f506z20 | “Light Bridge!!!” by Noob Jr @2sjrkc | Casual, Clever, Paths
Edit: The author has made some changed based on feedback
I found this to be a nice simple level. The overall design makes good use of backdrop and decorations to create multiple different areas. There are regular checkpoints, and given the lack of ways to die, the level is pretty forgiving. I think it’s great looking overall.
I think there are a couple of changes that could make this level really enjoyable. First, I would make the decorative flashes a lot slower, probably 4 times slower. I was having a lot of difficulty orienting myself at the start of the level, but this wasn’t an issue once I got going. I’d also see if there are any good ways to have an escalating sense of difficulty throughout the level. By expierment with gap distance and possibly some hazards, you could have each section get more difficult than the last, building the player engagement.
Finally, I would continue the theme of a score route and a speed route, which I really enjoy. The use of hidden areas and by making some jems more difficult to reach could really enhance that. You could also have a few level skips that are really difficult to use, such as a spring jump with spikes to avoid, that could give a super short route for really skilled players.
c9cp0vq| “Flame! Speed Run 2” by liquidwater @jb9q5d | Clever, Intense, Troll
I enjoyed the theme of the level, with the mushroom biome and the fire below, it felt very ominous. I would love to see some more variety with the backdrops and tiles outside of the playable area. I think it would only take a little bit of work to make this level feel like a lived area.
I definitely enjoyed the challenge of the level. I would consider making some changes for some more optional difficulty. For example, you could move some of the jems to above the spikes you normally run right under, so that the player has to take a different path if they want all the jems. I’d also consider having some jems guarded by non-spikes for variety and optional difficulty. For example, a spike chainer protecting a big jem could add an interesting timing challenge.
Normally I recommend that most levels have a checkpoint, but this one if short enough that it works without it. Still, I could see a situation where you have a checkpoint in the middle and casual players can play it and speedrunners can ignore it. I also like the fact that the jems mean that the fastest time isn’t guaranteed to have the best score, this makes the level more engaging for different styles of players.
Regarding the troll part of the level, the level is short enough for it to be funny instead of frustrating. Still, I would consider adding something on-screen with the level so show it’s at least working, something that turns on or off when it’s switched. I’d also consider putting a sign by it or and arrow pointing at it. When I first tried it, I assumed it was left in by accident.
Overall, a fun level. Some small edits and it could have more reply value and engage different types of players. Finally, I’d love to see some changes with the backdrop and the types of tiles used so there is less repetition in the overall look. Great work!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.