Jungle Tower Trouble” by BscotchSeth

h9zc5z5 | “Jungle Tower Trouble” by BscotchSeth | Well-Paced, Secrets, Precarious

This is a good example of level design. The creator starts of with a sense of ambiance with the use of rain, house-like structures, a good variety of terrain and ropes. This level very much feels like a place. Why you would live somewhere where Kromblers keep banging on the roof, well that is not for us to ever know.

We see early on in the level a gentle escalation of difficulty. The first battery is highlighted on a pedestal, but that pedestal also protects any new players from the vacrat to the left of it.

Ahh, that’s where I left me aaa’s.

We see this escalation is well with the elevators, which use a variety of mechanisms. The first one using a level is smart because it forces the user to focus on it, it make new players feel smart and it slows down the initial pacing.

Going up!

The second floor is more challenging but still doable. I appreciated the implicit pause point shown below, as well as the use of checkpoints overall.

On the third floor, I feel a bit mixed about the puzzle with the blopfush. It works overall, but I could see someone jumping straight into the fray and then realizing too late they need to do a package jump right after. I very much appreciated the portal at the bottom of the level that brings you back to this floor. I fell down the once and was quite grateful I didn’t have to do things over or force a respawn. This was a very thoughtful touch.

The last floor was quite challenging, but it was short enough that you could brute force it and rely on lucky timing. I appreciated that aspect. Finally, I enjoyed the fact that there were some hidden areas and bonus jems.

Overall a great level and a Popdonk Reccomends!

Escape The Secret Temple! by The Red Brick

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.

The Ancient Jem Heist by HighChair

6mz963d | “The Ancient Jem Heist” by HighChair | Brawler, Well-Paced

I love the level aesthetic on this one. It really feels like you are in a Flipwip den. Great use of backdrop, varied terrain and decorative elements. The level escalates in difficulty and has plenty of room to avoid the flipwips. While this is a brawler, I would have loved to see some variety in the challenges. With some variety to keep things interesting, the sequel to this level could easily get the Popdonk Recommends badge.

Mission Destroy Flipwip! by Jornker

3gtvw4g | “Mission Destroy Flipwip!” by Jornker | Beginner-Friendly, Powerups, Well-Paced

This was a fun little level. The hardest part was honestly getting in to the darn castle, and then the rest was pretty manageable. Despite being such a pain, it really felt like I was breaking in to the castle. I enjoyed the variety in power ups, and was especially appreciative of the infinite checkpoints.

I feel like there is some room for improvement, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. I think there are some ways to make the level feel more cohesive. Maybe having a larger central section, or not relying on rifts to get to the challenges. Another possibility would be to use more decorative blocks to add variety. As it stands the different sections feel a smidge disconnected which is a shame because I love the theme of breaking into a castle. Overall, a good level.

Through The Giant Mound by Sephy

60m94tv | “Through The Giant Mound” by Sephy | Beginner-Friendly, Powerups, Well-Paced

This level is just plain amazing. It takes a specific theme and blends it throughout the whole level. Each section was somewhat challenging but approachable. I really liked that most of them were simple but required some minor rethinking of one’s approach.

I must have died at least a dozen times on the spikes section, but thanks to checkpoints and having made it through most of the level, I kept at it.

This level earns the Popdonk Recommends badge for fitting a theme so well.

“Cross The Spike Gulch” by TalkGibberish

003lh4l | “Cross The Spike Gulch” by TalkGibberish | Casual, Well-Paced

This is a great level. Good use of checkpoints and camera anchors to segment the levels. Good use of escalating difficulty in teaching the player how to beat the level. This was the first time I had run into the timed switches and I was able to figure it out.

No suggested changes, so this gets the Popdonk Recommends badge!

Rumble Ridge, Cross Country? by minichibisart

h2v7z75 | “Rumble Ridge, Cross Country?” by minichibisart | Well-Paced, Zipper, Secrets

This is a good example of an autoscroller level. The level felt cohesive and had a good variety in the layout and terrain. The level was challenging without being overwhelming. I think it may have benefited from one extra checkpoint earlier on, since I nearly gave up at one point. I really appreciated the hidden area with the jems.

Something else that was interesting for an autoscroller is having different speeds for different parts. It might have been nice if the scrolling was player activated, so people could get their bearings a bit. Good level overall.

2 Tower Gauntlet by One Of Three Names

ngxk444 | ” 2 Tower Gauntlet” by One Of Three Names | Beginner-Friendly, Quick, Well-Paced

I love the variety of obstacles and terrain types. I love the theme of weaving your way back and forth between two towers. I think this is a great, beautiful design. The only thing lacking is more checkpoints. It’s quite easy to die in this level and if there were more checkpoints, I’d be more motivated to push through it. This is especially important since you were aiming at beginner friendly. Great first level, I can’t wait to see what else you make.

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.

Bomb Reasonably, GR-18! by RetrophileTV

4l7b3m3 | “Bomb Reasonably, GR-18!” by RetrophileTV | Bombs, Secrets, Well-Paced

This is a fantastic use of the daily build and an AMAZING entrant into the weekly challenge. The theme for this week was “Reasonably” and the implementation here is hilarious and on point. The bombs don’t respawn and it’s easy to accidentally blow them all a way. The hard clay underneath the boss section covers spikes, so you have to be “reasonable” there as well.

I really appreciated the scaling difficulty and heavy use of checkpoints. I found the challenges to be challenging, but not discouraging. The timing on the dbot section was quite difficult. The different sections were a great combination of the available components.

Overall an amazing level and a great start to the challenge. Popdonk Recommends!