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Old 07-05-2012   #23
There and back again~
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Industrial Valley 1 --- 5

The music was a little grating as soon as I pulled it open. The level certainly was functional but many of the deaths were cheap. Having dark textures in a dark level made platforming in that large room with the purple liquid about guesswork. In that same room, because of the current in the purple liquid, falling in is as good as death because you can't recover your rings and are unlikely to manage to reach those springs. The one cavern with the pit where I had to jump past pistons and liquid cost me a few lives before I realized it was better just to avoid timing jumps through the pistons altogether. The room that fills with green goop doesn't allow the player enough time to react the first time through. The square room over the pit with the weights was difficult to figure out, at least you could have used a rope to make it a little more clear how they worked. Overall, I would recommend polishing up some of your ideas then implementing them in a way that's fair and clear to the player and interesting.


Sonic Schoolhouse -- 4

I never know how to respond to entries like this. It works exactly the way its supposed to work. It was amusing, and there were no design flaws... except for the fact that there really wasn't any gameplay. I felt more like I was exploring the world of a tot's edutainment game than that I was playing in a level that used that edutainment game as a backdrop or theme. But I think that was what you were planning. I don't know how to rate this yet.


Frozen Hillside 2 --- 9

Solid and almost flawless, this level was fun to play without trying to be clever or gimmicky. I think there were a few ideas in this level I would have loved to see developed and fleshed out a little more, but at the same time I like how the level was mostly simple. I'd say since this is an act 2, there's no reason why you can't do a little more with the interior areas. That's really more a comment from a designer's mindset than from a player's though, it didn't really hamper my enjoyment of the level.


Chemical Facility 2 --- 6

I don't know if I played the first one. Factory levels have been my favorite for quite some time because of all the potential for bringing in creative new gimmicks. I rather enjoyed some of the ones you brought in but some of the gameplay itself felt a little stilted. There were times when I found myself taking advantage of tiny ledges either because I could see no clearer path or because I could not get the intended path to work. One such case was in one of the blue water rooms where I couldn't figure out the trick to using the waterfall to get higher and bought a game-over for my efforts. Another was at the beginning where you can't quite scale that one button without jumping on the tiny pipe things coming out of it. These are small issues, but an intended platforming route should be clear and large enough to be seen as playable space as opposed to decorative space.
A larger issue is that the gimmicks which had such potential were too deadly to be enjoyable. The conveyors were to be avoided rather carefully run through because of their speed. The pink mice looked awesome but were just more dangerous and annoying crawlas. I think they would have added more if instead they dropped purple goop here and there and moved more slowly. Areas where I should be getting used to the gimmick you introduced had pits. One example was the room full of blue liquid. The fact that I was underwater was threat enough, if I fell down the risk could be of drowning before I got back up. The aforementioned example of using the blue waterfall to get higher also counts.
One room had a button with a timer that I had to race to get to the door. I'm convinced that there was some way I was supposed to prolong the timer but not seeing it, I instead spent five minutes or more (including game-overs) trying to time the button with the piston and then abuse the conveyors to reach the doors before they closed. I made it a few times, but since it was not a consistent solution I wound up no-clipping through so I could focus on other challenges.
One other critique is that you have a lot of different types of gimmicks rolled into one place. I would like to see one or two fleshed out in an interesting manner than see five or six. (don't think you really needed the reverse gravity gimmick) This would also make it easier to polish as well. I liked your turrets even if they sometimes seemed like cheap shots. The green mice were interesting, I'd like to see the purple mice used equally imaginatively. The orange liquid pretty cool, the blue liquid was a nice idea even if the areas you used it were frustrating. Visually, your level is consistent and appealing. Keep up the good work, and I hope I'll get the chance to play a polished, more focused version of the level.


Lightless Labyrinth --- 6

For the most part, this seems to be an experiment. Complete darkness seems to be one of the cardinal sins of SRB2 and here is a test to see what works and what does not. The smaller passageways do not work because getting stuck in a dark corner is very problematic. The greatest strength of this level were the larger areas like the one where you jump over a series of floating platforms. The problem is that the majority of the level focused on the smaller passageways. The badniks were annoying, but maybe would have been better off in larger areas. Trying to find my way around in some of the corridors under constant assault by the fire wisps took much longer than it needed.

The boss was my favorite part of the level. The area was large enough to move through and the attacks were every bit as visible as they needed to be. The use of the water and the fire was clever. The knockback on the missiles made it dangerous to recover lost rings. Overall, I wish I had been able to finish the boss instead of glitching through to the finish line. The level preceding the boss is too long to invite another playthrough.


Azure Temple --- 10

I'm not going to have the time to get into a long review. All scores in this post are subject to change, including this one. While I still would like the level to have provided me with a really entertaining set piece before the end as a parting shot just as a cherry on top, I do think the level is both challenging and entertaining. There are no critical issues that drag down the experience. There is extensive replayability. There is even attention to little things like the flickies, or giving the player fifteen lives to start out. The Knuckles path was a whole lot of fun, particularly the climbing segment which felt reminiscent of a scrolling shooter. I still haven't managed to beat the platforming path at the last split, but I've gotten far enough that I believe that the end of the path would have been just around the corner.
"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

Last edited by JEV3; 07-14-2012 at 06:10 PM. Reason: Finished scoring
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