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Episode 2 Level Review and Testing Discussion

The second SMBX collab!
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shaman
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Episode 2 Level Review and Testing Discussion

Postby shaman » 2 years ago

This is the thread for reviewing levels posted here: viewtopic.php?f=36&t=15031

Same rules for the old thread apply: Do NOT post levels here. only reviews.

Game on!
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sedron
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Re: Episode 2 Review Thread

Postby sedron » 2 years ago

I'm reviewing the four levels submitted on the new thread so far (not counting my own.)

Demo's Journey Through Time- Hoeloe
The atmosphere here is pretty awesome. The dichotomy between past and present is done really well, overall, and the gameplay is solid for a relatively early-game level. A few notes on what could improve it, though.
- There's some minor cutoff on some of the sand graphics. Check the first sand pool at the level's entrance for an example. It's a relatively easy fix.
- Enemy placement is mostly fine, but a few times they start uncomfortably close after time traveling. The Goopas in the second transition and the Boo by the third come to mind.
- The atmosphere in the present is really good, but those loud fire flowers totally mess with it. You're good with graphics, right? What if you made a broken one on those railings, not moving?
- The water tunnel after the second transition to the past is really slow and kind of annoying. Is there any way that could be made quicker? I appreciate that the waterfall down isn't actually water so you fall quickly, but the inconsistency with the waterfall right before it is jarring.
- Quicksand, in general, is kind of not fun. It'd be nice to deal with less of it.
- The first time I passed the midpoint, the event for the floor breaking didn't happen. I just hit the invisible wall. A more elegant solution for that event could likely be made. Have it happen when the player reaches that point? Use an NPC? Blocking the way back isn't really necessary either, is it? You don't have to change that, but it's notable.

Overall I think this level is pretty great, and could be fantastic with a few minor changes.
The Descent of Nine- Hoeloe
Huh. Accidentally hit alt, then crashed SMBX. How about that.
Anyway, I can't really review this level in that much detail. It tried my patience really quickly. Like, first room quickly.
I ended up doing a quick rush through with cheats, just to look at it. The difficulty is all over the place, and a lot of times it isn't fair. Luna Tower was always fair in its difficulty. The first set of obstacles basically boils down to "hope you chose the right path, or bullets." You can use shells to figure it out, and I think that's the intended solution, but it's not even obvious that the bullet penalty is there until you see it. A lot of areas are just spammy. Some areas border on Kaizo, while others are much easier (the elevator seems a lot easier.) The flavor is there, though it seems weird that there are glowing painted glass windows as you descend underground. Aesthetically it might also not hurt to differentiate a bit from Luna Tower. Make it feel like it's own location, you know? It feels kind of like the mean romhack version of Luna Tower right now. Also the door tile for the Fraud section isn't aligned with the door itself.
Approaching the Sand Temple- raekuul
A short, rompy level. It'll be good for the early-game, I think. It's not a "wow," level, but it's a fun time regardless. A few suggested changes.
- Maybe have fewer plants in the ground? Digging up vegetables over and over again gets old quickly. Yeah, there are other items but players aren't going to want to look for them if they have to pull so much other stuff to find them.
- The Boom-boom fight at the end is weird. He's liable to jump off the platform and just get stuck next to it. Having an easy fight as an end to the level is fine (and I think actually having some of the standard bosses this time around would be nice,) but the arena should be slightly modified to accommodate him better.
- Maybe throw a secret in somewhere? Not necessary by any means, but it's the little things that push a level from "fun," to "fun and memorable."
I don't think you need to change the music. If you want to go for it, but it's nice.
Adventure's End- Septentrion Pleiades
That is a really cool gimmick. Seriously, once it actually kicked in I was really impressed. I think a few modifications to the level could improve its implementation, though.
- A few graphics during the blurry sections aren't also blurry. The ground outside and the water bubble have this issue, I don't remember if other graphics also do this.
- What dictates when the "information overflow," happens? I've played that section twice and both times it happened on the bottom floor of that room, so I assume it needs to happen there? Getting stuck at the top wasn't any fun though. The gimmick could stand to start a bit earlier. It's not like that first section is challenging, just frustrating.
That's really all I have to add, though. It's honestly a cool level.
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Re: Episode 2 Review Thread

Postby Hoeloe » 2 years ago

sedron wrote: Demo's Journey Through Time- Hoeloe
The atmosphere here is pretty awesome. The dichotomy between past and present is done really well, overall, and the gameplay is solid for a relatively early-game level. A few notes on what could improve it, though.
- There's some minor cutoff on some of the sand graphics. Check the first sand pool at the level's entrance for an example. It's a relatively easy fix.
- Enemy placement is mostly fine, but a few times they start uncomfortably close after time traveling. The Goopas in the second transition and the Boo by the third come to mind.
- The atmosphere in the present is really good, but those loud fire flowers totally mess with it. You're good with graphics, right? What if you made a broken one on those railings, not moving?
- The water tunnel after the second transition to the past is really slow and kind of annoying. Is there any way that could be made quicker? I appreciate that the waterfall down isn't actually water so you fall quickly, but the inconsistency with the waterfall right before it is jarring.
- Quicksand, in general, is kind of not fun. It'd be nice to deal with less of it.
- The first time I passed the midpoint, the event for the floor breaking didn't happen. I just hit the invisible wall. A more elegant solution for that event could likely be made. Have it happen when the player reaches that point? Use an NPC? Blocking the way back isn't really necessary either, is it? You don't have to change that, but it's notable.

