Miragent's Reviews: Review Criteria and Review 00: "Juni's Nightmare"

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Offline Miragent

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As announced on Discord, I plan to write some reviews.

Why
- Allow the readers to know what to expect from a level they have not played yet, or they can't remember because they have played it a long time ago
- Hopefully find surprisingly good levels or elements the community might have overlooked
- Dissuade from downloading and playing very bad levels
- Encourage the developement of new KS levels
- At the end of my reviews I will humbly give my opinion on elements or choices that would possibly make the level better, to hopefully help level designers in general and not just the author to make better levels

How
- I do my best to not spoil the fun. Every line I aknowledge as a potential notable spoiler shall be inside spoiler brackets. Secrets will tend to always be confined entirely inside spoiler brackets. If you have not played the level yet and really desire a completely spoiler-less experience, it's probably still better if you do not read the review until you have beaten the level
- I tend to be concise, however I will allow a bit more space for interesting, notable material, and in general when reviewing an excellent piece of work
- I plan review the levels having something in common together in one thread (example: levels that share the same author, or share the event they were created for), so that the people will be able to find a review they are looking for more easily
- The reviews also represent a way to talk about the reviewed levels and all comments to the threads will be very appreciated
- Levels with a low final score might not be discussed in depht and will possibly have no subgrades. Levels that are very bad or simply meaningless will not receive any review. If I ever get to talk about them, I will just state to avoid them.

Criteria and scoring system

Graphics, Sounds and Design
Quality and choice of tilesets, gradients, music and ambience and how well these blend together are reviewed here. The quality of the level design, as well as flags and warps, and possible issues like unintended wallswims, sequence breaking, bad English, presence of reachable void screens or clumsy level building in general is discussed.
Score: 0 to 10, where 6 is the "passable" threshold.

Contents, Vibe and Enjoyability
Here I shall describe how the level will try to make you feel and how well it accompleshes doing so. Some levels are plain boring, with uninteresting and quickly put together contents, others will be coherent, enjoyable works and make you laugh out loud ,or intentionally disturb you, or bring out other emotions. This section reviews the quality of this attempt.
Score: 0 to 10, where 6 is the "passable" threshold.

Secrets and Bonus Material
This section will cover the quantity, quality and describe the nature of the secrets bonus material. Everything will be strictly inside spoiler brackets.
Please note that in some cases, the level simply does not have secrets at all, or the bonus material is so scarce it cannot be reviewed.
Levels do not strictly require to feature bonus material to excel, even if, in most cases, secrets are welcome, especially when they are well orchestrated.
Secrets that are present but uninteresting, too easy to reach, virtually impossible to reach or in general not rewarding will get a lower score.
Score: 0 to 10, where 6 is the "passable" threshold.
Levels with zero or near-zero bonus material will not score 0/10; I will just state there is not enough bonus material to review.
Please note, however, that in these situations, if I feel that the absence of secrets impacts negatively on the quality of the level, the "Contents, Vibe and Enjoyability" score will be affected.

Difficulty
This section will be divided in 4 cathegories:
Any % Exploration
Any % Challanges
100% Exploration
100% Challanges
Here I will state the difficulty of the level. In most cases I will also spend a few words.

"Any % Exploration" and "Any % Challanges" will rate the difficulty to merely get to the easiest proper ending of the level. It can be a somewhat bad ending, but it has to be the proper way the level is supposed to end when you have not found all (or any) of the secrets (if present). So it cannot be an "easter egg ending".

"Any 100% Exploration" and "Any 100% Challanges" will rate the difficulty in the case you want to get every bonus item, see every alternate ending no matter if they are good or bad, every easter egg ending, when any of these bonus contents are present.

If the Level has no bonus material, The Accessibility section will just be broken into "Exploration" and "Challanges".

Difficulty scoring:
0/5 (no effort required);
1/5 (Easy);
2/5 (up to Medium);
3/5 (up to Hard);
4/5 (up to Very Hard);
5/5 (up to Lunatic).

Note: when a level requires for example "up to medium" difficulty skills, and only has one or a very few "spikes" where the difficulty would be "very hard", I shall not describe the difficulty as "up to very hard" because it would not describe the general feeling of the level. In this case I will rate it "2/5 with a few 4/5 spikes".

