this post took long enough to come already!
Also, this post features another really long review. It is another one of those "pointing issues" kind of review, it also goes into some technical details and stuff. As always, don't feel discouraged by these kinds of reviews, i do these to provide some feedback on things the creator can improve in general! (Though i know levels can't be updated anymore for the contest specifically...)
Anyways, to the reviews!
House of Holes by Sockbat Replica
This is a pretty simple level.
It is quite an ok level in terms of design, but it is pretty uninteresting overall, it doesn’t really feel engaging.
The level has an interesting idea, the use of Ghost House Holes, but it doesn’t execute it too well. The gimmick isn’t well explored in the level. In the beginning it looks promising, with the Yoshi Coin requiring us to actually fall into the Ghost House Hole, but it never really takes off.
The setups don’t grow in complexity, they stay really simple, and what’s worse, most of them just use Ghost House Holes as simple obstacles in the ground you should avoid, which is kinda disappointing considering the beginning setup is pretty creative with it requiring the player to actually fall into the Hole.
I expected to see some more creative uses of the Ghost House Hole. You could have experimented more with them, and actually used them in the design instead of just making them something you have to avoid. A few examples could be a setup where we have to fall through the Hole into a moving platform, so we’d have to time it, or using the Hole in a spike floor, so we have to aim for the Hole to get through it. You could certainly have used the Hole’s properties of making tiles passable from above in more creative ways.
Also, i think you could have used some more exploration elements, especially for the collectibles, because right now they’re mostly too simple to be interesting. The Yoshi Coins have some nice setups, especially the first and fifth ones, but they’re a bit too simple, especially since some are very similar. And you also handed a lot of Moons for free, 3-UP Moons should be a somewhat rare and hard to find/get collectible.
The use of sprites is actually quite decent, but at the same time uninteresting. The sprite placement is good, you made a nice use of their properties, like Dry Bones placed in ledges, and there are a few interesting setups, my favorites being the ones with Bone Throwing Dry Bones in walls. However, at the same time they’re uninteresting simply because most of them can be easily avoided or bypassed, and they don’t feel threatening or make the level engaging.
This level has a pretty nice gimmick to work with, but it doesn’t execute it well. The use of the Ghost House Hole was mostly too basic in the level to be interesting.
Also, when i saw the beginning of the level, i thought it would be a vertical level, and i think it could have been pretty cool to have the level a bit more vertical focused (maybe not a vertical level, but having extended height, for example), and it would fit the gimmick, since the Hole’s main use is falling.
Sprite setups had a few interesting ideas too, though most don’t feel engaging as they can be easily avoided. The only ones i liked are the first Yoshi Coin, using the Hole to drop down, this setup with the Dry Bones keeping us busy while we wait for the Hole and the fifth Yoshi Coin with the use of Dry Bones.
Not a fan of how this level looks.
The graphics are fine, vanilla Ghost House tileset, the way everything is set up is simple, but good.
The palettes on the other hand really aren’t good! Most palettes are just way too dark, some being pretty much black, and as such are really hard to see! The BG suffers the most from this, as it is only partially visible, and the objects look incomplete. The FG also has a few black palettes that blend with the black in the BG. And even a few lighter palettes, like the pipes, look weird.
The song is kinda fitting to the level’s atmosphere.
Also, i didn’t find any aesthetic issues, though a few objects look cutoff due to the black palettes.
Magnetic Net by NextTactics(Try to say this fast five times! xD)
This level is kind of a mixed bag.
It has some cool ideas, and executes them very nicely! It also has some cool setups and some pretty enjoyable segments! However, at the same time it has some very questionable sections, as well as a lot of minor issues that really bring the level down!
In general, i really like the use of terrain in this level! There’s a lot of variety, some climbing sections, some platforming ones, some line-guided segments, and it makes a nice use of extended level height!
The use of sprites is also pretty nice overall! It makes the level quite engaging, and there are some really clever setups! Especially the ones related to the gimmicks!
Since this level has some pretty defined sections with a lot of stuff going on, i’ll be going through the good and bad things of each section separately:
Also, this level is really long! It might not be that much if we don’t go for the bonuses and collectibles, but if we go for those it becomes really time consuming! It took me 400 seconds for a 5 Yoshi Coin + Moon + Bonus Route run in a moderately optimized pace! (Meaning i didn’t mess up any segment)
Overall it’s a pretty cool level with a lot of clever ideas and interesting setups, and those are mostly well executed! But it also has some questionable decisions and a lot of small issues that bring it down quite a lot!
This is the category where this level shines!
The level has some pretty clever ideas, and those were well executed! There are a lot of interesting setups with Tile 1F0 in this level! My favorites are the one with the Para-Koopas on 1F0, the one with the Thwimp keeping its momentum on the last room, the one with the dolphins and Thwimps in the cave area and the puzzle with the Rainbow Shell! I could also mention the Key puzzle, as it’s well executed, despite having some flaws, as well as the many setups with spin-jumping on Thwimps, which were quite common, but each had their own twist.
The Yoshi Coins are also very creative, as each of them has an alternate route with an interesting idea behind them! But some of them have quite a few flaws in the design.
This level looks mostly good!
I like the use of graphics! This level has a nice forest theme that’s executed pretty well! The decorations are mostly good, though i really don’t like the “half inserted” tiles used as decoration. I’m usually ok with tiles buried into the FG, but tiles sticking out of it don’t really look good in my opinion, especially because they’re passable, but look like solid tiles.
The palettes are very pleasant! And so are the BGs! The one in the first area looks pretty nice!
As for the reskins, i like the spikes using Urchin graphics! But i really don’t like the Bob-Omb reskin for the Thwimp, because its graphics don’t reflect its behavior! Bob-Ombs can be hit by a normal jump, while Thwimps hurt Mario!
The songs are pretty good, and fit the level well! The main area one is pretty catchy!
As for aesthetic issues, they’re mostly minor: there are some cutoffs in the corner tiles in the forest area, and some cloud tiles used as decoration have their inner pixels miscolored.
This level didn’t change too much from the previous version, though i can see some definite improvements!
Most of the changes were in the use of sprites, as well as a few tiny changes made to terrain stuff, and i can see most of them were made to fix issues i mentioned! So thanks for listening to my feedback!
