[Challenge/Playground][Hard-Lunatic] [KS+] Gustav's Retribution

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Offline Shreeps

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Gustav's Retribution is a ridiculously epic RPG type level.  Juni is mainly buying powerups from shops.  For the first 1/3 it is collecting items for quests and exploring new zones.  In the second third the story starts to pick up.  Then in the final third it really goes off the rails.    Can you help Gustav unlock his closet and stop the evil wizards that threaten to destroy Hazelnut Kingdom???

It is also an entry to Gustav's Contest https://nifflas.lp1.nl/index.php?topic=7364.0 :)  Most areas go through a transformation and sometimes multiple as the story progresses.  There are probably 900-1100 unique screens.

Included in the world folder is a full version of the spreadsheet quest guide that shows where to get everything.  There is a smaller version inside the game in the main city that unlocks more over time.

Shoutouts to StraightFlame for thorough testing this beast of a level and making suggestions to greatly improve it.

Theres a few minor differences in the video walkthrough. Mostly sge or single tile things, not enough to change any of the paths taken.   Some of the custom enemies were also switched out when to help reduce lag on screens with several of the same custom enemy.   I also changed all the side exit shifts from spot to square.


Download v8: (May 6 2024)
https://knyttlevels.com/levels/Shreeps%20-%20Gustav%27s%20Retribution%20v8.knytt.bin
https://mega.nz/file/1P1lDC4K#UjSEqTTiiZR07wQBl6Rw4Au9Ffx9vN4VZZIkfOHp7h4

High Quality Music Pack:
https://mega.nz/folder/xG8WTTwT#zswssDikS6J3Y7BkurhHKg

100% Walkthrough:
https://youtu.be/vnoQaScqL74?si=WmvOdQPWviLuvsRI


















« Last Edit: May 06, 2024, 16:18:23 by Shreeps »

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Offline kilicool64

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Re: [Challenge/Playground][Normal-Very Hard] [KS+] Gustav's Retribution
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2023, 15:09:51 »
Easy void screen found. Once you have the umbrella, you can use the wind to double jump above this screen.

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Offline kilicool64

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Re: [Challenge/Playground][Normal-Very Hard] [KS+] Gustav's Retribution
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2023, 00:25:08 »
Found four more bugs. The first one is just an SGE. The second one is a small bit of water at the Knyght's Camp that still kills you even with the snorkel. Of course, there's no reason to enter it in the first place, but this still seems unintentional. The third one is that entering the underwater screen from the screen on the third screenshot doesn't enable the flippers even if you have them. The last one is that I just got 20 creatures and entered the newly accessible room in Gustav's house, only to find nothing but an empty text box. Was I perhaps not meant to go there at this point?

Also, I'm not sure if this actually is a bug, but the guide claims that the lava armor should give me access to a coin and something special in Platinum Meadows, yet I can't find anything that's newly accessible with it. There doesn't seem to be any lava there. And that weird water still kills me. Am I overlooking something?

Furthermore, I really like the idea of having to decide which underwater coins you can handle without access to the flippers. But the problem is that I didn't know for a while that I had the option to leave some of them until I'd get something that would make obtaining them a lot easier. And so I went through horrible suffering obtaining some particularly hard ones with just the snorkel. It would have been very much appreciated if the snorkel merchant had told me that there's someone else who sells further diving gear.

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Offline Shreeps

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Re: [Challenge/Playground][Normal-Very Hard] [KS+] Gustav's Retribution
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2023, 08:57:52 »
When i do i revision ill fix these :) 

The desert tileset and the one i used for the catacombs don't have double corners though.  :(

 I had moved around a lot of the powerups and requirements trying to more open up the order in which you can get things and i think thats an area i overlooked (knyghts camp pre consecrate)  i always had done consecrate beforehand which should fix the flippers and water for that zone. 

On the Quest Guide some of the things require multiple powerups or story events to get them.  On those I put the other item behind them & its something I took for granted after playing it so long for that way.  I should of put 'need' behind that one and also getting the angel key on the spire, there might be a couple others too.   You need to do the astral corruption/cataclysm story event also to get that coin. 

