“Flame! Speed Run 2” by liquidwater

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!

“To Vanish Quietly” by Notutorial

klmpmnf | “To Vanish Quietly” by Notutorial @zw705q | Chase, Intense, Precarious

I like the general theme of the level, where you have to use Ripcord to get from platform to platform. I found it to be a challenging and engaging set up, trying to stay on screen was quite the task. I also enjoyed the variety in enemies and traps. One of the really good parts is that the level ramps up in difficulty as you go. I like the use of backrop and the fact that the level was asymmetrical instead of being a bunch of straight lines.


I would recommend a few small changes to make the level more approachable and enjoyable for less skilled players like myself. First, I would get rid of the time requirement to make it to the end it quickly. It took me 35 second to make it to the end, and the door to the finish was shut, which felt frustrating. I tried to look for an alternate way to the end, but fell to my death.

So close to victory

I would also add three checkpoints to the level for slower players like myself. I enjoy grinding hard levels, but without checkpoints I kept repeating the first 3 platforms over and over. Checkpoints can be a nice way to allow players to retain progress. Overall, an interesting level!

Climb Leaf Tower, GR-18… by Rain

w8x8z7c | “Climb Leaf Tower, GR-18…” by Rain | Panic Moments, Intense, Long

I really like how this level creates challenge with just the starting blocks, but is generous enough with checkpoints to make it achievable. I am excited to see what the creator does with the constraints of the daily build!

There is a good variety in terrain types and backdrop. The puzzles are straightforward, although the flapjacks falling on you can be funny and challenging sometimes. Also, twice I jumped on one and got stuck in his cage.

The creator makes good use of building sections, and has a bit of escalating difficulty, which is great. My one recommendation is slightly better pacing, which is hard to put into words.The different rooms didn’t always feel like they had a clear vibe or goal, and the challenges didn’t always feel like they clearly escalated in challenge. So, a sequel has some potential for a little bit more flow.

That being said, great level overall. Challenging and fun to beat.

Spike Trap Frolic by ExtremelyTired

vn5z5zt | “Spike Trap Frolic” by ExtremelyTired | Chase, Complex, Intense

Really brilliant idea for implementing a chase level without paths or an autoscroller by requiring the player to sprint to make certain jumps. I really appreciated the jems to help with the jump timing, those were a huge help. I like the variety of the terrain and challenges and the mild puzzling. The hidden prize blocks were funny without being too trolly, which is a hard line to follow. The timing with the burny whirlers makes the player feel accomplished, which is great as well.

Three small changes would have earned this level the Popdonk Recommends badge. First, some use of backdrop to signal how much thought you clearly put into this level and to improve the aesthetic a smidge. Second, checkpoints, checkpoints, checkpoints. A few strategic checkpoints would have opened up this level to a wider variety of skill levels.

Lastly, I love the little jem area you have at the start. More opportunities for more jems or bigger jems would allow for players to get a top score without beating the speedrun time. This would also open up the level to a wider variety of players.

That all being said, for a first level, this is amazingly well done. I look forward to whatever you make next.

Wumble, The Hideous Champion by GooGroker

2pjqs7m | “Wumble, The Hideous Champion” by GooGroker | Chase, Panic Moments, Intense

This level is utterly amazing and you should go play it now. Googroker has made a chase level with some sort of hideous monster built out of hazards are on paths. The monster, the sound effects, everything, it is great. It truly creates the feeling of being chased. This level wholeheartedly earns the Popdonk Recommends badge.

Colossal Jem Gauntlet by BrambleGaming

jh5fcxd | “Colossal Jem Gauntlet” by BrambleGaming | Intense, Long, Well-Paced

I suspect there is a reason that this level is still unbeaten at the time of this writing. It certainly deserves the tags of long and intense.

The first section is a mad dash, but make sure you push through it, because after that there are some checkpoints you can use. Watching the jem gates go down like some sort of count down timer is quite a bit of fun.

Gotta get them all

I don’t know if I’ll ever beat, it but this level has a lot of variety and is a fun testament to jem hunting. The biggest issue is there were a couple of places I got myself locked out, which was frustrating. The first was when I hit one switch and locked myself out of the normal route on the left, having to start over.

Ah, take a left at the checkpoint. Let me find my map.

The other time was when I missed this ooooone jem. The gate opened, so I thought I didn’t need to get all of them.


As a result, I got stuck with Tiptow a bit later in the level and had to start all over.

Where did I put that jem?

That all being said, this is an ambitious design, and the creator makes good re-use of the space. If you like intense, precise levels, you will love this one.

Find Fall Fail by Zivix

nhkk1zt | “Find Fall Fail” by Zivix @ex37qy | Intense, Precarious, Simple

Normally out of principle, I don’t review 5 diamond levels because I can’t beat enough of them to give a fair review. But here I’m making an exception. Go play this level. It took the weird options given in the daily build and made something beautiful. This level is basically an intense challenge consisting of lock witches, blopfish and hidden prize blocks. The checkpoints are generous….if you can reach them. Really really creative work.

Jungle And Cave by Ant

6vjszc2 | “Jungle And Cave” by Ant @k1bhyn | Quick, Intense, Panic Moments

Overall well designed level. The little trees looked really cool. You have a nice variety of challenges: box puzzle, package jump, missile avoidance and golden keys. I really like the little puzzle with the missile timing because of the staggered walls that causes them to go off sync. That was really cool.

Soo many spikes.

The only change I would consider, and this is a matter of personal preference, would to be more forgiving with checkpoints. I’m bad at package jump panic, so even though it was short I died a few times on the spikes. I actually had to switch to using the dpad to get enough precision. And then your one checkpoint only has 3 lives. I cycled through that budd-e twice and then just gave up in frustrating. If he had infinite lives or 12 lives, I might have tried harder and pushed through

Easy peasy

Overall fun level and it’s great to see you improving. I really like how you made it feel like a coherent world with smooth transitions. Makes it appealing and signals quality and effort on your part. Good job.

That’s where I left my keys!