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So I finished CCLP4 the other day and thought I'd post my comments. This might be my favorite CCLP! While CCLP1 wasn't bad, I personally was a big fan of CCLP3 minus a few levels in the 140s that were way too hard. (143,144,146,147) But besides those few, I thought that CCLP3 hit the right note with how hard a CCLP should be at a maximum. Mud Pie, Vulcan, Rotation, M.M.P., these are among my favorite levels in the game. As for CCLP4, I'm a huge fan of the levels that made the final cut. It seems that a lot of levels I voted 5s on made it, and I'm happy about that. The set's shortcomings are few and far between, and my thoughts on them are just nitpicks really, and are pretty insignificant. Just to mix things up, I played in Lynx first; never did that before with a CCLP. Anyways, here's my review: Spoilers Ahead! #1 Molecule: Not an obvious pick for level 1 for me but I like it. No unnecessary review level. This is CCLP4. In fact, this level actually made me restart once, which may say more about me than the level itself, but it definitely required more thinking than any other level 1. #8 The Fourth Dimension: The first level where I was like ehh, I don't know about this. Yes, it is kind of cool that the tanks create a second maze but I feel like this concept is better utilized in one room in "Life Is Not a Puzzle," which I had a strong feeling I would see later in the set. (I was right.) But the whole level is taken up by this concept and, while not a bad concept, the level feels kind of bland when it's done. True, it introduced the concept for the future level to use it again, but I feel it wasn't necessary and I would've personally liked to see another level in its place. #19 Conservation of Keys: I have similar feelings about this one. It looks like a cool level from the start, but once you figure out the trick (it's not hard) the level feels pretty empty. #23 Western Standards of Living: One of the best looking levels I've ever seen. No brainer for the set. #35 Chasing Chips: I totally agree with this selection. It's so much fun. It's like "Hunt" without the tedium. #38 Detonation Station: Love the name change! #39 In the Walls of Gravel Castle: For some reason, this was one of the levels I was most hoping would make it, even though it probably wasn't on the bubble or anything. I love it. #44 Blobfield: Pretty much forgot about this level from voting. But it's not a bad choice, and I can see why the staff went with it if they wanted more than one blob level. It's a fair level and manages to be fun despite it not making an impact on me initially. #46 Exclusive Or: This had to make it in, for me. Glad to see it here. #48 Key Insight: Another fave of mine. It's cool when competition levels make it into a CCLP. Has this happened before? #49 Block Parking: This was in one of the last voting packs. I don't know if that's why I didn't think I would see this level, but I'm really glad this made it in. #53 Protect Your Fortress: I had my doubts that this would be in the final set. But I don't know why. I'm happy this is here. #54 Split Path: Super fun level that I'm glad made it because I might've overlooked it. #65 Duplex: I don't remember what I gave this level in voting, but I don't think it was high due to me having played it so many times and knowing it can be a chore sometimes. But I have to admit: it's kind of an epic level that leaves one with a great sense of satisfaction upon completion. So despite the fact that it's not one of my favorites, I think it's definitely CCLP worthy. #67 Nuclear Energy for Dummies: I am so glad this made it in. There are not many levels as pure fun as this one, and the way it unfolds feels so natural that you don't even notice you're doing the right thing until you're already doing it. Awesome level. #100 One Tank's Adventure: I liked this level when I played it in voting, but that was in MS. Had I known this was such a hassle in Lynx, I would definitely have given a much lower rating. Now I wish this wasn't in the set. To me, there's a bigger disparity between MS and Lynx gameplay for this level than any other in the set and beating it in Lynx was more frustrating than rewarding. And it's all thanks to the stupid tank button rules in Lynx which might be my most hated thing in all of CC. #105 Living Things: I don't know if this level was worthy of a spot. It might just be me and that I've played too many Tyler levels, but this was nothing I haven't seen before and doesn't feel like anything special. I'm probably alone in this. #111 Water Bottle: I knew I liked this level! After thinking it was way easier this time around in CCLP4 voting packs, of course I had trouble with it while actually playing CCLP4. Which is a good thing! #117 Greenian Motion: The best blob level ever made. Bar none. #121 Death and Destruction: Super fun. Just have to say that. #123 Life Is Not a Puzzle: