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View Full Version : Awesomemans Reviews: Subterranean Setbacks by rtm223



qrtda235566
10-20-2009, 12:38 AM
Sorry for taking so long. In between Fallout 3, LBP, and Pokemon, I haven't had much time to review, but here it is.

I've barely had time to pull myself away from creating my new level to do reviews, so thanks a lot, rtm223, for making me review a level which took me one hour before I quit the first time, and an hour the second time to actually beat. Subterranean Setbacks by rtm223 is a level that seems to be heavily influenced by the levels of Mrsupercomputer. Its name features alliteration, it follows a simple plot and theme, and it looks incredible. After playing Zephyr Valley, and then playing his other levels: Mulberry Woods, Basilisk Bog, and the absolutely amazing Manufactured Madness, Mrsupercomputer has become one of my favorite creators. So, anyone whose levels are like Mrsupercomputer's must be good, right? Well... not so much.

Subterranean Setbacks starts out as a refreshingly simple story with a formidable difficulty and the looks to support it. Unfortunately, Subterranean Setbacks gets blander, more tedious, and less fair.

Subterranean Setbacks looks great. The level of detail is commendable. Wooden planks are decayed, rats look like rats, and there are some really awesome effects when stuff breaks. You aren't walking on perfect squares of rock like some levels, they're imperfect as they should be. The only flaw with the way the SS looks is in the gouge-your-eyes-out middle section, which I'll talk about more later. The level starts out and ends with a nice contrast between industrial environments and rocky, cave-like environments, which keep things from getting boring. In this godawful middle section, this contrast is lost and everything starts to look the same.

2/3rds of the level plays excellently. It contains some difficult, yet rewarding platforming which requires precise X-tapping, a cool sneaking section which I had never seen before, and has a nice flow to it. The other 1/3rd, though, the horrible middle part, gets tedious and starts to feel unfair. Some jumps are unrealistic. There's a part where you have to make a superhuman-like leap to grab a tiny grab-able section of a rock to pull it down so you can proceed. There's another section where you have to jump up a bazillion feet onto a platform above by timing your jump correctly on a spinning wheel, which took me a good 10 minutes. You may not find this middle section as boring as I did, it's still well put together and more fun than, let's say....Ramp, it just seems to get repetitive and jumps seem unfair.

Overall, Subterranean Setbacks is a good level, I just found the middle section really dull. Who knows, though, perhaps you'll like it. It's got tons of polish and is worth a look. There are some moments of true genius that I don't think should be missed.

:star::star::star::star:

Oh, and you should try mrsupercomputer's levels, or you suck.

rtm223
10-20-2009, 10:37 AM
Hmmm, so it seems you had some trouble with the level then? In fairness, anything will become tedious and look the same if you are stuck in the same sections for long periods of time :p Finding any level where an hour of play (or even two hours in this case, I suppose) doesn't get repetitive is going to be **** nigh impossible.

It's interesting you would bring up the pull-down boulder as an example of a particularly unfair jump - no one else has highlighted that as a problem. You are on a stationary platform, jumping to another stationary object. There are no complex moving obstacles to synchronise yourself with. It's simply a case of holding left and pressing x before you fall off. I can definately see how it could be dull and boring if you mess it up a couple of times, but unfair? It's not like I'm asking you to corner jump or deal with complex timings or complex physics issues.

But I'll stop attempting to defend myself. It all comes down to opinion anyway, and that's what reviews are all about. Needless to say, there are very good reasons why one of my primary tags is frustrating :) Thank you very much for the review, I appreciate the effort that went in, and the nice things that you said about it.

Finally:

Oh, and you should try mrsupercomputer's levels, or you suck. This is something we can all agree on :)

javi haguse
10-20-2009, 02:23 PM
Finally:
This is something we can all agree on :)

lol!
I agree too!

mrsupercomputer
10-20-2009, 06:26 PM
I'm not sure that saying my levels influenced Subterranean Setbacks is a correct assertion. All the comparisons you listed are found in a lot of other Little Big Planet levels. I'd be honored if I did influence Rtm in some way, shape, or form, but overall I feel Subterranean Setbacks is level with a style of gameplay all it's own. I do appreciate the kind words about my levels though, so thanks for that.

CCubbage
10-20-2009, 06:57 PM
Ditto.... I personally found VERY little influence between "Setbacks" and MrSuperComputer levels.... except that both are very well designed.

I was surprised "cheap" was mentioned in this level. "Hard"...yes, but I found it was one of the fairest difficult levels I've ever seen. Every area that you could die contained either a) a visible clue, b) a text clue, or c) a purposely designed split second to make a decision. THIS is how a difficult level should be designed.

