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CCubbage
01-09-2009, 11:09 PM
Level: Little Big Apocalypse Series
PSN: JonMartin

I decided for my first review I would take on, quite possibly, the biggest and deepest game in the LittleBigPlanet universe: Little Big Apocalypse Series 1-14.

If you are not familiar with this series, I am going to suggest the following: Go out and get a 6 pack of your favorite beer (if you are old enough...). Wait until you are alone. Turn off the lights. Pull up the first game, sit back, and play through as many as you can before you need more beer.

It's unusual, if not unheard of, to have this kind of game in LittleBigPlanet. The story is well thought out, virtually every visual in the game is surreal (almost like a dream), the ambience is incredible. Simply put, this is not a series you simply PLAY. It is an EXPERIENCE told by a master story-teller.

As you play through each level in the series, you will experience many moments where you have an uneasy feeling, or you will be jolted and thrown about like a rag doll. Or you will take almost impossible leaps of faith in areas in which you have NO idea what you are doing, but yet will miraculously land safely. You will also die A LOT - but you will have fun doing it.

These levels are difficult to rate because the style is going to appeal to some, but others may not "get it".

Chances are, if you enjoy "David Lynch" movies, you will LOVE these (I'm a really big David Lynch fan).

The first level begins with fantastic fire-filled destruction. Everything then quiets down and you find yourself walking though a peaceful, quiet setting where the story begins to unfold.

As you play through each subsequent level, the author slowly tells a tale. You are surrounded by imagery that at first appears to be almost random, but you can see familiar shapes in the silouetted background which applies to the story.

However, these levels are absolutely not boring. One moment you will be walking in quiet, the next you will be rocketed through a strange colorful world in a lightning fast vehicle, and the next you will be clearing electric debris away with a Paintinator (one of the most unusual uses for the gun I have seen).

If it sounds like I am GUSHING about these levels, I am. It seems like I am reviewing a good book or a movie, and not a video game.

All the games in this series have not been published. I just played through the 14th level in the series and the story is not over.

(I'm DYING to know how this story ends).

My score: 4.9 out of 5 (.1 for a few cheap deaths)

Jaeyden
01-09-2009, 11:13 PM
WOW...14 so far? Awesome, I'm gonna get started on this ASAP.

Risen
01-10-2009, 02:33 PM
On important thing of note, though, these levels might be best played alone. At least the first one is much harder to navigate with other people around, and it doesn't take kindly to network lag.

QuozL
01-10-2009, 02:46 PM
Definitely going to check these out, thanks for reviewing them.

Cheers QuozL

CCubbage
01-10-2009, 03:33 PM
On important thing of note, though, these levels might be best played alone. At least the first one is much harder to navigate with other people around, and it doesn't take kindly to network lag.
Thanks for pointing that out. This was definately something I missed in the review (although insinuated with "wait until you are alone". Forgot about the network....).

DO NOT play these levels in multiplayer mode until you and the other player are familiar with them.

Avatar_of_Chaos
01-18-2009, 11:34 AM
I've played the first 4 or so of the levels, and I have to say that I'm definitely pushing on ahead to complete them all! Great sense of atmosphere, and a unique way of storytelling... The platforming side of things could do with a bit more work... but regardless, it's great to see someone put so much effort into an enormous series such as this.

Neverynnal
01-20-2009, 11:04 PM
I played these levels 1 through 7 and I gotta say I was thoroughly disappointed. While the author has some artistic direction, he has no idea how to build a good level. It's dark matter, sponge and pistons and THATS IT.

I was totally psyched after playing the 1st level, because it was so well written and I really "felt" it ya know? But then they got worse and worse as the levels went on. Level 2 was cool with the eyes and the creepy nature of the whole level, but I expected more from subsequent levels. He pumped out 14 levels so fast for a reason: Lighting effects + dark matter + typo dialogue. When an author starts throwing in "lol"'s and leet speek persay it totally destroys the strong story aspect of it all. It seemed too thrown together like he was trying to zoom through levels to get to his ending that he thought of after making the first one.

Just simply not enough there to keep me going with the series. I'd give it an overall rating of 2.5/5 stars to be honest.