One of Josh's best levels in my opinion. I knew this would be in the set. #130 Bam Thwok: I'm glad this made the cut if only it or "Double Time Warehouse" could, even though I don't subscribe to that. This feels more like a complete level, while the other feels like an exercise in the concept featuring increasingly difficult puzzles. Not bad, but this is more fun. #133 Monochrome: I don't know why but I wish this was spaced out from the previous level, just so it wasn't "Monorail" and then "Monochrome." Like I said, don't know why, it just bothers me. #134 Pushover: YES! One of Archie's best puzzles! #137 The Longest Track: A CCLP worthy level if ever there was one. Once again, this time through I had a much harder time than in voting for some reason. And it's bust-proof this time (hopefully.) #140 Repair the Automatic (Caution) Doors: I love that this is in the same level spot as its predecessor! The sequel to my favorite CCLP1 level starts out the most epic decade in CCLPs: the 140s! #141 World of a Thousand Flames: I wasn't sure this one would make it in, but I'm really glad it did. I became a fan of it in the voting packs because, well, that was the first time I'd ever played it. And I wouldn't have guessed it was a Josh level. It's a little hard for his modus operandi. #142 Stratagem: I was a little surprised at my own level's placement. I knew it was in the set but didn't want to spoil myself as to where. My guess was right around 50. But after the 100s, I began to wonder if it might be a breather level for the late game. At first that didn't sit well with me because if it's placed early enough in the set, the player might be fooled into thinking that the level is exactly what it seems on the surface. Yes, it's still an easy level, but it does have a trick to it and if it is placed this late, the player is apt to realize that immediately. But at least it was placed in the 140s, which, in my mind, cements a level into our history a little more. So that's pretty cool. #143 Color Coordination: A no brainer for the 140s, especially after hearing Jeffrey go on about it. But it is deserving. #144 Paradigm Shift: Yes! The right choice was made here and I love this level. #145 Hacked Save File: This is where you lost me. There is nothing wrong with this level. Although I personally wouldn't have included it in CCLP4, the voters may have liked it enough, whatever. I wouldn't have given it a second thought if it was placed much earlier. But what is it doing here? It just feels way out of place to me, even for a breather level. I would have much rather seen "Temple of No Key" or Tyler's "Tales from the Crypt" in its place. How many breather levels does one need, anyway? If you need a breather, take an actual breather. #146 Japanese Game Show: Finally, this is in a CCLP and right where it belongs. I miss JB's harder levels. #147 Gimmick Isle: I really didn't see this coming because I didn't know how other people really viewed this level. I have always loved it. I may have asked for help with it the first time I solved it, I don't remember, and I've been able to get the gist of it every time I've played it since, so it's hard for me to guage its actual difficulty. But I feel like this is the hardest level in the set, so I think it's deserving of its slot. #148 Gravity Well: Another strange choice to me. I like this level and am glad it's in, but it would've made more sense in the middle. I may get used to it and change my view. #149 Mental Marvel Monastery: A seemingly obvious choice for the final level. It seems like it was made to look like a lot more is involved in the solution, with the aesthetics having paths of water and fire placed here and there, and in that final room I thought there would be a puzzle with having to guide the fireball somewhere. At that point I was like, "Oh, that's it? Oh, the whole set's over." A good final level but it feels a little too easy if you ask me. Overall, I loved it. I can say with pretty good certainty that this set was better than CCLP3, which means it's my favorite! And there were so many other levels that were gems. Just because I didn't mention a level doesn't mean it escaped my notice or that it wasn't a highlight. But there so many I could only mention my absolute favorites. As you can see, my criticisms were so minor that they probably caused some eyes to roll, but think about it: if that's the worst I can say about this set, then that is a very good thing. The biggest disappointment was that "Plug in Baby" did not make the cut. I feel like that level is worthy of inclusion and could have been in the last decade as well. Lastly, I just want to thank the entire staff for all the hard work they went through in compiling this awesome set of levels. Thanks to the voters for voting one of my levels in. It's an honor, especially considering I don't make many. Now, to play it again in MS! Total score for Lynx: 5,970,360 ~Bowman