But yes.... difficult. Loved it.

javi haguse
10-20-2009, 07:22 PM
I've actually haven't played this level yet.
I was simply referring to the fact that everyone should play Mr.supercomputer's levels!
I guess I'm gonna have to play it now...

mrsupercomputer
10-20-2009, 07:33 PM
You'll like it Javi, it has caves!

qrtda235566
10-20-2009, 07:43 PM
Hmmm, so it seems you had some trouble with the level then? In fairness, anything will become tedious and look the same if you are stuck in the same sections for long periods of time :p Finding any level where an hour of play (or even two hours in this case, I suppose) doesn't get repetitive is going to be **** nigh impossible.

It's interesting you would bring up the pull-down boulder as an example of a particularly unfair jump - no one else has highlighted that as a problem. You are on a stationary platform, jumping to another stationary object. There are no complex moving obstacles to synchronise yourself with. It's simply a case of holding left and pressing x before you fall off. I can definately see how it could be dull and boring if you mess it up a couple of times, but unfair? It's not like I'm asking you to corner jump or deal with complex timings or complex physics issues.

But I'll stop attempting to defend myself. It all comes down to opinion anyway, and that's what reviews are all about. Needless to say, there are very good reasons why one of my primary tags is frustrating :) Thank you very much for the review, I appreciate the effort that went in, and the nice things that you said about it.

Finally:
This is something we can all agree on :)

The boulder section wasn't the only section I got frustrated with. First off, the wheel section was ridiculous, and you can actually jump on the thing in front of the door anyway and roll it out of the way. That's what I did the first time and I tried to backtrack to the elevator until I got stuck, then quit.

Some of the straight-forward platforming parts forced you me wait until Sackboy actually had a foot off the platforming to jump, and Sackboy's slippery feet didn't help either.

I don't want you to take this review the wrong way. If I have a problem with a level, I tend to focus on that in the review, and everything that I don't bring up is fine. I'm glad to have finally reviewed this level after giving three consecutive 2 star reviews.

I still thought the middle section was dull, though. You know the parts where a giant tentacle would shoot out at you? Every time that happened, I thought it was cool. The middle section had none of those "woah" moments that I can remember.


I'm not sure that saying my levels influenced Subterranean Setbacks is a correct assertion. All the comparisons you listed are found in a lot of other Little Big Planet levels. I'd be honored if I did influence Rtm in some way, shape, or form, but overall I feel Subterranean Setbacks is level with a style of gameplay all it's own. I do appreciate the kind words about my levels though, so thanks for that.

Key word in the beginning of my review : SEEMS to be influenced by.

Maybe it's just the alliteration, but it definitely reminded me of a level you would make.

rtm223
10-20-2009, 08:27 PM
I don't want you to take this review the wrong way. If I have a problem with a level, I tend to focus on that in the review, and everything that I don't bring up is fine. I'm glad to have finally reviewed this level after giving three consecutive 2 star reviews. I really didn't take it the wrong way. I did a bit the first time I read it through, but I'd only just got up :p After a coffee and a re-read I did notice all the positive points you brought up. In fact if anyone else is thinking this review is not fair, then do give it a reread, and bear in mind it's a review. It's supposed to be tempered by opinion. I obviously responded to the negatives because I'm being defensive. That's just natural.



The boulder section wasn't the only section I got frustrated with. First off, the wheel section was ridiculous.
OK, getting on to the basic exit to the room is not rediculous. Just aim to land at vaguely 45 degrees and jump as you land. When I first made it I tried about 20 times and had about a 40% success rate, I felt that was reasonable. Now, getting onto the top right platform in that room to get the secret points really is rediculous - at least 10x harder lol.



and you can actually jump on the thing in front of the door anyway and roll it out of the way. That's what I did the first time and I tried to backtrack to the elevator until I got stuck, then quit Arghhh. That's horrible. I can't believe I never thought of that. I'm going to have to free up some thermo to block that off. I really am sorry for that, I've gone to great pains to fix all of these things but clearly there are several things I never thought of. Thanks for letting me know.


Some of the straight-forward platforming parts forced you me wait until Sackboy actually had a foot off the platforming to jump, and Sackboy's slippery feet didn't help either.
I can think of 2, maybe 3 jumps where you are forced to go right near to the edge and all of those literally require you to get 1 thing right. There is no moving hazard, no analogue jumping or momentum control, no precision landing to make. You just have to run full pelt and then bash x hard at the right time. Conversely all the analogue sections have very big margins for error in timing and velocity. This is very deliberate.


I don't want you thinking I'm trying to turn this into an argument. I do certainly appreciate the review (especially after you gave me two hours of your time) and I respect your opinions. I certainly understand that you found it frustrating - believe me, you're not the first one. I'm just putting forward my side of the story.



With regards to mrsupercomputer, I can see some similarities. Gameplay focus is similar, largely platforming / adventure style gaming, with a few twists to the "standard" elements thrown in here and there. Storytelling style is also similar IMO. I know I don't have an antagonist, or a collection of hapless NPCs to be selflessly rescued from said antagonist. However, there is a strong premise and sense of purpose, used to drive the action, without any real "plot" going on.

