Official Level Design Contest 2021: Round 1

Official Level Design Contest 2021: Round 1 1.3

It was NOT hentai by any means, it wasn't sexualized whatsoever, however it was extremely sus that he called it a 'loli room', and that, reasonably, made a lot of people uncomfortable

I'm keeping v1.2, because now I'm curious, and I want to know what heck happened. If it were inappropriate, why wasn't the level removed and disqualified? If it wasn't a big enough deal to do that, why change it?
I'm keeping v1.2, because now I'm curious, and I want to know what heck happened. If it were inappropriate, why wasn't the level removed and disqualified? If it wasn't a big enough deal to do that, why change it?
That is because it was not inappropriate enough to disqualify the entire level, but it was inappropriate enough that it made people uncomfortable and thus needed to be removed. The solution didn't have to be either extreme.
Some small notes about the maps

Single Player
Blizzard Bastion - Lots of paths and there's plenty to do. But its hard to see with that thick ass grey fog, I suggest you tone that down for better readability

Ante-Station - Visuals are good but i felt like there wasn't much i could do but hold right the majority of the time. I get there were some platforming segments but i didn't find them too interesting. I'd be curious how this map would play in 3D

Mercury Mine - This was a cozy and nice to play on. My only issue was that it felt empty in some spots

Lava Temple - I really liked the challenge here and the visuals, Those eyeballs freaked me out on 1st playthrough lol. Music got annoying after a while

Teal Tundra - Its fine, really chill to play on but it felt empty in most areas. I can see this being a fan favourite amongst modern/neo sonic users as its that open.

Abyss Caverns - Another relaxing and chill level. It does lack in verticality so it felt really flat

Emerald Glade - Not sure about this one, it seemed like there was just a bunch of random enemies just placed in bulk whilst having an extremely open map.

Fort Sunset - Visuals were great and the concept was cool. It felt more like a special stage than anything

Ridge Rapids - Ok this one was really neat, its like a Alpine paradise but as a normal map. Only issue i had was the odd black wall that is only visible in GL.

Hollow Hill - This was one of the most visually impressive maps, The map was really big but with that, it was easy to get lost in some areas due to the scale

Koopa Kastle - Don't have much to say. I did enjoy it and it was solid

Drenched Dam - The concept was really neat, with the counting down timer and racing against metal sonic! but it felt really cramped and the invisible barriers are imo are a BIG no no unless its clear to the player

Thunder Yard - I wished the Electric fence gimmick was explored some more as i and my friends really enjoyed that, however the textures and enemy sprites were really small and tricky to see. Other than that, Level was fine

Falcon Emissary - This was a really neat stage. It started off really good with some clean and fast platforming and with a unexplored gimmick, there is some node issues towards the end and im still abit iffy about the heavy gravity section. It had that feeling of feeling unnecessarily big ,leading to some empty feeling rooms

Bombastic Beach - This was a really simple map and quick! It does feel abit cramped though

Music Mash - The textures really need to be changed as it was really flashy and distracting. The level itself was ok with some interesting puzzles, A great improvement from past iterations no doubt.

Lake Side Match - An extremely open and spacey map with plenty to explore. It was fun to play on but the openness made it difficult to find people

Lost Lake - I really like this! It reminded me alot of Granite Lake and felt super nice to play on. Though It did feel abit cramped.

Magmor Match - Another very open level, i did enjoy this more than Lake side as it was not as spaced out but it was still really big nonetheless

Sunset hill - Not sure if this was intended but it lacked all the weapon rings. It was small and hectic which was ok but there was hardly any rings

Battle CTF
Metallic Madness - This was really neat to play on even on normal CTF. I do like the past/future touch too. Main gripe was that it was way too small for my liking.

Oiled Wasteland - this is the exact opposite of Metallic madness in terms of scale which is great... but it was just too big, plus the oil is evil as it sluuuuurrrrrps you in one gulp. Great visuals though
I'm not sure if I'm actually going to submit a vote but I do want to leave feedback since this is what this event is for. This post may be incomplete for a while. The levels are not ordered in any particular way.

Pretty much a stellar zone with very little flaws, but with flaws still. The most glaring one is that the player is allowed to proceed through the level without ever interacting with the main gimmick (the glowing custom goop) until the moment it's necessary - the waterfall climb with the two Spinboberts - which in my case left me wandering in circles wondering where I should go because that basically looked like a dead end.

The other thing that stood out to me is about springs. I have noticed how a multitude of them that are very vital for progress are either glued to a dark wall easily obscured by the colormap, inside goop that's not easy to enter or just laid on floor they easily blend with. It's definitely not a sin to make little platforms or dents, even step-up/step-down ones, for your springs to sit on/in, or to use copious amounts of ring trails to make sure a player will always spot them from far away; plus, springs just look off when they're just laid out in the middle of a flat surface. Feel free to use your creativity to make them pop more next time.

This is a pretty neat level, or would be, if it was longer than a minute. I was getting pretty excited when I got past the first obstacles and got a little bummed out that it ended so quickly, but that means you've got something going on in here. I can't really say much about it due to how short it is, but if you try your hand at something more full-length I'm sure you'll be good competition.

This is a very cozy level and I liked running through it a lot, even though I don't tend to like ice themed levels much. I did find it a little bit flat: there wasn't much to do but run and jump occasionally lest when you managed to fall in the water, which was not easy, and the enemy placement didn't help on that since Green Snappers are not very well placed on flat ground where you can run away from them without effort. The occurence where I actually ran into one was because it was on a grassy floor and I failed to see it, which is effective, but not very good practice. Working more on vertical variety and strengthening your path splits is a good thing to aim for in your next level.

You're going to be told this a lot, but your level is way too cramped to feel good in a race. The fact that there are arbitrary impassable lines everywhere does not help - their intent is obvious, but they themselves are not, so by the moment you actually know what is the intended path, you're too frustrated to actually try, and the obstacles, mostly the fans at the end, are pretty unforgiving. I emphasize crampedness because it turns out your level can actually work much better simply by being scaled in size; other than that the design is pretty solid and I hope these guidelines will help you polish your next work.

