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CC2 Custom Set Review - "Rising" (v1.0)

Joshua Bone

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blog-0069714001491691991.pngI took a break today from my ongoing Let's Play of the very enjoyable but lengthy 'Flareon1', and decided to take a peek at the latest file from H2O, posted yesterday. The levelset is called 'Rising' and features 8 levels. Playing through the set took me about an hour and 20 minutes.

 

The video of my playthrough can be found here:

 

01 RISING

The set begins with this massive untimed 99x99 bonus level which is unique in that it contains all of the other levels in the set. I call it a bonus level because the solution is trivial - just walk in a westerly direction and find the unguarded exit. However, there are bonuses everywhere and I'm sure finding an optimal route would be a challenge. I really like the pixel art (the trees and the path) at lower right, and it is interesting to be able to get a preview of the levels to come. However, I think it would be more interesting if there was at least a little bit of challenge in the level, and it was also pretty confusing on first play because I didn't know that all these rooms were previews of coming levels. I didn't 'get' it at first, but once I figured it out later it was a cool moment.

 

02 RED INK

A nice little puzzle, fun to solve, feels like it's over too quickly though!

 

03 HOT WATER

Also a cool concept, dodging the yellow tanks is easy but interesting. Again, the level is over so quickly! I could see combining this + RED INK + maybe a compressed version of GREEN THUMB all into one level. (I guess after my review of Explorer's Delight I must sound like Goldilocks-- "These levels are too long... these levels are too short..." Sorry.)

 

04 GREEN THUMB

The central puzzle is awesome, and very fun to figure out. I'm less of a fan of the level's layout, but it works.

 

05 OFF THE TRACK

I enjoyed this one. Short enough it's not terribly frustrating, pleasing to the eye, and a unique gameplay concept.

 

06 CUT TEETH

Wonderful level with an unique, engaging theme. The length is perfect, just enough to be quite challenging, but not so much that it's a chore to restart the level after a mistake. Felt very satisfying to solve.

 

07 CUT THE ICE

My favorite of the set. I like the use of the one-way teleport mechanism to create three separate, similarly themed teamwork puzzles. The top left puzzle did feel somewhat trivial compared to the other two (which were excellent!). I might consider starting Chip and Melinda off within sight of each other to emphasize that this is a teamwork level. The teleport mechanism plays pretty well! There are ways to drastically simplify the circuitry, but since it's not visible during play maybe it's irrelevant.

 

08 DIRT FILE

A lengthy maze level using blue tanks, green toggles, and... a three-way toggle mechanism! This was actually the most frustrating level in the set for me, mostly because I didn't quite understand that each of the pink buttons was actually controlling the state of all the pink walls, i.e. I thought that each pink button was only responsible for the pink walls in the immediate vicinity, and so it would confuse me to find a door open where I thought I'd left it closed, and vice versa. A hint might help. But overall it's a quality level and satisfying to solve.



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Thanks a lot, I didn't expect any in depth feedback that soon :)
 
In DIRT FILE I included in 1.0.1 a hint stating THE PINK BUTTONS ARE CONTROLLING THE THREE GLOBAL STATES OF THE PINK DOORS, and hope with this to avoid confusion or frustration about their purpose.
 
The exit in RISING at the very bottom I added in the last minute, so that it would not be necessary to run around to much. If you want to get all the bonuses, you still have to figure out certain things, but it's not supposed to be a challenge, or even a level which is played by itself, it's more a gimmick for the set than anything else, which worked pretty much as expected.
 
The first levels are really short, but generally I don't have anything against really short levels, they just have to be interesting in some regard, and based on the LP I would say they worked out as supposed when designing them. Combining the levels I still fear would end up in a pretty frustrating experience, as most of them required restarts, and having to replay the same parts over and over again, is never too much fun. And at least I personally don't like to hear a constant pinging sound as in HOT WATER for longer than necessary - another reason why this one is just an really short stand alone level. To ensure them not being to easy/short and feel pointless, I increased the difficulty of level 2 slightly.
Based on this suggestion however, I guess you will probably like PATTERN ISLANDS, 1234, CASTLE WINDOW, WEAK HYPERCHARGE, the 4 late additions to Explorer's Delight...
 
I can definitely understand the point about the layout in GREEN THUMB, it's done the way it is, to bring in some variety in the levels I design, and not have the layout based just on a few different principles. Seeing the LP, I think over all the level and the main puzzle worked out pretty well.
 
The circuit in CUT THE ICE is more complex than it needs to be in this level, as I designed it for general purpose, which means stepping again on the pink button while the timer is running should have no effect. Here of cause useless, since it just runs for roughly 0.2 seconds, which is not enough time to do so, but as said, it's anyhow nothing the player can see from within the level.

And just for completeness, there is no implication about anyone's taste if someone doesn't enjoy the levels :P

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