In general, the level didn’t change too much. The ideas are still the same, and the execution is mostly very similar to the previous version. Also, it’s still pretty frustrating to play! It feels pretty overwhelming and unforgiving at times, and some of the issues from the previous version are still present in the gameplay. Also, the level is pretty much as long as last time, which does add to the frustration.
The gameplay and use of terrain is pretty much the same, there were only some tiny changes, which were definitely good! Some examples are some changes to Muncher placement, as well as some changes to the placement of ExclamationBlocks, which fixes the issues with blind jumps i mentioned last time!
The platforming still feels a bit unfocused at times, with a lot of different ideas used that don’t go too well together, and the use of slopes along with ice physics can still be annoying at times!
The length is also pretty much unaltered, it still feels too long, taking about 330 seconds to complete in a moderately optimized pace. And just like last time, the length adds to the frustration. The second half still feels exaggerated with having to replay almost the whole level in the night section! It feels a bit uninteresting, since the level is mostly the same in both sections.
The use of sprites is the most significant change in this new version! There were quite a lot of changes in sprite placement, even though most changes are pretty minor. Overall, these changes improve the level’s quality, and fixed some issues i previously mentioned. However, other changes are pretty questionable, and brought new issues to the table!
So, first, let’s talk about the changes i liked:
- There were a lot of new line-guided segments added with Grinders and Fuzzballs, and those feel mostly pretty good! Most are an improvement from the previous verison!
- The Boo Rings were removed, which is pretty nice! This improves the pace of the level, removing the need to wait in some sections (it’s especially nice here!).
- You also removed the Flame Breathing Bowser Statues in the night segment when we go to the left, which fixes the issue i mentioned about the Flames staying on screen for too long!
Now, for the changes i don’t like:
- While removing the Boo Rings was nice, i don’t think the Reflecting Boo Stream was the best replacement. My main issue with them is they feel really hard to avoid because of how well they blend with the terrain. Here for example, they completely cover the opening, and if we fall there it’s certain we get hit. And here, their movement is perfectly aligned with the stairs.
- Similarly, while removing Flame Breathing Bowser Statues was nice, i really don’t like how you replaced them with Jumping Bowser Statues, as they’re placed on top of slopes, and can really surprise uswhen we’re going up!
- I really dislike how you replaced the Goombas in tile 1F0 by a Grinder! The Goomba is a mostly safe obstacle that stays in place and we can easily bounce on. The Grinder on the other hand is always moving, and requires us to spin jump on it! (Not to mention Grinder hitboxes feel pretty weird)
- The Bullet Bills and Shell Kickers are pretty much unaltered! (In fact, the only setup with them that changed in this new version is this, and the only change was the Vine block being moved up)
They were an issue before, and keep being one in this version! They still make for surprise element segments, and sometimes overwhelming ones with all the stuff around them! And this Bullet Bill is now even worse due to the Goombas being changed to a Grinder!
- This Bowser Statue really gets in the way now that it’s placed in the edge of the platform! Not only it makes this jump tight, but sometimes we hit our head on it when jumping up!
There wasn’t any significant change in terms of creativity, most changes were just minor sprite placements that really didn’t impact this category.
The idea of the level still has a pretty interesting gimmick, but its execution isn’t all that interesting since the Exclamation Blocks didn’t make a big difference. The night section being really similar to the day section made it quite uninteresting as well, and there weren’t many interesting setups with sprites.
The aesthetics are also mostly the same.
The graphics are nice! With a good tileset mixing and a nice use of decoration!
The palettes are also pretty good, and fitting to the level’s theme!
The BGs were the only thing changed. The day section’s BG looks nice, though i think it’s a bit too clear, with a lot of white and a really clear light blue. The night section BG in the other hand looks really good! I love the palettes, and the stars really improved it!
And the songs are pretty nice, and quite fitting to the theme!
Oh my! It's been over a week since my last post here!
Don't worry guys, i'm still alive! And so is this thread! xD
I was just really busy this past week, so i had to put this thread on hold for a while. Last week was the exam week in college, and i shifted my focus towards that. Along with it, i also started to work on a new project, and i kinda wanted to get a head start before diving back into Fan-Judging.
But here i am! I'll try to get back on track on these reviews and the next certainly won't take as long as these two took to come! Don't worry!
Also, i didn't check for updated levels before posting this because this one already took long enough! So i'll get back to the updated levels on my next post!
Without further ado, let's get to the reviews!
Bramble Climb by MarioFan22
Wow, this level is awesome!
It’s really fun to play! Levels using Climbing Nets are usually pretty slow, but this one flows really well and is very engaging to play!
I really like the way this level executed its gimmick! The brambles are very well made! Their hitboxes are pretty accurate, and the design around them is really good! They give the level a dangerous and at the same time calm feeling, similar to how Donkey Kong 2 Brambles levels play!
Also, the use of Climbing Nets is great! You used them in many varied ways that makes them fresh throughout the level! Be it climbing to avoid the brambles, enemy dodging/timing segments, combining them with vines or Springs, using Climbing Net Doors to go behind some Blocks, there are a lot of really interesting uses for these nets! Also, this level makes a great use of Conveyor Belts, despite those being pretty slow, they were well incorporated into the gameplay to spice up the platforming of the level!
I love the use of the terrain in this level! It makes a really great use of extended level height! The level dimensions were really put to great use, having this level being box shaped allowed it to focus on both horizontal and vertical design, which goes really well with the level’s theme and gameplay!
It also has quite some focus on exploration! Having the level work with both horizontal and vertical design allowed it to have some pretty open areas, with quite a lot of non-linearity going on in each segment! There are always some small bits of exploration incorporated in each segment!
I also like the way it encourages exploration, with stuff like the placement of the Climbing Net Doors and Vine Blocks! The Yoshi Coins were also well placed! I especially liked the ones placed on bonus rooms! (As well as the 3-UP Moon)
The use of enemies is great! The enemies really compliment the gameplay, and make the level very engaging! There are a lot of really clever setups done with sprites! The most interesting ones were the Net Koopas, they were used in varied ways that always made them a threat! The Lotus Plants were also used nicely to compliment the climbing segments in the level!
The level takes a while to beat, but i wouldn’t really say the length is an issue. It takes around 300 seconds to beat in a moderate pace, which is a pretty acceptable length. Also, the pacing of the level is really well made, and it remains interesting throughout its duration, so it doesn’t feel tiring!