Overall I think this level is pretty great, and could be fantastic with a few minor changes.
-Hmm... I thought I fixed all the cutoff. I'll have another look.
-Yeah, I get that. Will fix.
-I'm not really sure what you mean by that. I don't think there are any fire flowers in the present... There are some enemies that are flowers in standard SMBX, but are pale hands in A2XT, is that what you're referring to?
-That did bug me, but I couldn't think of a way to speed it up. I'll have another think.
-I can get rid of some of the quicksand, or give you better ways of crossing it.
-Ah, I think I can work around that. Blocking the way back actually is necessary to avoid cutoff, though, as that area becomes filled with sand later.
I've posted an update in the submissions thread that should address all of these issues.
sedron wrote: The Descent of Nine- Hoeloe
Huh. Accidentally hit alt, then crashed SMBX. How about that.
Anyway, I can't really review this level in that much detail. It tried my patience really quickly. Like, first room quickly.
I ended up doing a quick rush through with cheats, just to look at it. The difficulty is all over the place, and a lot of times it isn't fair. Luna Tower was always fair in its difficulty. The first set of obstacles basically boils down to "hope you chose the right path, or bullets." You can use shells to figure it out, and I think that's the intended solution, but it's not even obvious that the bullet penalty is there until you see it. A lot of areas are just spammy. Some areas border on Kaizo, while others are much easier (the elevator seems a lot easier.) The flavor is there, though it seems weird that there are glowing painted glass windows as you descend underground. Aesthetically it might also not hurt to differentiate a bit from Luna Tower. Make it feel like it's own location, you know? It feels kind of like the mean romhack version of Luna Tower right now. Also the door tile for the Fraud section isn't aligned with the door itself.
-Hmm... I'll have another look through and see if I can tone down some of the unfair difficulty. I think I can manage to make it so that the player has some idea of what they're against fairly quickly, so they they don't have to work against something unexpected.

-As for aesthetics, the level itself isn't really "underground" per-se. It's based on Dante's circles of hell, so it's more like each "circle" is a separate dimension. I get that it might be somewhat confusing though. I'll think about how I can change it.

-Oh, the door tile in the Fraud section is actually supposed to be misaligned. In that section, you're following what happens in the top screen, while you exist on the bottom screen. The doors on the two screens are not in the same place, and the door tile is aligned with the door on the top screen.
I'm tweaking the difficulty on this now, as well as giving the player better foresight as to what's what in that area (for example, I've added a blue shell kicker in the first area, who kicks a shell down the wrong path when you start. This demonstrates the wall at the other end, and hints that that may be the incorrect path). A lot of the changes are minor tweaks, but they lower the unfair difficulty a huge amount.

EDIT: There's now an update in the submissions thread. I've focussed on the difficulty rather than the aesthetic for now. Once the level itself is fixed, I'll look at the aesthetics.
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Re: Episode 2 Review Thread

Postby sedron » 2 years ago

Hoeloe wrote:Stuff
More about Demo's Journey Through Time
The fire flowers are the grinder replacements. You know, the ones that replace the buzzsaw enemies from SMW? They are very loud (just as they always are,) and it feels jarring to have them in the present because of that. As for the water tunnel, maybe just make it a bit bigger? That would definitely help, though there may be an even better way to fix it.
I'll have to take a look at the updates at some point.
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Re: Episode 2 Review Thread

Postby Hoeloe » 2 years ago

sedron wrote:
Hoeloe wrote:Stuff
More about Demo's Journey Through Time
The fire flowers are the grinder replacements. You know, the ones that replace the buzzsaw enemies from SMW? They are very loud (just as they always are,) and it feels jarring to have them in the present because of that. As for the water tunnel, maybe just make it a bit bigger? That would definitely help, though there may be an even better way to fix it.
I'll have to take a look at the updates at some point.
Ah, I see what you mean now. Fair enough. I may look into retexturing those as something more fitting.
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Re: Episode 2 Review Thread

