h507pmq | “Episode Switch” by Kinix @vsxhsh | Beginner-Friendly, Simple
This is a nice casual level. There is a good use of gating with the doors to force more of a linear approach. I enjoyed the hidden areas. I think a casual player would enjoy it although that first jump might be a difficult starting point, I’m not sure. The level made good use of save points.
I have two pieces of advice for the future. First, some more variety in tile use and non-rectangular rooms would really spice it up and make it look more attractive. Second, I would consider make use of jems through out for a couple of reasons. First, it might be a way to add difficult for non-casual players so they still enjoy your level. Secondly, any time you can add enough jems off the main path, it’s possible to have separate high scores for time and total score. This make the level more engaging to a wider audience.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Balloog toward victory is a fun little level that takes and idea and runs with it. I found it challenging, but not frustratingly so. The checkpoints are well spaced and the platforms give you just enough space to get a bit of a run. Jems are spread throughout to add some challenge. I thought the last section where the spikes are moving in the opposite direction was really neat. Overall a good level.
This is a nice short level. It’s got a good variety of terrain and obstacles. I particularly enjoyed the timing challenge with the blopfush and the burny whirler because it was hard to guess the exact time to jump. The music change for the second half is perfect, I really love it. Overall a well designed level with 3 recommended changes.
First, I would probably change the player cam to a package cam, to prevent people going to wrong way and then locking themselves out. It might have been by design, but when you lock yourself out a level so easily, it can leave a bad taste in people’s mouths. Ideally if you do lock out a player, they should know what they are doing and feel like it was their fault. A perfect example of this is The Steel Forest Factory by BmiClock.
Second, I would probably add a checkpoint right before the giant flapjack just to make things easier for newer players.
Lastly, there are a number of cloud blocks, but there are just a few jems at the top in a difficult to reach spot. If you are going to add a space like that, reward the player with Jems for exploring and make them feel smart in the process.
For a second level, this is really great, and I think with a tiny bit of refining, the creator could be making some amazing levels.
I always appreciate when people make easy, casual level that have some of the more novel components like Tiptow. This gives novice players a way to explore some of the mechanics while they are still getting better at the game. One thing that was pointed out to me is that casual levels are great for kids to enjoy. This level is generous regarding checkpoints, which is important for casual levels.
I think a few small changes could take this from being a good level to a great level. First, some use of backdrop and asymmetry could add some pop to the design and signal how much time you put into it. Secondly, you have a ton of jems, but many of them are on the main path. When players have to go out of their way to get jems it feels like more of an accomplishment. Same thing for your hidden area. I accidentally fell into it, so I didn’t feel clever for finding it. A secondary benefit of all this would enhance the fact that players can go for a speed run or high score separately.
Lastly a little bit more variety, and maybe even a ramp up in difficulty would be great. As an intermediate player, having the same rooms over and over started to get a bit repetitive. even though this level was designed for casual players, it’s quite possible to cater to both audiences.
As a whole, I love that you’ve built something casual players can enjoy.
Retro has taken the raceway design and asked “What if we make it….smaller?”. I love seeing inventive takes on a new genre. These sorts of things show that is has some staying power. I think the use of terrain types helps to emphasize the race track. I will admit I was largely button mashing when I played it, but apparently there is a 33% difference between button mashing and the best score. Cool level!
Casual infinity is a well designed level for casual players. It uses backdrop and a variety of tile types to look visually appealing. It makes good use of checkpoints to be forgiving and Jems to encourage a bit of exploration. Having the package plus the regret gates is smart because it shows the player the objective, shows them a way that won’t work, and thus gets their brain working on a valid solution.
The puzzles are appropriate for a casual player, but still require some thought. I really enjoyed the reuse of space and going back through an area that was blocked off by spikes.
My singular piece of advice would, once you have unlocked the tiles, to have hidden areas with larger jems so that some players can get a high score without having to speedrun the level. That will add some replayability and cater to a third audience beyond casual players and speedrunners. Overall, this level earns the Popdonk Recommends badge for great design.