I liked this level in concept, but there isn't much I can say about it since it is very flat and linear save for the character path split. I can tell there was significant amount of effort placed in the decoration and the atmosphere it gives earns a lot of points from me for sure, so if you keep that in mind your next attempt will be much more memorable.

You had me going in the first half, not gonna lie. However as I got halfway through your level literally every flaw I had noticed in your previous entries had shown up again: the spider enemies have sprites too small and blend in with the grass, the multi-hit enemy has a buggy fret state and the level is once again so long I'm impressed at how you managed to have path splits and still make it so extensive. I can praise the electric field gimmick and how you finally dropped the "sequence of trials" trope, but even then the gimmick was too underused to leave a lasting impact. I can only hope you take the advice to heart next time.

Also, your easter eggs are very questionable. I'd rather you spent that time just polishing the rest of level more.
Got my SP votes in. here's my feed back:
Koopa Kastle
This one is mine. Created along side a Mario Maker 2 level, it's designed more like a 3d Mario stage than a Sonic stage.

Mercury Mine Zone
This one was alright. Plenty of paths and fun to play through with Gemma. Gemma is always able to take advantage of Water Boost Jumps especially in a level like this.

Abyss Caverns Zone
A little boring, but I can't take too much off for that. I've played this with a few other characters too, but Kirby was the one who made it into the video. The level feels like it could use a little more activity, but otherwise it's solidly built.

Hollow Hill Zone
this stage has some progression issues in that certain springs wound up blending in with the walls making them hard to see. A bustable floor also had some collision issues too (rings in the form of an arrow are at this one), but if it's fixed, I do not know as I haven't tried the path since beta. The “ghost water” was an interesting gimmick, but there is an issue with having to wait so long to get back down from a certain emblem at the end. I have edited this wait time down in the video.

Teal Tundra Zone
Nothing extraordinary. A solid level, but mostly empty.

Fort Sunset Zone
Very basic, but the point of the stage was to be like maybe a mini game From Drawn to Life. Where it falls flat is the coins. They are somehow solid, meaning that Fang can't shoot through them and Sonic can rebound off them (if rebound dash is loaded) Other than that, it's a simple coin collecting stage and it gets the job done.

Blizzard Bastion Zone
This stage is a solid one as well. However there is an issue with certain rings by a slope that won't move when you have any kind of attraction shield. Some areas were a bit too big and empty, others were too dense. This stage could use refinement. Also the music did not loop properly. Knuckles had some issues on his own paths too. Such as an underwater segment that looked like bad level design due to an invisible wall.

Ridge Rapids Zone
This stage is ok, it just has a couple of texture issues and some issues going from 2d to 3d mode. I can't say if Axis 2d played a part in this though as I simply don't know how that works, but I can't deny that Axis 2d from Ante-Station had at least some sort of effect.

Lava Temple
This stage is down here partly because of the X-treme music, and partly because of unclear level design in parts of the stage, and the difficulty. While the video shows I know where to go, during my initial play through I ran into what I thought were dead ends because I didn't know about the invisible moving platform.

Ante-Station Zone
this stage is mostly good, but the way it uses polyobjects is frustrating. Axis 2d does not like you moving sideways with any of the polyobjects, nor does it like you moving too fast with the camera angled just right. The camera also does not allow you to look up nor down either making it a little difficult to look above or below you, not that it really mattered in this stage though.

Music Mash Zone
This level shows that the author has improved since their previous 2 levels. They have shown that they're getting a better grasp on how to make levels for SRB2, but they're still making some questionable design decisions. The sound maze was frustrating with or without stereo headphones, polyobjects felt a little too fast in the cymbal room. The music change issue shown in the video has since been fixed in the OLDC pack.

Emerald Glade Zone
A stage that clearly made by a new comer. It's not that bad as it at least shows some basic understanding of map making. However, the map maker still has a ways to go to improve. All I can say is keep at it.

Drenched Dam Zone
Cramped, short, and not fun.

Bombastic Beach Zone
Anything but Bombastic. This stage is cramped, short, full of hazards, and has improperly set up starposts.

Falcon Emissary Zone
This stage was another good one, but unfortunately it has 2 soft lock spats that were caught in testing, but never got fixed. One of these spots was tagged as a conveyor belt and the other was given no effect at all. Aside from those, there were a few questionable spots along the way. One being a spot that held a sub where if you don't have a good jump ability, you start asking “How do I get back up?” Knuckles also has a unique path with fans meant to blow you upwards. These fans though are not blowing hard enough and barely push you up. Then come the fan section near the end where you're being pushed down. This section makes you stop on a dime, you can't roll, you can't attack, it's like gravity was made too strong.

Zaxel's Thunder Yard
This stage could had been good. It has good level design, but certain events and a secret room (not recorded) have made this level controversial. This level unfortunately gets too big and has a troll ending where you get stuck in an endless loop made worse by the OLDC's infinite lives. Even without the infinite lives, having a room that kills you over and over until you game over (or quit) is a jerk move. Because of it being intentional I have to rank this one as last as you are tricking unsuspecting people with it. Even Latch would have fallen for it if he wasn't warned first.
A bustable floor also had some collision issues too (rings in the form of an arrow are at this one), but if it's fixed, I do not know as I haven't tried the path since beta.
This hasn't been fixed since the beta because there is no fix on the mapping end. Yes, it's an issue with Gemma. The bustable floor works fine with Amy and Fang, but it doesn't work with most custom characters because they fail to account for the 'trigger linedef executor' flag. This is not my fault, however it's fortunately been fixed in Gemma's latest beta.
Wait, where's the invisible wall? There's just a wall of unclimable ice underwater.
That wall of Ice was not visible.
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Might as well leave the feedback here:
1.Lava Temple by Vixuzen
---I'm legally required to put this here.---

2. Falcon Emissary Zone by InferNOr
This level is kinda like Titanic Monarch to me. I didn't like it at first but each time I played it, I liked it more. Speedrunning this stage is really fun with most characters and, considering the general nature of Sonic games, I think that's one of the most important factors. While the level looks kind of bland at times and the enemy placement could use some work, I think this is honestly the best stage in this OLDC.

