This is it, the final showdown with my thoughts. Wait, this is a thinly veiled FFX reference isn't it. HA HA HA HA HA okay this joke is overdone.
46. Synthetic Coral
One thing I find quite interesting to play is a field of blocks and water or bombs, and all you have to do is move around, building islands as you go. In particular, Plastic in the Ocean from UC5 directly inspired this- what if instead of having to bridge to the corners, you just had to pick up chips? Ultimately, it's quite easy- no Pentomino Lake without picking up the flippers, that's for sure. Unfortunately, splash delay does seriously hurt the level in Lynx... and I still need to finish CCLP4 in Lynx, right.
47. Blast from the Past
Finally, the first level I designed for this set! The only goal I had was to throw back about a decade, with pointless rooms, diagonal walls, and pointless boosting! Unfortunately, the level still ends up being fairly modern in its design, but hey- it's a fun variety level with 12 completely separate rooms with absolutely no interaction between them, nope. Don't even try sending the fireballs and gliders into the bomb room, I definitely didn't plan that to be a useful strategy and it most certainly wasn't forced on an older version of the level.
48. Happy as a Clam
I think few levels show my usual design style more than this level. I built the central room first (symmetry, level branching off of one core interesting room) and then the fireball room to the right. The gliders followed (single block+monsters in varied forms, simple collision telegraphed) and the rest of the level followed in the order it gets played. I'm especially happy with the fireball stream trick to get the blue key, and the final tank shuffling puzzle. Unfortunately SOMEONE (Tyler) busted this level and didn't get the full experience... but Shane did because I fixed the level.
49. Confusion Cave
My designer note for this level simply reads "Creative One Ways, Part 3?". I'm not sure how accurate that is, but when I tried resolving it well after I'd designed it I was quite confused, so I guess it does what I wanted it to. The highlight here is the fireball room and how it's completely impassible without a block.
50. Opal Shrine
For this level, I used the walls of Wall Jumping Up Waterfalls to craft a non-linearly ordered variety level. The very first thing I tried to build in was a very lengthy final block path that would reuse most of the level, but this kept having to be scaled back and nerfed as there were ways around most of it. The initial release didn't require the block path it currently does as I had liked the shortcut, but after Tyler didn't even entertain the possibility of the intended path I took another look at the level and managed to require the oversized loop. In the final form, it's a fun level- I only wish the fireball manipulation was a little more clearly telegraphed in advance, as it's possible to fail right at the end.
Walls from Communism. There are some weird hallway block loops to manipulate a single fireball through most of the level. It's not too interesting to play, but I'm still proud of the fact that I fit a completely different level inside Communism.
Say hello to probably the only original concept in the entire set, because truly original concepts are hard to come by. Original executions, sure those are easy. But concepts? Have you ever seen a room where you had to keep a teeth from leaving a certain range, while also having to leave that range? The left room came first while experimenting with the concept of extending where you could step, and is rigid as a result. The right room followed as a "alright, now you understand it, now apply what you've learned" kind of room. It is possible to extract all 10 blocks, albeit not easily and it's not required in any case.
53. Immersion Circulator
Walls from Miika's Hexominoes. While I was skimming through custom sets for interesting arrangements of walls, that level jumped out at me. Sure, it was originally used for a collectathon, but there was some serious potential for reinvention there. Once I stripped the level bare... I had nothing. So I built the outside aesthetic, laid down a few objects to partition the level (most notably the tank guarding two red keys) and just built upwards from there. This is probably the longest level in the set despite only having a 496 time limit. Why 496? Because it's the third perfect number, after 6 and... 28. Naturally, I ensured that's how many chips there were. That sounds like something Miika would do.
54. Navigating Neptune
Obligatory blue wall maze with some shortcuts and I made the fireball puzzle first and kept that theming for rooms to open shortcuts.
So, funny story about skimming through custom sets for interesting walls- Cyprus was a given. I immediately hit on the idea of limiting cloning to make a sardine can and then blockslide multiple blocks off of the same slide... but then actually executing the area took hours and was still broken for quite a while. Eventually though, I had a first puzzle and the tanks always changing (everything up to the fireball+tank room) and had no ideas for the remainder of the level, and it'd been sitting there for a while. Well, I had clone machines in place as partitions, but still.