Postby Oddwrath » 2 years ago

Just tried out Entropy Engine.
What I liked is +
What I didn't is -
General Notes are *
+It reminds me of the final-final level of A2MT, but in a good way, because the scroll isn't so insane. In fact the scroll may be a huge part of why I like this, because it the scrolling is so tight.
-Though, since you are aiming for late game, maybe you should increase the scroll speed to 3 or 2.5.
-Actually, for the late-game it seems kinda easy. The place with the bananasnake is particularly empty, and not difficult at all, since all you need to do to prevent bananasnake from spawning is to stand on its pipe.
-The shaman could be replaced with something more deadly. Maybe another bananasnake?
-Same goes for the bunnies.
-This is not your fault, but I thought I still should mention it. There is a glitch in smbx, that sometimes if you're jumping on the note blocks and said note blocks are part of the moving layer, you sometimes begin to walk on these note blocks, instead of jumping.
+Don't do anything with the graphics.
+This is one of the most genius uses of the love frog I have seen in a long time.
*Apparently, catnip doesn't like entropic enemies? Everytime I ate an enemy that could be swallowed, catnip began to screech, as if he was being hurt?
-Are you planning on having a second half for this? So far, it's kinda short.
*Even though it seems that all I do is complain in this post, I seriously like this level. It has few things, like the length and the difficulty stopping it from being amazing, but other than that, it's great. Good job!

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Re: Episode 2 Review Thread

Postby sedron » 2 years ago

Oddwrath wrote:Just tried out Entropy Engine.
What I liked is +
What I didn't is -
General Notes are *
+It reminds me of the final-final level of A2MT, but in a good way, because the scroll isn't so insane. In fact the scroll may be a huge part of why I like this, because it the scrolling is so tight.
-Though, since you are aiming for late game, maybe you should increase the scroll speed to 3 or 2.5.
-Actually, for the late-game it seems kinda easy. The place with the bananasnake is particularly empty, and not difficult at all, since all you need to do to prevent bananasnake from spawning is to stand on its pipe.
-The shaman could be replaced with something more deadly. Maybe another bananasnake?
-Same goes for the bunnies.
-This is not your fault, but I thought I still should mention it. There is a glitch in smbx, that sometimes if you're jumping on the note blocks and said note blocks are part of the moving layer, you sometimes begin to walk on these note blocks, instead of jumping.
+Don't do anything with the graphics.
+This is one of the most genius uses of the love frog I have seen in a long time.
*Apparently, catnip doesn't like entropic enemies? Everytime I ate an enemy that could be swallowed, catnip began to screech, as if he was being hurt?
-Are you planning on having a second half for this? So far, it's kinda short.
*Even though it seems that all I do is complain in this post, I seriously like this level. It has few things, like the length and the difficulty stopping it from being amazing, but other than that, it's great. Good job!
I'm very happy to have feedback on this. My main issue was not knowing how much creator bias I had, since I figured knowing the layout ahead of time would make it a lot easier for me.

Responses under spoilers!
I'd like to get feedback from another person or two before going all-out, but what I may end up doing based on your feedback would be making a second half that scrolls faster than the first. Making the first half faster would require reconfiguring all of the events involved, and I think I can just play around with enemy and block placement to bring it more up to par with late game difficulty. I'll mess with stuff like the banana snake and shaman and see what I come up with.

Catnip screeches like that every time it eats something, I think. He's just a screechy dude.

The note blocks could be removed if necessary. Generally that glitch doesn't happen if you hold the jump button at all, but if it's intrusive and players find it annoying/frustrating it can be changed.

Part of the thing I was aiming for with the enemy generators was variety. I could theoretically make it all banana snakes and love frogs, but where's the fun in that? The bunnies in particular are very helpful for reaching the love frog platform in time, so making those more deadly may be iffy. The theme of entropy (kind of random, sudden changes,) plays into the choice of enemy variety as well.

Again, I'm very happy to get your feedback and you bring up a lot of good points. I'll probably post an update sometime in the next few days. If anybody else wants to chime in, I'd be happy to hear it!
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Re: Episode 2 Review Thread

Postby Voltgloss » 2 years ago

Planning to tackle several of the recently posted/reposted levels and give feedback over the weekend.

We should probably send a mass PM out to all authors (using bcc) who submitted a level before this thread was made live, to alert them that they should resubmit/repost here. Unless that's been done already?

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Re: Episode 2 Review Thread

Postby Isrieri » 2 years ago

DAMMIT SEDRON, you stole my idea! I wanted to do something like Entropy Engine! I like this one so much I'll tell you what I thought of it right now.
  • DO NOT INCREASE THE SCROLL SPEED. DO NOT FUCKING MAKE THIS HARDER, YOU NAILED THE DIFFICULTY AS PER THE LENGTH. It just doesn't need to go in the late game, this is fine and fun as it is. If you want to make a harder late-game level, just make another one similar to this, but more dastardly. There's nothing wrong with revisiting good concepts in a trickier setting. Better that you do have an easier level to set up a harder one, because the player can use this for practice. That's good design.
  • Playing this with Kood is super fun. If you lower the first love frog platform a tile so he can make that jump I will be very pleased. Its possible for him to make it when the screen is scrolling down, but once it starts going right again he can't make it. I don't think he can go under either. On the other hand, with his float ability, maybe he's better off with one tricky jump he alone has to make.
  • Laying another beet right at the spike wall would be smart, but you don't have to.
  • The note blocks are a bit pointless. Maybe have regular blocks that move up and down very slightly? (Like 0.2 speed slightly?) If not, just stationary ones would do. Or enemies you need to spin jump off of.
  • If you feel like it, make the blocks different colors so you have multicolored platforms for some eye-candy.
  • If you make a harder level like this, I've got one word for you: Ghosts.

