[570+ level reviews] - Grading levels by Authors D-H

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Offline pacifishi

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[570+ level reviews] - Grading levels by Authors D-H
« on: August 07, 2023, 16:22:48 »
Tjenare! This is part II in my quest to play and rate every KS level before the heat death of the universe [impossible]. Here are my personal letter grade reviews for levels submitted by authors D-H corresponding to pages 6-12 on knyttlevels.com.

Disclaimer: I don't consider myself an authority on what makes a "good" level. It's a lot easier for me to fill in a single letter on a spreadsheet than spend hours making these levels so if a particular grade seems unfair I am more than happy to give more in-depth thoughts on any particular level.       



What each grade corresponds to:     

OUTDATED   Obsolete versions of levels (see newer version for review)      
N/A   Tileset showcases, demos, etc. that can't be judged for gameplay      
---   ---      
F   Broken / flawed to the point of unplayable      
D   Severe issues (see criteria below) that makes completing the level unenjoyable / will not replay      
C   Average levels / no strong feelings one way or the other / good aspects counteracted by flaws      
B   Great levels that are replayable, or great level concepts       
A   Must-play levels      



Things that may negatively impact grade (-) :            
            
Broken levels            
Random tile or enemy spam            
Excessive "hallway screens" that pad-out level with no challenge or noteworthy visuals            
Unnessesarily long walking period before recieving run powerup (unrelated to challenge)            
Arbitrary hidden spikes / invisible death tiles            
Wall clipping on screen transitions / void pits            
Poor distinction between foreground / background tiles            
Poor save point placement (e.g. save point > multple hallway screens > challenge)            
Surprise death by environment/enemy immediately on screen transition            



While playing each level, I've considered its gameplay (challenge, platforming, puzzle) , art (quality of assets/tileset), worldbuilding (unique lore, worlds that feel "alive"), atmosphere (mood), music, and storytelling. My ratings are gameplay-forward, meaning, for example, that a "fun to play" level with average graphics typically will be rated higher than a tedious level with great graphics.


I'm biased in favor of (+):
challenge level:   hard / very hard
genre:   puzzles
art style:   simple and stylized (e.g. Hostile Landscape) can score just as well as 'realistic / heavily detailed' art
mechanic:   use of minimap
   
I'm biased against (-):   
genre: mazes   
genre: massive exploration levels   



Without further to do...

SHEETS link: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/16EkmumEwA1tVzA4MEnim-VG1MTARIGG7hDvJLNwyFOE/edit#gid=1086492532

If you are unable to sort/edit due to the permission settings, feel free to make a copy of the sheet.

IMGUR stats: https://imgur.com/a/Vw9KJ0E

IMGUR sorted by grade: https://imgur.com/a/HJbgINg

IMGUR sorted by author: https://imgur.com/a/KAjzXCi






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Offline pacifishi

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Re: [570+ level reviews] - Grading levels by Authors D-H
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2023, 17:15:36 »
Some random thoughts:


These ratings aren't meant to discourage anyone or be harsh. Making a level always beats not making a level  <3

Based on my ratings, there are 51 levels that I feel comfortable recommending (A, B+, B). The C rated levels can be a mixed bag, but can be a good time killer. Many of the D rated levels were tedious to complete, but your experience may be different. I'm personally keeping the levels rated A-C in my library (35.5%).

Combined with Part I, a total of 1,104 levels have been rated. Over 300 of those are outdated/duplicates.

My favorite level of part II: Cursed Gallery - Glorious Trainwrecks! credits in order:


  • Project lead: Sergio Cornaga
  • Level design: xZilas, HihiDanni, Sergio Cornaga, Vegetal Gibber, atuun, SavourySnack, ncrecc
  • Music: HihiDann, Sergio Cornaga, atuun, Gabriel Fauré, Bruford, John Scofield, Vince Guaraldi Trio, Nifflas, Podington Bear
  • Tilesets: xZilas, Yann van der Cruyssen, Nifflas, Sergio Cornaga, Vegetal Gibber, atuun, Mylveri, Imaddo, NeonPSY, PONTO, X_Sheep, David K Newton, Nifflas Forum Community
  • Gradients: xZilas, Sergio Cornaga, Vegetal Gibber, Markham Carroll
  • COs: xZilas, Sergio Cornaga, Vegetal Gibber, atuun, ncrecc
  • Ambiance: Ade Swash, robertsvard, digifishmusic
  • Font: Sara Sandberg
  • Cutscenes: Vegetal Gibber
  • Scripting / QA: ncrecc, Sergio Cornaga, Vegetal Gibber
  • Special thanks: Nifflas (Knytt Stories) and egomassive (Knytt Stories+)

