New Review Thread

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Offline Purple Ink

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New Review Thread
« on: August 14, 2021, 08:45:21 »
Hello, all. Since it seems like there's been a spike of interest in Knytt Stories again, with several new levels and old forumers returning, I've decided to try to start up a new review thread. I invite anyone to post a review and discuss the levels. In fact, you can write your own review even if a level already has one because then we can get different opinions. If you do want to leave a review you don't have to follow any specific format but make sure you explain how you're reviewing so we know. I'll link all reviews in this opening post.

1. I consider myself a fairly decent KS player. However, I will cheat when necessary to get past challenges or similar so I can experience an entire level. I don't see this being necessary except for some lunatic-type levels. If I can beat Cosmic Meltdown in beta I'm sure I can do fine with most levels.

2. Levels will be completed as best I can before resorting to the editor to make sure I didn't miss anything. In the case of bonus challenge content I will attempt it as explained in point 1. In terms of alternate endings and other such secret content I will endeavour to find it before checking the editor.

3. Obviously new levels that haven't been talked about much will probably get priority but I'll also be making reviews for older or maybe even well-known levels. I'm also taking requests. So if there's a level you want reviewed (like your own) let me know.

I won't be using any kind of numeric scale or scoring system. Instead I will go by overall feel and experience vs. expectations for aspects of the levels. Here are some areas I'll be talking about in reviews: Design (challenges, screen layouts, and level integrity such as no voids or wallswims); Content (custom vs. default vs. well-known, non-default assets including tilesets, music, ambiance, and gradients); Accurate level designations (this is subjective); Fun factor and overall experience including sense of satisfaction for completing the level/finding an ending(s); Overall quality and my assessment for playing or not playing the level; and finally Story.

This means reviews might be different from each other. I hope they'll overall be similar enough though. It should be obvious but the reviews are entirely my opinion and are thus subjective. Your experience will vary.

REVIEWS

My Friend Jerry by TigerNDV - Purple Ink
« Last Edit: August 15, 2021, 05:18:38 by Purple Ink »

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Offline Purple Ink

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Re: New Review Thread
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2021, 05:16:44 »
Today I will be reviewing My Friend Jerry by TigerNDV.

Forum thread link: https://nifflas.lp1.nl/index.php?topic=7281.0

Release year: 2021
Difficulty: Easy/Normal
Size: Large
Category: Puzzle/Misc

Requires KS+
Download KS+ here

I'll start off by saying the level mostly adheres to its labelling. There are no real challenges in the traditional sense. It's also not a maze exactly, though it can be confusing about where to go to progress through the different aspects of the story.

And speaking of the story: this is where this level really shines! It is very much story-driven in that no ending can be achieved without playing through parts of the storyline. This is a choose-your-own-adventure type level with several paths to take. Some can be accessed relatively easy but others require prerequisite quests to be completed. The story opens by an optional introduction, which is recommended for the first play through. The opening scene described the setting as being a “city in the future” and talks of Juni and the Lonwi Dam. The overall story has mentions and quests related to the mysterious Lonwi Dam and some endings can only be found there. However, those endings are kind of lacklustre. The entire situation at the dam seems like it'll be more integral to the story but it feels more like an afterthought. As mentioned there is more than one ending. There are six in total with Tiger describing the second as the most epic.

As promised, the entire level is set in the city except the small area of Lonwi Dam, accessible after completing certain quests. Throughout the level you will be asked to make choices. Depending on how you choose the story will progress and open up more storylines. The first three endings can be reached after completing a certain quest chain. That is to say, once you progress enough you will save just before being asked a few choices that, depending on what you answer, leads to one of the three endings. The fourth, fifth, and sixth endings can all be accessed the same way, though through a different quest line.

The content of the level is another strong area for My Friend Jerry. There is plenty of custom tilesets, objects, and gradients to be found. Not to mention lots of unique ambience and catchy music. In addition to the custom stuff (made by Tiger specifically for this level) there are some familiar non-default tilesets. Combined together they create a visually pleasing cityscape for most of the level. Part of the great feel for the level is the tons of unique sprites for the various knytts in the city. Some are custom objects and act like OCOs whilst others are simply part of tilesets and thus static. Nevertheless, there is a great variety to the characters so it doesn't feel too dull or repetitive.

Design-wise this level is very solid. Most of the screens are fairly flat with little jumping or obstacles. Some areas require power ups to reach, which can be obtained through a store system. There are a few places where wallswims and voids can be reached but they require actually trying to break the level by playing in an obviously unintended way; particularly you can use some of the wind objects in the city to reach places you weren't supposed to. These minor flaws don't really distract from the overall experience as they are not found if you follow the story quests normally.

Overall I find this level very fun. At least until you've seen everything. There is no real replayability once you find all six endings unless you're trying to break the level. The quality is almost flawless. This will not be a level for everyone as there is no real challenge or “beautiful atmosphere” to be found. However, the combination of interesting NPCs, unique assets, variety of quests, and unique vibe given by such things makes this a level definitely worth playing at least once.

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Offline Purple Ink

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Re: New Review Thread
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2021, 04:37:23 »
I'm in the process of finishing up a level and writing a review for it. I'll edit this post with the review when ready. :)