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Re: Episode 2 Review Thread

Postby sedron » 2 years ago

Isrieri wrote:DAMMIT SEDRON, you stole my idea! I wanted to do something like Entropy Engine! I like this one so much I'll tell you what I thought of it right now.
  • DO NOT INCREASE THE SCROLL SPEED. DO NOT FUCKING MAKE THIS HARDER, YOU NAILED THE DIFFICULTY AS PER THE LENGTH. It just doesn't need to go in the late game, this is fine and fun as it is. If you want to make a harder late-game level, just make another one similar to this, but more dastardly. There's nothing wrong with revisiting good concepts in a trickier setting. Better that you do have an easier level to set up a harder one, because the player can use this for practice. That's good design.
  • Playing this with Kood is super fun. If you lower the first love frog platform a tile so he can make that jump I will be very pleased. Its possible for him to make it when the screen is scrolling down, but once it starts going right again he can't make it. I don't think he can go under either. On the other hand, with his float ability, maybe he's better off with one tricky jump he alone has to make.
  • Laying another beet right at the spike wall would be smart, but you don't have to.
  • The note blocks are a bit pointless. Maybe have regular blocks that move up and down very slightly? (Like 0.2 speed slightly?) If not, just stationary ones would do. Or enemies you need to spin jump off of.
  • If you feel like it, make the blocks different colors so you have multicolored platforms for some eye-candy.
  • If you make a harder level like this, I've got one word for you: Ghosts.
Responses under spoilers again!
I'm really glad you like it! I was kind of surprised nobody else had done a level like this in the Talkhaus SMBX games. It's an idea I thought of doing a really long time ago, actually, but the first time I tried I didn't think to use generators and gave up on it early on. Non-spawned enemies won't scroll with the land, so generators are absolutely necessary.
- You have an excellent point about revisiting the concept in a separate, harder level. I think I prefer that to just amping up this level, though I don't think a second half would hurt, either. I'm kind of torn between the two options. I guess it'll depend on what people think of having to play through the second version of the level. If that's something people are willing to do I'll leave this level as is (with minor tweaks as necessary,) and make Entropy Engine Mk. II or something.
- I actually think Iris is the only one that can make that jump once the screen stops scrolling upwards. You're meant to either get their quickly or do a jump on a rabbit. I like it as at the moment.
- The only issue with putting beets anywhere is that if you miss them they'll touch the walls, which are resprited lava. I don't want an overflow error to happen. That's actually why I put a catnip spawner in the level. I could put another of those but at the moment it feels balanced. On a related note, Kood, raocow and Sheath can't use Catnip, so I wonder if I need something else for them...
- Yeah, I think I'll just make those normal blocks.
- Like, lots of colors or a mix of dark, subdued colors like what the level already uses?
- Boos are something I experimented with. With Kood, they're a really cool obstacle. Unfortunately the other characters (bar Sheath,) can spin-jump on a Boo indefinitely, kind of killing the level. I was thinking of maybe making the next level different depending on who you go in with? Assuming I make another. If I just extend this one with a midpoint I could make that character split meaningful there.
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Re: Episode 2 Review Thread

Postby Mindez » 2 years ago

Okay, having spent the last few hours staring at the dev kit wishing there was somewhere to ask crazy newbie questions, I've decided to help in what way I actually can, by playtesting other peoples levels XD Bear in mind that I am unable to play with sound because this causes my game to crash, so I can only judge on the level design and graphics.

Museum of Elements:
Managed to get stuck, first time reaching the gourd. Sliding under the block to get to the gourd pushed me down a block, so I can only slide left and right across the map and can't get out. Screenshot: http://puu.sh/chUhv/71f1908251.png

Every single other time I tried, it pushed me two blocks down and killed me by falling off the map. In 10 or so attempts I have not managed to get the gourd and safely get out.

Oh my god I don't know if this is on purpose but I found the fact that you can move the thwomps with the walking rock guys kinda hilarious. Until one of the walking rock guys dragged a thwomp into my face. Then it stopped being hilarious. Although one of the thwomps sometimes doesn't spawn a couple of times for some reason, couldn't manage to figure out why. http://puu.sh/chV26/f3b18d84d8.png

The gun in the Disco element room didn't spawn for me first time. Not that it mattered because you can just fly over everything with angel girl, but any incidents of things not spawning should probably be looked into.

