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View Full Version : Bridget's review of: Platforms Madness V2.2



Bridget
05-14-2009, 10:52 AM
PSNID: Miglioshin
Level Title: Platforms Madness V2.2


Well, I can say right off the bat that I wasnt expecting THIS.

This is one of those types of levels that you just dont see very often.


Right away, as soon as you're dumped into the stage, you're presented with a well done title sequence, and a very unique visual style. The only other thing I've seen that's close to this style is the "Hyper Cube" levels, but this is still a bit better looking.

Speaking of Hyper Cube, this level shares quite alot in common with that series of stages..... which is a good thing.

For those that have seen the Cube levels, it's alot of the same concept: Each "area" is but a single screen room, with some sort of challenge that must be overcome. Do whatever it is the room requires of you, and the door to the next room opens up.

Sometimes you may have to go through a room more than once.... though the path is technically quite linear, it never really FEELS too linear. I got more of an "exploration" feel from this one. I wasnt just going in a straight, boring line to the right or something.... no, this was all over the place!

I will say something right now: This is a long level. It's possible that it may perhaps be a little TOO long... more on that in a bit. There are quite alot of different rooms that must be passed through, including a few "boss" rooms. The bosses were cool, but even with the level in "easy" mode, for the version I played, I thought they were a bit TOO easy. I think I did the first one almost entirely without moving. That's only a minor complaint though (and not something that other players are likely to complain much about).

No, most of the meat of this is in the rooms themselves. And the design of them does not disappoint. It never seemed to me like concepts were being repeated or reused or overused here.... each new room was something different. What's more, each new room was something INTERESTING.

And there were some interesting ideas here. I particularly liked the "deathrays" and lightning bolts that appeared in a few sections.... THAT impressed me. Or the key that was also used as a shield.... there's something I never would have come up with myself. Or that whole "map" idea! THAT was cool.... I've not seen something like that before in a level like this, and that speaks of great amounts of creativity. It's little touches like that that can really add to the experience.

All in all, the level design is what I consider top-notch, for the most part, and with a side-scrolling platformer like LBP, that's a major, major important point in alot of levels, and one that alot of them dont do quite right. It's not an easy thing to do properly, and I give the author props for that one.


However, it's not all bright and happy. Any level is going to have good points AND bad points. The good definitely outweighed the bad.... but it's still my job to find the bad and point them out, so here we go:


I thought the pacing of the stage was a little off. Not bad, but a bit off. There were a couple of sections that seemed to me to require a bit too much waiting/patience. The main example I can think of is that room where you must jump on those ball things, and sorta "roll" them to the right with your feet, to get them into the key points, and then go back to the left and do the next ball (preferrably, WITHOUT falling off and dying a buncha times like I did, haha). This is a cool idea, but this room seemed to me to be a bit overdone. Too many balls.

Certain sections of the stage have a bit of that problem. That being said, it's still not a big issue, and I'll be honest here.... part of it is me just being impatient as I am. However, your "average" player is also often impatient, so that needs to be kept in mind.


Secondly, I did have a few issues with the occaisional springboard that was to be found throughout the stage. Maybe it's just me, but it seemed oddly easy to get stuck UNDER the springboard; fortunately enough mashing of the jump button usually got me out, but this is a common issue I see with any level that uses automatic springboards. Probably an easy fix, but for the time being it's there.

I cant really think of any other big specifics to point out, as far as problems go. The pacing was the main issue to me... and MAYBE the level was a bit too long.... however, since it was high quality the whole way through, I dont really consider that an issue.


Onto the scoring!


Gameplay: 9/10

This is where this level really shines. Level design of a quality that I very rarely see within LBP.... it starts out interesting and unique, and KEEPS ON being interesting and unique. No staleness here! All sorts of different platforming challenges, and multiple bosses await you. What more need I even say here? This alone makes this level very, very worth trying. Those bloody springboards though. I really did get stuck under them multiple times, haha.....

Graphics: 8/10

Now, I've seen styles like this before, but..... perhaps not QUITE like this. I liked the whole "player silhouette" thing. And everything is even COLOR CODED.... green is platforms, blue is stuff that can move/animate, and red is grabbable stuff.... very good idea, that. Everything here looks quite nice, and what's more, everything (for the most part) stands out very well. Combine that with everything being on one plane, and you never have any "wierd" jumps in here to worry about, as in many LBP levels. You always know where you are and what's coming. I barely noticed the music though. And one small peeve here: The switches are all dark! Maybe light them up somehow?