This level has a pretty creative gimmick, and the execution is superb! The use of Climbing Nets was incredibly interesting in this level, especially combined with the Brambles! There were a lot of really interesting segments made with these! And the great use of extended level height and level dimensions certainly compliments the design!
The use of Climbing Net Doors to get behind the blocks is also really clever, and made for some pretty interesting setups! And the use of Conveyor Belts is also pretty interesting!
There are also a lot of clever setups using sprites! The Net Koopas were used in many interesting ways! And the Lotus Plants also had some pretty nice setups!
Also, the level’s theme is great! It’s really well executed, and goes really well with the design!
This level is beautiful!
It has a great theme! And it has been executed really well! The brambles graphics look great! The decorations used were also pretty cool! I’m usually neutral towards half-buried tiles, but i have to mention them here because this level made a great use of them! It’s nice how you gave them a purpose, marking safe ground tiles!
The palettes are beautiful! They are very pleasant to look at, and compliment the visuals really well! I like the autumn feel the palettes give to the level!
Also, i love the ambience you created in this level! It manages to capture the feel of a Donkey Kong Country 2 brambles level pretty well, feeling dangerous, and at the same time calm and peaceful! And the song certainly contributes to that!
And speaking about the song, i just have to mention how absolutely perfect it is! Stickerbush Symphony is one of my all-time favorite game songs! And you couldn’t have chosen a better song for this level! (In fact, this level was quite heartwarming for me! The nostalgia is strong here! <3)
Important: Your level doesn't use the VLDC 11 Base ROM! It will be disqualified because of this!
This is a pretty basic and uninteresting tide level.
The design is overall pretty basic and straight-forward, and it doesn’t really try to be too engaging. There isn’t really much variety in the way the level plays, and it’s mostly just a flat tide level with a few platforms scattered around.
This also leads to a problem with the pacing, as pretty often the level is played in the water, and since the water pushes the player back, the gameplay becomes very slow! This can make it feel boring at times.
The level does have a few exploration bits, with a few elevated platforms, as well as Yoshi Coins and a 3-UP Moon, but these aren’t too interesting as well, and become kinda repetitive after a while, as they’re mostly based on using Winged Platforms to reach elevated platforms.
The use of sprites is pretty unfocused, and kinda random at times. The level uses a wide variety of sprites, but doesn’t really focus on any of them, and they don’t go too well together. It also doesn’t try to do anything interesting with the sprites, they’re all used in very basic and traditional ways, and the setups are very similar, which makes it very repetitive overall. There are even sections that consist of the same setup repeated for 2-3 screens straight, such as this section with just water and Floating Spike Balls, or this one with Spike Balls and Line-Guided Chainsaws.
Also, i’m not really a fan of the Jumping Fish Generator used at the end of the first half!
The difficulty curve is also pretty random, being flat in terms of design means the level’s difficulty comes solely from the sprites, and those don’t really have much consistency. Some sections are very flat, and barely have any dangers around, and others are full of different types of sprites coming from all sides!
As for gameplay issues, there are a few, though some of them come from you not using the Base ROM (I’ll specify these):
- There are a lot of issues with Sprite Limit in this level, in many sections there will be sprites not spawning due to the limit! (This could be fixed by SA-1 on the Base ROM)
- Another issue that comes with Sprite Limit, but is far more problematic is Sprite Tile Limit, sprites partially or completely disappearing, while being still in the level. In the second screenshot, i got hit by an invisible Floating Spike Ball! (This could also be fixed by SA-1)
- You used Blue Switch Blocks in your level, but you didn’t provide easy access to the Blue Switch Palace.
- This Feather allows the player to easily fly over the whole second half of the level.
- Using the Goal Gate on a vertical level messes up with the Bonus Game when we reach 100 Bonus Stars.
The level doesn’t have much to show in terms of creativity, it’s pretty flat and straight forward, and really doesn’t do anything interesting. The use of sprites is very basic and repetitive, and none of the setups really stand out.
The level does have some exploration with the Yoshi Coins and the 3-UP Moon, but their setups are pretty similar, and they feel kinda repetitive.
The visuals are decent!
The graphics are purely vanilla, they were used in traditional ways, and pretty decently!
The palettes are pretty good! The FG palettes are nice, and BG ones look great! The only choice i don’t like too much is the Back Area Color. The dark underwater part at the end looks good as well.
The music choice is quite good!
There are no glitches or aesthetic issues, the level is quite polished visually!
Back here with two more reviews! These were quite big, as i went into some detail in them!
Note that Skyway Sanctum's review came kinda negatively, but that doesn't mean i didn't like the level. In fact, it's a great level, i just went into detail on the issues as those were quite noticeable for me, especially because of how good the first half was.
As for Chuck's Norris, well, this is one of those reviews where i kinda don't want to be harsh, but i go in detail with all the flaws i found in the level. As always, don't get discouraged by this review, my intention with it is allowing you to notice what you did wrong and improve on those aspects!
Also, i went back to a few levels and did some tiny adjustments to their scores, mostly for consistency again.
Oh, and i've gone through a few more updated levels. This time i played:
- Deep Deluge by Plasmodium00
This one had quite a few changes, so i'll be doing a re-review of it!
- Altair by Tweyxx
This one had a few small changes, mostly to fix issues, so i'm not sure how i'll do this review. The changes were mostly minor, so a new review might turn out too similar to the previous one...
Also, i'm still trying to decide what to do with levels like Metallic Metropolis and Altair, as they had some changes i want to comment on, but they aren't major enough to justify a new review, so i might change the way some re-reviews work.
This is a pretty cool level! But unfortunately, i have some mixed feelings about it.
The level is pretty well made, it’s very engaging, the flow is mostly really good, and it can be pretty fun to play! However, the design quality can vary quite a bit, most notably between the first and second half, and this brought this level down a bit in the end.
This level has a lot of creative gimmicks, and the execution is mostly quite good! The use of tile 1F0 is really nice, and so is the use of Climbing Net Doors to go behind enemies! There are some pretty interesting setups with these gimmicks, and it’s especially cool how they get mixed later in the level!
It is a pretty challenging level, but in a good way! The difficulty is mostly fair, and the obstacles are well made and make the level very engaging! The level also uses Blue Switch Blocks to make many setups easier for people who don’t want to have a hard time with the level, which is great!