Typo in the Steam element message box - 'componant' should read 'component'. http://puu.sh/chWU7/dc2abc5701.png

Typo in the Carbon element message box - 'exibit' should read 'exhibit' and 'aproximately' should read 'approximately'. http://puu.sh/chXO1/ce05b3949d.png

Overall, difficulty was at a good place, and length was at a good place. First boss was great, second boss... I get that the hands were meant to be a 'Yo, you gotta make him fall down here' hint, but spin jumping them shouldn't be an instant death sentence. Lower the boss platform a couple of blocks maybe? I'm not sure. Purely my opinion. Text boxes may be a little wordy, but the humour was a nice touch.

Couple of things that need fixing, but overall I enjoyed.
Last edited by Mindez on 19 Oct 2014, 13:41, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Episode 2 Review Thread

Postby KingTwelveSixteen » 2 years ago

Mindez wrote:Managed to get stuck, first time reaching the gourd. Sliding under the block to get to the gourd pushed me down a block, so I can only slide left and right across the map and can't get out. Screenshot: http://puu.sh/chUhv/71f1908251.png

Every single other time I tried, it pushed me two blocks down and killed me by falling off the map. In 10 or so attempts I have not managed to get the gourd and safely get out.
Thanks for reviewing my level, The Museum of Elements.

I had to stare at this picture for like 10 seconds before I realized what was going on. There's actually an invisible pipe where the blue coin trail ends on the ground, you aren't supposed to glitch your way through the wall.
I fixed it so you can't die horribly trying anymore. (and can actually succeed if you wanna take that path in instead of taking the intended path. :) )

Download link if anyone cares.

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Re: Episode 2 Review Thread

Postby sedron » 2 years ago

I would like to review all of the levels submitted if possible, but there's already a LOT of them so I'm gonna go slowly on this.

The Museum of Elements- KingTwelveSixteen (Used the first download link, the new one was put up right after I played the original)
Mindez caught a few things I caught. I'll go over them in more detail, but there are a few more typos in there. I know "momento," should be "memento," at the end. There may be more, I started skimming the text boxes fairly early on. There are funny parts, don't get me wrong, but there's so much of it. The excessive text also adds to the level length, making dying feel worse. It feels like more progress was lost than there really was.

Onto more specific stuff.

- The fires in the fire room are sometimes easy to mistake for background objects, especially the last few since they come from a background tree. It should really be made more clear what's going on.

- Just wondering, why is the player computer-controlled at the beginning? It's not bad, per se', but it seems a bit weird.

- The rock dude near the start of the earth room is way too close to the player. It does demonstrate quickly that he can't hurt you conventionally, but it's still not really fair. There's a lot to take in, let the player breathe for a moment.

- There are two octobros that are jerks. The stationary octobro in the steam section looks like it should be friendly (a problem shared with other NPC's, but this one you can get really close to before it hurts you.) The other one is in the Carbon room, where it actually skips a gap between blocks to start following another set of blocks. It's really unintuitive and unfair.

- A few of the colorful blocks in the Disco room can be walked through. I've used them before, they're resprites of blocks that aren't solid on the sides or bottom. This can be fixed in a few ways. Resprite different blocks or place invisible, solid blocks on top of the other ones.

- Why does the machine in the plant room make multiple Pals? That shouldn't really be a thing.

- The plant room is based on something that was purposefully edited out of all A2XT Ep 1 levels: unmarked plants. That's not good.

The biggest mark against this level is its length. I really think it needs to be trimmed a bit, or at least trim the dialogue. It makes it seem so much longer than it is, and it's already pretty long. It also feels very spammy at certain places, especially the plant room. I like some of the dialogue, but again, the enjoyment is hampered by there being so much of it. This is absolutely salvageable, and if you feel up to it make some big edits. As is, though, I wouldn't really want to play it again, which is kind of a shame.
The Dark Lord's Castle- KingTwelveSixteen
This level just kind of doesn't have much going on, honestly. The joke was kind of lost on me, actually. Lots of levels do what you have this level do unironically, so I took it in stride. Anyway, it's easy, yeah, but there's literally nothing for most of it. It's too empty. I can't even review most of it as a level because there's barely any level there.

The weird key room has multiple Feeds, which, like the multiple Pals, shouldn't be a thing. Also every single one of them has a typo in the textbox (sohuld instead of should.) The exit could stand to be more obvious.

The Dark Lord, as intended, isn't much of a fight. It's not that funny, either. I think this is a bit because Disco Steve does the same joke right beforehand. Also Disco Steve is just a funnier name. I like Disco Steve.

Overall I'd be hesitant to say this should be accepted because it barely constitutes a level. You could build a real level around it, or do what I'd do and replace a boss fight in another level with Disco Steve because he's a cool dude.
That's all for now.
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Re: Episode 2 Review Thread

Postby Voltgloss » 2 years ago

Review of Willhart - Welcoming Season. Demos to complete: 0.
- This is an exploration level that awards slow and careful progression. The most important skill is using enemies as projectiles (Goopa shells, Ninjis) to destroy the Love Frogs.