So after almost a year of relative absence from the game, I'm back! I'm between jobs right now, and the Seattle weather is nothing but rainy, so what better opportunity could I expect to dedicate some time to Chip's Challenge 2? I spent the last week or so dedicating myself to a complete Let's Play and levelset review of "Nanamin's Challenge 1.0" which was released by Nanamin on February 25th this year. I picked a brand new set by a designer I know nothing about for a couple reasons. First, the CC2 community has been somewhat dormant for some time (due in part I think to a poor editor and the ongoing CCLP4 voting), so I would like to do what I can to generate interest in the game. Second, I've never created a Let's Play video series before, and I wanted to try it out on a truly blind experience -- I've never seen any of these levels before. The videos are available on my Youtube channel at the following links: Part 1: (Levels 1-20)Part 2: (Levels 21-26)Part 3: (Levels 27-35)Part 4: (Levels 36-42)Part 5: (Levels 43-48)Part 6: (Levels 48-55)Part 7: (Levels 55-60) Summary: Nanamin's Challenge 1.0 is a wonderfully designed 60-level set with a medium difficulty curve. There are several themes I've noticed that run through the set: 1) The most common and most enjoyable levels are small, compact puzzles that always manage to bring together a variety of elements in some very creative ways. 2) There are a fair number of cooperative levels where you switch between Chip and Melinda. 3) There are 6 GRID MAZE and 3 CHAOS levels that are interspersed throughout the set and even act as a weak story line. GRID MAZE levels take place on typically on repeating patterns of decorational walls, while CHAOS levels involve picking your way gingerly through unintelligible jumbles of tiles (think NONSENSE or SCRAMBLED EGGS form the original CC2 set). 4) There are bonus flags everywhere! I'm not an optimizer but this set would either be a dream or a nightmare. Curated Levels: If you don't have time to play through the whole set, I'd recommend the following subset of 10: 15 STRATEGIC DETONATION 23 THE WRONG FOOT 25 THE DUEL 26 GOLDILOCKS 30 THE SECRET OF THE BLUE SCARAB 33 THE ICE KINGDOM ADVANCES 39 OBSTACLE MACHINE 42 EXPULSION CUBE 48 COMPANION CUBES 50 CONTROLLED RELEASE And if you can only check out one level, please check out the masterpiece that is 48 COMPANION CUBES. Recommendations to the designer: 1) make more levels! these were great! 2) add a secret eye tool to 55 FLOODGATES. Remove or redesign the guesswork in levels 05 OUTBREAK and 29 GRID MAZE 3. Redesign 58 WATERFALLS to not depend on monster order. Redesign 19 DESICCATED SWAMP to add more depth to the gameplay. Individual level reviews: 01 MIRROR CUBE (Part 1, 0:50 - 10:24) Concept: (3/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (3/5) The highlight of this level was the interesting opening puzzle with the swivels, doppelganger, yellow teleport, and toggle doors. The enormous blue wall bonus maze and the lower room with all the arrows felt somewhat haphazard. On the plus side, it added a sense of exploration to the level, but it also felt confusing and space-inefficient. Using the TNT to pick up the last chip or blast through the walls to the exit felt loose. I thought it was a bug and demonstrated it in the beginning of my LP video part 2, but a viewer pointed out that the exclamation points suggest placing the TNT there. But with the final chip merely one room over it seems like it only saves a second or so. Overall a playable and decent level, but it feels like an amateur-ish introduction to what turns out to be an excellent set. 02 GRAVITY CURTAIN (Part 1, 10:24 - 11:48) Concept: (3/5) Design: (2/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (3/5) Another level that felt very loose and like it was thrown together fairly quickly. It is short and easy. I think the design falls short compared to some of the work that clearly went into later levels in the set. I think there is potential to turn the Melinda/gravel/force floor maze into something a little more creative. 03 WAIT (Part 1, 11:48 - 16:20) Concept: (3/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (5/5) After a slow start to the set this is the first real puzzle level that shows, in my opinion, what the set is all about. It's one of many small to medium sized levels that use diverse elements to create compact puzzles of surprising depth. The glider/bear-trap puzzle is nicely connected to the block/flame-jet puzzle. The interplay between the pink button wired to the flame jet and the orange button is instructional. The tank and button do feel somewhat underutilized however. I like the way the recessed wall section works to bridge the two halves of the level together. 