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CC2 Custom Set Review - Centennium II 0.1.0

Joshua Bone

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blog-0153711001490126395.pngToday's levelset review is of the custom CC2 levelset "Centennium II" (v 0.1.0) by J. B. Lewis.

 

The set contains 10 levels, and was released about a year and a half prior to this review. I gather this is a back burner project, but I do hope it someday contains 100 levels as its predecessor does. The levels vary widely in theme and concept, however they are all clearly "CC2" levels in that they all appear to be heavily inspired by the possibilities opened up by the new elements.

 

As with previous reviews, I recorded a Let's Play video series. This was less of a blind play than previous series, since I have seen these levels before, but it was still a blast and I learned a lot about the levels and the game in the process.

 

The videos are available on my Youtube channel at the following links:

Part 1:

(Levels 1-6)

Part 2:

(Level 7)

Part 3:

(Levels 8-9)

Part 4:

(Level 10)

 

Summary:

Centennium II (v0.1.0) is an early and unpolished attempt by a master level designer to begin exploring the potential of Chip's Challenge 2. The concepts in the 10-level set are wildly creative and diverse, although the quality of the execution varies somewhat (as should be expected given the experimental nature of this offering).

 

Recommendations to the designer:

1) Fix major busts on SOKOBOMB and AXIS.

2) Raise the time limit on PANDEMIC to at least 800 to allow for a more methodical playing style.

3) Tweak TRAIN OF THOUGHT to give the player more reaction time.

4) Shorten NOW YOU SWITCH IT to be more forgiving (either a 20x20 design or else 20-30 more extra chips).

5) Raise the base difficulty on MANIFEST DESTINY by turning some of the bonus flags into chips.

6) Add 90 more levels ;). Seriously, these are great!

 

Individual Level Reviews:

 

01 WARM UP

Concept: (3/5)

Design: (4/5)

Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5)

Action Difficulty: (2/5)

Fun: (4/5)

 

A nice intro to the set. Good use of the colored floors to give each room a different feel, and good reminder of how the elements work. The force floor room seemed surprisingly challenging to navigate, not sure how a relatively new player would fare. The recessed walls under the blocks felt like an unfair surprise, but I wonder if the hint tile was supposed to warn me? For some reason no hint text was displayed. Although I just realized that one of the chips wasn't required, so I probably didn't even have to restart (a nice touch btw). Loved the room with the tank and trap, the room with the ant cloner, the water/thief room, the teleport room, and the bonus mechanism.

 

02 CHRISTMAS TREE

Concept: (3/5)

Design: (4/5)

Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5)

Action Difficulty: (1/5)

Fun: (3/5)

 

What a remarkably original level! It makes me happy that this even exists :D. Overall the gameplay isn't anything particularly special, but it's a nice use of the toggle chips and green wall elements, and ends up as a loose and casual addition to the set. 5/5 aesthetics. The 'presents' are hilarious. Thanks for the bowling balls, Santa! And the 1K flag in the center of the dirt blocks made me laugh.

 

 

03 ROUND TRIP

Concept: (3/5)

Design: (4/5)

Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5)

Action Difficulty: (3/5)

Fun: (4/5)

 

Nice reversal of the CCLP3 concept of luring teeth through a thin wall maze, in this case chasing them! Using opposite-color teeth is one of those rarely used CC2 concepts along with rovers and stopwatches, so I'm glad for the attempt. The short time limit and gender tiles make for a fun challenge that is unlikely to be solved on the first try, but probable on the 2nd or 3rd. A solid 10x10 entry.

 

04 SPLITSVILLE

Concept: (4/5)

Design: (4/5)

Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5)

Action Difficulty: (1/5)

Fun: (3/5)

 

I really want to like this puzzle more than I do! It's a really cool concept, but my solution felt less like I had actually 'figured something out' and more like I had spammed buttons until all the doors were open. I'd like to go back and figure out what the actual pattern is to the switches. Definitely another 5/5 aesthetics level and a nice easy bonus.

 

05 PANDEMIC

Concept: (4/5)

Design: (4/5)

Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5)

Action Difficulty: (4/5)

Fun: (3/5)

 

This level is actually close to amazing. Blobs and slime is another CC2 concept that sounds great in theory but is surprisingly difficult to use well. This level comes really close to doing the trick. I think the size is great, and it's so cool to see how fast the slime spreads. You really get a feeling of shock and almost panic seeing the level changing so fast around you. The chip and block layout is pretty great. Honestly, I think the biggest thing I would change would be to triple or quadruple the short time limit. The spreading slime already provides a sense of urgency. The way I want to play this level is to have all the time in the world to gather blocks together and 'bulldoze' my way around the level in corridors that are 4 or 5 tiles wide, perhaps even strategically corralling some of the blobs into a corner. I think there's a rare strategic and sandbox-y quality hinted at by this level that would be fun to explore with some more time (and even possibly more blocks).