A month or so later Josh and I collabed and I sent him the half finished level.
I got back the dodging sections and outer block part a day or so later- not what I would have gone with, but hey- it worked and was pretty fun! Though I noticed a few ways to squeeze out extra blocks from the end and made it required (touching the border is also required!) and telegraphed the gimmick of all blocks having gravel under them early, as it could be seen as unfair without that first block. Then I added my own block manipulation section to reach a hidden hint and called it a level.
Time limit is 961 because apparently that's the area code of Lebanon.
I hope you don't dislike invisible walls.
57. Mystery Caves
Mission statement: difficult linear campaign level. The first section was meant to have a bit of tangential story to it of a prison, and also set the tone with an "In a Nutshell" style area. In hindsight, it's a little mean to start there and force redoing it every time the teeth+ball room goes awry. I went back and forth on whether that dodging and manipulation was fair, but ultimately decided that it was since you can see what needs doing in advance. That said, the tank button to start the manipulation was the last thing I added to make it a little easier. Then you have a fantastic blockslide puzzle before a really cool ball room and a few assorted puzzles before a fake-out exit. I wonder if anyone will ever die to that walker. Probably not, but the room is lol.
58. Flight of the Prince
Entered in the Movie Madness Create, which it won. Inspired entirely by chasing Snape down in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, and the gameplay suits this. You see a green flash and something go off the tower, immobile, and then get to move when it dies, just like the story. Then you have around 20 seconds that demand perfection in Lynx and near perfection in MS, with some pinpoint dodging checkpoints and minor itemswapping. I love how carefully tuned this level is to work in both rulesets, something I couldn't manage with Extreme Hold Right Adventure. I do wonder if the design is too mean, though, as you do need to get a decent amount of boosts to even solve the level in MS.
Regrettably, I couldn't keep a section in which the glider would merge into a 3 tile gap of pink balls and clone another, blocking the path for Chip. Why? Slide delay- waiting at the upper force floors would allow the glider to delay, bounce off a ball instead of merging in resulting in its death, and Chip could just walk into the fake exit. I tinkered with a few potential fixes, but ultimately settled on just making the slide delay not matter.
59. The Party We Have Never Seen
Soundtrack for this commentary.
Fire and water have such a lovely aesthetic that I underuse.
Open-ended cloning puzzles are such an interesting design that, again, are underused.
Sooooo I made one with a semi-open order. Gotta get to the bug on the right first to open the block cloner, then do the three chip challenges before the two socket challenges that subvert the normal flow. Shane picked up on the main trick pretty quickly, likely because I telegraphed it in advance. He also spotted a solution I didn't catch to the upper area, which I'm not unhappy with. Originally I wanted to force bridging around the bomb, but he found a clever way to use the existing blocks to guide a fireball over- nicely done!
I'm not sorry for the random force floors on the exit path- good luck J.B., and at least it's untimed
60. A Chip Down Memory Lane
And finally, the walls from Archie's RUN OUT OF GAS in a spiritual sibling to Mental Marvel Monastery.
Fully intended alternate solution follows, with the description copied below:
Everything seen here is intended- I designed the level to have two solutions, and this one to feel busted. But nope- every little detail that juuuust works out is completely intended!
That being said, I did not tune any of the monster order or timings for this route. I'm pleasantly surprised by how little waiting around there is here. The overall design goal was to make a level like Josh's Mental Marvel Monastery- a throwback medley, of sorts. Strengthening the connection, I used the walls from Archie's "RUN OUT OF GAS" as my starting point, as Josh used Andrew R.'s "Producing". I also took care to make each part try to feel like something out of CC1- I'm not sure I succeeded, but that's why there are the (few) random pointless bits and certain other design choices.
Levels referenced in some way:
Nuts and Bolts, Elementary, Tossed Salad, Oorto Geld, Scavenger Hunt, On the Rocks, Lemmings, Seeing Stars, Chipmine, Bounce City (skipped), Reverse Alley, Block Buster, Now You See It, Short Circuit, Torturechamber, Miss Direction, and Alphabet Soup.