Challenge level: 2/10 (note: Lower number here doesnt mean "bad", it just means it's easy)

It's exactly what it says it's going to be: easy. For some players (myself included, as a rule), it's gonna be TOO easy, HOWEVER, it DOES say "easy mode" all over it, so.... well, if they complain, maybe they should learn to read, eh? It's just right for what it says it is, so that's a good thing. The difficulty is also nice and even throughout the entire stage, never really "spiking" up or down.... another good point.


Pacing/Length: 6/10

The pacing definitely felt a bit off sometimes. Some rooms seemed just fine, but then there'd be a room that just seemed to drag on a bit much (if that makes sense), or involve some extra waiting that didnt seem to serve enough of a purpose. For some players, this might need a bit more patience than they have. However, the quality of the level design outdoes this issue, and makes you want to see what's through that next door, even IF the current room is being annoying. The level IS a bit long.... but at least the quality never dips.



Overall: 8.5/10


I was really surprised by this one. I definitely wasnt expecting to find something this neat, as the very first level I review. A bit long, took a bit of time, but, I felt it was time well spent. It's not often I see something with this much thought and obvious effort put into it. The level isnt perfect, but the few small problems are drastically outweighed by the many good points.


As it is, I liked this level enough to heart it and the author for easy finding later... I intend on trying more of this author's levels when I get a chance.


Though, not that my hearting of it will be noticed.... it already has quite alot of hearts..... and in my opinion, it's quite deserving of them.


http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2009-5/1340144/Platform1.JPG

A typical room, filled with platforming challenges and danger. I wouldnt be standing there when that bolt comes down, if I were you.


http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2009-5/1340144/Platform2.JPG

The map screen, which you can access in each new room. Shows you just where you are in the overall level.... and how much further you have to go.


http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2009-5/1340144/Platform3.JPG

The first boss you'll face. It chases you around! Not too hard if you're careful, but.... also not the last boss you'll be facing in this stage.

Miglioshin
05-14-2009, 11:37 AM
I'm impressed, nor do I was expecing THIS.
Great work Bridget, a very well written review.
Thank you.

Bridget
05-14-2009, 01:01 PM
I'm impressed, nor do I was expecing THIS.
Great work Bridget, a very well written review.
Thank you.

I could say the same about the level you gave me to try :)

I seriously wasnt expecting anything quite like that. Kudos to you for doing something new and creative, and doing it well. Though I still say those bloody springboards hate me. Why is it I get stuck under springboards so easily in LBP as a whole?

I do intend on trying out your other levels later, after having played this one. If you've got topics for them in the Levels Showcase, I'll leave comments there when I get to it.

CCubbage
05-14-2009, 02:16 PM
I played this last night, and I think this review was about as near to perfect as I've seen. I agree 100%, and I gotta say - I'm really excited about this level. It's one I will return to many times (along with MrsSpookyBuz's Hyer Cube).

It definately takes a bit of courage to design a level like this - it's the opposite of what many of the LBP players are expecting, but right up MY alley.

Great review! Great creator!

brnxblze
05-14-2009, 02:24 PM
O.O Whoa, that's a long review, I can't wait for mine! I love this level too, I don't know why but I love levels like these where you have to solve a puzzle in one room to get to the next puzzle. I've only played a few of these, I hope to find more.

Bridget
05-14-2009, 11:28 PM
I played this last night, and I think this review was about as near to perfect as I've seen. I agree 100%, and I gotta say - I'm really excited about this level. It's one I will return to many times (along with MrsSpookyBuz's Hyer Cube).

It definately takes a bit of courage to design a level like this - it's the opposite of what many of the LBP players are expecting, but right up MY alley.

Great review! Great creator!


Yeah, the Hyper Cube levels were just great, werent they?

I was playing online with aer0blue one night, him choosing levels at random, and we came upon the third Cube level, and afterwards we were both like "ok........ THAT was awesome......"


And this one then was great too. There was only one thing I thought was missing..... hidden rooms! I mean, look at that map thing... the way it's laid out, to me, it just BEGS to have some of the non-filled-in squares actually have hidden screens there. And based on what I saw in the level, there's probably enough thermo room left for multiple secrets to be added (particularly with the extremely limited number of total materials used, which really helps with the thermo alot sometimes). Particularly also, since, no matter how many times I looked at that map thing, I was always, always reminded of the map screen in the dungeons in the very first Zelda. That's what it reminded me of. And those were fulla hidden rooms.