3. Abyss Caverns Zone by yyeellooww7
Short but sweet. A little too short, though. I like the setting, although the random lava/ice section seems kind of out of place. Would love to see an expanded version of this level.

4. Hollow Hill Zone by Othius, Inazuma & Spectorious
This level is big. Too big. While the level itself looks amazing and the inclusion of multiple paths is always welcome, the gameplay itself was kind of lacking at times.

5. Mercury Mine Zone by Rexeljet
Cool level. Not sure why the Amy emblem doesn't show on the radar, though. The mercury-falls are a bit too fast and come too frequently, making dodging them a bit too hard.

6. Zaxel's Thunder Yard by Zaxel
This level is pretty long. There are some interesting gimmicks, like bombs being attracted to the electric shields but they can be quite annoying when you don't see them coming. The inclusion of not one but TWO troll exits is a bit of an overkill. 2000 rings and 300k points may seem terrifying but the sheer abundance of rings, as well as some secret areas with loads of them makes up for it. The enemies, on the other hand... I really dislike all of them. The green spiders blend in with the mostly green ground and their small size makes them annoying to deal with. The elementals have this annoying -never know when they'll attack- movement, which sometimes snipes you out of the air into the pit and the new jellyfish enemies seem to exist only as score fodders. Except when you attack them they go full-berserk mode on you and I got hit by every single jellyfish that I tried to kill, which made me not even want to touch them without a shield. Some of the passages are a bit small.

7. Ridge Rapids Zone by particle
This level is pretty fun, although the invisible walls at the highest points is quite annoying. The level ending at the spring is a nice touch.

8. Teal Tundra Zone by SunCyclone
This level is just bland. That's not necessarily a bad thing but I wish there was a bit more substance to this level.

9. Ante-Station Zone by Twins'R'Okay
The concept of this stage is very cool but the perspective makes certain jumps way harder than they should be. Also, the level at times feels like "hold right for x seconds to win".

10. Blizzard Bastion Zone by PhilJFou
Some variety in the textures would be nice. Other than that, this stage is fine, not bad but also not great.

11. Fort Sunset Zone by DylanDude
While I appreciate the idea of a collect-a-thon type of level, this stage gets repetitive really fast. It's small and mostly mirrored and, while the coins respawn, the fact that you lose all of your progress by getting hit is something that should be kept in mind when designing a level like that.

12. Bombastic Beach Zone by Shapeshifter Boi
This level is probably the shortest Sonic level I've ever seen. Seems more like a proof of concept than an actual stage. The bumper chains are annoying to navigate and lack of incorporation of the bubble is pretty disappointing.

13. Music Mash Zone by WasifBoomz
The music is almost inaudible and the fact that you need to put a seizure warning should've been a clear sign that the textures should have been changed. The level itself is ok. The inclusion of Hypertower and Aquatic Port is a pretty neat idea but it seems completely out of place.

14. Koopa Kastle Zone by Glaber
This level is pretty bland. I know that in Mario games lava kills you instantly (unless we're talking about the superior™ 64-esque games in which they just hurt you) but it seems like an artificial way of increasing the difficulty. But what makes me place this level so low is the Brak fight at the end. I honestly don't understand why some people feel the need to place some of the last bosses in their OLDC entries.

15. Drenched Dam Zone by Voidy2246
Level concept is fine. The execution though... Just why are there so many invisible walls? Why do I randomly enter a zoom tube with no indication of it being where it is? And most importantly: why are those propellers at the end so hard to navigate? I would've placed this level at the bottom, if not for it's saving grace - that being multiple paths here and there (and especially the path that lets you skip those propellers).

16. Emerald Glade Zone by DoodlesYT
It's pretty obvious this is the creator's first level. It's pretty hard to say what to fix, considering general lack of substance. It's just a giant arena (that looks like Sonic's head, btw.) with random set pieces here and there. There's too much enemy spam and some pieces (like the one in the Spring Shell Pit) are way too frustrating to get. Have some fun with the geometry next time.
Alright OLDC 2021, Round 1. This review set is a combination of my experiences with both my first blind run using custom characters, and my second run with only Anglestand loaded and vanilla characters only. The original plan was to record footage of both runs and do audio commentary, but my audio sucked, so I'll spare you having to listen to it.

For those that want to know what it's like for a first timer to play these levels blind, check my blind playthrough playlist

I have left out the ratings, and have kept them to my voting topic. No spoilers, but you can probably guess my favorite...

The order down here is in the order I played them on my second playthrough, so keep that in mind.

Hollow Hill Zone, Act 1:

My first playthrough caused *something* to make the framerate go to trash with character mods loaded, but I played it again with just the Anglestand mod on.

"Hollow" is the perfect word to describe it. Whatever mechanics it had felt barely there, and the level is SO HUGE but with very little in it. It looks great, but the map lacks much going for it beyond that. The water's odd, quicksand-like effect that allows you to move at fast speeds with low friction, and isn't even considered water, that was interesting, but you climb up one waterfall (from what I played) and that's your lot. Its relegated to visual dressing after, barring perhaps some secrets. That's the only real stage gimmick I remember.

Seems like many of the set pieces can be ignored. There were a few "big launch" parts of the map that I saw someone else do, which I never encountered. The dropping elevator part where you'd have to fight or dodge the ghost-skinned snowmen was skippable by jumping off the ledge, and I can't tell if that's intentional. In fact, the segment afterwards was also easily skipped by jumping on the ledges around the pillars.

I noticed there were secret buttons to push for... something, but I didn't go back to bother checking. I didn't feel the need to investigate further. The map was huge, but it didn't engage me enough to want to really explore it.

Music Mash Zone:

Right away, the game warns you of flashing lights as a big white bobbing texture is on screen. Great sign. Another good sign is when the music on your music level is *barely audiable*. When I got to the piano, I'm like "Oh, I see, this must be the level's gimmick then. I wonder what other instruments show up!" There are hardly any more musical instruments in the level. I heard there's like, cymbals somewhere?