Final Veridict
I will sum up the pros and cons and judge my overall experience.
Final Score (it will -not- be an average):
0 Stars / Abysmal
1/2 Star / Very Poor
1 Star / Poor
1 1/2 Stars / Mediocre
2 Stars / Good
2 1/2 Stars / Good+
3 Stars / Very Good
3 1/2 Stars / Excellent
4 Stars / Superb
4 1/2 Stars / Outstanding
5 Stars: Masterpiece

A small note before I begin
For your information, I have good, but not exceptional KS skills. So I will attempt what I consider "very hard" difficulty challanges about 10-20 times, then I will use cheats if I can't get through.
"Lunatic" challanges will be skipped to get to see the whole level.
I will do my best and spend what I consider a sufficient amount of time to look for all the secrets one level has to offer, legitimately, after which, if I have not found everything, I will start cheating, which includes looking at the editor, going out of bounds and all similar tricks, in order to get to see the whole level.
If one level has multiple endings and the author does not offer a warp to "go back to look for the other endings", I will generally go through the whole level legitimately again only if the different ending and the contents to reach it look interesting enough. If they are not, I will just get an idea of what it looks like in the file folder.

Test Review



Juni's Nightmare (Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Spongy)   R00

Author (s): David C & Sergio Cornaga
Release Date: June 2016
Version: the only one released so far
Declared Categories: [Small]; [Misc/Challange]; [KS+]
Screens Count: 58
Original Thread: https://nifflas.lpchip.nl/index.php?topic=6771.msg71713#msg71713
Level Download: http://knyttlevels.com/levels/david%20c%20%26%20Sergio%20Cornaga%20-%20Juni%27s%20Nightmare.knytt.bin
KS+ Required. KS+ Download: Knytt Stories Plus

Story
Spoiler: (click to show/hide)

Graphics, Sounds and Design
The level mainly uses classic tilesets, blended together with some very nice custom music. While using a limited number of custom objects, they are put to use well, and overall, the level is solid.
Score: 8/10

Contents, Vibe and Enjoyability
The designers fully managed to deliver a very disturbing and creepy feel. As you relive Juni's previous adventures inside her dream,
Spoiler: (click to show/hide)
Score: 8/10

Secrets and Bonus Material
Spoiler: (click to show/hide)
Score: 7/10

Difficulty
Any % Exploration: 1/5
Any % Challanges: 1/5
100% Exploration: 4/5
100% Challanges: 4/5 (one 5/5 challange)

Final Veridict

*** "Very Good"

Suggestions Corner
- More explicit hints on how to
Spoiler: (click to show/hide)
would allow a bigger portion of players to fully enjoy the level
- Using the nightmare / dream concept to go deep into Juni's subconscious in this level or in another level would be interesting indeed

So...
This was my first review.
Please let me know if you enjoyed it and what you think about it.
Also please let me know if there is something you would absolutely remove or add to my format. I can say I like it as it is but I will definitely listen to other people's suggestions.
Thanks a lot!

Miragent

Edit:
Tweaked the colours to fit every theme (Wadf looks especially good)
Removed some bbcode redundancy
Added 0/5 difficulty
Renamed some of the difficulties
Added some details to the review
Some other small revisions and improvements

Thank you stars to LPChip, StraightFlame and Fubaka for the help.

Edit Edit:
-Tried LPChip's c=1 c=2 c=3 c=4 bbcodes and I must say the colors look really nice.
However, adding bold to the titles makes me read the review more easily (I agree with StraightFlame on this), so after trying both ways I have chosen the bold titles.
I feel like I have reached a state where I can be happy with the format and if I make any more changes I will take this format as a base. Thank you to all who contribued!
- Added "Design" to the Graphics and Sounds section in order to be able to talk about precision in design and issues like void screens and such
- 6/5 Difficulty removed

« Last Edit: June 24, 2018, 23:40:54 by Miragent »

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Offline StraightFlame

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Re: Miragent's Reviews / Review Criteria and Review 00
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2018, 03:43:56 »
This is a pretty nice format. I especially like how the difficulty of the mandatory and optional stuff get separate ratings.

One thing, though: Some of the [color=colorname] tags don't look good in certain themes. I use the WaDF theme and the blue and purple color tags you used are kind of hurting my eyes a little bit. Especially the blue one; i mean, just look at this:

Spoiler: this (click to show/hide)

Since you're not using that many different colors, i highly recommend using the tags [cr], [co], [cy], [cg], [cb], and [cp] instead. They're specifically made to be easy on the eyes, no matter which theme you're using. (In fact, i'm pretty sure they actually change depending on your theme, so you always get something easily readable.)

Edit: Also, apparently if you nest color and bold tags like [color][b]this[/b][/color], the colors don't show up in the FiNCK theme. I've told LPChip about this in the Discord and he says he doesn't think he can fix it. I don't know how many people use the FiNCK theme, but i feel like you might want to stick to [b][color]this[/color][/b] instead regardless.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2018, 04:20:14 by StraightFlame »

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Offline Fubaka

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Re: Miragent's Reviews / Review Criteria and Review 00
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2018, 09:02:54 »
Nice details you got here, micht. I should point out that you misspelled 'category' as 'cathegory', so ye should fix that. :P

If I were you, I'd try to dig up some more obscure old gems to review. There're a lot of levels in the backlog that have very little exposure, as they were only ever released to knyttlevels.com and never publicly announced on the forums. You should be able to find one you like without too much trouble.
Where is fancy bread? In the heart or in the head?