Having the npc that sells the snorkel tell you theres also flippers that exist is a good idea.  Originally the hobbit village was basically the final shop and meant to be kinda secret/harder to find.  thats also why its a separate listing. 

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Offline kilicool64

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Re: [Challenge/Playground][Normal-Very Hard] [KS+] Gustav's Retribution
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2023, 15:32:50 »
Thanks for the info. Been making a bit more progress. It seems you also didn't prepare Scorian Hollows for the possibility of being entered with lava armor but prior to the consecrate spell. Also, I accidentally ran into a few situations where I managed to wall swim and die upon entering the world map. Maybe I accidentally triple jumped or something like that?

Edit: I just discovered that Echo Grove was reverted to a state where it has no save point. It certainly had one before. I'm currently at the point where the evil wizards appeared all over the place and lots of locations changed their name and appearance.

Edit 2: Going to the right of the screen on the first screenshot sent me to a void screen. I know I could go there in the past. And the second screenshot shows a small cosmetic slime that can move too far to the left. Also, I currently have the golden creature from the Wyrmridon Catacombs, yet the guide still claims I don't.

Edit 3: The third screenshot shows how to access another void screen. Funnily enough, it's inverted.

Edit 4: I now have the second golden creature from the Wyrmridon Catacombs, yet it's also still noted as missing on the guide. That location doesn't seem to get updated anymore. Also noticed two bugs with the defense mission in Penitance Village. It doesn't save when you initiate it. Also, if you complete it and come back, the screen is reverted and offers you to do it again.

Edit 5: The Mount StarFlame defense mission has a spot that allows for a wall swim. At least, I think it does. Wasn't able to pay too much attention due to all the chaos. The next screen seems like it should also allow for wall swims, yet actually properly repositions Juni when she wraps around at too low a spot. But I don't think that happened here. Might be wrong, though. And the screen that initiates the mission also fails to get permanently updated after completion.

Edit 6: The Gulf of Jasper defense mission also gets reverted. Also worth noting that the end game defense missions that award golden creatures can be made much easier by first getting the hologram, to the point where plenty of screens are rendered effortless. Perhaps you should have increased the number of golden creatures required to purchase the hologram so that you have to do all the defense missions first.

Edit 7: The Pumpkin village defense mission also gets reverted. Didn't check Peach Woods, but I think at this point it's relatively safe to assume this applies to all of the end game defense missions.

Edit 8: Yup, same with Mossgate Village.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2023, 17:43:57 by kilicool64 »

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Offline kilicool64

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Re: [Challenge/Playground][Normal-Very Hard] [KS+] Gustav's Retribution
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2023, 23:54:00 »
And I'm done with the level. A seriously impressive achievement. It's hard to believe you were able to make it in a few months for a contest. The scope is incredible for something like that, yet it's surprisingly polished as well. I really enjoyed untangling the incredibly complex chains of one item leading to another. Impressive custom powerups as well. I thought Reditus with its one custom powerup was impressive, but you managed to improve upon it. I really like most of the visuals and the use of music as well.

Mixed feelings about the challenges. I'm not quite the target audience for this kind of level, since I prefer a somewhat lower level of difficulty. I'm not all that great at KS' core mechanics, so plenty of parts were frustrating. I recognize that many of the challenges I struggled with weren't badly designed, though there are some that I felt were worse than others due to factors such as featuring so many different hazards simultaneously that I couldn't keep track of them all at once, parts that made me feel like relying on RNG was the only option, instances of enemies with poor visibility, or overly long treks between save points that forced me to go through the same screens many times just to get another shot at the part that actually gave me trouble. At the same time, there were also some tough challenges I legitimately enjoyed because I felt that I could learn to master them.

I felt that there was a drop in quality towards the very end, though, with the final parts being too heavy on challenges at the expense of anything else for my liking. And I found it really bizarre that a lot of these challenges rely so heavily on hazards that can be tricked with the hologram, even when the part is reached where you're required to have it. It honestly feels like you designed the level with the assumption that players would only use it for the handful of golden creatures that require it and then never again because plenty of challenges can be outright broken with it. Considering it's not actually needed at any point during the finale, perhaps it would've been better to remove it from the inventory? Though I guess that might have annoyed some, given that they'd have barely gotten to use it at that point. And the idea of fighting the final boss with its flames actually targeting me kind of scares me, considering some phases were already tough even with the hologram. Also, the final challenge sections felt kind of rushed, with them sometimes even re-using the same challenges. And some of the filters were a bit much. I have good eyesight, yet even I occasionally struggled to recognize the sprites amidst the huge messes of pixels. Plus, I got close to getting a light headache.

