Throw Block & Sproing Puzzle by Mrichston

lq2959l | “Throw Block & Sproing Puzzle” by Mrichston | Puzzling, Clever, Quick

This single screen puzzle level looks deceptively simple, but it will have you scratching your head for quite some time. I don’t know if I would have been able to solve it without a hint from the creator. Let’s just say you are going to have bust out of your preconceptions to beat this one. Great level and earns the Popdonk Recommends badge for cleverness.

Dune Factory Blopfush Crush! by ZLDFN101

tw0964s | “Dune Factory Blopfush Crush!” by ZLDFN101 | Beginner-Friendly, Contraption, Clever

Great use of the design pattern of gating the player with a simple task and then escalating. In this level we learn that doors function as DEATH MACHINES. I love it when creators take a clever approach to game mechanics like this. Great use of blopfish on paths to make it challenging because of the varied pace and direction. Good use of terrain and backdrop aesthetically.

Two small recommendations: one the big vacrat got a bit tedious, because the first door would push him back sometimes. Additionally, to open the last ballogs for him also opened his way back. So it took me a number of tried to get him killed.

The other recommendation, and this just personal choice, is it would have been really funny if in the last section the tables were turned and YOU the player had to make your way through timed doors of death. Just some food for thought. Overall, a great design.

Eye Switch Fortress Explore! by ZLDFN101

lvkjrxb | “Eye Switch Fortress Explore!” by ZLDFN101 @yhn3lg | Clever, Long, Casual

This level is AMAZINGLY well done. Without a doubt it earns the Popdonk Recommends badge!

This level is beautiful. It make used of varied terrain, blending and backdrop to create a cohesive whole. It has separate rooms or sections with their own theme and vibe. It is generous with checkpoints. This creates a smooth and easy pace.

So many of the pieces of this level is brilliant. The flapjack puzzle is easy, but time consuming, building a sense of tension as you try to move the pieces just right.

This seems like an OSHA violation

The tiptoe puzzle is challenging and utterly thematic. The use of hidden space and blopfish paths makes it challenging but enjoyable.The infinite checkpoints makes the challenge tolerable.

Playing hide and seek with blopfish

The puzzle with the blopfish and the saws feels chaotic and nervewracking. Very well done.

This level took me 17 minutes to beat (10 minutes more than the baseline) and it was quite a joy.

The single change I would recommend would be to have one or two more switches in the forest puzzle plainly visible. I hit the first switch and thought I was done until I came back to it on top of the puzzle!

Aha! I see the goal now

Through The Whatever!! by Retro Banana Man NL

0wmrrtw | “Through The Whatever!!” by Retro Banana Man NL @kdkswt | Clever, Quick

Through The Whatever is a great example of what an engaging beginner level should look like. It provides a direct route for speed runners, it provides lots of jems for high score seekers, and it provide plenty of checkpoints for casual players. It’s short, but engaging with interesting puzzles. For me it took 75 seconds the first time exploring, and 33 second speedrunning it.

Geronimo!

I really liked the surprises and exploration aspect. Players are encouraged to jump off a cliff into the unknown. There is a mega jem just barely poking out. There is a hidden cache of explosives. All of these things encourages players to explore, gives the non-speedrunner somthing to do, and they all make the player feel smart.

Introducing flipwips!

Other brilliant touches is the use of multiple paths in the first puzzle, forcing players to cover the same physical space in multiple ways. I love that there is multiple ways to deal with the flipwip enemies, providing a way to explode them, fight them directly, or completely avoid them.

Another smart piece is the gating mechanism. Retro Banana man uses a package cam to lock the player into the last section of the map. This is great for subtly guiding new players.

Overall, a fun level that meets the needs of multiple audiences. A concise example of good level design. Popdonk Recommends!

Bomb Away! Bomb Away! by Ps7cho

52d6kj4 | “Bomb Away! Bomb Away!” by Ps7cho @xppvz7 | Bombs, Paths, Clever

This is an incredible engaging, inventive and challenging level. It feels like you are in charge of this little ship trying to fire at all the enemy combatants. It’s easy to start, with but quite difficult to get all of the bad guys. I also enjoyed the ending for how you get out of your ship.

My only recommendation for improvement would be to have a monster gate or two in visible range at the beginning. I assumed I needed to kill all the bad guys, but wasn’t entirely sure until the end.