When I first played this map, I got hung up on this weird gravity boot path, then I witched over to another path that spit out a lua error and crashed the game. When I played it a second time, I accidentally fell down what I thought was a pit, but turned out to be another path?? And there was this puzzle about... the buttons on a trumpet? I think? The buttons didn't play any form of sound, even after finishing the puzzle?? This level was weird, and had virtually nothing to do with music.

Bombastic Beach:

A map I completely forgot about. It says OpenGL recommended, but after a playthrough on both Software and OpenGL, I cant figure out why? The bubbles underwater being air pockets was cool, but not utilized for anything. There's even this tower to climb, but the level exit is like, 1024 fracunits elsewhere on ground level. Was this unfinished?

Falcon Emissary Zone:

In OpenGL, the load times for this map are abysmal. And this ain't just a "me" thing either, others have had the same issue. the issue isn't present in software, which is fine, but its weird how this map doesn't at least recommend using software. This gets REAL annoying at this one checkpoint with Jetty-Syn Gunners right at the start, primed to kill you about a second after loading concludes. I spent a good minute of real time at this one checkpoint because of these guys. Made me really wish I knew about them and the OpenGL issue beforehand,

I tried this with a few different characters. Espio, Knuckles, Amy... I only finished it with Espio, and dint have the patience to do it to compltion with the other two. The maps size and visuals are impressive like Hollow Hill, but actually has level gimmicks involved, including a Knuckles path that makes use of his traits, but I generally didn't have much fun actually playing it. This map is probably great, but I personally didn't have fun playing it.

Zaxel's Thunder Yard:

So like, I thought when I read what that sign said in 1.2, I was taking a line out of context, but... *that aside*, it feels a lot like nearly every Zaxel level. Colossal size, multiple paths, secrets to find, mostly squarish geometry, weird monster enemies of unknown origin. The Zexel wheelhouse.

The gimmick for this one is electricity, so we got electric fence and electrified water (I think?), but also some blatant troll rooms. Like, literal trollfaces. I am surprised I didn't encounter one on my first run, and accidentally fell into the other. I didn't get caught by the "very cool" exit, but that was a real dick move putting a checkpoint in there for a soft lock. I did like the secret fairy fountain though, that was pleasant.

I found the level kinda same-y at times, especially compared to the author's previous levels also being very similar, but I still enjoyed the map, and the alt paths did do enough to not feel literally the same. I was actually dealing with some different obstacles in a few of em. I wouldn't mind another run, but I hope Zexel tries to very his style up a bit more next time. at least more than recoloring the same tiny square textures again.

Teal Tundra Zone:

I had to go back and check because I kept mixing this up with Blizzard Bastion Zone. They're both middle-of-the-road snowy levels, but middling for different reasons. In Teal Tundra's case, it was jut how forgettable it all was If you're not using a boost mode character, the straight shot-ness of it all feels kinda dull. Even after playing it twice, I am having difficulty talking about it. An underwater section happens at the end, and... that's about it. I didn't even remember to record my second playthrough footage.

Fort Sunset:

I never played Drawn to Life, so I have no nostalgic connection here. I was very disappointed that the level amounts to collecting coins without taking damage. I *swear* you could have put in as a Battle Mode entry and it would fit that mode way better. In its current state, it feels like an old special stage, which wasn't exactly the most engaging type of course design to begin with.

On my first playthrough, I ran around in circles, but as an experiment, my second playthrough, I climbed the gateway as knuckles and stood on the big coin as I as writing the script for this review. As I expected, the coin respawns right on top of me, as it doesn't even check if I'm already there. Perhaps if I had to actually DO something to get coins to respawn, this wouldn't be so bad... but the map is still a walk in a circle even if you couldn't cheese it like this.

Ridge Rapids:

I had my fun playing this with Neo Sonic's abilities, but playing this again as Amy made me notice how there's actual Amy paths and her naturally higher jump makes certain jumps possible. I noticed there was knuckles paths, but I was very disappointed in how it came at the cost of Knuckles being able to just climb the walls. It's not like these walls are shined steel or something, its just rock, so why can't I climb it?

I also encountered some visual bugs in software, even in areas where you are clearly intended to go, with the placement of secret items. Always make sure to flick on software for a playthrough, even if some PCs can't quite handle it. Software is still the default renderer!

While it's always a little disappointing to see a map not even have its own music, I still enjoyed playing the map overall. Any mistakes in my playthroughs were mostly my own klutziness. A fine showing! A pretty "vanilla" experience, but hey, vanilla's still a nice tasting flavor!

Abyss Caverns:

Another one of those maps I kinda forgot about until my replay, but I actually played it twice to see both paths. I was surprised to see the were actually of different elements, but I didn't think the water and ice side did much with their element, as a golden monitor with the elemental shield made me feel like the water was a big hallway. In fact, this whole level mostly felt like a big hallway with little of substance in it. Another one of those levels best played with a character using Boost Mode, if any to actually make use of these halls.

The most I was worried with was when the dark floor caused me to jump between gray patches a lot, just because I didn't know when a pit was going to happen. I can't tell if that was actually intentional or not. Aside from that, the level doesn't have to much to worry about, and it was over before I knew it.

Emerald Glade Zone, Act 1:

A first timer, perhaps? It's got a lot of the hallmarks; all vanilla assets, emerald hunt mode to cover for its small size, enemy spam, rings and powerups placed wherever... Emerald spawns can be right into enemy nests or seemingly in eggman monitors, making getting them awkward, and one was even placed on a ledge where, if you took out the springshell, you'd need something the whirlwind shield to get to. Is that why that's golden? I do find the Sonic head art kinda cute though.

Koopa Kaztle Zone:

This sure is a Glaber map alright. I could say what's wrong with the level, but I really don't have much to say about it, as the mostly flat, rectangular level design didnt really peak my interest. Instead, I'm going to ask, why the heck is this map using Midi music? In 2021? I didn't even have midi on when I first played it! And once again, glaber adds an old enemy. I do appreciate actual koopas being here, functioning mostly as they should. what I certainly did not appreciate was having to do the Brak Eggman fight again, with almost no change. I didn't even bother finishing the map because didn't wanna deal with this guy, and you did almost nothing to change it! If you're not gonna give m anything with your boss reuse, don't use the boss!

