A series of KS reviews

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Offline Fubaka

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Re: A series of KS reviews
« Reply #30 on: July 13, 2012, 04:07:29 »
Map:  Orientation

Author:  plural

Type:  Environmental

Size:  Small

Difficulty:  Easy

This level can only be found in the Knytt Stories Level Releases section of the forum
====================

Oh my...  Where do I begin?

This level was made as a tutorial/prelude to an upcoming level called 'The Empty Planet'.  Normally one does not expect to be taken aback by a mere tutorial level, but... there are always exceptions, aren't there.  Now, I am not going to outline the playthrough this time, because, frankly, that would be doing this level an injustice.

On that note, I will also not give away any detail of the story, either.  Instead, this review will simply outline things that are definitely worth noting when it comes to gameplay, construction, scenery, and delivery.  This will all be done solely through the scoring table.
Scoring
========

Construction:  9/10

Flawless.  All throughout this level, you are mesmerized by how well the shifts are placed and executed, and even if you were removed enough from the experience to try and find void screens or wallswims, you will not find them.  COs are used willy-nilly, and there are nearly 150 of them, but none of them feel out of place or excessive.  My only very minor gripe is that it is just a little confusing at first when it comes to what is climbable and what isn't, but that doesn't last long.

Exploring:  9/10

While this level is more or less linear in design, there are a great deal of rewards for those who do not simply run through everything.  In addition, the game allows you to restart the level after reaching the end, in case you want to try and find things you missed.

Atmosphere:  10/10

Perfect!  Absolutely perfect!  The music fits, the atmosphere is stunning, and the incredibly well-done COs only enhance the mood further.  I have literally no complaints here.

Story:  9.5/10

What feels like a very Portal-esque storyline and setting at first is ultimately its own.  It is the kind of setting that can truly open your mind to deep questions that you don't ponder in ordinary life.  While the storyline isn't perfect, the setting goes WAY beyond what I hope for in a KS level.

Spoiler: (click to show/hide)

Overall Score:  9.5  (Euphoric)

This is without a doubt, the best user-made KS level I have played thus far.  Everyone with a copy of Knytt Stories needs to download and play this level right away, and those who do not have Knytt Stories need to get Knytt Stories so they can download and play this level right away!  I am dead serious!  Follow this link to play this level now, if you haven't already!
http://nifflas.lpchip.nl/index.php?topic=5446.0
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Offline PeppyHare4000

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Re: A series of KS reviews
« Reply #31 on: July 13, 2012, 06:56:46 »
Would you mind if i used Letter Grades as My Score? Here will be the Following for the Scores. If the score balance seems a bit iffy for you, you can suggest what numbers to adjust!

A++: 10.0
A+: 9.5-9.99
A:9.0-9.49
A-: 8.5-8.99
B+: 7.9-8.49
B: 7.4-7.89
B-: 7.0-7.49
C+: 6.4-6.99
C: 5.8-6.39
C+: 5-5.79
D: 4.3-4.99
D-: 3.5-4.29
F: 1.5-3.49
F-: 0.1-1.49
F--: 0

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Offline Fubaka

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Re: A series of KS reviews
« Reply #32 on: July 13, 2012, 08:55:37 »
That's fine, Peppy.  Go right ahead.
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Offline Fubaka

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Re: A series of KS reviews
« Reply #33 on: July 17, 2012, 09:37:54 »
I'm not gonna bother with the usual intro table this time because, frankly, this level doesn't deserve it.  I guess it's only fitting that after playing the best Knytt Stories level I have ever played, I get my hands on one of the worst I've ever played.

It's called 'Knytt Metaverse' by James1011R, (you know, that guy who made the Epic Challenge 3 level, which SecretGlitch reviewed) and it is the purest example of a game rushed out the door with almost ZERO play testing. 

A brief synopsis of the scenario.  You are thrust into a dimension called the 'Knytt Metaverse', which is an undefinable realm composed of 8 color-based worlds.  You have to journey through all of these worlds to somehow 'save' the metaverse.  With that vague goal in mind, the level starts.

Let us go right to the score board again, because frankly, there is no real synopsis of the gameplay apart from a linear run through worlds that hurt your eyes and make you angry at the creator.

Scoring
========

Challenge:  3/10

There was some level of thought to the challenge design here, but like last time, most of the things you encounter are simply spammed in.  There is an improvement though, but too bad it had to be ruined by the bigger problems of this game.

Construction:  0/10

At first glance, this level doesn't look too bad.  It's all composed of basic shapes in monochrome levels, but it doesn't look awful, and the tiles that kill you are marked with an X, but then the level slowly warps into a black hole of terrible design that devours you entirely.