- There appear to be only two powerups (beets). While I beat this level on my first try, I can see it potentially being frustrating if a player has to attempt it multiple times (because of the "gather 5 raocoins" requirement which, by necessity, makes this level midpointless). To compensate, perhaps a third beet should be included somewhere around the middle of the level? Maybe tucked or hidden somewhere that requires the springboard to reach?

- The "Hi." message after getting all 5 raocoins could be made a more explicit direction to return to the beginning of the level. I guessed that was the intent, but that's just my intuition - another player might wander around for a while yet after getting that message. Maybe, instead of "Hi," the message should be something like, "Good. Come on back." Or, alternatively, Juni at the beginning could tell the player to "Return with all 5 raocoins."

- I encountered some lag at the far right side of the level after dropping down to get the raocoing there - around where the wall-crawling Gooball showed up. It wasn't enough to become unplayable, but I think someone who has had lag issues in the past (pholtos, for example) should test that section.

- The music loop is kinda abrupt.

- Isrieri pegged this as World 3 difficulty and I think that's about right.

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Re: Episode 2 Review Thread

Postby Mindez » 2 years ago

KingTwelveSixteen wrote: Thanks for reviewing my level, The Museum of Elements.
oops :oops: (It was like 4 AM I refuse to take responsibility for anything I say!)

Alrighty, gonna do one more before I get started with work today:-

Escalation by KingTwelveSixteen
- Simple concept, nicely executed with very little repetition for the most part.

- The door at the end of the castley section should be made more obvious in some waythat it's basically just there to skip the raocoin. I didn't even notice the pipe first time and started working my way down just to get very confused.

- I liked the Iris introspection moment, but I can't help but feel that an invisible object with an ! above it just looks... weirdly out of place in this game. Maybe have the textbox activate automatically at that point or something?

- Similar problem in TMoE, very very wordy. Lots of toad guys, especially in the indoor section and the sky section. A message box after every jump at one point is a bit much.

- Speaking of the indoor section, I felt at that point like the level was starting to lose focus a little bit. These screens in particular (http://puu.sh/ciwnj/1520603a2b.png) (http://puu.sh/ciwql/7608c05f54.png) being one right after another felt a bit out of place amongst the rest of the level. Personally, I'd get rid of the waste disposal room (section 6) and move the midpoint into the other room (section 5), along with Iris block and powerups. Perhaps I just didn't 'get' the waste disposal room, but it was just weird and out of place to me at least. That would help with both the focus problem and the wordiness problem.

- Free gourd and pumpkin at the end may be a little bit overkill, I get the idea of rewarding players for exploration but in this situation they serve no purpose other than to allow the player an easier time for whoever has a level directly following yours. Especially as the difficulty didn't really put this past the mid-game point.

Apart from that, pretty solid overall. I particularly like the subtle visual style in the castle part, how you've made sure that everything is held up and not floating. Not much else to say!
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sedron
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Re: Episode 2 Review Thread

Postby sedron » 2 years ago

Here's a few more reviews, before I go to work.

An Ordinary Superb Demo Sisters Level- KingTwelveSixteen
Not feeling this one. There are quite a few issues.

-The gimmick isn't explained at all. Not everybody is going to know (myself included,) that Superb Demo Sisters means no spin-jumps or backtracking. The kaizo traps are also unexpected.

-The traps themselves are not balanced. In general, emulating IWBTG isn't a thing you should ever try to do. This isn't going to be that kind of game. Some of the traps (like the invisible block with a Banana Snake than you probably need to hit to progress,) can put you in situations where there was nothing you could do to stop them. That Banana Snake trapped me between blocks where I couldn't jump on it because I hit the others already. That's not cool.

- The music for the underground section doesn't fit at all.

- The warp zone area is really ugly. Additionally, if you leave from that room to the midpoint room, you warp down from the air into the pipe.

- The midpoint room is not okay. Why would you put a kaizo trap right before the midpoint? The goal is to provide challenges for the player, not to piss them off.

- The castle section is similarly messy. The first Bananasnake King doesn't shut up if you don't kill him, which isn't possible if you died in the second half since you won't have a fireball. He's one of those obstacles that seems like tanking it is the best option.

- Was this tested small? There are sections where it seems small Demo is infinitely preferred. That's not good design.

- You have radishes and lava in one room. That can lead to an overflow error and crashes.

Overall the level just isn't fun. Sorry, dude.
Escalation- KingTwelveSixteen
- The first section is way harder than the second, and way less fun. You should tone it down, leave some room for error.

- Some sections are clashy. Make sure the graphics you're using fit with the other graphics you're using. Right outside the tower is a good example, with SMB1 background pieces and SMW land.

- The door in the tower section is confusing. It's not obvious that it's a shortcut. It probably shouldn't be there.