CCubbage
01-23-2009, 06:56 PM
I played these levels 1 through 7 and I gotta say I was thoroughly disappointed. While the author has some artistic direction, he has no idea how to build a good level. It's dark matter, sponge and pistons and THATS IT.

I was totally psyched after playing the 1st level, because it was so well written and I really "felt" it ya know? But then they got worse and worse as the levels went on. Level 2 was cool with the eyes and the creepy nature of the whole level, but I expected more from subsequent levels. He pumped out 14 levels so fast for a reason: Lighting effects + dark matter + typo dialogue. When an author starts throwing in "lol"'s and leet speek persay it totally destroys the strong story aspect of it all. It seemed too thrown together like he was trying to zoom through levels to get to his ending that he thought of after making the first one.

Just simply not enough there to keep me going with the series. I'd give it an overall rating of 2.5/5 stars to be honest.
Well that's the great thing about LittleBigPlanet - different people like different things. I've talked to many authors who enjoy the entire series, but it is definately not for everyone.

(just a suggestion, however, try jumping forward a few. There are some great moments in there. I LOVED 9, 12, 13, and 14 personally).

edit: another interesting suggestion - go out and rent the movie "Erasure Head". If, by the end of the movie, you are saying "Wow! I just had a new life-altering experience!" than you will love this game. JonMartin is not trying to be beautiful, he is trying to tell a story using imagery. I LOVE that kind of thing.

Takelow
01-23-2009, 10:04 PM
Wow...
I just read David Lynch and i now want to know more about these levels!!!
I am an absolute fan of this director!!!
I will definitely take a look on these...

HS part of my post: But for the advice Ccubbage, i think that EraserHead is from far the most experimental and extreme film of D. Lynch. His first movie. He make absolutely everything in it except the actoring... I loved it, but it is not an easy movie. So, i understand that this series of levels could be the same... ;)
BTW, my advice for those that do not know the great director David Lynch: Take a look to Mulholland Drive first. If you like it, try Sailor and Lula, Blue Velvet, Fire talk with me (Twin Peaks)...
If you are always in a good feeling, take a look to Lost Highway. It's OK? So, you must be ready , try EraserHead...
Now you want to slowly leave the Lynch universe and come back to real life? Make slowly a transition with Dune , The straight thing , and Elephant Man. The order is important... :)

CCubbage
01-23-2009, 11:24 PM
Wow...
I just read David Lynch and i now want to know more about these levels!!!
I am an absolute fan of this director!!!
I will definitely take a look on these...

HS part of my post: But for the advice Ccubbage, i think that EraserHead is from far the most experimental and extreme film of D. Lynch. His first movie. He make absolutely everything in it except the actoring... I loved it, but it is not an easy movie. So, i understand that this series of levels could be the same... ;)
BTW, my advice for those that do not know the great director David Lynch: Take a look to Mulholland Drive first. If you like it, try Sailor and Lula, Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks...
If you are always in a good feeling, take a look to Lost Highway. It's OK? So, you must be ready , try EraserHead...
Now you want to slowly leave the Lynch universe and come back to real life? Make slowly a transition with Dune , The straight thing , and Elephant Man. The order is important... :)
You are correct about the movies you mentioned - I feel the same way. JonMartin's games (and his online animations, which I am also a fan of) are dark, but with some humor colored in behind. The movie "Eraserhead" IS actually the movie I was comparing.

Just want to make it perfectly clear, these games are NOT for everyone - but if you enjoy them you will REALLY enjoy them. It is not all action, and there is definately disturbing text and imagery (there is a point in one of the levels where you are asked "Sackboy, do you bleed?"). Some spine tingling stuff.

There are many levels that are used to connect the story and definately don't fit into the category of "I'm jumping around and having fun here". They simply add to the drama. However there are other parts that suddenly kick in and you feel like you're on a roller coaster.

I definately feel like my review of his games are fair, but from a perspective of someone who enjoys the style.