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Offline Shreeps

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Re: [Challenge/Playground][Normal-Very Hard] [KS+] Gustav's Retribution
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2023, 07:06:20 »
The shifts in the game can be kinda off if you have too much momentum or are in between them when you shift so my solution to that was to just kill you Lol.  But its better than getting stuck out of the map. 

The Eternal Annihlation part is meant to be more of a falling action/winding down part after the climax.   At least i find it to be a little more relaxing in that way.  You can get into a flow state just dodging without having to think too hard some but screens could be shortened and toned down a bit.   

There's no way to check for the flags of individual GC's & I didnt realize this until I had already picked the spots for everything and the GC gates.   It wouldve been better to put coins for the invasions instead of GC.  This is also why the Cata GC guy who pops up and the chomper remain on quest guide, as the chomper teeth alone are really hard to see so i posted them as part of the tileset.

You also need holo to be able to get the final 2 GC.  The invasions should go away when you begin the finale though if you choose to go back to those zones.   There are some wallswims with warping in the invasions and epiloge but also invis shifts that send you back up above the ground. 

Im also glad that since you were able to finish, getting lava armor so early didnt break anything badly.  I think Im going to move the ingot from Lum Haven to Consecrated Cemetery and that will fix lava armor/Scorian.

Yeah I didn't want to remove the holo from the player as soon as they got it and basically they can choose whether they want the extra challenge to use it or not as it can get pretty lunatic without it.   I also like how powerful you feel by the end with it.   I tried to do as much as i could in the video playthrough without it to show its possible but used it on a few screens cause it was taking so long.    I would rather err on the side of it being a little cheesable than people not being able to finish it especially cause the last release of Azure came out way too hard and I wanted to avoid that this time.

Do you remember some of the parts that were the most frustrating and/or in need of saves?
I can fine tune them a bit for the revision and fix the echo grove ones and going to add another one there.

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Offline kilicool64

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Re: [Challenge/Playground][Normal-Very Hard] [KS+] Gustav's Retribution
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2023, 15:29:15 »
When it comes to particularly frustrating parts, I'm afraid I didn't really keep track. Let me see what I can remember.
Some of the underwater parts were the worst, but those could be resolved just by letting the player know they can make some of them easier by waiting until they have the flippers.
I remember getting stuck for a fair while on that secret at the Old Turt Pond that's behind a secret passage at the red spitting flower.
From what I recall, I think I found Lace Citadel to have the hardest of the defense missions (the one where you have to stay in the air). Though it's possible I just wasn't in the right state of mind at the time I did it.
The library was an annoying location. Not super difficult, but I never really got the hang of how to navigate it, so I always had to brute-force my way through. I also hated how my first visit there turned out to be pointless, since I didn't have the prerequisites. So I had to go through the whole thing a second time later on.
The feather in Rosecore gave me a really hard time because I had to go through an unusually long stretch of challenges with no save points. The way back in particular took a while. I don't think any of the individual challenges there were all that bad. It was just nerve-wracking having to make it through this many without dying.
And I think the last phase of the second battle with that Knytt with the block gimmick was probably the hardest of all the boss phases. All I could really come up with was to try similar routes far above the ground (to avoid the monster that shoots fire at you) over and over again while praying that the RNG sends the bullets somewhere where I'll manage to dodge them. Holding the button long enough usually worked out fine, but it was also annoying because it always delayed me until I could tackle the real meat of the challenge again.

I think those two GCs are the only things that require the hologram at all. So it feels rather underutilized. I can understand wanting to offer it as an optional method to make the finale easier (especially as someone who isn't too good at these kinds of challenges herself), but some screens don't feel like they were designed with the assumption that the player might use the hologram at all. There are plenty of defense mission phases in particular that become completely effortless with it. I say this as someone who never made a level of her own, but I think the best way to make challenges with the hologram in mind would probably be to design them so that they can be made easier with it, but only through skillful use. Such as when your starting position causes flames to be shot at you at an inconvenient angle, so to properly neutralize them, you first need to reach a better position and create the hologram there. There were a few challenges like that, but most just involved me pressing W right at the beginning to either cut the difficulty in half or reduce it to zero.