04 FLOODMARSH (Part 1, 16:20 - 27:01) Concept: (4/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (2/5) Fun: (4/5) I've always loved the 'maze within a maze' idea of levels such as SHORT CIRCUIT in the original CC1 game, or TRIPLE MAZE in CCLP3, for example. FLOODMARSH is a fun and easy entry into that category. You initially navigate the maze as Chip (with flippers), and can use the water and floor paths. Once you gather all the chips, you transmogrify into Melinda and lose the flippers, taking the floor and chip socket route back to the exit. I appreciate the restraint in level size and the tight-but-not-terrible time limit. A nice concept executed well. 05 OUTBREAK (Part 1, 27:01 - 36:22) Concept: (4/5) Design: (2/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (2/5) I have mixed feelings about OUTBREAK. I think the concept is thoroughly unique (finding a route through a 'minefield' of block cloners and area buttons); however, the only thing that makes this implementation *barely* playable is the small size of the level. Upon further thought, I think one major factor bringing this level down is that the direction of each clone machine is not visible, so the gameplay is in fact a guessing game. I would suggest to the designer that an arrow marking on the floor next to each machine would help to make the level fair. 06 SHOVEL TEAM (Part 1, 36:22 - 39:39) Concept: (4/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (5/5) This is a simple, unique concept that ends up being an extremely fun and loose level to play. A great early level in a set. Fun to figure out what's going on underneath all the ice blocks, and then easy to execute. 07 DOUBLECROSS (Part 1, 39:39 - 41:15) Concept: (2/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (3/5) Average level, fun and quick to play. Not sure I 'get' it, but it works for an early level, especially for a player still learning the elements. 08 POOL PARTY WITH ANTS (Part 1, 41:15 - 46:27) Concept: (2/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (3/5) Fun: (4/5) This is very much a gimmick level, but it works wonderfully as such. The wing boots are an underutilized design element. The level did a nice job of putting me into such a rush that I didn't see the 'twist' until I was just beginning to get frustrated. 09 ANTI SWAMP ZONE (Part 1, 46:27 - 50:34) Concept: (2/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (2/5) Fun: (4/5) Another decent early-game level. The block pushing is both interesting and forgiving. The teeth, bowling ball, and perimeter of slime all contribute to the aesthetics. Great design rescues what might otherwise have been a somewhat boring concept. 10 BLOCK COURIER (Part 1, 50:34 - 56:31) Concept: (2/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (2/5) Fun: (3/5) I don't generally like levels that require 'block-sliding' (hitting a moving block sideways off an ice or force floor), however this level is at least mercifully short enough to make the challenge fair, similar perhaps to ANNOYING WALL in CCLP3. (One nice bonus would be adding the helmet to protect the player). This level is also technically busted (see the beginning of the second Let's Play video), but the bust is creative and fun enough that it might be worth leaving in. 11 ANT NEST (Part 1, 56:31 - 1:01:24) Concept: (4/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (3/5) Fun: (5/5) I loved this level. I liked the way that opening more doors in the level added to the number of ants milling about. I liked how the green door/yellow door balance ensured that Chip and Melinda both had roles and had to help each other out. The gravel squares in the center of each room ensured that the dodging wasn't too bad. Finishing the level off with a TNT blast was fun. 12 FORKPATHS (Part 1, 1:01:24 - 1:11:30) Concept: (4/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (5/5) A great concept with really great execution as well. I've struggled as a designer with using area buttons and force floors well, but this is a great use of the theme. At initial glance it seemed very intimidating, but it was fun to explore the paths, and it seemed like it was always pretty obvious which button to press next. It would certainly have been easy to make this level more unforgiving! A fun level to figure out. 13 GRID MAZE 1 (Part 1, 1:11:30 - 1:16:03) Concept: (2/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (2/5) The first of 6 levels bearing the name GRID MAZE. It's alright to play. The confusion of colors between the custom walls, floors, bombs, and bonus flags adds to the difficulty. Decent filler level. 14 DUAL CORE (Part 1, 1:16:03 - 1:19:35) Concept: (4/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (5/5) A great little block puzzle, fairly easy, and well-placed in the set. I love the use of both the green and purple toggle walls to add interest to the sokoban concept. 15 STRATEGIC DETONATION (Part 1, 1:19:35 - 1:25:52) Concept: (4/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (2/5) Fun: (5/5) Another great little puzzle. Fun, short, and satisfying. Instructive on blue teleports. The order of doing things is non-obvious. 