However, it does have some noticeable difficulty spikes, and those can make the level pretty frustrating! Another thing that can add to the frustration is the length, as the level is quite long! It took about 290 seconds for a run with all 5 Yoshi Coins, and despite not being as long as some other levels i’ve reviewed, it does feel a bit tiring!
Since the quality of each part varies quite a bit, i’ll be going through each of them separately.
Overall this is a great level, but it suffers a bit from loss of focus near the end. The design around the gimmicks decreases in quality from that point onwards, and some setups don’t seem like they have much purpose. I’d say this level would have benefited from having a few parts cut out (the questionable setups in the second and third rooms come to mind), not only because that would help with the length issue, but also because the development of ideas seems to peak midway through the level, and decreases afterwards.
This is the category this level shines! It has some very interesting gimmicks and ideas! The use of Tile 1F0 was really interesting throughout the level, and so is the use of Climbing Net Doors to go behind enemies! And combining both of them with Scrolling Layer 2 was really clever!
There are tons of interesting setups in this level, and the gimmicks were executed mostly pretty well!
However, there is a noticeable loss of focus near the end of the level, and the gimmicks aren’t too well executed after that point, which hurts this category a bit.
This level looks pretty good!
I like the tileset mix you did with Underground, Castle and Ghost House tiles! The “buildings” and FG formations look good! The decorations are also great! I really like the use of windows, brick walls and pillars!
The BGs look great! I like the building BG used in the main level! The Star BG in the Layer 2 section looks great as well!
The palettes are pretty pleasing, and create a nice atmosphere!
And the song is pretty good, though sometimes it feels a bit too calm for the action going in the level.
As for aesthetic issues, the most noticeable one is the fact that sometimes things blend in too well, mainly tile 1F0 which is kinda hard to see sometimes! Also, being a little more nitpicky, i’m not a fan of some Ball and Chains rotating around non-solid brick tiles in the last area, and that one flipped line-guide tile right after the Midway triggers my OCD! xD
(1) Important: The download link to your BPS in the Rules and Submissions thread is broken!
I had to download your level through your Files to play it. (2) Important: Your BPS patch was made with the VLDC11 Base ROM instead of a clean SMW ROM!
This means we get an error when patching it to a clean ROM, and have to use the VLDC11 Base ROM to patch it! (3) Important: Your entry uses more than 1 Map16 page for FG!
I'm not exactly sure if the first two issues are reasons for disqualification, but this third one certainly is!
This is a pretty weird level.
It has a few somewhat decent ideas, but it has a lot of design flaws! The difficulty is also pretty inconsistent, and the level can be easily broken in many ways!
This level has a somewhat nice gimmick idea, but also a very risky one: changing tile behaviors. I get that it has a bit of a “plot” explaining the reason for some of these behaviors, which is actually kinda nice, but the execution of these gimmicks is very flawed! The behavior changes aren’t consistent at all, and most of them aren’t even explained or intuitive, so the player has to find them out by trial and error! (And this results in many unfair deaths)
The design has a lot of questionable decisions, many sections have unfair setups and nonsense obstacles. The level really doesn’t seem to have a focus, despite having a gimmick to work with. The difficulty is also very inconsistent, it’s all over the place, and it seems sometimes the level can’t decide if it wants to be a normal level or a kaizo level.
Also, there are a lot of oversights with breaks in this level, and it can be completely broken very easily!
There’s also the fact that the level doesn’t use Sprite Memory 08, so it doesn’t have the SA-1 sprite limit, and i managed to despawn a few important sprites when playing this! (It doesn’t happen often, but can happen)
Now for more details on issues, i’ll be going through each section separately:
Also, there’s an Exit-Enabled Pipe in the third room that leads to level 105, which is a barely edited version of vanilla level 105. It only has a big invisible wall in the beginning with letters saying “Back to VLDC”, and we can use Cape + Yoshi to fly over the wall, so we can access the rest of level 105, which is unedited, except for some FG graphics having some random letter tiles. We can even complete the level through level 105’s Goal Gate! And entering the bonus room in level 105 takes us back to the second room of the VLDC level.
This level has a few somewhat nice ideas with the different tile behaviors, and its base around a fairly known meme, but the execution is pretty flawed! It does have a few interesting setups like the Star Run and the Falling Platform setups, but overall it doesn’t have any focus, and nothing stands out much.
It just doesn’t really look good!
It has some fairly random graphic choices, especially due to the fact that part of the gimmick consists in tiles behaving differently than their look. The decorations are also weird, like the weirdly colored brick tiles used in the platforms.
The palettes also don’t look good at all! Most things have a really weird mix of red and blue, and some objects just have very weird colors, like the bricks and the bone platforms.
The song is pretty good, though it gets cut out pretty much every time there’s a sound effect playing!
Also, this level has a lot of aesthetic issues!
- There are lots of cutoffs everywhere in this level, such as the pipes used in the middle of something, like FG platforms or water, some lava tiles, especially when used along with pipes or some places where the water is used along with FG platforms.
- There are some priority issues with a few tiles that have priority covering parts of Yoshi or dying enemies.
- Some FG platforms have missing corner tiles.
- Also, Yoshi has garbled tongue/throat/fireball graphics in the third room.
Welp, we've finally come to the third page of the Submissions Thread! Meanwhile, the official judges are already done lol
Well, i'll keep going with these reviews, i don't know how much they'll be relevant after the official results come out, but i'm still willing to play through every level, and i'd say it's just fair to review them as well, not only to show my opinion, but also give feedback that might be useful for all the creators out there.
As for the reviews, i've come to two levels i was really looking forward to play! I've been following Crystarp Hollow ever since S.N.N made a thread for it, and i really wanted to play it! (Also, because of this, this is one of the few levels i didn't play blind, as i watched the gameplay videos before i even started Fan-Judging)
As for Brown Block Factory, as i said in my review, just by the title i could already tell it was gonna be great, and i was really excited to try it! Even more when i saw Blind Devil's score for it!
As for the re-review for Deep Deluge, i decided to delay it until my next post, because this one took quite long to come already, and i didn't want it to take a week again lol
Also, i've made some more changes to the previous scores, hopefully for the last time lol
This time i slightly tweaked some creativity scores, as i think some early ones weren't as coherent based on how my scoring evolved as i progressed in the reviews.