I guess I can get behind the idea of the last defense missions serving as falling action (I certainly wouldn't have wanted them to be comparable in difficulty to the final boss). I just think that they were rather repetitive. Re-using the same screens multiple times is what made them feel rushed to me.

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Offline Shreeps

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Re: [Challenge/Playground][Normal-Very Hard] [KS+] Gustav's Retribution
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2023, 10:54:44 »
I put out a v2 Revision and it's mostly quality of life stuff to help reduce frustration and a few general fixes.

https://knyttlevels.com/levels/Shreeps%20-%20Gustav%27s%20Retribution%20v2.knytt.bin

I was kinda rushing through invasions at the end to try and meet the original deadline while it was still in effect not gonna lie XD  I did decide to add the Eternal Annihilation section though because the original deadline got extended.   Also one of the reasons I used the side shooters A LOT in the invasions and finale is because they don't care if youre holo or not.

The most noteworthy changes for v2:  (Possible Spoilers)

-Fixed a few void screens and sges.  Not the double corner ones though Lol.

-Echo Grove/Scarlet Hillside/Turt Pond should keep its Consecration saves after Astral Corruption.   They currently disappear and don't come back till late game.  I think it was a problem with just these zones because Astral Corruption (Which resets many flags) doesnt change these zones.   Might not actually be a problem for Scarlet but is very annoying for the other 2 and wasnt intended.  Swamp also doesn't get changed but it doesn't have Consecrate saves.

-Most zones had a nonconditional save added to every version of its map (a few get 2-3) or moved to a slightly more convenient spot (like Amberleaf). 

-Rosecore tunnel to feather added a couple saves.

-Snorkel and Flippers should work at Knyght's Camp pre-consecrate.

-Swamp merchant in Mossgate let's you know there is a secret shop with flippers after you buy snorkel.

-Platinum Field coin 96 should also say 'Need' on the astral corruption icon behind it on 2nd Quest Guide.  Same with Sky Valour Spire items needing Angel Key to access.

-Bus Pass, Disable Trap, and Fans repair icons Taken off 2nd version of Quest Guide after you get eye.  (These are all required to get to this point)

-Bus Pass, Disable Trap, Fans repair, consecrate, assault tents, astral corruption icons Taken off 3rd version of Quest Guide after astral corruption.  (These are all required to get to this point)

-Ingot 7 from Luminous moved to end of Cemetery, therefore Consecrate is now required to be able to get Lava Armor.  And you can no longer get to pre-consecrate Scorian with Lava Armor.

-Lava armor icon added to Quest Guide, Torment Village under Flippers with 'Need' Consecrate behind it.  (forgot lava armor icon in v1)

-Sand Ditch eye required warp (when you also have Lava Armor) fixed 

-A few screens during the town invasions and Eternal Annihilation had their timers reduced, 15s >12s  and 12s >10s.   A few screens during Eternal Annihlation enemies added or changed.

-Lacewing Skies added 1 more block to screens in first half, 2 blocks to 2nd half.  For more leeway.  Also fixed a possible void.

-Turt Pond room with GC redesign

-Bulwark Rohda final screen the button changed from green to red, but moved closer to center of screen instead of where you spawn.  A few more blocks taken out on this screen and across the fight .  (The beta originally had a purple block on almost every tile and a guy shooting from the top of the screen XD)

-Forbidden Archives has a path of blue flames you can follow to get to the top more consistently, (You don't have to follow it and it's not the quickest but it's simple) and the mage ally informs you as such at the Wizard Castle entrance.  (Following the Red Flames take you back out)

-Fixed a void accessable using the Archives - Lace Citadel warp during mid-game.

-Added and corrected a few things in credits and Realigned a few things.  (mostly redundant)

-Level is now 'large' instead of medium
« Last Edit: September 17, 2023, 12:48:42 by Shreeps »

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Offline kilicool64

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Re: [Challenge/Playground][Normal-Very Hard] [KS+] Gustav's Retribution
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2023, 14:57:46 »
The guide claims the double jump powerup is necessary to get the 26th coin in Hazelnut City, yet I managed to get it without it.