- Like Mindez said, there are, again, too many text boxes. Have a couple of really funny ones instead of a million of them.

- The enemies feel spammy at times.

- Inside the airship, a guy says "leak," where it should say "leek."

- Avoid having diagonal land leading into a pit, like in the last section. In general don't have a piece of land end on a diagonal, because they act weird and sometimes you won't jump on them.

This level does have some redeeming factors. I think the part where you jump from ship to ship looks really cool. The background there is awesome. You could definitely fix this one up a bit more, though.
Imik's Castle- KingTwelveSixteen
This level just kind of broke on me, I think. Am I missing something? It's like there's supposed to be a gimmick that just isn't working. I can't really review a level that's, at least for myself, unplayable.
Never Stop Rocking- Doctor Shemp
Paranoid. Nice.

- I like the concept, but there are ways you could take it farther. In particular, the level feels barren from an aesthetic standpoint. Think of all of the rocks you could put in the background. The potential, man. (Bonus points if you get a stone statue of a guitar in the background at some point.)

- You have a potential overflow error after the midpoint. Watch those radishes!

- The level kind of seems spammy at times. It's particularly noticeable with the Thwomps.

Overall I did have fun with this level. A few tweaks could make this really fun.
Hakugyokurou- Kitikami
I actually enjoyed this more than I thought I would. I'm not a huge Touhou fan, but the gameplay is solid. Here are some tips to improve it.

- The first NPC you see looks like the kind you could talk to. Why does it hurt you?

- While the difficulty is where it should be, it kind of stinks that you only get one hit. You'll probably need LunaDLL to make it work, but it would be a lot better if the player got 2 or 3 hits while keeping a small hitbox.

- The player sprites look weird. I don't think they look good at all.

- Kind of tying in, this doesn't feel like A2XT. The only thing to suggest that you're playing A2XT is the title on the side of the fight room. The part where the Touhou characters talk for a bit is going to get skipped by players who don't care for it, so here's what I think should be done. Change the player sprite back to Demo, and make it Demo only (or any one character.) Change the dialogue section entirely, and make custom pictures of Demo (or whatever one character the level is playable as,) talking to the Touhou characters. It has so much potential to be a really cool scene. I know it's a lot of work but I think if you could do it (or get somebody to help you,) it would be a really memorable part of the game.

As an aside, this may be over the file size limit. I believe there's a limit of 8MB, though I could be wrong.
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Voltgloss
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Re: Episode 2 Review Thread

Postby Voltgloss » 2 years ago

I'm getting "Run-time error 6: Overflow" in ztarwuff - Gravity Falls. Specifically, in the
room on the secret path with the four copies of Pal. I knocked two of them into the lava and, shortly after, the game errored out when another of the glowing balls fell in the lava.

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Mindez
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Re: Episode 2 Review Thread

Postby Mindez » 2 years ago

Confirming what sedron said about Imik's Castle by KingTwelveSixteen:-
Level makes no sense/seems completely broken, get stuck with no idea of what it wants from me.
Frolic by Mikkofier:
Very short and bland, a level with very little substance. Very short and simple, and a random out-of-nowhere Boom Boom fight that has absolutely nothing to make it more interesting than any other Boom Boom fight. The level on the whole is not BAD, per se, it's just... not memorable in any way. My suggestion would be to make it longer and find something to focus on and build on. I just outright have nothing else to say.
Raocow's Workday by Mikkofier:
There's a bug on the entrance to the building if you wait around for a while, the airship thing moves down about a pixel per second. Eventually it reaches the door and flies through, respawning half the airship in the top left corner. Also it probably shouldn't be possible for the ship to crush you against the side of the building, but I'm not sure how you'd fix this.

After talking to the dolphin on the left, one of the sharks zoomed at me from the bottom of the screen like it had been shot out of a cannon. ...I'm not even sure why. It happened every time so I can only assume that it's on purpose, but... that's really cheap when you have very little mobility in water.

The fact that the third dolphin just kinda pops out of nowhere when you get close to him unlike the other two is really weird.

The purple pit in the top left corner of the building is one block too wide to be fun, especially when you have to stop on a dime to not skid into the other octoturret dude.

The fireball that goes around the edge of the platform on the right of the same room behaves in a non-obvious way - it's never a good idea to have two platforms that close to each other because the fireball crosses over the gap from one platform to the other, which is non-obvious at a glance.

Standing on the russian dancer generator just after the boss hurts you when a russian dancer spawns underneath the generator. Just seems odd (that it's even there in the first place, actually).

On the whole though, I quite liked the level. It had its own idea and it saw that idea through. But there are lots of different sections that muddied the focus quite a lot. A lot of things were very 'monkey cheese' which I understand is probably the point most of the time.