The first offense occurs very early.  On the third screen of the game, just after being informed that the X platforms kill you, you may naturally decide to jump from the highest platform just to see what is above.  You may have expected to find a void screen or just an empty screen, but instead, it is filled with nothing but X platforms that kill you instantly and send you back to the start since there wasn't a save point...

From there, it only gets worse.  It becomes painfully clear that James did not want you to explore in ANY real fashion.  From embarrassingly easily accessible wallswims and void screens, to little easter eggs that KILL you and, to add insult to injury, throw insults at you while doing it, calling you a 'noob' because you had the GAUL to try and explore in certain areas.  Isn't that what Knytt Stories is all about?

It's a rare level that makes me want to smack the designer right about the head, but this one pulls it off.  After running through the painful-to-the-eyes yellow zone, and shamelessly copying an enemy-spam hallway, I get a 'level complete' cutscene, and then...

It dumped me back at the beginning of that hallway again...

...

I tried running through again.  It gave me the same message, and dumped me back at the hallway entrance again.

James1011R, you have royally FAILED as a level designer.  Because of your lack of willingness to test your abominable level, you have missed a GAME BREAKING error, and thus, your level is literally impossible to complete.  Atop the insults you threw at me earlier, I have absolutely no sympathy for you over this.

Exploring:  0/10

(See above)

Atmosphere:  2/10

There is no atmosphere, and the tileset gets really old quick.  It is also painful to look at on certain levels.

Story:  1/10

No story whatsoever, despite its claims.

Spoiler: (click to show/hide)

Insults and inability to legitimately beat the level: - 1.0 points to final score

Overall Score:  0.16  (Irredeemable)

This level is the single biggest failure I have seen in quite a while now.  With the added insults, this level seems like the work of a dedicated troll, rather than a genuine attempt to make a level.  If nothing else, this has permanently stained James1011R's image in my mind, and I will always be wary of future levels he releases.

If I haven't made it perfectly clear, DO NOT PLAY THIS LEVEL!  Avoid it like a spike pit surrounded by magma with ghost water dripping on the spikes and an eater thrown in for good measure.  Even if the game breaker error was fixed, this level would still be atrocious.
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Offline ortoslon

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Re: A series of KS reviews
« Reply #34 on: July 17, 2012, 11:21:55 »
All throughout this level, you are mesmerized by how well the shifts are placed and executed

i call hyperbole. they may be difficult to program because of limitations of the level editor but i, the player, take it for granted that they just work

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Offline Dj Gopher

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Re: A series of KS reviews
« Reply #35 on: November 05, 2012, 23:01:20 »
Can this be active again please?
<3

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Offline Fubaka

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Re: A series of KS reviews
« Reply #36 on: November 05, 2012, 23:21:45 »
Can this be active again please?
<3

Once I have finished and uploaded my level, I will likely return to reviewing new releases.
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Offline Fubaka

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Re: A series of KS reviews
« Reply #37 on: November 09, 2012, 00:39:25 »
I await a new level, worthy of review!
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Offline Dj Gopher

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Re: A series of KS reviews
« Reply #38 on: November 09, 2012, 01:01:35 »
Raicuparta's Obey, perhaps?

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Offline Fubaka

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Re: A series of KS reviews
« Reply #39 on: November 09, 2012, 01:10:11 »
Raicuparta's Obey, perhaps?


It's not a new level by my definition.  Feel free to make your own review of it if you want.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2012, 01:14:07 by Fubaka »
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Offline Talps

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Re: A series of KS reviews
« Reply #40 on: November 09, 2012, 03:08:40 »
I'm working on a short environmental level called 'I Chased the Moon'...

I also have a job and am trying to complete 3 computer games and am reading a 12-book-long series of novels and have at least 4 stories I want to write but can't find time for, so don't get too excited.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2012, 03:22:01 by Talps »

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Offline Fubaka

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Re: A series of KS reviews
« Reply #41 on: November 09, 2012, 04:02:43 »
I'm working on a short environmental level called 'I Chased the Moon'...

I also have a job and am trying to complete 3 computer games and am reading a 12-book-long series of novels and have at least 4 stories I want to write but can't find time for, so don't get too excited.

Well, I'm glad stuff is still in production!  :P

Speaking of which, I think you are all going to absolutely adore my level when that comes out!
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Offline ixMarcel

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Re: A series of KS reviews
« Reply #42 on: November 09, 2012, 16:02:06 »
I await a new level, worthy of review!
If you haven't got any new levels I'd be honored if you will review my level "The Tower of Lightning".  :) You weren't active when I released it. I'm curious what people think about this level.

