“A Descend Into Madness” by Parkecon

vp8ztpc | “A Descend Into Madness” by Parkecon @qp4mh3 | Complex, Traps, Switch-Heavy

This level does a good job of having different sections and using backrdrop and tile types to provide some variety. It also does a good job of using checkpoints to make the level manageable. I also liked the fact that jems appear mid-way, encouraging you to go back if you want more of a challenge. I thought it was cleaver how a counter was used to implement this.

I found the level design overall to be good, and I enjoyed the differing pace of the more puzzly part in the beginning and the more open area part of the second half. I found the platforms and missiles to feel very chaotic without being overwhelmingly so, very enjoyable. It was especially nice to have to go back and forth a little bit and reuse existing space.

The spawn point starts out in the line of fire.

If I had to make any recommendations, I would only suggest two changes. First, I would work to make the first two or three rooms a little bit more visually distinct so that it felt like there were three total sections instead of the main two. I also would change it so you don’t die if you start the game and don’t move. More casual player will appreciate a chance to get a handle on what’s going on in the level before they have to start reacting. Overall, a good level.

Random Adventure: Episode 01 by Reallyzarble

c2wbrs6 | “Random Adventure: Episode 01” by Reallyzarble | Switch-Heavy, Explore

Overall, I enjoyed this level. I liked that each room had a different aesthetic, that was a really nice touch. I enjoyed that the levels got more difficult as you went, and the fact that the last level was much larger and more intricate. I especially enjoyed the music change near the end. It felt a bit like a boss room. I enjoyed the jems taunting the player throughout the level, like a hard mode of some sort.

Final room!

The level creator was generous with the checkpoints, by providing infinite checkpoints in the central area. Still, I might have liked one int he third room since I spent probably 8 minutes alone on that room. Especially frustrating is that I beat that room, but investigated the arrows and the hidden area and got myself killed in short order. It took me probably a dozen tries to beat it again. I really enjoyed the clouds acting as a brief chance to catch your breath while you were falling.

Note to self, never go left

My one other bit of advice is that the second room felt like a missed opportunity with the burny whirlers being static. Turning them into a dynamic movement puzzle could have been a great way to add some variety and to bridge the difficulties between rooms one and three more smoothly.

Overall an enjoyable level, and I look forward to see what else the creator makes.

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.

Nope, Delete! by Plus Maito

t0092kg | “Nope, Delete!” by Plus Maito | Puzzling, Complex, Switch-Heavy

Nope, Delete! is unique in that not only is it a single screen puzzle, but that it makes use of platforming challenges in such a confined space. This combination makes it really inventive and thoughtful. I made it about half way before getting myself stuck, but for those of you who are brave enough, definitely give it a try. This is a great level.

Puzzle Escape” by SleetSdf93

hv935f2 | “Puzzle Escape” by SleetSdf93 | Casual, Puzzling, Switch-Heavy

This is really neat puzzle level. It had me thinking quite a bit despite being so short. I loved the use of moving platforms and having to think through where you crate or package would end up. I could totally see a sequel that escalates in difficulty. I also enjoyed the hidden jem, and the heart build out of terrain.

I only have two small recommendations. First, make launcher intro shorter, or make it feel like there is more of a reason it is there. For example, maybe we brake out of jail cell or get dropped into it, and now we have to break out of this puzzle trap.

Second, I would use more variety in terrain and backdrop to make it feel more cohesive. I think it had that, it would get the Popdonk Recommends badge. I can’t wait to see what SleetSdf93 builds next!

Just Move The Flyblock by Misery

d7061lq | “Just Move The Flyblock” by Misery @5djb5j | Puzzling, Complex, Switch-Heavy

This level is a phenomenal example of the single-screen puzzle genre. The creator makes good use of blending and backdrop to make it visually appealing. The puzzling overall is enjoyable and challenging.

The single screen forces creators to be quite creative with the limited space, and this is no exception. Even more impressive, is that this level uses just a few types of pieces. This makes it seem easy, but this puzzle is devilishly hard. I have yet to beat it, but I can wholeheartedly give it the Popodonk Reccomends badge. I would love to see more levels like this, especially some that I can beat 😉

Switch Otherwise Ha! by docblock

cp7n0sg | “Switch Otherwise Ha!” by docblock @yejqvq | Puzzling, Secrets, Switch-Heavy

This is a very well done level. It makes a good use of terrain variety, backdrop, asymmetry, and separate “rooms” to create an aesthetically pleasing level. The is also filled with little hidden areas to find if you are in to exploring. Clearly the level creator had fun making this. The level is a joy to play.

On top of that, the use of spikes make it challenging, but never feels gratuitous or overwhelming. The checkpoints help with that as well. The puzzles are interesting and well thought out.

There is one tiny detail preventing this from being a perfect level. It’s possible to accidentally skip over an early puzzle and leave the package behind. You can go a long while until you need the package, but when you do, you are trapped.

Need the package. Hmmm….
And I’m stuck 🙁

Overall a great level. I’m excited to see what docblock makes next.

Musical Clock Switch by Block

f840x02 | “Musical Clock Switch” by Block @n0bhv6 | Switch-Heavy, Paths

I need to come back to this later and beat it but I can tell it’s really well done. Good use of layout and decoration to making it feel like a living world. I love the jems at the top taunting me and providing optional challenge. I like that the rooms are small so I can focus on a tiny portion and then take a break. I would love a check point right before those swoopadoops, they are evil pests. The music part is so cool. It makes it much easier for me to get the timing down and it sounds very ominous. Also I was expecting it to be the same loop over and over again, so when another instrument comes in, it’s a delightful surprise. Favorited so I can give it another go later.

Go Quickly Now. by Ps7cho

6h3nf9c | “Go Quickly Now.” by Ps7cho @xppvz7 | Quick, Switch-Heavy, Well-Paced

Overall a really interesting level, I love the idea. I think it’s great that you can see the package regularly just falling through space and time, mocking you, crying out for help. The level really feels like some weird temple in the desert to old timelords or something and is just in disarray. I’m happy with the puzzles and challenges, I definitely felt like I had to think and run around. the clouds and the lizumi is brilliant, because we naturally want to stand on the clouds to try to hit the Lizumi, but the clouds keep disappearing, making it feel like every time the lizumi hits the clouds she is knocking them down one by one. I like the placement of the monster gate to hint at what was going to come.

Some ideas for improvement: First, good use of rifts is really hard. Sam has a really good video on some of these challenges he ran into.

If there was an easy way for you to lock off completed challenges, that would be really helpful. Or at the very least a better way visually to tie together portal connections. I found myself backtracking and going to the wrong rooms often. Also, I probably spent a minute looking for a way to turn of the spike at the exit, and then noticed Baggyveer’s comment. It would be great if there was some visual or auditory cue to help players realize they have a limited time. It was a bit frustrating for me to have solved all the puzzles, grabbed the package and then realize I couldn’t beat the level.

One possibility would be instead of making it completely impossible, make it progressively more difficult to reach the exit. Or to have some indicator through the level, like unreachable spikes slowly turning on, to help emphasize the time limitation.

Overall a great implementation of a difficult concept. I hope to see more stuff like this.