Jungle Tower Trouble” by BscotchSeth

h9zc5z5 | “Jungle Tower Trouble” by BscotchSeth | Well-Paced, Secrets, Precarious

This is a good example of level design. The creator starts of with a sense of ambiance with the use of rain, house-like structures, a good variety of terrain and ropes. This level very much feels like a place. Why you would live somewhere where Kromblers keep banging on the roof, well that is not for us to ever know.

We see early on in the level a gentle escalation of difficulty. The first battery is highlighted on a pedestal, but that pedestal also protects any new players from the vacrat to the left of it.

Ahh, that’s where I left me aaa’s.

We see this escalation is well with the elevators, which use a variety of mechanisms. The first one using a level is smart because it forces the user to focus on it, it make new players feel smart and it slows down the initial pacing.

Going up!

The second floor is more challenging but still doable. I appreciated the implicit pause point shown below, as well as the use of checkpoints overall.

On the third floor, I feel a bit mixed about the puzzle with the blopfush. It works overall, but I could see someone jumping straight into the fray and then realizing too late they need to do a package jump right after. I very much appreciated the portal at the bottom of the level that brings you back to this floor. I fell down the once and was quite grateful I didn’t have to do things over or force a respawn. This was a very thoughtful touch.

The last floor was quite challenging, but it was short enough that you could brute force it and rely on lucky timing. I appreciated that aspect. Finally, I enjoyed the fact that there were some hidden areas and bonus jems.

Overall a great level and a Popdonk Reccomends!

Flingo On To Whizblade by Yucca

5pcwrz8 | “Flingo On To Whizblade” by Yucca @krkxsl | Beginner-Friendly, Simple

This level follows the design axiom of “More Whizblades equals more better.” This creator does a good job of providing escalating difficulty and variety in challenges. This level almost could use more checkpoints. A spent a bit of time repeating work but never so much that it go frustrating or overwhelming.

I think a smidge more variety in terrain and use of backdrop might have helped out the aesthetic a bit. I also would have loved to see more Jems and optional challenges. I enjoyed the linear focus, but it would have been nice to be able to compete on the score leaderboards, and currently there just aren’t enough jems to do that.

Overall a fun level, infused with some character.

Sproing Climb House! by The Red Brick

sh9g91r | “Sproing Climb House!” by The Red Brick | Simple, Beginner-Friendly, Explore

This level is definitely an improvement over the creator’s previous level. The Flipwips surprised me the first time because I didn’t realize the columns were walkable and therefore I wasn’t on high alert. The creator does a good job of segmenting the level into different sections and providing checkpoints.

I appreciated the bonus jems because it allowed me to pursue the highest score even if I couldn’t get the best time. I think the cloud section provided a good sense of escalating difficulty without being punishing for new players. I’ll be interested to see this creator produce more intricate levels, I see a nice metroidvania style level in their future.

Escape The Secret Temple! by The Red Brick

9hgthtj | “Escape The Secret Temple!” by The Red Brick @xqsnmf | Simple, Beginner-Friendly, Well-Paced

A great first level by The Red Brick. The design is visually coherent, and I like the escalation in difficulty. I also appreciate the gating of content into individual rooms. I appreciate the optional jems, and the consistent checkpoints.

My main piece of advice is I would have loved to see a bit more difficulty, despite being a beginner friendly level. This could be done via more rooms, more difficult jems, hidden areas etc. this allows for a level to cater well to multiple audiences.

Random Adventure: Episode 01 by Reallyzarble

c2wbrs6 | “Random Adventure: Episode 01” by Reallyzarble | Switch-Heavy, Explore

Overall, I enjoyed this level. I liked that each room had a different aesthetic, that was a really nice touch. I enjoyed that the levels got more difficult as you went, and the fact that the last level was much larger and more intricate. I especially enjoyed the music change near the end. It felt a bit like a boss room. I enjoyed the jems taunting the player throughout the level, like a hard mode of some sort.

Final room!

The level creator was generous with the checkpoints, by providing infinite checkpoints in the central area. Still, I might have liked one int he third room since I spent probably 8 minutes alone on that room. Especially frustrating is that I beat that room, but investigated the arrows and the hidden area and got myself killed in short order. It took me probably a dozen tries to beat it again. I really enjoyed the clouds acting as a brief chance to catch your breath while you were falling.

Note to self, never go left

My one other bit of advice is that the second room felt like a missed opportunity with the burny whirlers being static. Turning them into a dynamic movement puzzle could have been a great way to add some variety and to bridge the difficulties between rooms one and three more smoothly.

Overall an enjoyable level, and I look forward to see what else the creator makes.

Flipwip Missile Factory by Tardigrade Astronaut

hbjb076 | “Flipwip Missile Factory” by Tardigrade Astronaut | Bombs, Throwing Mastery, Simple

Overall I enjoyed this level. It was well-paced and was broken up neatly into sections. I liked that there were a variety of challenges all based on the same concept. The Creator did a good job of gating the content initially to make sure you understood what you need to do. This is good design.

As a whole, I enjoyed the aesthetic. This creator used a good variety of terrain and backdrop. The Flipwips on conveyor belts was mesmerizing. Having non-platform elements move around was a nice bit of polish.

10/10 for that Flipwip backflip

My one complaint is this level could have been a bit more forgiving. I would add a few more checkpoints, especially near the end. After spending about 12 minutes on the level, I gave up on the boss Blopfush. I also would have considered adding some extra flipwip drops in case you miss a blopfush.

I simply could not beat this section

Big Vacrat Theft, Episode 1 by TalkGibberish

h5lw5fm | “Big Vacrat Theft, Episode 1” by TalkGibberish | Beginner-Friendly, Chase, Explore

This is a fantastic, well-built level. It makes good use of the new tilesets and creates the feel of a lived little town. Why exactly we have invaded it and are killing all the local vacrats is a little unclear. It has checkpoints throughout and make re-use of the space multiple times.

My favorite part is the fact that it tells a narrative. I enjoyed the little sound effects when you find a hidden gem or the large vacrat steals his.

This level unabashedly earns the Popdonk Recommends badge!

Box Buddy! by RoedelPoes

bj93620 | “Box Buddy!” by RoedelPoes | Long, Complex, Switch-Heavy

Well color me impressed! At first I started this level and it had a neat mechanic with the package moving by itself and I thought “Oh, isn’t that cute.” But then it kept going, on and on, in a good way. The creator here has taken a companion cube style mechanic and riffed on it in a dozen different ways. It’s a beautiful, well designed level that’s a joy to play.

Some of the sections are challenging, but never overwhelming. And all the timing puzzles are quite fun. I also love, love, loved, the ending where you get to review everything you’ve accomplished. Great touch.

This level gets the Popdonk Recommends badge for sheet variety based on a single mechanic.

The Ancient Jem Heist by HighChair

6mz963d | “The Ancient Jem Heist” by HighChair | Brawler, Well-Paced

I love the level aesthetic on this one. It really feels like you are in a Flipwip den. Great use of backdrop, varied terrain and decorative elements. The level escalates in difficulty and has plenty of room to avoid the flipwips. While this is a brawler, I would have loved to see some variety in the challenges. With some variety to keep things interesting, the sequel to this level could easily get the Popdonk Recommends badge.