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Offline Fubaka

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Re: A series of KS reviews
« Reply #43 on: November 09, 2012, 18:11:50 »
I await a new level, worthy of review!
If you haven't got any new levels I'd be honored if you will review my level "The Tower of Lightning".  :) You weren't active when I released it. I'm curious what people think about this level.

I actually have played it, haven't completed it yet though.

I'll give it another whirl in a little while, when I have more time.  Seems to be new enough.
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Offline Fubaka

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Re: A series of KS reviews
« Reply #44 on: December 07, 2012, 03:38:20 »
Time to bring this review thread back to life!

Map:  The Tree of Life

Author:  Purple Ink

Type:  Misc

Size:  Large

Difficulty:  Very Hard

This level can only be found in the Knytt Stories Level Releases section of the forum
====================

This level is a special case for me, since I actually contributed to it in a few ways.  Starting several months ago, it finally sees the light after a long period of silence.  I was expecting a level that was big, fun and cute, and got all 3 of those, but what I wasn't expecting was the difficulty!  Let's get into it!

Playthrough
=============

We start with *GASP* an actual intro for once!  Accompanied by the level's very nice soundtrack, we learn that an object exists in Juni's world called The Tree of Life, and that it has always existed.  This tree is responsible for keeping everything alive, but recently, an unknown evil has been harnessing its energy for some unknown purpose. 
Spoiler: (click to show/hide)
  These words are epiphanized to Juni in her sleep, and she decides to go visit the town chief.  That is when the game begins proper.

The level begins with Juni standing outside her familiar stump house and she is equipped with the Run and High Jump powerups.  From here, you literally have an entire world to explore, which, if you run far enough, will loop in on itself.  You will see many things in this world, from the two towns of Casa and Belden, to a few tall mountains and several deep caves, to the giant waterfall where the Oracle lives, and the maddening Underforest, with several other quirks to see as well. 

The soundtrack is consistent with each area, and unlike most other levels, it plays on loop and shifts quickly.  Due to the nature of the soundtrack, I think this is actually a better way to implement it in this case.  Each area has an appropriate song anointed to it, and all of them are nice to listen to.

Save points are a bit rare in this world, and, with the exception of sub-areas and towns, are only located in grottos where sub-divisions of the Tree of Life grow.  Every time you save there, or die and return to one of them, you are given an encouraging message from the trees.  (This is a nice antithesis to James1011R's abominable level 'Knytt Metaverse', btw.)

End:
Spoiler: (click to show/hide)

Secrets:
Spoiler: (click to show/hide)

Scoring
========

Construction:  8/10

While most of the level uses standard tilesets (with the exception of a secret zone which utilizes tilesets made by Yours Truly, 8) and some tilesets by Oft99) it is put together quice nicely.  While it is a bit more minimalistic in nature than the usual Nifflas fare, it succeeds in making itself look pretty.  I didn't find a single Void Screen or Wallswim while playing, or fishing around in the level with the editor.  The only thing I would really complain about, in regard to construction is the way my Ruined Olive Temple tileset was lain out, but then again, my tilesets are kind of confusing anyways. :P

Challenge:  7/10

The challenge is nice and hard, as portrayed by the difficulty.  It actually took me several days to beat this, because I kept dying in certain places and had to take a break, especially in that accursed Chamber of Ordeal.  The lack of save points did wear on me quite a few times, though, particularly when I was making long voyages in the overworld.

In the end though, it is well done.

Exploring:  9/10

This level really shines in this area!  There is a LOT to see here, and it is only made better by the unique soundtrack!  I would dare say that it is almost as fun to explore as the original Knytt!

In addition, the Underforest is truly mind-bending, which is hard to pull off!

Atmosphere:  8/10

I've complimented the soundtrack enough, but it really deserves kudos.  The atmosphere it portrays fits the feel of the level very well, and while it is more active than the typical Nifflas fare, it serves as good ambiance.  I think my favorite area has to be the giant waterfall, solely because of the sound that plays there.

Story:  5/10

The story is kind of standard, but it does its job.  However, it is kind of unremarkable.  Its only real claim to fame is the fact that it is an expansion of the story to 'The Machine'.

Spoiler: (click to show/hide)

Explorer's Bonus: + 0.5 to final score

Overall Score:  8/10 (Excellent)

If you have the time, you should definitely play this level!  It is lovingly crafted, and is unique enough to sate the appetite of a veteran KS player.
Here is the link to its topic: http://nifflas.lpchip.nl/index.php?topic=5684.0
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