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.

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.

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.

Nooooo

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.

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

Pursue Through! by tripleB36

pmrfmv1 | “Pursue Through!” by tripleB36 @1nv7rl | Puzzling, Long, Complex

I only played through a bit of it but I liked what I saw. I like that the starting area was small to minimize frustration as you have to find your way out. I liked having to navigate with the box which made it feel challenging but not frustrating.

I liked that the game hinted at getting the third box at some point. I thought the surprise with the vacrat was funny and not punishing. Good use of jems to help guide the player. Good level overall from what I saw.

Battle Switch Chamber Brawl by Ps7cho

ptp1hp0 | “Battle Switch Chamber Brawl” by Ps7cho @xppvz7 | Brawler, Intense, Long

Really cool idea and implementation. It felt like some sort of gladiator arena

I really liked that you could see the enemies for future battles and had an idea of who was coming next. I think it was smart releasing them when the player checkpointed. Well done.

The Steel Forest Factory by Bmiclock

c0tkc0s | “The Steel Forest Factory” by Bmiclock @smqp4f | Long, Powerups, Puzzling

If anyone want’s to see good level design, go check out this level. Good use of space, decorations, backdrop and transitions to make it feel like a real metroidvania style of world. I love the little trees, they feel like mini treehouses, with swoopadoos that need removed. The flingos in the beginning feel fun and bouncy, AND teach the player how to use the flingos later on. I appreciate the checkpoints.

Little treehouses!

I love the hazards that are off but visibly ominous. I love that you get these powerups and then later on the hazards turn on, increasing your ability and the difficulty. Really fun. I applaud any level that can fit in two powerups in a meaningful way. Really creates a sense of space and different sections. I think the 3 flingo challenges was just the right amount of difficulty, it took me a number of tries but I got it. Had to switch to dpad the second time so I could be more accurate.

I’m sure this is fine

One downside and I’m not sure how to avoid this: I skipped the last gold gate with the zipper, and then got myself stuck with tiptoe because the key was on the other side. I’m not sure if this needs fixed, since I had a feeling that would happen, but it did suck that I had invested 15 minutes and locked myself out. [Note: the creator confirmed this was intentional to punish cheaters. Well it worked!]

Gotta get that Zipper

Otherwise no other recommendations, great level and clearly you put the time and effort into it. Solid work.I suppose you could have a golden key on the Tiptoe side, but probably not needed. Those players are chaos monkeys!

Calmly Rift Through Time! by ChilledSponge

l90534z | “Calmly Rift Through Time!” by ChilledSponge @82j434 | Complex, Long, Puzzling

Took me nearly 10 minutes to beat it, but it was a lot of fun. I love the choose your own adventure feel. I really appreciate the signs in front of the rifts so I didn’t backtrack constantly. I also appreciate the unlimited checkpoints I liked the variety in challenges, really good there.

Spike death in 3….2….1….

I think the level of difficulty was appropriate for the challenges. Challenging but not overwhelming. the space in the package jump room could have been a bit bigger because I would do a straight package jump and hit the spikes above me. The treadmill every time you came back was a nice touch. It added a feeling of difficulty, without adding any extra difficulty.

Fun level overall.

It’s A New World 1 by Bmiclock

bsbqk0c | “It’s A New World 1” by Bmiclock @smqp4f | Long, Powerups, Casual

OMG I love this level, please make more. You do a great job of putting things like the package, or tiptoe, or a sliver of a giant jem within player view. This is great level design because it creates a goal and some anticipation in the player. Now they have something they know they are working towards.

You have nice variety of challenges. I loved the dbot because when I saw the spikes, I had assumed I was going to have to package jump and when I found the dbot I was so delighted. Good use of slime blocks to transition to a different “section” of your world. Good use of liberal checkpoints. I appreciated that the monster checkpoint didn’t require killing everything, if I recall. I really enjoyed skipping some sections with the zipper, that made me feel smart.

The only change I would recommend, is possibly using the backdrop tile more to make it feel more cozy and create a feeling of more inside sections as opposed to all outside sections. I’m probably weird like this, but my brain doesn’t like tons and tons of floating sections, it wants something to hold them up visually.

Stellar work, I look forward to the sequel.