(LogiARPLayz) My Map Rankings

These are my rankings for the Level Design Contest. For the Moderators I will provide my list first and foremost, and for any of the map developers reading this I will provide a brief summary of what I thought of the level and why I rated it the way I did.

1. Hollow Hill Zone
2. Lava Temple
3. Falcon Emissary Zone
4. Zaxels Thunder Yard
5. Blizzard Bastion Zone
6. Ante-Station Zone
7. Mercury Mine Zone
8. Ridge Rapids Zone
9. Drenched Dam Zone
10. Abyss Caverns Zone
11. Music Mash Zone
12. Koopa Kastle Zone
13. Teal Tundra Zone
14. Emerald Glade Zone
15. Fort Sunset Zone
16. Bombastic Beach

1. Hollow Hill Zone
To put it in simple terms, this level feels as though it belongs in SRB2 as an official level. The level design itself to me is the perfect balance of being linear, and having multiple pathways. I always felt as though I was discovering new routes with every run, yet not getting lost. While its difficulty is not substantial, its a satisfying level to play none the less. Its like Studiopiolis Zone from Sonic Mania, in the way that its a level that makes you think, "Oh cool where here now!" The aesthetic of the level is beautiful as far as SRB2 Levels go, and the terrain was varied in interesting ways, unlike some of the other levels in the competition. The level did a good job at feeling like a unique natural landscape. The music fits the atmosphere and pace of the level very well. Again, if this was the developers pulling a prank on us and leaking a level form version 2.3, I would not be surprised. Great job @Othius, @Inazuma & @Spectorious.



2.Lava Temple Zone
I will admit I originally ranked this level lower, but upon further runs through it, I've come to have a new appreciation for it, so much so I am still having trouble deciding if this should go in first or not. This level is by far the largest in scale when it comes to design. Once some of the initial frustration was out of the way, I came to appreciate the ways that the level challenged the player. This would definitely be an endgame level, and the atmosphere of the music and aesthetics does an excellent job at conveying that. I'm not exactly sure where to start with this level. They get very creative with the ways that they challenge the player. There are quite a few ball puzzles and ball platforming challenges, and they are mostly easy to figure out, although it would be very nice if they hinted at the player that if they walk to the bone walls that they could climb them. One thing that I will say I like a lot is that this level manages to be difficult without feeling super slow like so many endgame sonic levels are known for. There is rarely any waiting, and if you are playing with someone like tangle, you can have an absolute BLAST abusing the graciously open level design. Its a hard level that makes you wanna play it again, because I guarantee you still haven't found all the secrets. The level actually has a part where it branches to a different pathway depending on the character you chose! Now I feel as though I should state why this is not in first place. Its placed in second for the same reason I had it rated lower upon my first impression. The level is a bit difficult to understand on your first couple of playthroughs. If they did a slightly better job at directing the player I would give this 1st place. For me it took a while to fully understand the level. I wish I could tie this level for first, but since I can't I'm going to go with my gut and leave this in second place.



3.Falcon Emissary Zone
Welcome to Flying Batt- I mean Flying Emissary zone! This was another fantastic level. Ignoring the music of course, this level does a great job of making this level feel like flying battery. The atmosphere is fantastic. The level design itself is pretty good, but only maybe a 7/10 in my book. It provides a decent challenge, but some portions of the level I feel should just be deleted from existence. Both because they feel unnecessary and because they can be annoying. For example, the platforms after the first few pulleys feel unnecessary. Yes they lead to a spring, but you could just drop down and run up the slope where there are 4 item boxes, and then proceed to spindash jump (or even do a normal jump) from there to where the platforms would have lead you. I would suggest either deleting those platforms, and/or perhaps adding some enemies to the area directly below it to add incentive to take the higher path. The second gripe I have is with the checkpoint just before the area I was talking about. When you first rush in you seem to have plenty of time to use the platform to get through the air duct. However, if you fail the pully jumps and respawn at that checkpoint, you get absolutely pestered by the drill bees. You have to rush to the ring box and usually tank a hit, then fight those annoying buggers off so you can use the platform in peace. I would recommend decreasing the amount of them or getting rid of them altogether, or better yet, put them in that empty area where you have those two measly shield badniks. The level is by no means bad, its very good. However stuff like this made me put it below Lava Temple, which was difficult to understand, but not really annoying like this level was in a few instances.


