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Old 09-04-2011   #55
There and back again~
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Seeing as Dumbventure's attracted a lot of attention, I thought I'd post some of my thoughts, seeing as I'll probably not get around to actually voting until later. I have to say that I underestimated the level despite Prime hyping it up, due to the title.

I enjoyed the use of the homing attack in minor cases and as alternative paths. I liked the way you could use it as a break in order to prevent overshooting an area, and how it made platforming a little more challenging. It did throw me off, trying to get a sense of what was accessible and what wasn't.

This especially hurt me in Thunder Fortress. While the use of the Egg Guard as an obstacle was clever, it only made a difficult approach more difficult. In most other places, it wasn't that big of a deal. Valkyrie Cliff was my favorite part of the pack, but I did enjoy areas from other pieces too, and got a huge kick out of the Donkey Kong Land level.

The textures fit very well, I admired the theme and the decorations. They didn't feel superfluous or excessive as visual decorations often seems in recent levels. With the exception of the casino level, where the background made it unclear to me that there were actually moving platforms to jump on.

Most of the enemies were fine, with the exception of the turret from leaf forest, which drove me nuts, and the bouncing turret from the boss. Seeing the chaos emerald over a barrel in the casino level, I did actually try to bounce off the barrel a'la Mario to reach it. After I got hurt a few times, it became obvious that it was a hazard from every angle. My only other critique would be that the visuals ranged from more detailed than SRB2 to ugly pixellated sprites. This visual dissonance detracts from the otherwise excellent presentation of the pack, and proves to be distracting in the boss (not interested in debating whether or not that's a bad thing again).

While I liked the boss the visual noise wound up throwing me off and I didn't get the hang of it until after my first attempt and even then had trouble keeping track. The boss attacks at a fast rate, and leaves you little opportunity to pick up your rings which is a welcome challenge. I never did catch on to the white or red flashes, only the blue. Maybe adding a sound with the pre-attack animations would help to warn the player the way other player-made bosses do.

Other issues, in the casino I couldn't tell that the moving platforms were part of the path and not the background do to the fact that everything was equally bright. Additionally, the wall-jump is too gimmicky and risky to place over a pit. I would rather see spikes, or maybe a crumbling platform so that the player doesn't necessarily have to die to learn how to approach the area.

Sure its not perfect, but the presentation is great. I don't want to score it until I've spent more time with it. Maybe a 9 or a 10, we'll see.
"A man who's a dreamer and never takes leave, who thinks of a world that is just make believe
Will never know passion, will never know pain, who sits by the window will one day see rain..."

~The Greatest Adventure: Ballad of the Hobbit
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