Anyway, my basic recommendation for you:- Fix the airship so that it can't kill you and doesn't glitch out at the end of the commute, rework the door puzzle slightly (in particular the purple pit, shark tank and platforms on the right), and I'd also clean up the area just after the boss (Honestly just removing the russian dancer generator would do this well enough), and I think it'd be pretty okay! :)
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KingTwelveSixteen
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Re: Episode 2 Review Thread

Postby KingTwelveSixteen » 2 years ago

Well, Imik's Castle does use Luna Lua, if you don't have that it won't work...

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SAJewers
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Re: Episode 2 Review Thread

Postby SAJewers » 2 years ago

KingTwelveSixteen wrote:Well, Imik's Castle does use Luna Lua, if you don't have that it won't work...
If someone could link me a download for the new LunaDLL/LunaLUA that works with Episode 1, that would be appreciated.
DO NOT PM ME ABOUT A SECOND MARIO BROS X. THING. I WILL NOT RESPOND TO PMs.
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Hoeloe
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Re: Episode 2 Review Thread

Postby Hoeloe » 2 years ago

SAJewers wrote:
KingTwelveSixteen wrote:Well, Imik's Castle does use Luna Lua, if you don't have that it won't work...
If someone could link me a download for the new LunaDLL/LunaLUA that works with Episode 1, that would be appreciated.
I'm pretty sure LunaLua is an extension using the same base as LunaDLL, so the LunaLua installation shouldn't break anything from episode 1. Might be worth getting Kevsoft to confirm that.
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Mindez
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Re: Episode 2 Review Thread

Postby Mindez » 2 years ago

Okay, LunaLua all setup and I can confirm it does work. Sorry KingTwelveSixteen, these forums are a little bit confusing for a newcomer. :) I don't have time for a proper review right now, but I'll have a go tomorrow morning!

(Anybody else that may have been confused, the new LunaDLL is here viewtopic.php?f=36&t=14980 - I just made a copy of the base folder, not sure if it's backwards compatible with the episode 1 LunaDLL or not)
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sedron
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Re: Episode 2 Review Thread

Postby sedron » 2 years ago

Got Imik's Castle working, thank you Mindez for the link! I'm gonna review it now, but you still should too. Multiple reviews on every level is optimal.

Imik's Castle- KingTwelveSixteen (For real this time)
This is definitely the most interesting level you've submitted. It's cool seeing the little gimmicks you put in each room. A few thoughts on each.

- The invisible blocks that make it possible to stand on the castle at the start are briefly visible just as the level opens. I recommend replacing them with another block, and using a custom graphic to make them invisible.

- The low gravity room looks pretty, has nice music and is pretty fun. You could make an entire level out of this room, and you probably should. It ends really quickly, which is disappointing.

- The sky room, on the other hand, looks boring and isn't really as interesting. If you get pushed off the top of the screen you can actually get crushed, oddly enough. The layout of the room is really boring and only contains a single real obstacle, which is also annoying to deal with. It's weird trying to get the intervals for floating down. Also Calleoca doesn't really explain anything. I'm quite certain sticking tree sap on the ceilings would not cause one to float in mid air. You can safely scrap this room. Extending the room before would be better.

- The bunny room is kind of cute, but there are a few weird things. Friendly NPC's are mixed in with enemies, which isn't a good idea at all. There's a Boom-Boom for basically no reason. The Twitter nearby in particular seems like it should be friendly, but it isn't. The room needs a few tweaks, is all.

- The block room quickly becomes spammy and filled with cutoff. It doesn't look good or play much better. I don't particularly like it.

- The midpoint room is actually a neat idea. I think it's pulled off well and you could probably do a lot with it. The only thing I'd recommend changing is how the fish bubbles spawn. They're unmarked and have a long delay on them. They should probably be marked, and it should be obvious what to do from the get go. Again, like the first room, you could make a whole level with this idea.

- Obviously there's needs to be an actual end, but I understand you're working on that.

I really think you could just focus on one or two ideas in a level and make something really cool with some of these ideas. There are definite problem spots here, and even if it were in a finished state I'd be hesitant to say it's acceptable just because the Sky Room is pretty glitchy. It's up to you what to do with your work, but I think you absolutely have some good stuff going here, and you should accentuate it.
Probably more reviews a little bit later.
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Kevsoft
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Re: Episode 2 Review Thread

Postby Kevsoft » 2 years ago

Hoeloe wrote: I'm pretty sure LunaLua is an extension using the same base as LunaDLL, so the LunaLua installation shouldn't break anything from episode 1. Might be worth getting Kevsoft to confirm that.
I am working together with kil. So every changes he does is always together with the LunaLua extension. My lastest changes can be always found here.

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Darkonius64
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Re: Episode 2 Review Thread

Postby Darkonius64 » 2 years ago

TIME TO MAKE A SILLY QUESTION!

my level already got reviewed during the Episode 1 period, but my level didn't get into episode 1, so the question is:

Does my level need to be reviewed again for Episode 2 even if it already got reviewed in Episode 1 despite not being in it?


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