Oh my! This level is incredible! It’s really fun to play!
It is a great puzzle-oriented level with a lot of unique ideas and tons of really clever setups! It also has some action-oriented segments, as well as some action going on with the puzzles, that makes it very engaging!
The gimmicks used in the level are really creative, and their execution is really good! The Yoshi feeding segments feel pretty fresh and interesting, as their setups are really well made, and pretty unique! The fireball sections are probably the most unique parts of this level, as i have rarely seen Mario’s Fireballs being used in clever puzzles like this, even more in a vanilla level! The level also makes a great use of its resources, having some really clever setups with tile 1F0, as well as a nice use of sprite, such as Bowser Statues and Thwimps!
The first half is based on Yoshi feeding, and it does some really great setups with this!
The section has a really nice learning curve, starting pretty simple and mostly on a safe environment, and then evolving in complexity and danger as we progress through!
The second Yoshi feeding setup is very interesting with each enemy having a small puzzle by itself, my favorite being this Goomba! The third Yoshi is my favorite setup of this section! You made a really great use of Extended Level Height with this setup! And using water so the Yoshi falls slower was clever as well! This segment feels really good to play with the fast gameplay required to feed the Yoshi!
This section also has some pretty clever action setups, like the use of Thwimps with Tile 1F0, or the use of Digging Chucks, or even some setups with Hammer Bros!
Also, the hidden 3-UP Moon was really clever!
The second half has one of the most creative uses of Mario’s Fireballs i’ve ever seen in a level, let alone a vanilla one! The idea of using Fireballs along with tile 1F0 to kill sprites on the way is extremely clever! There are a lot of different puzzles that use the same idea, but play differently enough to be really fresh and interesting, from jumping on Springs to clearing the path for the Fireball, there are a lot of unique ideas here! My favorite setups are the one we have to create a path for the Fireball and the one we have to run and keep with the Fireballs! These are extremely fun to play!
This section also has more interesting action setups, this time focused on Bowser Statues, and there are some pretty clever setups with them and tile 1F0!
The level can be somewhat long, it took me about 270 seconds to complete on a full collectible run (5 Yoshi Coins + Moon) in a run without resets! Usually i’d say 270 seconds isn’t exactly an issue, and i still think it isn’t! But, due to the fact it is a puzzle level, the length can be problematic if the player messes up the setups a lot.
This level does have some issues though! Most of them aren’t big issues, but still affect the experience to some degree, so i’ll mention them. I also have some nitpicks with a few sections.
There are also a lot of possibilities to break puzzles in this level, some of which can break quite a lot of stuff in the level!
This level is extremely creative! It has some incredibly clever and unique ideas, and their execution is really great! It has a lot of really clever setups with its gimmicks, and all of them are very memorable!
The idea of using Yoshi feeding is something i’ve seen a lot, and this level still manages to come up with some pretty unique setups and a really good execution! The third Yoshi feeding setup using Extended Height was particularly clever! The Mario Fireball puzzles are probably one of the most unique uses of Fire Flower i’ve ever seen! It is really creative, and there are a lot of really clever and unique puzzles with it!
The level also makes an excellent use of its resources! It has some really clever uses of Tile 1F0 to complement the puzzles, and also some really interesting setups with the sprites, most notably the Spinies, Thwimps, Digging Chucks and Bowser Statues!
This level truly shows an impressive amount of creativity in everything it does, from the ideas, to the setups, to the execution and use of resources! And it deserves a full score!
This level is beautiful!
The graphics are really well done! The crystal graphics look beautiful! The terrain graphics are all really polished and well made, and the decorations used are great! Also, having the FG translucent compliments the crystal feel of the level!
The BG is beautiful as well! The Star Sky looks really good, and the color gradient compliments it really well! It also shows pretty well due to the translucent FG!
The palettes are really pleasing, and fit really well with the level’s theme!
The song is really good! It gives a nice chill feeling to the level, and fits the theme really well!
I found no aesthetic issues, though i’d say a few enemies blend into the visuals a bit too well due to the Translucent FG and their palettes.
Well, this is awesome!
When i saw the title, i could already tell this was going to be great, and i was not disappointed!
This level is really fun to play! It has a great platforming, which makes it very engaging, and incorporates some clever gimmicks and mini-puzzles into the gameplay!
This level has a really interesting gimmick with the use of the Eating Block and Used Block related stuff! And the execution was really well done throughout the level!
You not only used them for some block eating setups to open passages, but you also explored some of the Eating Block’s unusual interactions and behaviors! There are also some really clever setups such as the survival ones!
The first section is made of mostly simple uses of the Eating Block gimmick, those are used mostly for opening passages through Used Block walls so we can keep going. This section has a great learning curve! It starts with a simple setup to introduce the gimmick, and then incorporates more enemies! It also has a great paltforming with climbing on ropes, jumping on Sinking Platforms over lava and avoiding enemies! It also introduces one of the more unusual behaviors of the Eating Block, and the ending survival section is pretty cool!
The Pre-Midway puzzle is mind-blowing! I was really impressed with the “Off” blocks that can stop the Eating Block in place when touched! The puzzle in this section is simple, but really clever!
The second section also has a great platforming, and it evolves a bit more from the first! I realy like the segments with having to avoid Eeries, or luring Boos out of the way before progressing! The Eating Block Bridge is pretty cool as well!
The last section has a great use of auto-scrolling to set the pace of the level! It has a nice gameplay, and keeps pretty engaging, even with the auto-scroll! This section has some pretty interesting uses of Eating Block, including more unusual behaviors, such as the diagonal moving one! And it’s nice you used the exclamation block to show where those were going to appear! The last setup is quite nice as well, with the Eating Block opening the way and dropping some Chuck Rocks, but i’d say it seems a bit harder than the rest of the level, ad it’d be easy for the player to panic here! (Especially if he triggers the Eating Blocks early)
I didn’t really find any kind of issue, the level is really polished!
This level has a lot of creativity to show! Creative gimmick, unique ideas and mechanics, great execution, clever setups, it has it all! And as such, it deserves a full score!
The Eating Block gimmick is really interesting, and it was developed really well! The level not only has a lot of great setups using Eating Blocks in “traditional” ways (that is, using them to eat a line of Used Blocks), but it also explores a lot of the Eating Block’s unusual behaviors, and uses them in really clever ways!
