Been enjoying the changes for a little while now, and am loving the direction on the gameplay here. Grow feels even more like a power item thanks to the boost gates. I always strongly preferred stars or rocket over mega. And regardless, it feels great not having to rely on either being close to someone to boost off and try not to get backspammed [drafting] or pulling a good item [especially in stock] to potentially catch up to a frontrunner trying to make a break.
All the tweaks have felt right so far.
The rocket "nerf" ends up feeling like a strong utility buff due to being able to far more consistently mash it off right before an item set. Begone, lost item chains!
Though, the 3-second window for quick recovery keeps messing with my head, expecting it to no longer be possible *when IFrames wear off*. And then there's moments where a Hyuu would just so happen to steal one's sneakers while spinning and still do a boost, further extending the hit like the infamous boost panel situation, which may (if unlucky enough) lead to target shock-esque situations where sneakers get stolen right after tanking a hit to where it just boosts the poor racer off for a cheesy self-destruct.
I absolutely adore the changes this mod makes, they make the game much more competitive and races are a lot more close!! Every new mechanic does something I like despite a few small drawbacks. I won't be too in depth but these are my highlights:
Dash gates are a brilliant idea to me, taking elements of Mario Kart Wii's slipstream, Sonic Riders' turbulence and your everyday boost pad to make sure no racer is left behind! It's more compatible with more twisty courses thanks to how it works, and you don't always need to take gates to get ahead if you know what you're doing. It also feels less stressful for me as I don't have to necessarily be right behind the frontrunner and risk being shot down with an Orbi or banana, and having them change dynamically depending on what stat block is in first feels fair~ Related, miniturbo stacking with the gates and themselves is the best change to go with this as it keeps the action flowing! I wouldn't have the mechanic any other way as of this writing!
Teching is another thing I absolutely adore. Fighting games have had this for years for similar reasons- no one wants to be getting tossed around unable to do anything. This keeps the action flowing and gives racers a push to be more on the offensive! My only gripes are that holding the button and missing the tech still gives a significant boost, it's really hard to tell any difference between getting the tech and simply having accel held. Plus, you still retain invincibility frames after teching making it an incredibly safe option. I'd extend the perfect tech boost a bit, and make it so doing that perfect tech boost takes some time off i-frames akin to Acro's Store mechanics. This way, there's a bit of a tech chase metagame like Melee where if you wanna hit someone again, you're gonna have to predict where they'll tech off to if at all. Otherwise, this is the very mechanic that sold me on this mod and I love it!!
As for smaller changes...
Making racers intangible at the end of a hit as well as in a failed start boost is small, but brilliant and makes the game feel so so much better~! Having racers in front of me screw up while I get a perfect boost and blast them ahead instead of me always felt unfair, and getting tossed about after a hit is now less jank.
Speed shoes getting capped at 2 is another small change that really makes me think more about where to use them, compared to 3 where I could take some stupidly big cuts. Same applies to Rocket shoes, they were ridiculously powerful before!
Neo Hyudoro, besides having a cool name that should go to a new boss, comes with great QoL changes. Speed shoes getting fired off as to not screw players over cuts, seeing what you can (not) take, and having the slight speed boost are all changes I adore seeing! The other powerup buffs are also neat- SPBs giving a shoe is an interesting feature, and Grow giving a miniturbo on cancel is a nice change that makes cancelling it actually more worth it.
While all these changes put some people off sadly, to me they all add to the game in fun, interesting ways that make me wish more servers hosted this! It keeps the action tight and refreshing, and I do hope to see some of the smaller tweaks like Hyudoro's in V2, however unlikely that might seem. Congrats on making one of the best Kart gameplay mods out there!!
What i've found surprising about juicebox is how on paper it seems like various balance changes, but in practice it really makes a significant change to how kart is played.
The highlights for me:
- Trying to frontrun is a lot more engaging, and you really have to fight if you want to hold on to first. (I especially enjoy taking tight lines/difficult paths to try and put gates in awkward spots)
- Those towards the front of the pack usually see a lot of action, there's rarely a dull moment if you're placing high.
- Lots of up-time! With fast respawn/tech/catch-up you spend longer in the actual race fighting against other players
Some minor gripes/general thoughts:
- I'm finding juicebox most enjoyable on normal speed with probably up to 10 players. Hard speed + 12 players can feel a bit too chaotic, and the overall increase in speed can be difficult to deal with on tighter maps.