Drenched Dam Zone:

I was getting pumped when I heard the MadWorld soundtrack, but for a "Race Metal Sonic" map, this map has absolutely no flow to it whatsoever. a constant stopping block after stopping block, both visible and invisible. The key being to find which part of the invisible walls has a hole to a shortcut. A completely cramped and awkward level, and once you reach the end, you realise the timer was actually super lenient, if you have found even one cut, or have a character that can glide or fly.

Mercury Mine Zone:

Another map in the style of Gigapolis, I see. I don't feel the road-like nature of Gigapolis works that well for what is supposed to be a mine, but I still had a lot of fun with blasting through it! Feels like a boost character is absolutely a must though, as you'd be missing out otherwise. I can't imagine this being as much fun with Tails or Fang, as they don't really get any place to let their abilities shine. I also didn't see much in the way of gimmicks, as the mercury is basically water with ring drain, and I don't think said drain provided much pressure outside of one pool. I still enjoyed it.

Blizzard Bastion Zone:

Unlike Teal Tundra, I actually remembered this one, but not for good reason. The left starting path hints at using Amy or Fang, but when I got through it as fang, I got to some fence and couldn't figure out where to go from there. Taking the right path as Sonic, I just lost patience for contending with slippery thokking up hills, so I ended up cheesing it with Tails. The maze had some buttons to press, but I didn't actually know what they did, and on my second playthrough, I pressed one and then noticed the exit from the maze didn't need them, apparently?

The slide was kinda fun and gets pretty fast, but the part after, I got no clue how a non-spinning character gets through it. Then there's this part with pillars that rise rapidly, the rings hint you should use them, and when you do... you ceiling splat with no warning. I thought it was some elevator, but you're meant to launch off of these. I had no clue of knowing that. I didn't have much fun with this map either.

Fire Temple:

Geez, what a weird looking level! What are these assets even from?? This map certainly caught my interest! So many paths to take too! I thought this stage was linear on my first run, but then I didn't fall for the trick floor trap and wound up in an entirely different first half! And then I got past it and found out these doors oen to character specific paths for each vanilla character? And I think even a 7th for custom characters?? That's so cool!

The Rolling Rock puzzles, the intimidating dark areas, the creepy wriggling living thornbushes, challenges trailed to every character... This map was an adventure, and I should check out those other paths too! Absolutely the highlight of this competition for me!

Ante-Station Zone:

This was actually the first map I played, and it was a good note to start on. It's a 2D level, bt unlike almost every 2D SRB2 map ever made, this one is pretty good! It makes use of both Axis2D and Portals to create an odd platforming experience. It's got some smart stuff to it, like how clipping into a polyobject from the side will safely put you on top of it as opposed to it killing you or something. There are points where I failed to make the jump, but a convenient patch like a blue portal was there to save me.

It is a bit difficult to se at times though. The nature of 2D mode and the game playing mostly the same control wise means its difficult to see ahead of you for how much horizontal momentum you can quickly make. The angled part at the end looked cool, but gauging those jumps on the polyobjects was really hard without some form of leading line, it could have done with some rings for guidance. Minor sight issues aside, I think this is the best 2D map I've played in a long time!

Welp, that was my review set. I don't know how to conclude this, so uh... see you next round, I guess?
Phew, some interesting levels again folks!
Lots of snow themed levels... In the summer edition.... Interesting..

Interesting new Hub, altough the Character select thing doesn't work for me. Altough I only played version 1.1.

Aw, Akira Hedgehog didn't make it? Was looking forward to his final chapter.
And yeah, I didn't make it on time either, uploading my intended OLDC entree much later, after I beat it into submission.
It ain't cooperative at the moment.

Well, time to go reviewing the current levels then.
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the Old Sharps were more of an atheistic choice as we don't have Mario series Spinies. Robohoods were also because we don't have hammer brothers.

Koopa Kastle used midi music because I don't like to use Nintendo rips if I can help it. Especially after getting a claim on one of my OLDC videos on youtube. The music cover I wanted to use turned out to be not fully compatible, and I haven't had good luck with getting oggs to loop on my own.
This is the cover for those wondering:

Not using a cover of "In the Final" was because I forgot I had one for one, and for two, I couldn't find another cover. by the time I found the one I had again, voting was already going on and it was too late. I also lost track of who made it.

as for the victory Jingle. Probably should have used a midi conversion on that one.

Brak was something I wanted to do something a little more with, but unfortunately, Phase 1 was not turning out so good and had to be cut. You can still find Phase 1 on the map if you no clip past the last pipe.

How the boss fight would had gone is you would have fought Old Brak until he breaks the floor. then you both fall down and Brak's armor system breaks (the electric shield of modern brack being use to show this), then you fight modern brack as normal, or with Fire power if you still have the fire flower power up.
I didn't have time to come up with a new Bowser Based boss either. I wanted to do something like a Mecha Bowser.

By the way, if you have Mario Maker 2, have you tried out the level code found right by the last pipe?
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Okay so I originally had up a WIP draft of my feedback in this reply thread, but I forgot to save the draft before I updated my PC the other night. I only went thru 4 and a half of the levels so far in the contest before I took a break, so i'm gonna try to come back to this but write far less than what I wrote last time. As a result, some of my feedback for the first few levels i played is going to seem rather disjointed and/or unelaborate cuz i cba'd to type it all again. Gonna try to keep this as concise as I possibly can. A lot of it is just reactions, but some of it is advice

I played through all of the levels as Knuckles (primarily). There are some levels in which I decided to do extra playthroughs as other characters too, but those were few and far between.

--Really unique and consistent custom graphics, for both textures and enemies. Is this based on another game? If so, what is the name of it? I'm genuinely curious.

--gay lil monkies

--It's an interesting concept, but it feels more like a MP Special Stage than an actual level. As a result, I don't think farming around for rings coins is very fun. not to mention you have to do it all over again if you get hit even once

--I do love the fun use of launch slopes seen throughout here, and the mercury gimmick is at least interesting.