16 STAMPEDE (Part 1, 1:25:52 - 1:28:04) Concept: (3/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (1/5) Action Difficulty: (3/5) Fun: (4/5) Out and back monster-dodging. Memorable and fun. 17 SNOW PLOUGHER (Part 1, 1:28:04 - 1:33:28) Concept: (3/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (4/5) A deserving puzzle level. Possibly a minor bust since the ice block cloners change direction when blocked. Aesthetically pleasing due to diagonal symmetry. 18 FLIPPER (Part 1, 1:33:28 - 1:34:40) Concept: (3/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (5/5) A great and easy introductory puzzle level that requires planning ahead. 19 DESICCATED SWAMP (Part 1, 1:34:40 - 1:38:53) Concept: (3/5) Design: (1/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (2/5) A weak entry in the set in my opinion. The level is aesthetically pleasing and the concept has a lot of potential, but it feels thrown together and poorly designed. This level would work great as a 'maze within a maze' similar to FLOODMARSH, where Melinda goes through the whole maze to get the dirt boots, then collects the chips, then loses the dirt boots but can open chip sockets, etc. Instead, she gets the dirt boots halfway through the level, which opens pretty much everything up. There's a blue key and two red keys which don't make much sense, and then a key thief by the exit that seems to serve no purpose at all. 20 CHAOS ENCROACHES (Part 1, 1:39:04 - END) Concept: (4/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (4/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (5/5) The first of 3 'Chaos' levels (at the 20, 40, and 60 level numbers) is also my favorite of the series. It plays more like a puzzle (reminiscent of NONSENSE in the CC2 official set) than the other two which feel more like mazes. 21 GRID MAZE 2 (Part 2, 4:07 - 15:28) Concept: (2/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (2/5) I'm not a huge fan of the Grid Maze series in this set, although I do think they (for the most part) make good, short, filler levels, and serve to provide a sense of interconnectivity between earlier and later levels. This one for some reason really stumped me during my LP since I kept seeing a camo floor as a wall, but that was my fault. A decent maze level. 22 HOMEOSTASIS (Part 2, 15:28 - 19:01) Concept: (4/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (4/5) Fun to figure out, not terribly challenging but definitely some wrong paths to go down. Good puzzle with great aesthetics. 23 THE WRONG FOOT (Part 2, 19:01 - 26:42) Concept: (5/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (4/5) Action Difficulty: (2/5) Fun: (5/5) Love, love, love this bowling ball puzzle! We don't see enough of these... 24 LATTICE PALACE (Part 2, 26:42 - 28:52) Concept: (2/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (3/5) Nothing remarkable here, but it's a simple and fun level. 25 THE DUEL (Part 2, 28:52 - 35:25) Concept: (5/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (3/5) Fun: (5/5) One of the few action levels in the set. Great use of bowling balls, going head to head with monsters. It's a tough concept to do well but this succeeds. The high point of the level is definitely the shootout with the four fireballs in the lower right corner. Very fun. 26 GOLDILOCKS (Part 2, 35:25 - 48:26) Concept: (5/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (4/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (5/5) Masterful puzzle, very compact, one of my favorites in the set! Nice take on the directional block/railroad track concept. The flame jet portion works beautifully. 27 PALACE DUNGEON (Part 3, 0:00 - 7:36) Concept: (3/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (2/5) Fun: (4/5) Definitely a fun puzzle. I loved the bear trap/ant combo to allow pushing blocks around the level. The itemswapping at the end felt a little less inspired but it's a solid level. 28 DRAIN CLOGGER (Part 3, 7:36 - 10:54) Concept: (3/5) Design: (2/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (2/5) I like the idea of filling up the force floor to gain access to the other side of the level, but the block puzzle just wasn't very interesting. I'd like to see it reworked into a slightly less trivial sokoban. 29 GRID MAZE 3 (Part 3, 10:54 - 13:56) Concept: (3/5) Design: (1/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (1/5) Unless I'm missing something with the hints, this is purely a guesswork level. The hint tiles certainly do lie! At least the level is mercifully short. I would recommend removing this level entirely. Worst of the Grid Maze series, unless there's a puzzle with the hints that I didn't understand. 30 THE SECRET OF THE BLUE SCARAB (Part 3, 13:56 - 29:36) Concept: (5/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (4/5) Action Difficulty: (2/5) Fun: (5/5) Another excellent variety puzzle. I love the way the rooms connect, and how you make your way around the level and return to the start. 