The Pre-Midway room also has an extremely unique mechanic, the block that can stop the Eating Block when touched! I’ve never seen anything like that before! And it was used in a really clever puzzle! (I’d say i kinda wish this mechanic showed again later in the level, as it seems to have potential for some really cool setups! But i won’t make this count against you!)
Also, this level has some clever uses of sprites, such as Eeries, Boos and Diggin’ Chucks! They are used in very interesting ways, and compliment the platforming and the gimmick really well!
This level looks great!
The graphics are well made! The main FG has a nice use of the brick and crate graphics! And the FG objects look good as well! I especially love the pipe and used block animations!
The palettes are pleasing! They set a nice mood to the level!
The Diggin’ Chuck rocks reskin is quite good, and fits the theme!
The song is great, and contributes well to the level’s atmosphere!
I didn’t find any aesthetic issues, but the only nitpick i have is the BG is way too dark! I know it sets a dark atmosphere to the level, but i’d still like it if it was just a bit brighter, as often it seems the level has no BG!
Here we have our next reviews!
This time we have 3, as i finally got to finish the re-review for Deep Deluge xD
It was about time! If i had finished it a little earlier, i could say it was a birthday present for Plasmodium00 xD
I've also been thinking about what to do with the review for Altair, and i think i'll just add an updated section to the existing review, as the changes made to the level aren't big enough to justify an entire new review. (I'll then do the same for Metallic Metropolis)
Note that i still haven't done this as, again, i wanted to get these reviews out already!
This is a very basic plains level.
It is a very simple level, and also very short. The platforming is very straight-forward, there is little variety in the way the level plays, and it’s mostly just a “go right and win” kind of level.
The level doesn’t really try much with the use of the terrain, despite having some variety in the platforming, such as pits we have to jump over, those are pretty meaningless, and it still feels pretty much like a flat walk to the goal.
It’s also too short, and it seems like it ends before even trying to be interesting. The Midway Gate also feels quite meaningless as the level is almost done when we get to it.
The use of sprites is also mostly very simple, but there are a few choices i’m not a fan of.
Most sprites are used just as a simple obstacle in the way that can be easily avoided by jumping over it. They often don’t try to be too engaging or threatening. There are even some sprites that are completely out of the main path, and pose no threat to the player, like the Splittin’ Chuck and the Koopas right after the Midway Gate, or the Piranhas above the Rexes.
However, there are also some sprites that feel dangerous but for the wrong reasons, like the ParaGoombas and Rexes placed on a low ceiling area. (The Rexes are especially annoying due to their hitboxes)
This level also lacks any sort of exploration element, which could have made it more interesting. It only has a 3-UP Moon, which is handed for free at the end.
I think it could have been more interesting if it focused a bit more on exploration, especially because the level already seems to have some exploration potential, with some sections outside of the main path, but those have no purpose right now!
I tried exploring some of them, like the area to the left of the first Piranha Plant (which is skipped in the beginning due to the entrance launching Mario), the pipes with the Fire Spitting Piranhas, the lower platforms past the Midway (where there are Koopas and a Splittin’ Chuck) or the pit right before the Midway (which isn’t a bottomless pit), but there’s absolutely nothing in these areas!
You could have used areas like these to add some exploration to your level, expanding on them and hiding collectibles, as those would make the level more enjoyable overall.
Also, there are a few issues:
- If we hold right when entering the level, we fall straight into this Piranha.
- This gap is huge! It requires a big jump to get to the platform! It’s also aggravated by the platform being a slope, which makes it easy to fall from it.
Overall, the level is too flat and short to be interesting, and there’s nothing that can stand out or be memorable in it.
There isn’t really much creativity to see in this level, it doesn’t do anything interesting at all, there isn’t any interesting gameplay idea, and the setups are as basic as it can be. There are also no exploration elements, despite having some potential with a few areas.
The only thing that called my attention is the aesthetic creativity with the greyscale palettes.
The level has an interesting visual style, and it was executed quite well! But it also has a few issues.
The graphics are pure vanilla, and there’s nothing wrong with them. The decorations are used well, though the level can feel a bit empty at times.
The palettes are the main aesthetic gimmick of the level, with everything being gray. It was actually executed quite well, and most palettes are decent! There are however a few i didn’t like, most notably the palettes for Mario and Rexes.
Also, i don’t really like the lack of a BG in the level, it makes it look empty.
The song is quite nice, and fits the level!
As for aesthetic issues: there are some bits of cutoff with the pipes in the question blocks, as well as the bush over the ledges in this same area. There are also some random pipe tiles being used as corner tiles in this area. Also, the bushes have a yellow palette in their inner pixels.
This is a great athletic level!
It is a pretty fun level, it’s very engaging, and flows well! It also has a nice difficulty curve!
This level has a mostly action-based gameplay style.
The use of sprites is great! It has a focus on line-guided sprites, which makes it pretty engaging as the player has to keep an eye for line guide patterns in order to get through the obstacles!
There are some really interesting setups! Despite the level using pretty much only Grinders, it has many different setups that keep the gameplay pretty fresh and never feels repetitive! The use of Non Line-Guided Grinders is also very nice!
This level is quite challenging, but in a good way! The difficulty is fair and balanced, and the action makes the level very engaging! It has a nice learning curve, starting with some simple setups and getting progressively harder and adding new elements, such as Torpedo Teds or vines!
The level has a few nice exploration elements! It is quite straight-forward in its design overall, but still has some great pieces of non-linearity in some segments! The second and third Yoshi Coins are great examples of this, having a safe route below with the Platform, and a more challenging one with the Grinders above!
There’s also, of course, the sublevel for the fifth Yoshi Coin, which has a really clever set of puzzles based on guiding a Yellow Koopa to a Shell! This section is really interesting, and the execution is kinda nice, but it has some noticeable flaws…
The level has a few issues, some of which can be quite major:
- The most noticeable issue happens in the fifth Yoshi Coin room. It’s possible to mess up the first puzzle by either accidentally killing the Koopa, or having the Koopa fall to the bottom (as we can’t scroll the screen far enough to despawn it). And if we mess it up, we’re stuck in that room, as we can’t progress, and there’s no reset or a way back to the main area! So the only way to get out is by dying! Furthermore, if we kill the Piranha with a fireball, we’re softlocked there, and the only way to die is by time-out!