4. Zaxel's Thunder Yard
It has a very "c o o l" exit.







Ok in all seriousness I actually enjoyed this level quite a bit. It was expansive and very fun to explore. Normally big open levels like this one can feel a bit bland, but the variety of platforming challenges coupled with the 2d sections and decent amount of enemies does an excellent job at keeping the player occupied while they explore this vast thunder garden. My main gripe with the level is the amount of rectangular rooms. On my first few playthroughs I found myself getting lost quite a bit because of certain areas looking similar to each other, and I would often end up turned around. Am I mildly incompetent at times? Y e s. Are some of the other players reviewing these maps also mildly incompetent at times? y e s. Point is a little bit of direction would help compensate for the lacking of linearity throughout the level.


5. Blizzard Bastion Zone
This was a good level, it did a good job at keeping with the theme of being a Bastion. I enjoyed the level design. It had a good amount of variation and did not feel slow or overly open/empty except for in maybe one part. In the part of the level where there is just a massive mob of badniks where you have to spindash jump, the threat of the badniks is undercut by the shear amount of space that is given to the player. Instead of shrinking the room, just add a few more badniks. It will be fine considering the fact that you give them invincibility just before they encounter the badniks. The maze was an interesting challenge and easy to get through once you know the route. The ice platforming was well balanced in difficulty and did not overstay its welcome. The appearance of the level however did feel quite bland. It felt like things were missing. You definitely have some space to add some cosmetic items to make it feel more like its really ROBOTNIKS BASTION.

6. Ante-Station Zone
This was by f a r, the most interesting entry here being a fully 2D level. However there were some parts that definitely needed some work. For one thing, I have to question the use of platforms that move 3 dimensionally in while I am locked to a 2 dimensional plane. The part where you are outside in space is the biggest offender. Even if you land on those platforms, you are more than likely going to slip off. The only reason I was able to complete the level is because I got fortunate enough to spindash jump, hit the minefield, and land on a platform at its peak so that I could jump off and over them. I really like the concept of having 2D levels in SRB2, I just feel the level designer tried to get a little too creative in some places. This definitely has a ton of potential.



7. Mercury Mine Zone
This level is best described as Inoffensive. I like it, but it doesn't do anything very ambitious. It feels nice and open, and I appreciate its usage of slopes, but other than the mercury draining your rings mechanic, it doesnt do anything very interesting. It would be cool if once you had all your rings drained you actually died, because when that happened to me and I didn't, it gave me a sense of the level being incomplete, of course that is a very subjective observation and the developers could feel differently, but those are my feelings none the less considering the vast amount of rings the developers give you. I liked the music and the theme, but I never really felt like I was in a mercury "mine" or some kind of chemical plant for that matter. At the end of the day it is a fun level, but not one that made me feel as though I am missing out by not replaying it.



8. Ridge Rapids Zone
I want to start this one off by saying that this was a very polished level, and the creators did an excellent job in making this what I would consider an attempt at a Green Flower Zone competitor. However, the competitors this level faces makes me only able to put it as high as 8th place. It is a very nice green themed level with a relaxing theme and relatively easy platforming. The thing for me though is that it didn't feel like it did anything different or creative, except for maybe that spring badnik that hurts you but this is a level design contest not a badnik design contest, no offence. The level is short and sweet, and that's all I really have to say about it.