- Slightly related note, Aqua did initially have his juicebox server open for 16 people, but that really did feel too frantic and people were reporting frame-drops (this might not be a concern as I think you recommend juicebox for up to 12 players anyway)
- Being towards the back of the pack can feel a bit more frustrating than vanilla kart. With vanilla it's usually more of a slow steady climb to the top; with juicebox it feels more like there's a wall of players you have to make a sudden break through. With everyone being so close most of the time, it can be difficult to climb ranks without immediately getting punted back down.
- In terms of power items I do think rocket sneakers are lagging behind a bit. I think the item protection from grow and invinci is even more important in juicebox, so it's easier to gain a few positions and maintain that.
- It feels a bit strange that the quick-recovery timing when you're in low grav happens mid-air. Intuitively it feels like something that should only happen when you're on the ground.
- Sometimes the quick-recovery prompt can get lost in the chaos of explosions etc. It would be nice if it was always visible over other effects, no idea if this is possible :P
Hopefully I haven't forgotten anything for my wall of text. Initially I was concerned that juicebox was gonna kill the skill aspect of kart, but I think it just encourages you to rely on other skills in comparison to vanilla.
Hopefully it carves a niche for itself on kart servers as it's a fun and refreshing way to play kart, I could see myself returning to juicebox servers for a long while.
As a big balance conversion on v1 Kart, it does a massively, surprisingly good job at what it does. It's incredibly hectic and fun, and it really makes it so everyone has a good chance of winning.
The dash gates mechanic is an amazing idea to keep everyone in front, teching is a really good idea to keep the pace of the race, and every other small tweak on the top keeps it all neat and tidy in a really fast package.
I want to highlight that, despite being branded as a highly-opinionated mod (what isn't, really), Tyron was a massively good sport about balance suggestions on the beta test before release, and was able to find many compromises to keep the spirit of this mod alive and everyone happy as a result.
Having spent about 6 hours of netgames playing this in 15-player lobbies (unlike the 10-player cap that was in the beta test server), I want to comment on things that particularly stuck out to me that felt strange:
- The Eggbox "anti-cheese" fix: makes sense in theory, since dying with an eggbox removes it in Vanilla, but in practice, I've seen players getting "combo'd" thanks to this - getting dunked by an Orbi or Jawz (which is easier than ever thanks to the Dash Gates), and then blowing up later because the Eggbox was kept after your death. It feels uncharacteristically punishing for such a mod that is so lenient on mistakes, but it can be as easily fixed too with a spin-out check.
- Not being able to tech after getting squished by Grow. This is not mentioned anywhere in the changelog, so it has to be unintentional.
- The Rocket Sneakers tweaks: makes sense in theory, but they're over-nerfed, specially considering how they compare to Invincibility and Grow - Grow benefits a lot from Dash Gates because of the built-in handling buff from mini-turbos (so much so that it's possible to get 1st straight away thanks to the system mechanics), and Invincibility is as strong as ever because it allows you to get away with *a lot* of punishment that would happen otherwise in this mod. Because of this, Rocket Sneakers feel comparatively gimped and no better than Vanilla Triple Sneakers. Worse still, Eggboxes are low-key really strong, and Rocket Sneakers are the only power item that can go poof from an explosion, so that can mess things up as well. Firm Sneakers doesn't justify nerfing Rocket Sneakers, so I really wish for this to be tweaked in a future update.
Also, "init.lua" has been the source of some desyncs in this mod (or so it seems), mostly happening as a player joins mid-race. I was able to catch one warning before it crashed me to death:
"WARNING: [path/to/mod]|init.lua:145: divide by zero error"
All in all, I can expect this to be the go-to gamemode for months in servers, and most deservingly so. Cheers and amazing job on everyone who worked on this!
This plays really well. I especially like the instant respawn. The gate mechanic is great as it makes frontrunners worry even more whilst keeping everyone in the pack. So anyone has a chance at 1st.
Since gates get pooped out behind the person ahead it adds pressure to you. You have too go through the gates and risk being hit by a trap to get ahead which increase the skill needed to play. BUT i think, even if you play poorly you can still remain in the pack and have a shot at winning/placing.
I hope we stay on apple juice cos its the best juice type. Dont @ me