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An Honest Review of CCLP1

Markus

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Hi, I guess I'm momentarily back. Recently I was hungry for a new puzzle game and decided to play through CCLP1. I was heavily active in the months before CCLP1, but burnt out too early to really play through it. I beat about 25 levels when the set was released, but quickly lost motivation and quit CC. So this was, for the most part, blind. I played the game on tile world lynx (as opposed to the awful, buggy and somehow popular 5fps port) and beat all but one level in 4 days. This isn't my return to the community, I simply felt like playing CC recently. I feel like I have somewhat of an outsiders perspective and haven't really been influenced by the hype.

 

The set starts of exactly as you'd expect. However, after the well-picked lesson levels, CCLP1 presents a medley of about 80 levels which were all designed for the level 15 slot. No individual level was actually bad, however by level 100 I noticed that the set I was playing through hadn't reached Tossed Salad difficulty yet. Am I really not trusted to figure out how to dodge the enemies 2 seconds into Starry Night, or experiment on puzzles? I remembered back to the strategic dodging on Digger and Blobdance; the creative puzzles Four Square and Catacombs; and Blobdance and On The Rocks, which dared to be difficult. Due to an excessive focus on beginner-friendliness and "fair" design (can it be beaten it in 1 try), CCLP1 is simply boring. This is not a replacement for CC1.

 

I understand that this game was targeted at beginners, not me, so please don't get too offended by anything I say. I know I'm being harsh. But this is just how I personally felt about the set.

 

After the early-game snoozefest, however, the set becomes a lot better, and I enjoyed most of the triple digit levels. If only the set had reached this point sooner, and I see no reason why it didn't, I would've really like it overall. Thief, You've Taken All That Was Me was hands down my favourite level in the set. I guess that shows what kind of a game I was hoping for.

 

Will I come back for CCLP4? Perhaps. Right now I'm even entertaining the idea of LPing it, but who knows how many times I'll change my mind in the decade before it gets released. One thing's for sure: if I ever play that Chips Challenge set, it's because I want a challenge. Something with a difficulty peak that puts CCLP3 to shame. But that seems unlikely, since certain members of the community will denounce anything that takes them more than one attempt to beat. At the very least, I want that feeling of being stumped by a puzzle. And that feeling of solving it after so much time and thought. I only weakly felt that twice in the four days it took me to finish this set.



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Personally, I think CCLP1 is a great set for beginners, but I can understand that it can be frustrating for someone who likes extremely hard levels like those in late CCLP3. I agree with you, however, that the best levels are near the end of CCLP1, and it's nice to see your back.

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As someone who rejoined the community shortly before the release of CCLP1 and played through it in its entirety the day after release, I guess I'll offer some counterpoints. As a result, I didn't really have any CCLP1 hype other than it was another community set with, presumably, some of the most fun levels out there. And to me, it was, and created its own hype!
 
"I was hungry for a new puzzle game"
I think this is the root of the issue. CCLP1 didn't set out to be brutally difficult with its puzzles, it set out to be a fitting introduction. Going in expecting to be stumped repeatedly was a setup for disappointment: a valid reason, sure, but if you wanted high solving difficulty the end of 60 Minutes or most of thinker's levels fit the bill.

 

"(as opposed to the awful, buggy and somehow popular 5fps port)"

I can see where the complaints come from but I like the discreteness of each move: I think it works well for a puzzle game.

 

"CCLP1 presents a medley of about 80 levels which were all designed for the level 15 slot. No individual level was actually bad, however by level 100 I noticed that the set I was playing through hadn't reached Tossed Salad difficulty yet."

Looking through the set, I wouldn't say the difficulty curve is quite that gentle, but it's definitely more gentle than it needs to be. The first somewhat tricky level comes halfway through at Funfair (which isn't to say there's nothing tricky before this, but they're more on the small scale. I got stuck at Double Diversion for much longer than I should have). Mughfe is definitely past Tossed Salad in difficulty, however, and I think if that's where the curve started picking up the difficulty issue wouldn't be one. I'd even put Chip Suey at around equivalent, and it's in the same slot!