9. Drenched Dam Zone
Now this was an interesting one.


I absolutely loved running through this level, but those fans at the end of the level just completely killed it for me. I love the fact that its a metal sonic race, but the spacing of the fans at the end of the level completely kills the pace and any sense of fun. Admittedly, Metal isn't much of a challenge as once you know the level he just cannot keep up, so I feel like it would help if that were improved. He takes a very cautious and slow route at the platforms over the bottomless pit. If metal sonic is a recorded run and not an AI, I highly recommend that the runner being recorded abuses Metal Sonics hover a bit more. The cheap difficulty provided by fans, and the lack of real difficulty provided by Metal Sonic is why this level isn't ranked any higher. That makes me a bit sad because in all honesty I really liked where this level was going. Last thing, the music low key slaps h a r d. Its the only reason I bothered trying to get past those fans in the end.



10. Abyss Caverns Zone
This was another level I really wish I could've ranked higher, but I don't feel as though from an objective standpoint I can. I absolutely loved the atmosphere and appearance of this level, but the overly simplistic level design killed it for me. I mean yeah its got some bottomless pits and stuff but I feel like even Green Flower zone has more to offer in terms of a challenge. The level is beautiful, but its way too short. I shouldn't be able to complete it in a minute and a half this isn't sonic colors.

11. Music Mash Zone
This was an ok level with some interesting concepts. The bouncing piano is sorta fun, but I really think its unnecessary to only have the black keys increase your jump height and not the white ones. It gave me a really bad and confusing first impression as I struggled to figure out how to proceed. The route containing the stone stairs was not particularly interesting although the falling bricks is a cool gimmick, but the way it transfers you to the next room is absolutely wack looking. It makes the level feel unfinished, as though there was supposed to be a tube there. As for the room next to it, the water puzzle was easy enough to figure out, but not fun by any means. I felt as though it took away from the level, and as though I will just take the stone room every time. Overall it was ok and just had a lot of gimmicks in my opinion.

12. Koopa Kastle Zone
I understand that its trying to give us Mario Vibes with its level design, but to me the actual level itself felt kind of short and uninteresting. To me the most interesting gimmick was jumping up into the blocks to get coins, but that's all it felt like. A gimmick. The 2D sections where a nice addition, but I felt like I spent more time in the actual boss than the level itself.



13. Teal Tundra Zone
In all honesty this level just doesn't feel complete to me, for a single player experience anyway. This might make for a pretty fun level to race through with friends due to its simplistic design, but when I'm in single player I don't want to be able to speed thok throughout the entire level without even the thought of running into an obstacle. An easy way to fix this is add a few more badniks that tend to be annoying, or a better way would be to just add in some variation to your level design.



14. Emerald Glade Zone
I really like the concept of bringing Knuckles' Emerald hunting stages to SRB2, but the level felt very uninteresting, unpolished, and unfinished. There is too much open and empty space between the shards, and the placement in my opinion felt a bit lazy. There was no real platforming required for any of the shards. I am not trying to call you lazy, for all I know you just haven't found a way to put the shards somewhere other than the floor, but its still a problem with the level none the less.



15. Fort Sunset Zone
Its a polished looking level with a cute aesthetic, but for to me that's all it has going for it. I felt kind of brain dead by the time I collected 500 coins, and you can bet 20 bucks this would be in last if I got hit 400 coins in. This could possibly be a level referencing something I just don't know about, but if its not, I recommend making the level a lot bigger to avoid making the player run through the same areas over and over again. I wouldn't mind collecting 500 coins if the level felt worth exploring.



16. Bombastic Beach Zone
There isn't a lot to say about this one. The level is extremely short and contains nothing but a series of rotating bumpers designed to ruin your life. I don't have much else to say about this level. Which is why its in last place.


Thank you for taking the time to read my review! I hope I didn't any developers feelings too bad.. (yes I know its ironic considering what I said about Bombastic beach)

Can't wait to see what the next round of competition has in store for us!
 

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