Is that everyone?   :^^:

The most common issues that I saw (same as part I):

- Otherwise great levels that were padded out by 1-2 flat screens between every interesting challenge
- Levels where the player can either proceed left or right from the start; the run powerup being placed multiple screens away in one direction (which the player can miss entirely).
- Overuse of surprise spikes / "spikey digletts"

« Last Edit: August 07, 2023, 17:22:59 by pacifishi »

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Offline Lucinda

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Re: [570+ level reviews] - Grading levels by Authors D-H
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2023, 17:49:19 »
Stream of consciousness thoughts:

You couldn't complete Yggdrasil by Fegon? I did it in one sitting, and I'm terrible at this game.

I'm rushing to download all these test vignette levels because they all sound cool.

It's fun to see you eviscerate some of our more well-known level creators - and also the levels made by incompetent Parsons students. And it's also fun to see you've played some of the best levels made for this game.

Laughed at this: "note:beating Data's levels give passwords for some website"

Dukit's levels make my head explode

As expected...egomassive triumphs

A concern: some levels aren't on the archive because they're too big. Maybe we could send you some? They're also easy to find on the forum. You missed "Cosmic Meltdown" by Fubaka for this reason, as well as "Through the Swamp" and "Island of Mimir" by egomassive (collaboration with Sinix, maybe you want to save that for S?). And those levels are all epic.

Truly amazing to see you do this. Please continue!!!

Oh, also: I played Knytt Serial after seeing it on your sheet and it's really good.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2023, 18:56:07 by Lucinda »
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Offline pacifishi

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Re: [570+ level reviews] - Grading levels by Authors D-H
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2023, 19:27:57 »
Quote
You couldn't complete Yggdrasil by Fegon?

I was really excited for this one, but I can't get past the long row of spikes a few screens West after getting the run power up. I have to be missing something...


Quote
It's fun to see you eviscerate some of our more well-known level creators

Ratings wise? My notes were pretty tame/short BUT there were 2 levels that I felt warranted a more harsh review. There's some genius level talent (artwise) in those but the 4chan-esque edgyness is jarring.

Quote
some levels aren't on the archive because they're too big. Maybe we could send you some?

Feel free! I've actually played many of the ones recommended on other sites (egomassive's, mitorun's, across the juniverse, under the umbrella) but I limited these lists to knyttlevels.com. Good idea though, I'll most likely make it a separate post for non-KL.com levels. I'm predicting a lot of A's in that one (can anything possibly beat Ultigonio's Deep Freeze? We'll find out...)

 


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Offline Lucinda

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Re: [570+ level reviews] - Grading levels by Authors D-H
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2023, 19:40:18 »
Yes, ratings wise. The 4chan guy certainly is a hot topic in our community. I have much to say about him, we'll have to save that for DM.

You should definitely make a "bonus list" with some of the epic levels that aren't on the archive. I'll make you a little googdrive of them soon.


I'll try Yggdrasil again and get back to you.
Rome wasn't built in a day.

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Offline Polana

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Re: [570+ level reviews] - Grading levels by Authors D-H
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2023, 20:54:40 »
Quote
You couldn't complete Yggdrasil by Fegon?

I was really excited for this one, but I can't get past the long row of spikes a few screens West after getting the run power up. I have to be missing something...


If we both mean the same row of spikes, it isn't made deadly by big solid dead block but by the one that makes just a thin layer of deadly block so you can walk underneath it. It took me some time as well when I was playing the level years ago.

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Offline pacifishi

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Re: [570+ level reviews] - Grading levels by Authors D-H
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2023, 21:32:43 »
Quote
it isn't made deadly by big solid dead block but by the one that makes just a thin layer of deadly block so you can walk underneath it.


It worked! Intentionally running into (the side of) the deadly spikes is something I didn't consider.

I've updated Yggdrasil from N/A to B in the google sheet - quite enjoyable!

Fantastic art and atmosphere. There are aspects that would I'd otherwise classify as 'design flaws', but I didn't seem to mind as much knowing that they were intentional (well, artistically purposeful). Plenty of hallway screens, but they lend themselves to the overall atmosphere of a massive and desolate castle. There's also a few path forks, where if you choose wrong, you have to loop back around to get the key and come back. I liked the design choice to illustrate climbable vs. non-climbable walls. Overall: would recommend


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Offline Lucinda

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Re: [570+ level reviews] - Grading levels by Authors D-H
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2023, 07:19:04 »
I must ask Mr. Fishi, are you Swedish? Or was your greeting for KS purposes only?
Rome wasn't built in a day.