“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.

That Slick Plunge by Psyche

7zhb6dm | “That Slick Plunge” by Psyche | Beginner-Friendly, Quick, Traps

This is a great first level. It uses a nice variety of terrain, and neatly is broken into 3 sections based on checkpoints. In each section the vibe of the level changes, which I like. I also enjoy the fact that the difficulty gently escalates with each section.

I enjoyed the visible spikes early on signaling danger. I enjoyed trying to follow the yellow arrow, getting stuck by brittle rock and then coming back later with the package.

I have two small recommendations for improvement. First, a number of the areas are easy to skip for speedrunning. This is perfectly fine, but I would consider having some hidden areas, especially with larger jems, so that people exploring or going after the highest score can still beat people who get points from speedrunning.

The other recommendation would be to use some backdrop to help tie the level together. The layout is great and some backdrop would help reduce the feeling of so many free-floating objects.

Overall a fantastic first level!

Bloco Incomum by Sarium

zq1bgd2 | “Bloco Incomum” by Sarium | Kaizo, Traps

I like this level quite a bit because despite the kazio tag, it’s much more of a puzzling level. Multiple times I would think I knew what I had to accomplish and then it would turn out that I was wrong. Quite inventive and thought provoking. It also does it in a way that scales a bit, so the first trick is easy to learn and thus I keep pushing through the rest of the level.

My one main recommendations would be to use a variety of terrain, and some non-rectangular layouts to provide a sense of realness and cohesiveness, to make it feel more like a real place. Perhaps also some signs or jems to provide a bit more variety. I think with that small change this level would earn the Popdonk Recommends badge for being so clever.

Triple Trap Trouble by Sjosz

7n01t80 | “Triple Trap Trouble” by Sjosz | Traps, Quick, Choice

Sjosz has a brilliantly designed level here. He takes the raceway idea and says “But what if it was trying to kill you?”. I love that the user gets a chance to learn the terrain, and that every lap gets increasingly more dangerous. Good use of hidden areas, checkpoints and armor to make the level appealing to a wide variety of levels.

The jem gates were a nice touch. Great use of paths and backdrop for decoration. Overall a simple but challenging and fun level. This one earns the Popdonk Recommends badge!

Tree Top Hop by Sjosz

1vf1z1v | “Tree Top Hop” by Sjosz @rswljz | Traps, Precise

This level gets the Popdonk Recommends badge for sheer hilarity alone.

It starts off simple enough. The rain, the trees, the spike here or there, the spike dropper nearly hitting you, all of it creates this ambiance of this dangerous forest. And yet at the same time it lulls you into a false sense of security. The spikes are rare. The flapjacks are dumb. The spike droppers never hit you.

A sleepy little forest

And then you get the package, AND GIANT SAWS COME OUT. And now what was a cakewalk, is suddenly a challenging level. On top of all that, I enjoyed the little caches of jems to cater to the score hunters as well as the speed runners.

This is fine.

Overall another great level.

No Jump Good Arrow Hologram by Moogthedog

1ls0b10 | “No Jump Good Arrow Hologram” by Moogthedog @26kmgd | Traps, Casual

This level is quite creative. The swoopadoop puzzle took me a minute to figure out. I love the puzzle with the switches, as well as the package delivery mechanism. It clear that you spent a decent amount of time putting this level together.

I’m not sure if I would label this level as casual, however. I know that when I see a level with a ton of hazards on screen, even ones that later turn out to be decoration, I assume it’s a 3 or 4 diamond level. Additionally, a lot of the inventive uses of components function differently than what a casual player might be expecting.

I think if you want to do something more towards new players, I would take a single concept, like the surprise sky wrigglers or the package launcher, and build a whole level around that. Start with a simple intro that gates the player until they figure it out, then continue to escalate the difficulty, one bit at a time.

That all being said, this level is way more creative than most, and I look forward to seeing what you build next!

Secret Package. Doom Temple by Padwoo N Boopafunka

wfvkjdq | “Secret Package. Doom Temple” by Padwoo N Boopafunka @zxj3rx | Secrets, Traps, Well-Paced

Initial Thoughts:
I love this level. It’s such a cool idea of having to get really close to the package cams. It makes a normal navigation challenge feel a little bit more puzzling. The layout with the pedestal for the package and all the package cams makes it feel like you are stealing something from an ancient temple, and have to run through all the dangerous chambers. Reminds me a smidge of Indiana Jones. Good use of checkpoints to make it manageable.

The only two changes I would consider: Some way to get back up on the pedestal if you miss a few of the cams. I fell early and had to restart there. Also, making the second to last chamber sliiightly less crazy. I almost gave up on it because of how chaotic it was. But I managed it and the last chamber was pretty easy.

Later thoughts:

I thought I was supposed to be seen! I didn’t realize it was the opposite. What I would probably do if you make a sequel is have something that gets turned on within visible range of the player (maybe I missed it)I completely misunderstood the goal of the level. I really like the idea of having to sneak out with the package.

Super Secret Package! by Padwoo N Boopafunka

0tsc785 | “Super Secret Package!” by Padwoo N Boopafunka @zxj3rx | Traps, Precise, Package Jump

Really great start. I like where you are going with the lot of this stuff. I really appreciated the checkpoints you put in there. I thought the double use and puzzle with the missiles was brilliant. You present the player with an impossible challenge and then an “a-ha!” moment. That is good level design.

I probably would have blocked off the top part of the fire whirlers if you wanted to force people to take the bottom route. If either was valid, I probably would have added some backdrop or a bit of roof to make it feel like both were valid paths.

I’m not a huge fan of that single secret leaf area on that jump early on. While it’s a fun surprise, players might get discouraged because it doesn’t look like they will clear the jump and may give up early. I would also maybe do something slightly different with the saws in the beginning, maybe put in a camera object? It’s frustrating to barely be able to see the saws and plan your jump.

The little secret in the one tree is great. It make the player feel smart but also makes them work for it if they want to those Jems. Great design. I also like your varied used of blocks to create different challenges.

The part with the vacrat is very challenging because you have a tiny ledge to land on and he moves fast. If it’s intended that way, great. If you wanted it a smidge easier, you could make him smaller.

I’m currently stuck at the part with the package cam and it’s an interesting puzzle.

Overall fantastic start. My one other piece of advice would be to add a bit more decoration and blending for transitions from tree to kronkrete. Other creators, not you, sometimes just throw whatever onto the screen with no thought for making it coherent and smooth. As a result, if I see lots of random floating bits or jarring transitions, I subconsciously assume it”s a low quality level. Your is not a low quality level!!! But, my lizard brain doesn’t know that. Some decoration and transitions would signal to me how much thought you put into it.