- Similarly, if we mess up the second puzzle by killing the Koopa, there’s no reset, so to try it again we have to leave the room, reenter it through the main area and play the first puzzle again!
- This is more a nitpick than actually an issue, but i’m not a fan of having to rush on Note Blocks for the second puzzle, as Note Blocks’ interaction is quite weird.
- This Wooden Spike is really unfair! It’s hidden inside the ceiling, completely undetectable, and it’s positioned in a way that stops Mario’s momentum and makes him fall directly into the pit!
This level has quite some creativity in it! The use of Grinders and Line-Guided Platforms is pretty interesting, there are some really nice setups that feel pretty fresh to play! The way the Yoshi Coins were placed is pretty interesting as well!
But, of course, the strongest point when it comes to creativity is the fifth Yoshi Coin room! This room has a great idea with having to guide a Yellow Koopa to a Shell! The execution was quite nice, and the puzzles felt pretty interesting!
This level looks pretty nice!
The graphics used are pretty good, it makes a nice tileset mix with Underground and Ghost House tiles! There’s also some nice use of decoration, despite the level being quite open due to the line-guided setups. Also, i like the little “holes” in the FG made with slope tiles!
The palettes are pretty nice! They go well together and are quite pleasing!
The BGs look good! I especially liked the one in the main area!
And the song is quite good as well!
I found nothing that would stand out as an aesthetic issue, though i’m not really a fan of the Cement Block spam in the fifth Yoshi Coin room, you could have used the Ghost House tileset there like you did with the main area.
This is a great underwater level!
This version is pretty similar to the previous one, but it has some great changes to address most of the issues i mentioned last time, and also added a few interesting sections!
The gameplay is overall mostly the same. It’s a very engaging level that, despite being underwater, never feels slow to play, as it manages to keep some action going and flows very nicely!
The use of terrain has a nice focus on vertical progression, which goes really well with SMW’s swimming mechanics, as they allow for a great control of Mario’s vertical movement!
The level also has some great exploration elements, with a lot of alternate paths with secrets and stuff to collect that make exploration feel rewarding!
It’s also nice how the level allows for some risky moves the player can do to avoid some waiting, like how there are always some Throw Blocks or Koopas available to swim faster. This is especially nice with the Boo Rings, as their placement allows us to swim up through them without having to wait for the opening!
The use of sprites is great! It really contributes to making the level engaging! The sprites have been used in a nice way, being placed in a way that takes advantage of their mechanics and behaviors!
The sprite placement had a few changes in this new version.
It’s great to see that you fixed most of the issues i pointed out on my previous reviews regarding sprite placement and ambushes! The problematic Bullet Bills that could ambush us around power-ups or important items have been either moved or removed! The Shell Kicker near the 3-UP Moon was also removed!
Also, it’s great that you decided to expand on the concept of the Key puzzle used in the beginning! It’s a really interesting idea, and it’s great to see it used more in the level!
The second Key puzzle is a pretty simple one, as the Key is near, but it’s nice! The third one is also more interesting now, as we have to actually find the key instead of just having it placed 1 tile away from the keyhole!
The level still has a few issues, a few of the really minor ones i pointed before are still present, but here i’ll mention some new ones:
- I’ve managed to despawn the last Boo Ring a few times when playing through this level. I don’t remember it happening in the previous version.
- The last Boo Ring becomes a bit problematic now that the Key was placed near it, as not only it became more dangerous due to additional spikes, but it also turns into a waiting game as we have to wait for the opening in order to get into the key area, and then wait again to get out of it!
This level is very interesting!
Creativity-wise, the addition of the new sections where we have to get the Key, as well as the Key puzzle in the second room are nice! Despite being simple, those sections are quite clever! And it’s great to see you considered my suggestion!
Other than that, everything stays the same. The level is a pretty interesting take on an underwater level, making it vertical-oriented! And having one section going up and another going down is pretty cool!
It also has a pretty interesting set of sprites, and makes some pretty nice and clever setups with them!
Aesthetics had no changes.
I like the tileset mix used in the level, and it fits well with the level theme! The decorations are used nicely!
The palettes are nice! The FG palettes work really well together, and the BG ones look great!
The songs used are also really good, especially the one in the ghost area!
I've been wondering if i'm being a bit too generous with 30/30 scores in creativity =P
I kinda think the levels i gave this score deserve it, as i don't want to be overly picky when it comes to max score in Creativity category.
I have a few standards for giving a full score in creativity, which includes multiple aspects like ideas, execution, mechanics and setups, and if the level reaches that, i think it is a well deserved score.
Also, as i said last time, i'll be adding an updated section to levels that had some minor changes with an update, but are not enough to justify a new review.
So far these levels are Metallic Metropolis and Altair. I'll update them in the review i already posted for them, and make a note for that in the thread's first post.
This is a kinda basic level.
The overall gameplay is pretty simple, it can sometimes feel a bit empty or slow, but it does have a few engaging segments, and it can be somewhat fun at times!
The level has two sections that play pretty differently. There isn’t too much cohesion between them, and it feels like they could be entirely different levels. Because of this, i’ll review each section separately:
The level starts in a ‘chocolate’ lava cave. This section has a pretty interesting concept of a ‘descending’ focused gameplay: we start on the top and slowly descend to the bottom. Due to this, the gameplay is mostly based on the use of the terrain, with platforms we need to land on, and lava surrounding them. However, the obstacles don’t have much variety, and as such this section feels very repetitive, it mostly goes down to jumping from one platform to the next, until we have to drop into a lower platform, and then repeat.
This section is pretty empty in terms of sprites, there are just a few scattered around, but they weren’t used in any interesting way and can be easily avoided, so they don’t really improve the gameplay.
The second area is an underwater level. This section is mostly based on a maze styled design, with different paths to take while progressing through the level. This design makes it somewhat interesting as it adds some exploration elements to the level, which is complimented by the use of Yoshi Coins in this section! Also, something i like is how all Yoshi Coins were placed in this section, so we don’t lose progress on them if restarting on the Midway!