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Offline LPChip

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Re: Miragent's Reviews / Review Criteria and Review 00
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2018, 04:57:12 »
Reaction to StraightFlame's edit: Or use only one of the two. We do have a rule to avoid excessive bbcode when its not necessary, and in this case its not necessary to have both. The same point will be made if its not bold or if color is not used.
If this post was helpful to you, please consider giving it a :hs: by pressing the on the left, above my avatar.

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Offline Miragent

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Re: Miragent's Reviews / Review Criteria and Review 00
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2018, 09:54:08 »
Thank you everyone for reading and for the suggestions.

@LPChip Ok. Thank you for moving the post in the right section. I will use the bbcode as you have suggested from now on. Really sorry, I'm so new at this. Making this post was a struggle but I try to learn quickly as you will see.
Can I ask you one thing? how does one properly get to show a picture on the forum here?
The simple link offered by deviantart (I'm not even sure if deviantart was the good choice to upload images)enclosed between img bbcode didn't work. So I ended up trying every combination of bbcode nesting with deviantart and google offered links and one combination ended up showning an image. But I don't know how it's done properly. Please pm me how this is done, I am a total newbie at this but I try my best and I'm sure it's not difficult.

@Fubaka: I'm glad you liked the review. Ok. Category typo corrected. You really are good at spotting details. If I ever make a level you would be my dream beta tester. I definitely look forward to find hidden interesting levels. I don't expect to find masterpieces, but I am 99% sure I will find interesting levels that never had public presentation. All this is so excitong!

@StraightFlame: I'm glad you liked the review. Huh...Listen. I... don't know what all these Within a deep forest, Knytt, FiNCK and those cr co cg cb things are. So I don't how to use them. I...would just want to write things that don't hurt the eyes and I'm sorry they have hurt someone's eye. Can you please reply or pm with how you think the review would possibly look better? I will copy-paste your version, compare it with mine and look at the differences. This way I will have a starting point and improve from there.


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Offline Miragent

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Re: Miragent's Reviews / Review Criteria and Review 00
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2018, 19:36:50 »
@StraightFlame: Have your eyes recovered?  :P Kidding. But how does the review look now? Does it look better to you now? See, I have used your [cx] tags!

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Offline StraightFlame

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Re: Miragent's Reviews / Review Criteria and Review 00
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2018, 20:51:22 »
@StraightFlame: Have your eyes recovered?  :P Kidding. But how does the review look now? Does it look better to you now? See, I have used your [cx] tags!
It looks a lot better:



It's still blue on blue, of course, but that doesn't really matter to me personally.

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Offline sergiocornaga

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Re: Miragent's Reviews / Review Criteria and Review 00
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2018, 21:40:33 »
Thanks for the review! Despite LPChip's claim that only one text styling is needed, I honestly find this a bit harder to parse without the subheadings in bold. Up to you whether you feel like bringing that back though, I can manage without!

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Offline LPChip

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Re: Miragent's Reviews / Review Criteria and Review 00
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2018, 21:50:37 »
I've suggested the use of color priorities to Miragent. Basically you do , , and . 1 is text that is most important, vs 4 is text least important. This will make text easy to read on any of the themes.
If this post was helpful to you, please consider giving it a :hs: by pressing the on the left, above my avatar.

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Offline StraightFlame

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Re: Miragent's Reviews / Review Criteria and Review 00
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2018, 22:09:46 »
I've suggested the use of color priorities to Miragent. Basically you do , , and . 1 is text that is most important, vs 4 is text least important. This will make text easy to read on any of the themes.
Wow. Where have those tags been all my life? Those are some amazing color choices!

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Offline Miragent

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Re: Miragent's Reviews / Review Criteria and Review 00
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2018, 00:55:18 »
Tried LPChip's c=1 c=2 c=3 c=4 bbcodes and I must say the colors look really nice.
However, adding bold to the titles makes me read the review more easily (I agree with StraightFlame on this), so after trying both versions I have chosen the bold titles.
I feel like I have reached a state where I can be happy with the format and if I make any more changes I will take this format as a base. Thank you to all who contribued!
- Added "Design" to the Graphics and Sounds section in order to be able to talk about precision in design and issues like void screens and such

@StraightFlame: if that was really a question: https://nifflas.lpchip.nl/index.php?topic=6028.0