 

06 SOKOBOMB

Concept: (5/5)

Design: (5/5) (assuming bust is fixed)

Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5)

Action Difficulty: (1/5)

Fun: (5/5)

 

Another amazingly creative concept: push blocks together into groups to destroy them with well-placed TNT. Seriously, I don't think I ever would have thought of something like that. Unfortunately the level is seriously busted, but can be fixed I think by replacing all the green walls with toggle walls. It's very easy with 4 bombs, but would make a great early level. I would almost consider removing the 4th bomb to make it more challenging, but it works great as is. Love this level!

 

07 TRAIN OF THOUGHT

Concept: (5/5)

Design: (3/5)

Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5)

Action Difficulty: (5/5)

Fun: (3/5)

 

The idea is wonderful - implement the addictive minigame from Lumosity in CC2, and guide all the monsters to their appropriate locations using railroad switches! Alas, this level is so close to being wonderful! Unfortunately, I think the monsters either come too fast, or the switches are placed too far apart, for this to work well. For this concept to be fully successful, it should be playable for a new order of monsters each time. My solution unfortunately was dependent on literally writing down the exact order of monsters and sticking the list to my computer screen, and even then it took me 3 or 4 tries. The last 6 monsters come SO fast that near perfect play is required even with the order memorized. I don't think there's really time to pay attention or react to what the next monster is if playing the intended way. So, I'd like to see this level tweaked a little to allow reasonable reaction time. But that being said, I did have a blast playing it 'my way', and it definitely holds its place on my list of memorable CC2 levels.

 

08 AXIS

Concept: (5/5)

Design: (5/5)

Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5)

Action Difficulty: (3/5)

Fun: (5/5)

 

I previously reviewed this level in a blog post (http://cczone.invisionzone.com/index.php?/blog/18/entry-79-axis-review-centennium-2-j-b-lewis/), and my opinion stands. This is a great level, and is both my favorite in the set, and also one of my top 10 custom CC2 levels.

 

This time I did uncover a major (but very fixable) bust: Collect all 4 chips, and then open any socket with the bowling ball. As shown in my video, the tank will be destroyed and you can just exit.

 

09 NOW YOU SWITCH IT

Concept: (3/5)

Design: (2/5)

Puzzle Difficulty: (5/5)

Action Difficulty: (1/5)

Fun: (1/5)

 

This level just doesn't work for me as is. I spent over an hour on it, but didn't solve it. The concept is worth exploring, but the 32x32 level is just too long (I was hurting for time even with 999 seconds), and the traps too subtle, to make this playable. I would say either 1) make the level 20x20, or 2) make 30-40 of the chips extra. On my nearest attempt I was down to 18 chips left and 150 seconds left, which put me into a serious time crunch, which is just a disaster waiting to happen in a minefield like this. The concept is solid however, and so I definitely think it's worth having a more forgiving version of this level in the set.

 

10 MANIFEST DESTINY

Concept: (5/5)

Design: (3/5)

Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5)

Action Difficulty: (2/5)

Fun: (4/5)

 

An awesome concept with decent execution. I absolutely love the idea of having one time limit to essentially build the level as Chip, and then another time limit to play through the level as Melinda! So amazingly creative! Nice use of the logic circuit to shut the door after 2 minutes.

 

In practice, I thought the execution of the concept felt way too easy and loose, although maybe that was intended. I had more than enough time to clear most of the dirt out of the upper level before switching to Melinda, and then felt like I could have either used the yellow tank or (with a little more careful preparation) the fireball to activate the toggle button. Since that was the only real puzzle that was required, it felt significantly anticlimactic. The bonus puzzles could definitely add some interest, but honestly I think the level would be better if most of them were required.

 

The lower third of the level felt very out of place with the rest of the design, as if a completely separate level had been added for no obvious reason. The puzzles were fun and easy to play, although the slime puzzle was rendered trivial because I still had the hook tool. The yellow teleports at the end certainly opened up some fascinating possibilities for the bonuses. For example, you can swap them (along with the flippers and hook) for the dirt boots from one of the rovers. Or you can use them to free the rovers into the dirt room and hope they go where you need them to. Or you can bring all 3 ice blocks into the dirt room and clear dirt that way.

 

So, overall I loved the concept and appreciated the open sandbox feel with multiple solutions, but thought the bar for beating the level felt like it was placed almost absurdly low, and felt like the bottom 1/3 didn't really belong. Still enjoyed it a lot, which is what counts last I checked :cool:.



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