Miglioshin
05-15-2009, 12:15 AM
Bingo Bridget, you got me... initially I was thinking of secret rooms, but my thermo's not so empty as you think.

In fact, to have the entire level work properly, there's an huge amount of mag switches and key, I have never counted them but I guess they're above hundred (this sucked space away).

The very first idea of the intro screen was a replica of a scrolling text board (ehm... the one where there are all that lights that makes the text scroll from right to left...), but it required too much memory.

I would like to have the possibility to take other players in a 'tour' mode inside Platforms Madness and have it shown like in edit mode (without darkness and with all the wires visible), it's almost entirely covered in wires!!
What you see playing it is only a little above the half of what it is built inside the level, some puzzles and mechanics have quite complex background 'machinery' to make them work the right way. (i.e. the scrolling cube with the four switches that controls different 'pistons', but a single piston can be controlled by more than a single switch)
Man, that was a nightmare to build; not only I had to build a mechanic that can do a thing like that, but I also had to be sure that it was possible to solve it!
And the scrolling cube?
It sometimes stuck in spite of my hard work (and, yes... it is a little smaller than the corridor)!!!
lol

The spaces you see among the rooms in the map it's the space needed to update the map with moving rooms; if you pay a close attention to the map you will see that the rooms you moved in the game are actually moved also in the map.

So, actually I deleted the 3 secrets rooms filled with tons of bubbles, they have never seen the light of day...

But never say never, I'm actually 30% ready with Platforms Madness II and this thread gave me the right spin, today I created 2 new rooms!

EDIT:
If you are willing to play my other levels and come up to 'Legend of a Hero', please play the 'EX' version.
Basically is the same level as the non EX version, but the 'background things' works a bit better in the EX version...
Here follows the order of creation:
First creation is The Stone Temple - The beginning (including myself!)
Second creation is The Stone Temple - Inner Chambers PREVIEW (actually standing by at 25%)
Third is the remake of Impossible Mission (from Commodore 64) reeeeeally hard! (and with no thermo left)
Fourth and fifth are Legend of a Hero chapter 1 and 2 (and EX versions of them)
Sixth 'Easy and Extreme mode of Miglioshin's Platforms Madness'
Last Platforms Madness V2.2

P.S.
The problem with the springboards is due to their height, only 1 square; with a 2 square height automatic springboard there's no risk to fall under them; but re-editing them in the level would be too complicated and time consuming, time that I prefer to spend in my newest projects... ^_^

A spoiler from the author for future madness plays:

The 8 blue frustrating balls can be shot with the paintinator found in the room before, for an easiest and fastest way of placing!
But don't be hasty, if you're too fast using this trick sending two balls too close to each other, they can stuck in a corner!

Bridget
05-15-2009, 07:03 AM
If I may make a suggestion, then:

This one WAS a bit on the long side.... it might be a bit too long for some players. Some people get bored easy even when surrounded by quality.

For the 2nd one, simply sacrifice some length off of the main area, to stick some secret rooms in there. The length overall will be more proper, and there'll be rewards to be found by dilligent players. Perhaps have a secret room with a boss in it, even! Wouldnt THAT be an interesting surprise for players :P



Also: I really shoulda thought of the bit behind the spoiler text myself. But I tend to be impatient and rush through stuff, not to mention being rather airheaded, so that idea never even once occurred to me when I was in that particular room. I'll keep it in mind though.

Bridget
05-16-2009, 11:12 AM
I've added some screenshots!

I'll be doing this in all reviews from now on. I just didnt have them properly prepared initially for this one, so they're in a bit late, but there they are!

Miglioshin
05-18-2009, 01:18 AM
Thanks again Bridget.
Whenever I try to upload screenshots they are a sort of thumbnails, how can I manage to have screenshots that big?

Bridget
05-18-2009, 08:11 AM
Thanks again Bridget.
Whenever I try to upload screenshots they are a sort of thumbnails, how can I manage to have screenshots that big?

It might depend on the site you're using for hosting them.

Those pics up there are just direct BB-code image links.


Im using VillagePhotos to host these.