Edit: I never really got the design of this screen. Its golden creature doesn't look like it can be obtained before getting the double jump powerup. Yet once you have that, you can skip all the other enemies and get it effortlessly. So what's their point? Can you actually get the creature earlier? And even if you could, why would you? It would be pretty tough, and you can instead get the easier golden creature from Echo Grove to enter Paladin Temple.

Edit 2: The newly added save in the underground part of Silverwood Cemetery only exists until you get rid of the spikes, making its usefulness rather limited.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2023, 15:34:05 by kilicool64 »

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Offline Shreeps

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Re: [Challenge/Playground][Normal-Very Hard] [KS+] Gustav's Retribution
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2023, 16:49:17 »
You shouldn't 'need' DJ to get coin 26 you just need Sneak.   It also happens that you need sneak to be able to get enough coins to buy DJ in Hazelnut so those 2 occupy the same spot, without the 'need' label though.

The design of that screen is basically a relic of very early on when I was still indecisive if I wanted to use that screen for a GC or not and what to require to get it.  So now it's just intended that it requires DJ while the creatures might just kind of annoy you if you go that way to get the eye required coin.  You can't reach it before DJ that I know of.  You're meant to only be able to get the Echo Grove one to start Paladin Temple.

StraightFlame thought that screen was weird too XD
« Last Edit: September 17, 2023, 17:53:47 by Shreeps »

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Offline kilicool64

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Re: [Challenge/Playground][Normal-Very Hard] [KS+] Gustav's Retribution
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2023, 19:55:28 »
Just noticed that this screen has some slightly visible tile edges where the siege machinery is. Probably some sort of accident.

Edit: Okay, this part right here never made sense to me. Why do you have to go through an extra challenge just to reach a dead end with nothing but an NPC warning you not to proceed on the other path?

Edit 2: The guide claims that it's possible to get the 43th coin in Platinum Meadows with just the umbrella. Can it really be done without the eye?
« Last Edit: September 17, 2023, 20:17:00 by kilicool64 »

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Offline Shreeps

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Re: [Challenge/Playground][Normal-Very Hard] [KS+] Gustav's Retribution
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2023, 22:18:46 »
The siege machine tiles weird me out too I don't know why they do that,  I can't seem to pin it down.   Maybe its how that specific tileset file was compressed or exported or something?

That NPC is meant to dissuade you from trying to go up the hillside before you do Consecrate.   But I am not a great communicator  Lol.    If you return to that after consecrate later on there should be a tent with a save point.  And another one higher up the mountain.

You can get coin43  without eye in platinum but it is a very tight jump.   You have to put away the umbrella when jumping to get the extra height.  The eye makes it easier. 


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Offline kilicool64

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Re: [Challenge/Playground][Normal-Very Hard] [KS+] Gustav's Retribution
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2023, 23:16:48 »
Yeah, I just noticed the added save point in what's originally an empty screen as well. So I guess it eventually gets a purpose.

Also, Gustav's fan gets disabled again after the Astral Corruption occurs. Is that intentional? I remember it starts working again eventually. Not that it serves any purpose once you have his candle.

Edit: Did you mean to place the bird on the screenshot a tile lower?

Edit 2: There's a new save point in the Wood of Meditation that disappears once it becomes the Peach Woods.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2023, 02:04:49 by kilicool64 »

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Offline Shreeps

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Re: [Challenge/Playground][Normal-Very Hard] [KS+] Gustav's Retribution
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2023, 02:34:56 »
I did mean to have the bird in that tree.  Hes there when its Knyghts camp and abandoned camp but leaves after the fight with Bella.

The thing with Gustavs fans was not intentional though Lol.  I think i copied Gustavs room at a time i was still undecided on where Fans/Lasers/Flippers were all going.  It will turn off after astral corruption and turn back on after Angel Key.

I forgot to add the save to the snorkel version of peach woods,  i think i put it on the
non swimmable version only
« Last Edit: September 18, 2023, 02:44:51 by Shreeps »