 

"I remembered back to the strategic dodging on Digger and Blobdance; the creative puzzles Four Square and Catacombs; and Blobdance and On The Rocks, which dared to be difficult. Due to an excessive focus on beginner-friendliness and "fair" design (can it be beaten it in 1 try), CCLP1 is simply boring."

Given Blobdance being there twice, I assume that you meant Blobnet the second time. Digger has a counterpart in Dig and Dig which is far simpler, and I'll acknowledge it's inferior. Blobdance -> Blobs on a Plane, and Blobdance made the mistake of going too far. Blobnet and On the Rocks are some of the worst points in CC1's difficulty curve (along with Nuts and Bolts: a trial by fire is not a good introduction), so though they dared to be difficult, I'm not convinced that's a good thing, especially as their difficulty comes from tedium and inexperience.Four Square and Catacombs have no direct comparisons, but CCLP1 has quite a few creative concepts executed very well that to me, despite the easier difficulty, kept my interest throughout.

 

"After the early-game snoozefest, however, the set becomes a lot better, and I enjoyed most of the triple digit levels. If only the set had reached this point sooner, and I see no reason why it didn't"

Honestly, it kind of did! I'd say the that point stops at Colors for Extreme, and though there are a fair amount of breather levels interspersed throughout, it kept a variety of gameplay that CCLP3 lacked near the end. And I loved solving CCLP3!

 

"One thing's for sure: if I ever play that Chips Challenge set, it's because I want a challenge. Something with a difficulty peak that puts CCLP3 to shame."

There's not enough difficult levels out there for CCLP4 to surpass or even reach CCLP3's difficulty peak..but CCLP4 will probably end up a step above CCLP2 on the scale.

 

"in the decade before it gets released."

Decade? Have you no faith in the CCLP4 staff? I can't imagine CCLP4's release date coming later than the end of 2017 at this point.

 

In closing...

"I know I'm being harsh. But this is just how I personally felt about the set."

And that's totally fair and I can see where some of your points come from, and they're definitely valid points in some cases. But I think there's some dissonance with actual and percieved difficulty of CC1/CCLP1 levels, along with expecting tougher levels than were presented giving a more jaded outlook on the set. Taking CCLP1 entirely as a puzzle, it's not very good. As a game, it's a ton of fun and had a lot of fresh concepts. As a puzzle game? Well, it tends more towards game than puzzle, but after all: so did CC1.

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Most of what I have to say is pretty much summarized in the above comment. However, there are two points I will agree with you on:

 

"Am I really not trusted to figure out how to dodge the enemies 2 seconds into Starry Night, or experiment on puzzles?"

 

I do agree that the hint stating how to dodge those enemies in Starry Night wasn't exactly necessary. We didn't get a hint explaining how to dodge the ones in Torturechamber (which was a lot harder too!), so why was it left in for Starry Night? At level 86, I would have thought the player, new or not, would at least get the idea on how to dodge enemies like that.

 

"...since certain members of the community will denounce anything that takes them more than one attempt to beat."

 

It's good to hear I'm not alone on this. After CCLP3 and CCLP1, I feel most members of the community don't have as much patience with the game anymore. Expecting to solve every level on the first try doesn't make the game fun, it makes it redundant. CCLP3's puzzles were outstanding in their own way, that required a restart or three to finally get the solve. Though I feel the last 5 or so levels of CCLP3 pushed this too far, especially with Old Frog and Suspended Animation, which wasn't the best ending in my opinion. CCLP1... well it was obvious from the start there would be little to no extremely hard levels there. CCLP1 in some aspects is boring and too easy. But then again, I am not new to the world of CC.

 

About CCLP4... it won't wait till the next decade - late 2017/early 2018 would be an ideal time to expect it. We hope to deliver levels that are harder and require more thought to solve, but also remain fun. The highest difficulty to expect it to have would be around the same as the mid 120s/early 130s from CCLP3. But not all levels will meet this, there will still be some simpler levels. Just to give you an idea. :)

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