--Location: I feel like the falling liquid here either needs to be A) not as wide of a surface area, or B) have a less frequent interval at which it occurs. Timing a jump through these was really hairy, and I can't imagine how annoying it would be trying to do it with Amy or Fang.

--Location: So I came out from the path behind me, as you see here. That corridor in the center of the room, with the blue rock lining? That stood out so much to me that I legit thought it was an alternate path, or that it contained a secret/emblem/etc. I was then disappointed to find out that it was actually just the back way in from the falling liquid room, but I did not recognize that since I was traversing along the bottom of it. Perhaps you should make the rock texture on this corridor be Red instead, so that it blends in with the surrounding and doesn't make the player think it's important.

--Location: As I recall, I was essentially forced onto this path as Knux (not complaining). So, I see what you're going for here with the non-climbable walls, but the fact that this hallways requires a near-fully-charged spindash-glide in order to cross feels a bit excessive. Spindash-gliding is imho more of an advanced technique and shouldn't be requires to progress on a mandatory path.

--In my repeat playthroughs, as I compare some maps between one-another, the ramps add for a lot of depth in how you can traverse. However, particularily during the beginning of the level, some of these slope jumps end up getting caught in the way of these lamp post objects, which can be particularily annoying when that happens.

-map's illegal, go to jail

--(also i loved the hidden whirlwind shield at the beginning of the stage, very nice touch)

--actually rq before i move on, wtf was going on with the textures here?

--Why did you have so many random non-climbable walls around the place with some of them even using the same texture as climbable walls?

--Location: there's a missed opportunity to put some sort of secret on top of this waterfall, like a powerup or something

--Location: It's a clever transition out of 2D, but the 2D here is also not very well-contained, and depending on what angle you enter the cavern from, your camera could clip through the geometry and mess up the screen.

--Location: i know what youre trying to go for with the non-climbable walls to make a Knux climbing path, and that idea itself is perfectly good, but this implementation just feels cramped and a bit annoying. Also the slopes on the platforms in this room are really annoying and just get in the way; they're unnecessary; stopped forcing me to do a spindash-jump off the platforms every time i (inevitably) fall off and try to climb back up here, please and thank you. Also, why is there even a blue spring there to begin with? It can't even push you high enough to get on the platform it's pointing to. This seems untested.

--Location: look, i'm really trying to be nice here, but what were you thinking with this waterfall part, it is ungodly infuriating

--Why. :threat:

--Location: So while youre trying to escape bees, you also have to contend with there being a nasty banpyura on top of this platform, AND THEN you have the proverbial balls to put a diagonal spring in an area with open-air bees over deathpit? You're playing with some INCREDIBLY volatile fire, there.

--The deathpit just makes this area assinine as fuck, i've got to be honest with you

--The graphics in this level are super interesti-- OH GOD WHAT THE HELL ARE THESE ENEMIES

You have nothing telling you to avoid all contact with the larger bouncing enemy.

--I'll give you this: I am genuinely pleased by the amount of alternate paths there are.

--Location: literally any character who cannot jump out of this lava is dead if they dont make this jump. if that's your intention, then just make it a deathpit.

--Location: ...same for this room.

--On the main Knuckles path (in the "act 2" section): The camera is often a very big obstruction, whether it's due to your opposite wall being way too close to you while trying to do the side-climbing segments, or whether it's because you need to literally made blind jumps to glide off into the direction opposite of the wall you're currently on in order to proceed. Some of these blind jump-offs have lava flows directly in your path. Do not do this. If the player cannot immediately see in the direction which they're intended to progress in, do not make hazards like that. Also, in these kind of blind jump-offs, make sure there's a line of rings to tell the player that it's safe to go that way.

--winter in summer, nice

--actually theyre not really that big a deal since you have such wide amts of room to move around in

--So this level definitely had a good flow. If anything it's a little bare; could maybe use some more decor

--it's solid, bro, SOLID

--So, an Axis2D level, eh? I love all the stuff you're doing with the visuals. I switched to software so I could see the visual portals. As a result of course though, I inevitably ended up seeing some HoM's during certain speedy segments.


--A very nice touch with changing the camera's Z angle during the horizontal platforms section.

--Though, i'm really glad to be doing this as Knux, cuz I can imagine that this would become a nightmare as Sonic lmfao

--Location: yyyyyeah, uhm.... nnnnnno. The platforms here move WAY too fucking fast (especially for how small they are), slow em down lmao
--Holy christcrap on a shitstick this part is actually legitimately awful to play LOL, just remove it entirely jfc

--Yeah, so... Verdict? Everything visuals-related: Great. Everything level design-related: :worry::worry::worry::worry::worry:

--winter in summer, nice

--Whatever this colormap is, it makes everything incredibly ashy lol

--Ice terrain on narrow platforms = no good, pls do not do that

--Location: Right, so, idk where Knux is supposed to go on this path, so, my playthrough ends here.

No. :worry:

--good ole mario robo blast

--"Music MARION could not be be loaded: lump not found" uh oh

--The way pipes transition from 2D to 3D segments is pretty darned clever i like it

--You can kinda just zoom right past the 2D fire section...

--oh god brak after bowser lmao

--It's an okay level; i can see how some people would be off-put by lava being instant death, but thats how lava works in Mario, so... meh

--You really captured the feel in the lava area
-- Though, maybe dont put any green grass textures in an area like this lol
--also the water path is very pretty

--That was short and sweet

--Metal Sonic race? Cool!
--Know what's not cool? Artifically gating the player's traversal with shitty invisible walls in a 3D space!

--Location: The passage for this speed boster is way too narrow. If you end up approaching it from even slightly off to the right, it effectively becomes a trap. Matters are made even worse by the fact that you appear to have invisible walls up in the air above this speed booster as well.

--Yeah actually fuck it, this level's design is nothing but frustration, don't even want to complete it, bye

--Nice music choice, though!

--There's some nice use of slopes and ramps throughout this level
--Certainly an improvement over Hakuryu Dojo

--One big problem in this level is the fact that these spider enemies blend in with the flats too much; too many times was I suddenly damaged while running on grass because I literally did not see an enemy coming in front of me. Your enemies need to be clearly visible ahead of time, and that also means taking the colors that are surrounding their environment into account.