Was I influenced? Probably to some extent, I do love mrSC's levels and it's hard to not be influenced by something like that, but it was never something conscious.


Obviously, my character design pwns mrsupercomputer's though ;)

javi haguse
10-20-2009, 08:43 PM
You'll like it Javi, it has caves!

Just cause I made a cave level doesn't mean that I automatically like caves!!! that's um.... i don't know.. racist?.no.. Levelist! lmao

I'll check it out!

qrtda235566
10-20-2009, 11:48 PM
Obviously, my character design pwns mrsupercomputer's though ;)

I forgot to mention that!

The sewer zombies were some of the best LBP characters in recent memory, and through all 7 or 8 speech bubbles, I felt an irresistible attachment to them.

rtm223
10-21-2009, 08:45 AM
A few people have said they liked the mutants. TBH, I was never 100% sure about them before release. They look completely naff (I wish I could make characters to rival mrsupercomputer's) and I was worried the humour wouldn't translate well into text. Glad it all worked out.

BTW, I've fixed up the generator room so that you can't roll the blockage away from the door. Adding a single winch to lock it in place overheated the level, but I found a rod I could delete. Sadly, I then had to add some vertices to the object the rod was connected to and then that overheated the level. I got there in the end though. Don't you just love thermo?

CCubbage
10-21-2009, 12:22 PM
A few people have said they liked the mutants. TBH, I was never 100% sure about them before release. They look completely naff (I wish I could make characters to rival mrsupercomputer's) and I was worried the humour wouldn't translate well into text. Glad it all worked out.

BTW, I've fixed up the generator room so that you can't roll the blockage away from the door. Adding a single winch to lock it in place overheated the level, but I found a rod I could delete. Sadly, I then had to add some vertices to the object the rod was connected to and then that overheated the level. I got there in the end though. Don't you just love thermo?
It's not that hard to make mrsupercomputer-quality characters. Here's what I did for Splat Invaders III: I grabbed stickers and shapes off his characters and totally copied his style of characters!.... then reshaped material and changed some stickers to give them a unique look.

I PMed him and told him what I had done. He said he THOUGHT they looked familiar but that I had made them my own so no credit was necessary.

So, there ya go! Great technique for building mrsupercomputer-quality characters.
:D

comphermc
10-21-2009, 12:54 PM
Haha, Cubb. You big thief! :p

CCubbage
10-21-2009, 01:13 PM
Haha, Cubb. You big thief! :p
But I'm an honest thief.
:D

I also copied the E.T. character in Splat II....

rtm223
10-21-2009, 01:21 PM
The rat that chases you started off life a rocket cheetah. I took 1 thick layer and 1 thin layer pieces of material and punched out cheetah negatives. Then I punched out pieces and rebuilt it :D

javi haguse
10-21-2009, 04:52 PM
I finally played it!
and mrsc was right.... i do like it! a lot! ...i guess I'm a sucker for caves..
I actually don't see any resemblance to any of mrsc levels, this level has a style and gameplay of its own. Love it.
It is of higher difficulty, as stated in the name, and at first i was struggling.. (maybe cause I haven't played in a while..) But I liked that as you kept playing, the level of difficulty was constant. Somehow this continuity starts making the gameplay flow.. I don't know how to explain it, but this is what I'm trying to say: at first, I was dying continuously because of the level of difficulty. Then somehow I got used to it, and I found myself doing very difficult sequences all at once.. it was simply awesome and very entertaining!.. I ended up being late for a class :)
I loved the design too! It gave my caves a run for their money.. I actually saw a couple of ideas that I might use for my future projects.
Regarding the zombies, I did like them but I wish there were more of them. Just having those at the beginning makes them seem out of place.. Only 2 of them live down there?? highly unlikely right...Everyone knows that mutants live in groups of 6 duh!! lol
But anyways, that's my take. Great job!!

rtm223
10-22-2009, 01:10 PM
A couple of people who had a rough time with this have said that they found it a lot easier on the second go through. I think it's partly a case of getting used to what is expected of you is key to getting through this level, although I'm not sure.

BTW, what parts are you planning on pilfering? I don't mind in the slightest, I'm just curious what bits might have "inspired" you :)

javi haguse
10-22-2009, 03:28 PM
Well, I don't know if u have played my level, but it is set in a cave as well. It's really nothing specific, but I really liked how a lot of stuff was collapsing throughout the level. I had that idea in mind but you delivered it perfectly. My goal is to make my cave as realistic as possible, and making it collapse and crumble seems to be the right direction for me.. I hope. I did some of it in my last level but I want to take it one step further!

Even though both our levels are caves I think they're completely different, so don't worry ;)
You should check it out, and hey! maybe YOU'LL get inspired as well :)