However, this section isn’t really enjoyable because it feels way too slow to play! We have to swim through some pretty tight corridors, and the terrain makes us stop and switch directions pretty often! This is aggravated by the use of sprites: instead of being used to make the level more engaging, the sprites were just used as waiting obstacles. We constantly have Urchins and Fishes that just make us wait until they give an opening to pass, and this makes the level even slower! It does have a set of Throw Blocks in the beginning, but those don’t really help much as we have to maneuver around the terrain and wait for enemy patterns, pretty much negating their speed bonus.
The level also has some issues. Most of them are quite minor, but can affect the experience:
- The pipe entrances are placed one tile lower than their correct position, which makes Mario come into the level from the air instead of from the pipe.
- The first half has some blindjumps. While they lead mostly to safe ground, it’s still not nice to have the player jump down blindly.
- The Skull Platform used in the first half feels pretty random and out of place. Also, once we activate it, we can’t scroll the screen far enough to respawn it, which means we have to die if we miss the ride.
- Some lava tiles act weird, a few of them act as a ceiling when we’re Big Mario, and some are passable.
There isn’t much creativity in this. It’s a pretty simple level. It has a somewhat interesting idea with the descending section, but the execution doesn’t go far from the very basic, it lacks variety, and ends up being very repetitive and uninteresting.
The water section has some exploration elements, but it also doesn’t try to do much more than the very basic, and there aren’t any interesting setups that can stand out.
The aesthetics are decent!
The graphics are quite nice. The level uses some tileset mixing, and uses the graphics in decent ways! The decorations are nice, and the use of Bone Platforms is nice as well.
The palettes and BGs are vanilla, so they’re as good as always.
The songs are quite nice.
As for aesthetic issues, there’s quite a lot of cutoff in this level, most pretty minor, such as when decorative tiles such as Ghost House Pillars or Bone Platforms are used on ledge corners, when the Pillars are used on the Bone Platforms, or vine ends, and the most noticeable one when the pipes are placed in the middle of the ceiling in the water section. There’s also some bad corner tiles used in the cave section.
Oh. My. This level is a masterpiece! It is really fun to play!
It’s really engaging, has an excellent flow, a nice learning curve, balanced difficulty, and also has some really interesting ideas and mechanics! This level just has it all!
This level has a really interesting idea, using Message Boxes to make Layer 3 tides disappear, and the execution is superb!
I really like the way the gimmick is implemented into the level! Instead of just being a level using Message Boxes and Reset Doors, you actually made a whole theme to it, and made it so the water level change is part of the theme!
The level is a dam themed level. The Message Boxes are place high into the level, so we can’t see the water disappear, and they’re treated as “Draining Switches”, which drain the water from the level. And in order to restore the water, instead of using a reset door, you used a room with rising Layer 3 tides, to simulate the water rising back into the main level!
The design around the gimmick is excellent! The level has specific obstacles that either require the level to have water or not, and we have to switch between them in order to progress! And not only that, the water is also relevant in the design of the level as a whole, and each segment plays differently when the level is wet or dry!
This makes it really interesting, as the level actually has a lot of platforming and action-oriented segments designed around the gimmick!
Another thing that’s really nice is how the level goes from right to left, which makes the pacing pretty nice due to the movement of the Layer 3 tides!
The use of sprites is really interesting! The level has a pretty small sprite set, but really makes a good use of them! All the sprites make the level really engaging, and they are used really well to compliment the level’s design!
It’s especially great how the use of sprites’ interactions and behaviors are different when the level has water or not, which makes the gameplay different after we change the water!
The use of ParaGoombas is extremely clever! The level uses some really interesting behaviors of ParaGoombas placed underwater, and these make for some really interesting setups with them! The Fishes are also pretty cool, as they’re easily ignored when on land, but become a threat when the water is restored!
The mini rooms to restore the water into the main level are pretty cool as well! I really like the use of Layer 3 tides auto-scrolling! I don’t think i’ve ever seen a level using those before. It’s also nice how you made the room auto-scrolling to prevent glitches.
The Yoshi Coins in these rooms are also pretty clever!
I didn’t find any noticeable issues with the design, the level is well polished! There are just some nitpicks with a few things i think hurt the balance a little bit:
- There are a few Thwomps that can be a bit surprising, as the camera takes a while to scroll up to them.
- The segment with the last Yoshi Coin and 3-UP Moon felt a little bit harder than the overall difficulty of the level, mainly because we have to go fast before the Throw Block disappears. But the segment does have a consistent strategy once we figure it out!
Overall, this level just has everything i was expecting from an entry! Honestly, it was the first i considered giving a perfect score, if it wasn’t for the small nitpicks i mentioned above!
Well, hats off to you Blind Devil, you’ve created a masterpiece!
This level is extremely interesting! It has a creative gimmick, an incredible execution, tons of interesting setups and mechanics and a great theme!
The layer 3 tides disappearing when a Message Box is hit probably isn’t a surprise to most people, but using it as a gimmick instead of just a generic kaizo troll is actually pretty unique!
The gimmick was really well executed! Not only is it used to allow the player to progress, but it also affects the gameplay of the level as a whole! Using the different behaviors of enemies in water and land was really clever, especially the ParaGoombas!
The way it was implemented along with the theme was also really clever with the Message Box working as a “draining switch”, and using a room simulating the water rising again to restore it into the main level!
This level is gorgeous!
The aesthetics of this level are really polished! The graphics used in the FG are a bit simple, but really clean and well made! The platforms are really fitting to the level’s theme, the water looks really good, and the decorations are used well!
The palettes are really good! They’re well made and fit the graphics and theme really well!
The backgrounds are absolutely beautiful! They’re really well made, and really fitting to the level themed! They totally make it feel like we’re in a water dam!
And the song is incredible! Its intensity fits nicely the level’s gameplay! It seems to be something out of a Mega Man X game, which is really fitting considering the level is thematically inspired by a Mega Man X3 level!
I didn’t find any kind of aesthetic issue, it’s just really well polished! Good job!
Whoa! 98/100? I'm really impressed, and extremely glad you liked it! I do agree about the small difficulty peaks when it comes to the last Yoshi Coin and the 3up moon, and did try to make these a bit easier during my revision (as noted by Sixcorby). At the same time, I was uneasy of making some more drastical changes because then the overall design wouldn't be quite satisfying compared to the current version.
By the way I'm really loving your detailed reviews - they're fair, constructive and professionally done. They might be long, but every single word is valuable. Thanks again for your review about my entry, and for favoriting it!