--Troll sign post pit... uh huh, yeah, sooooo funnyyyyyy, you're the king of comedy... :worry::worry::worry: What, are we in 2010 again?

--Location: hey nice sky

--okay but seriously, these spiders are too small for srb2, make them larger.


--oh hey i found the fairy room, nice

--"bring me thousand of <ring>"
--okay, sure, easy, lemme just do that
--well that was a cute little exit. im assuming that was some sort of secret exit?
--anyway, i ended with like 1300 rings... eek, thats gonna be a long time sitting on the score screen e_e

--So, why does this level take a million years to load & reload?

--Holy shit, what FBZ remix is THIS?

--Right off the bat, massive amounts of impressive visual detail. But what's with the wavy effect?

--The enemy spam starts become a little too much.


--Location: So, i'm looking at this and i'm like... how the hell would Amy supposedly get out of this?

--seriously enough with the fucking yellow jetty-syns and BEES

--Location: why is there a pit here

--Location: So I climbed up this wall, and there was just a block preventing my climbing; I go down instead, and it's just deathpit down there. Uhm... what?

--Location: Okay, i'm done. I literally don't know what i'm supposed to do here. This part makes no sense.

--oh good it's flashy-lights time

--ironically, for a level called Music Mash, the level music sure is low volume lmao
--The piano is pretty cute, but again, could stand to have the soundbytes be a higher volume

--The addition of slopes is nice to see, and they actually kinda fit

--the room with the zigzagging polyobject spent me a copious amount of retry's. shit's w e i r d

--the room with the EDC puzzle is cute, though you should have a better way of indicating to the player which position (up or down) corresponds to the White or Black circle in the display

--overall there's definitely been some improvement since your previous entries

--lol cute bubble

--Location: Be careful with putting ramps directly next to bodies of water which contain Jet Jaws. This will often cause them to start "swimming" onto land when they clip onto that ramp. May be better off spacing the ramp up a bit more.

--By the way these are some nice wall textures!

--The whirling bumpers are way too fast for how large their objects' actual hitbox is. It's inventive, but it doesnt work well in such a small and cramped space.

--Very short, semi-sweet. However, the way to the sign post was a bit of a ways off. Make that more clear next time.
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the Old Sharps were more of an atheistic choice as we don't have Mario series Spinies. Robohoods were also because we don't have hammer brothers.

Koopa Kastle used midi music because I don't like to use Nintendo rips if I can help it. Especially after getting a claim on one of my OLDC videos on youtube. The music cover I wanted to use turned out to be not fully compatible, and I haven't had good luck with getting oggs to loop on my own.
This is the cover for those wondering:

Not using a cover of "In the Final" was because I forgot I had one for one, and for two, I couldn't find another cover. by the time I found the one I had again, voting was already going on and it was too late. I also lost track of who made it.

as for the victory Jingle. Probably should have used a midi conversion on that one.

Brak was something I wanted to do something a little more with, but unfortunately, Phase 1 was not turning out so good and had to be cut. You can still find Phase 1 on the map if you no clip past the last pipe.

How the boss fight would had gone is you would have fought Old Brak until he breaks the floor. then you both fall down and Brak's armor system breaks (the electric shield of modern brack being use to show this), then you fight modern brack as normal, or with Fire power if you still have the fire flower power up.
I didn't have time to come up with a new Bowser Based boss either. I wanted to do something like a Mecha Bowser.

By the way, if you have Mario Maker 2, have you tried out the level code found right by the last pipe?
If you ever need help looping music, give me call. I can do that real easily
Alright, I played through all the stages several times as different characters, so I'm ready to deliver my opinion on each level.
Drenched Dam Zone (3/10)
Racing Metal Sonic isn't something you expect to see in the OLDC, it makes this stage quite unique. But in the end, one big flaw ruins everything: invisible walls are everywhere! They force the player to run through tight "corridors", which is really bad for a wide-open space games like SRB2. This stage would be played better if it had more open areas.

Koopa Kastle (5/10)
Honestly, I'm not a big fan of Mario themed levels, but this stage felt pretty good at the start. However, then I noticed some issues:
- The stage feels kinda empty, some variety in visuals or in level gimmicks won't hurt;
- I find it unfair when people use lava as an insta-kill plane, considering in vanilla SRB2 lava doesn't kill you on touch;
- Was it really necessary to put Brak Eggman at the end of the stage?
Sadly, this stage was promising to me, but it fell shortly.

Emerald Glade Zone (1/10)
Not gonna lie, I was genuinely surprised that stage got into the contest. It feels more like a first project in Zone Builder than an actual level. Sure, it has some interesting ideas for Emerald Hunt, but that's about it. Anyone can make a stage like this in a few hours.

Abyss Caverns Zone (9/10)
Now that was a really well made level: I absolutely adore the aesthetics of the stage and it wasn't too difficult! Various signs around the level tell you where do you need to go, so you won't get lost. Nice music choice. I can't really find any issues with this stage, except for maybe being a bit too short, but after all this is a really good level.

Falcon Emissary Zone (7/10)
This is a pretty neat level, I can even see it in the main game as a challenge stage. I would rate this stage higher if not for some issues that are too hard to ignore:
- Poor Optimization. Some sections of the stage lag really bad and I'm not sure why. It could be just my computer, but then we have this: the stage loads up forever in compare to the rest of the levels (it's super annoying when you have to trial and error in order to complete the stage, because lags occur even after retrying/dying)
- Questionable Enemy Placement. For example going through Knuckles path was a hassle while there were bee badniks around that can hit you while you're climbing over a bottomless pit.
This stage has a really cool idea, but unfortunately, I can't rank it any higher.

Bombastic Beach Zone (4/10)
If I had to describe this stage with one word, it would be "anticlimactic". The level starts inside an air bubble which made me think that most of the stage will be built around this gimmick and next there are spinning bumpers, which were annoying to get through to say the least, and then... the level ends. It must be the shortest stage in this OLDC. Like, why do you have to use a gimmick that doesn't affect your stage at all? But I'll be more forgiving with this stage considering how many difficult levels there are, yet this stage is pretty low on my list.