(saying the levels are simply a bunch of dark matter stuck together is kind of like watching Casablanca and saying it stinks because of the lack of color and special effects)

Neverynnal
01-24-2009, 07:24 PM
But it really is just a bunch of dark matter stuck together. I appreciate artistic levels much more than most people, and I am a fan of Lynch (even though I didn't know it..just found out I love 3 of the movies in Takelow's list)

It's just that you can tell a thrilling story without all the repetitious, brutal gameplay. I quite literally could have made those levels in 5 hours time each. Like I said he started it out great and then just completely axe-handle smashed the rest of it (up to 7 that is).

Check out a level like Stampy83's Torn By Darkness. THAT is how you present an artistic/mind-blowing masterpiece on LBP. I don't mean to villify the LBP Apoc series at all, I just believe the author really had something going at the beginning and then lost it completely.

CCubbage
01-24-2009, 08:36 PM
But it really is just a bunch of dark matter stuck together. I appreciate artistic levels much more than most people, and I am a fan of Lynch (even though I didn't know it..just found out I love 3 of the movies in Takelow's list)

It's just that you can tell a thrilling story without all the repetitious, brutal gameplay. I quite literally could have made those levels in 5 hours time each. Like I said he started it out great and then just completely axe-handle smashed the rest of it (up to 7 that is).

Check out a level like Stampy83's Torn By Darkness. THAT is how you present an artistic/mind-blowing masterpiece on LBP. I don't mean to villify the LBP Apoc series at all, I just believe the author really had something going at the beginning and then lost it completely.
No problem. I definately respect your feedback. I also have played a few of your levels and "Torn by Darkness" and really liked those levels also - but for different reasons. In the same way, I don't think people would play my "Splat Invaders Saga" or "Dante's Temple" levels and like it for the same reasons. I spent a lot of time working on specific visual and gameplay mechanics which, based on the scores, a vast amount of people find pretty and playable.

As a personal preference, I like JonMartin's levels for completely different reasons - it's how they make me "feel", not necessarily how much fun I had. There is nothing else quite like them out there.

To be fair, at LEAST jump forward to 12 and play up if you don't like the slower portions. There are parts in there you will realize this guy can build games that are phenominal, but he chooses a style that fits the story he is telling. (there was a vehicle in one of them (either 12 or 13.. it's been a few weeks) that is one of my favorite portions in the entire LBP. I've brought friends back into it for multiplayer several times and we all just about cried laughing flipping and flying through the level at near-light speed).

The parts where the "eyes" start telling the story of the little boy (I think it was 14) was done so well I got goose bumps).

Snowspot
01-25-2009, 03:19 AM
But it really is just a bunch of dark matter stuck together. I appreciate artistic levels much more than most people, and I am a fan of Lynch (even though I didn't know it..just found out I love 3 of the movies in Takelow's list)

It's just that you can tell a thrilling story without all the repetitious, brutal gameplay. I quite literally could have made those levels in 5 hours time each. Like I said he started it out great and then just completely axe-handle smashed the rest of it (up to 7 that is).

Check out a level like Stampy83's Torn By Darkness. THAT is how you present an artistic/mind-blowing masterpiece on LBP. I don't mean to villify the LBP Apoc series at all, I just believe the author really had something going at the beginning and then lost it completely.

You've only played till 7 and you're telling me I've lost it? Come on, that's kind of ridiculous. It's funny though, you said you really liked episode 1 right? I did that level AFTER 7. It's more representative of the newer levels.

The early levels were done pretty fast, I think episodes 2 through 7 took 1 day each. Then after that I realized just what you're saying and I started to focus more on interesting gameplay. I've actually been going back and editing the levels to make them more cohesive with the game's format and getting rid of annoying gameplay problems.

I was confused by your "pistons and dark matter" comment. So much of this game is both of those things o_o. Dark matter is the only stable material that floats, pistons can be made invisible creating moving/floating platforms. Those are important gameplay elements for a platformer!

You should really look at the levels after 7. You seem to want to go into this criticizing me, which is fine but if you're going to be so gung-ho about it, at least check out some of the newer episodes.

Thanks for the great review CCubbage!

CCubbage
01-25-2009, 04:12 AM
You know, something just occurred to me: I did form my opinion after playing through all of them, and then I did the review.

To be fair to everyone, it is certainly POSSIBLE that I enjoyed episode 1 and played through them so quickly that I didn't really pay attention to some of the slower parts. I treated the entire thing as one big story, and I always wanted to know what came next.

So to Neverynnal: Maybe you're right to an extent, however in my defense I DID play all of them, and in all the experience has been fantastic. In level "9" the story really ramped up.

Now, I am going to brave all of this once again! Check out my LittleBig Apocalypse 15 review!!!

Snrm
01-25-2009, 04:39 AM
awesome level seris! thanks for writing a review on it and recommending it :D

Neverynnal
01-25-2009, 07:06 PM
I will most certainly check out the rest of the series, and it seems it was a shame that I quit at 7 by the sounds of it. If the latter part of the series is as good as you say, then I would seriously recommend revamping a few of the levels along the way. Just my opinion of course, and I'm sorry if I offended anyone with my comments.

But I WILL try the rest of the series and give you an honest review on it.

Snowspot
01-26-2009, 04:59 PM
I will most certainly check out the rest of the series, and it seems it was a shame that I quit at 7 by the sounds of it. If the latter part of the series is as good as you say, then I would seriously recommend revamping a few of the levels along the way. Just my opinion of course, and I'm sorry if I offended anyone with my comments.

But I WILL try the rest of the series and give you an honest review on it.

I'd actually really like to hear your impressions, since you seemed to dislike the first few so much, lol.

NinjaMicWZ
01-26-2009, 05:20 PM
Every time you make a level, it will naturally get better than the last... and I hope you do go back and refine the earlier entries with the tips and tricks you have in your current arsenal.

Everyone needs a little dark matter, but you can always hide it... all you need is a little triangle and you can shrink it so small that it turns invisible. It can be tacked onto something, in front of it, or behind it, or inside of it and it will keep it afloat. All you'd have to do for act 2 is go through and fill in the visible dark matter with rubber and then put a small piece of dark matter inside of each one and then probably hold the entire level up with one tiny piece somewhere off camera.

Neverynnal
01-26-2009, 08:56 PM
Okay so I played the rest, and regretfully didn't finish a few of the levels because of some arduous platforming that I didn't want to do all over again :p

BUT they were better. 12 was amazing and 14 provided me with something more than boring hints and repetitious platforming. I don't retract my earlier statements, but I must say there was a big improvement in the latter levels of the series.

CCubbage
01-27-2009, 07:39 PM
Well, you gave it a shot. As I said in many places, these levels certainly aren't for everyone, but I personally loved them.
:D

Snowspot
01-28-2009, 06:45 PM
Well, you gave it a shot. As I said in many places, these levels certainly aren't for everyone, but I personally loved them.
:D

Actually, I think my levels personally offend him somehow. I think the first few levels need some work... well actually, **** that. Level 3 needs work. That's it. Neverynna likes to complain, he feels like insulting me.

I think my levels are a great experience and very well-written. Heck, I think it's the best-written story on LBP so far... I really do. Anyone that wants to listen to Neverynna is welcome to ... but I'd recommend seeing for yourself.

CCubbage
01-28-2009, 06:50 PM
Actually, I think my levels personally offend him somehow. I think the first few levels need some work... well actually, **** that. Level 3 needs work. That's it. Neverynna likes to complain, he feels like insulting me.

I think my levels are a great experience and very well-written. Heck, I think it's the best-written story on LBP so far... I really do. Anyone that wants to listen to Neverynna is welcome to ... but I'd recommend seeing for yourself.
Totally agree. But then, I've always made the comparison to Lynch. His movies will never be as popular as "George Lucas" movies. He picked a style which less people enjoy, but the people that enjoy it REALLY enjoy it.

Kudos for creating this series, "I" like them a lot. And I saw your name on some other top authors hearted creators list so this series definately as a distinguished following.

But hey, if everyone liked the same kinds of experiences LBP would kind of stink.

Neverynnal
01-28-2009, 07:21 PM
Actually, I think my levels personally offend him somehow. I think the first few levels need some work... well actually, **** that. Level 3 needs work. That's it. Neverynna likes to complain, he feels like insulting me.

I think my levels are a great experience and very well-written. Heck, I think it's the best-written story on LBP so far... I really do. Anyone that wants to listen to Neverynna is welcome to ... but I'd recommend seeing for yourself.