Music Mash Zone (4/10)
Where do I even begin with? The music for this stage is ironically way too quiet for a music themed level. I know that some people complain about the color palettes for the stage, like it can cause epilepsy, but I had a different problem with it: all these switching colors and constant change of direction made me sorta tranced, at some point I wasn't realizing what I was doing. This stage has a pretty cool idea, but again, it was poorly executed. However, unlike, say, Drenched Dam Zone, Music Mash doesn't limit you with free space, hop around as much as you want, but still, this level is pretty bad.

Zaxel's Thunder Yard (6/10)
Ok, people will definitely disagree with me on that one, but this stage is not as good! Sure, this stage is fun to play in some way, it's long enough to enjoy the playthrough, but...
- Sometimes it's not clear what do you need to do and where do you need to go, even with signs;
- These green spiders are rather too small to notice or hard to see on green planes;
- These troll exits are just evil, especially the very cool exit;
- Record attack emblems are insane! Well, I can live with 2:55 for time emblem, even though I got barely enough time to finish the stage with Tails, but 2k rings and 300k score points!? I'm sorry, but this is just absurd... Of course, it's possible, but it's mindblowing, if you want to get these two emblems prepare to feel the worst anxiety in your life.
But still, in compare to most levels of this OLDC, this one is pretty descent.

Teal Tundra Zone (9/10)
Another definition of "beauty in simplicity". This stage's aesthetics aren't as strong as in Abyss Caverns, but it still has this charming atmosphere. I like the emblems placement. I have only two problems with this stage: some sections feel a bit empty and record attack emblems are pretty tough. Even then I love this level.

Lava Temple (7/10)
Oof... This stage must be the most difficult in this OLDC, but the challenge is pretty much fair, not without trial and error, but still. The bad thing about it, it's way too repetitive - if you take top path it's just "the floor, ceiling and walls are lava", if you take bottom path it's endless boulder puzzles. The second part of the level is quite unique as it has separate paths for all character, so every one will have their own challenge. Somethings I don't like - visuals of the stage and especially its "badniks" don't match Sonic style, also these badniks are kinda creepy. Time emblem is too strict. But overall it's a good stage.

Ante-Station Zone (8/10)
I have controversial thoughts on this one. On the one hand, this stage is super confusing: honestly, this kind of 2D in 3D doesn't work well in SRB2. Also, some platforming sections are screwed up and I have no idea how to get some of the emblems, because they seem to be out of reach. On the other hand, it's a nice experiment and I liked the idea. By the way, this gimmick where you fall into floor and then appear at the ceiling reminded me of Portal players' favorite thing to do, which is definitely plus from me.

Blizzard Bastion Zone (N/A)

Mercury Mine Zone (7/10)
I don't have much things to say about this stage other than it's descent. Ring-draining liquids isn't something new, but it's appropriate here. Sometimes it's not clear where do you need to go. These parts with flows of mercury falling down are a bit annoying as it forces you to be under mercury for the most of the time. I like the visuals, but music doesn't fit quite well. I wouild say, this is an average OLDC stage I've expected to see.

Fort Sunset Zone (6/10)
This stage felt like a new gamemode in SRB2, but after playing it over and over again it reminded me of old special stages that are currently used in multiplayer. And if special stages had no threat of losing blue spheres, in Fort Sunset there are enemies who can hit you making you lose 400 coins (rings) and this thing drove me mad at one point. Thankfully, coins respawn. but it's still not too fun.

Ridge Rapids Zone (6/10)
This stage makes an impression that it was mainly tested with Amy: I had a struggle when trying to beat this level with other characters, but the level itself isn't that bad, maybe except for the final part where you have to dodge stupid bees while jumping over bottomless pits. But if you figure out a speedrun route, it's no longer a trouble. It's not a bad stage, but I just didn't enjoy it.

Hollow Hill Zone (10/10)
And thisis the best stage of the OLDC in my opinion. Visuals are fantastic. Challenge is fair enough. Emblems spread out similarly to original SRB2. I enjoy this cyan goo gimmick which doesn't make you sink immediately and speeds you up when you're running on it, like blue gel from Portal 2. This is the stage you just want to explore more and more. The only thing I didn't like is strict timer for the time emblem... also fifth emblem... why... just why...

And now my final rankings:
A: Hollow Hill Zone, Abyss Caverns Zone, Teal Tundra Zone
B: Ante-Station Zone, Mercury Mine Zone, Falcon Emissary Zone, Lava Temple
C: Ridge Rapids Zone, Zaxel's Thunder Yard, Fort Sunset Zone
D: Koopa Kastle, Music Mash Zone, Bombastic Beach Zone
F: Drenched Dam Zone, Emerald Glade Zone
Unranked: Blizzard Bastion Zone
Alright, I played for a little more and I want to update my feedback on some stages
Falcon Emissary Zone
I tried this stage with the Software renderer and while it definitely reduces the lags, I still have minor issues with fps at some level segments. Plus in software there are some visual glitches with this stage like when textures dublicute on one another.

Music Mash Zone
Okay, I just found out about some paths I didn't know existed and was pleasently surprised to see referrences to creator's previous OLDC stages. I looked at this stage from the other side and now I even find it sorta enjoyable, so no I'm giving it 6/10 and it's in the low C tier.

Ante-station Zone
Okay, when I tried software, this stage became more beautiful with all this portal shenanigans, but I'm curious why it doesn't work with OpenGL? Altough I still have some questions to level design, like how do I get certain emblems or emeralds.

Blizzard Bastion Zone
For people, who didn't find out Amy/Knuckles/Fang paths:

There is like a breakable wall and a breakable floor on the left after the ice slide and after that the path splits into three with red floor signed for Knuckles, purple for Fang and pink for Amy. I'm genuinely surpsied some people didn't figure this out, not gonna lie.
Also, yeah, I've screwed up path for Fang at the start of the level, he just can't fit through the gap between the grates. I'll fix this problem once the contest ends.

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