Learn to take criticism. I'm beyond happy that you believe your levels are the best written levels on LBP, because without that crutch you might fall down and never get back up.

Oh and yes the levels offend me terribly. I believe I said I liked the artistic direction, but you just didn't pull off the "gaming" part of the level.

And no I don't "like" to complain. If you can find another place on these forums (other than the killermiller thread) that I complain I'll be very surprised.

Snowspot
01-28-2009, 07:29 PM
Learn to take criticism. I'm beyond happy that you believe your levels are the best written levels on LBP, because without that crutch you might fall down and never get back up.

Oh and yes the levels offend me terribly. I believe I said I liked the artistic direction, but you just didn't pull off the "gaming" part of the level.


I don't really understand the point you're trying to make. Sin City consists of falling and jumping 3 times, then avoiding some enemies and dragging a cup. What else is there to say? Sin City is the ultimate, all artistry, no gameplay level. Then you come here and criticize me for the same thing, lol.

That said, I still think it looks cool and I wouldn't say it was garbage. In fact, I wouldn't say almost anyone's level was garbage because I try to find things I like. You should try it.

Neverynnal
01-28-2009, 07:35 PM
You provoked the "garbage" comment, so quit trying to play the good guy.

And Sin City was one level. Yours was 15 levels of the same crap.

Snowspot
01-28-2009, 07:41 PM
You provoked the "garbage" comment, so quit trying to play the good guy.

And Sin City was one level. Yours was 15 levels of the same crap.

Look if you aren't going to comment about my levels beside to call them crap, you're a troll. Can you please not post in this topic unless you have something constructive to say?

CCubbage
01-28-2009, 07:52 PM
Whoa, kids!!! "I" own this thread. And although I enjoy a good barfight as much as anyone, I think you need to go to separate corners for a minute.

I'm gonna settle it.

Neverynnal (if that IS your real name):

You were frustrated by the amount of work you're trying to do to keep ALL authors happy in the showcase and make sure other authors are having their levels reviewed - and many authors aren't giving, only taking. I feel your pain. I've been up for several nights LATE trying to take care of them. However, you know as well as I do you should have just PM'ed thekillermiller and kept the posts out of the showcase thread. Whenever you publicly publish something that can be construed as negative you chance a backlash. But, I have a feeling it won't happen again.

JonMartin:

Sometimes you need to learn to put water on a situation instead of throwing more fire. You could have ALSO PM'ed Neverynnal and just kept the scolding private. Or, you could have said something like "you know, this is not the appropriate place for this conversation". I generally don't let ANY of my staff argue through emails or the internet for the same reason: it is much more difficult through typing to figure out the inflections that are going on behind the scenes. So, things can get out of hand quickly if everyone starts taking offense.


By the way, I had a lot of fun in Apocalypse AND in Sin City - for completely different reasons. I think you are both fine authors, but obviously not compatible taste.

Cool?

Snowspot
01-28-2009, 07:55 PM
Hey I'd rather not fight with anyone :(

I just get upset when someone calls my work garbage. Oh well. I won't be involved with arguing with him from this point on :-x

Neverynnal
01-28-2009, 08:01 PM
Yeah I apologize for my comment on calling your levels "garbage" because it's not the case. I was just ****** off. If you look above I even said I loved some of the levels in your series, which is more than I can say for most authors.

Anyway, once you quit referring to me as "him" like I'm not able to read your posts, then I'll put this behind me.

Snowspot
01-28-2009, 08:02 PM
Yeah I apologize for my comment on calling your levels "garbage" because it's not the case. I was just ****** off. If you look above I even said I loved some of the levels in your series, which is more than I can say for most authors.

Anyway, once you quit referring to me as "him" like I'm not able to read your posts, then I'll put this behind me.

I call a truce!

Oh and I say "him" cause it's hard to remember how to type your name :P

Neverynnal
01-28-2009, 08:04 PM
Truce it is. And yeah I know my name is a pain to spell, but it's tough to get away from when it's been your online name for 10 years haha

CCubbage
01-28-2009, 08:05 PM
No problem. I've had to type your name so many times in the last 2 days I could do it with my eyes shut at this point.

I still have a problem with Whaaaaaaaale.