31 CONTAINMENT CHAMBER (Part 3, 29:36 - 32:30) Concept: (2/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (1/5) Action Difficulty: (3/5) Fun: (3/5) Decent level, I admire the attempt to use rovers. The fire squares make the dodging easy at least, although the monsters feel almost as random as blobs. 32 TANK! (Part 3, 32:20 - 36:24) Concept: (4/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (2/5) Fun: (4/5) A solid design. Fairly easy level but it manages to feel very fresh. A lot of fun to play! 33 THE ICE KINGDOM ADVANCES (36:24 - 38:34) Concept: (5/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (1/5) Action Difficulty: (3/5) Fun: (5/5) Well done! I experimented with this concept a bit during the original CC2 design phase (see GLACIER and GLACIER 2 in the CC2 Rejects set) but they were pretty awful. This design does a much better job of giving the player choices without the solution being obvious. Great level! 34 PUSH'N'SWIVEL (Part 3, 38:35 - 48:03) Concept: (4/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (4/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (4/5) This level as well as EXPULSION CUBE do a great job exploring the 'sokoban with swivel doors' concept. Both are great puzzles and very satisfying to solve. 35 FLAMOSPHERES (Part 3, 48:03 - END) Concept: (5/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (5/5) Great concept, great use of the 'hide logic' feature. I think the level is just the right length for this idea. I like that taking the wrong path doesn't kill you immediately (similar in that respect to SPOOKS from CC1). Very unique level. 36 CORE (Part 4, 0:00 - 8:18) Concept: (3/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (3/5) I like the idea of getting all the blocks across to positions on the opposite side. The symmetric design is top-notch. Gameplay isn't going to be particularly interesting on a level like this but it works and doesn't take too long. I don't know if it was intended, but you can get away with some tricks by pushing blocks onto the force floors and then pushing them off on the other side of the level. I rescued my 1st attempt on the Let's Play this way. 37 GRID MAZE 4 (Part 4, 8:18 - 19:26) Concept: (3/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (3/5) Decent level, my favorite in the GRID MAZE series since it's more of a puzzle than a maze. It's hard to keep track of the different areas and what needs to be done, but in the end it comes together after a couple tries. 38 WASHOUT (Part 4, 19:26 - 26:08) Concept: (4/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (2/5) Fun: (4/5) Really fun and unique design, satisfying to solve. I like the symmetry of the central puzzle while retaining the variety between the right and left 'wings'. 39 OBSTACLE MACHINE (Part 4, 26:08 - 40:58) Concept: (4/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (4/5) Action Difficulty: (2/5) Fun: (5/5) Another phenomenal 'variety' puzzle in a set that's already full of them. One of the best levels in the set. Great use of a lot of different elements. 40 SURROUNDED BY CHAOS (Part 4, 40:58 - 54:13) Concept: (4/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (4/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (3/5) The second entry in the CHAOS series is an awesome design! I don't even know how I'd go about designing a maze that works on this level. The level map even looks like a work of art. The gameplay is really frustrating at first but turns out to be quite playable. 41 COUNTDOWNER (Part 4, 54:13 - 58:07) Concept: (5/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (5/5) I really loved this puzzle. It makes a great tutorial on counter gates, yet without feeling like a tutorial. 42 EXPULSION CUBE (Part 4, 58:07 - END) Concept: (5/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (5/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (5/5) The ONLY things that might drag this level down are the two blocks that have pop-up walls underneath them. For this reason I'd recommend giving the player the secret eye tool. But even as it is, you discover those secrets fairly early on your first playthrough. The rest of the level is a top-notch, straightforward, and quite difficult puzzle involving blocks and swivel doors, and is one of the best puzzles in the set. 43 PARADIGM SHIFTER (Part 5, 0:00 - 10:08) Concept: (5/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (5/5) Another wonderful variety puzzle. Excellent use of the key and item thieves, as well as the connection between rooms. 44 OFF RAIL (Part 5, 10:08 - 15:10) Concept: (3/5) Design: (2/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (2/5) It has potential but didn't feel like it played very well. The long railroad tracks with recessed walls at either end felt somewhat reminiscent of CAMPGROUNDS (although not quite as evil). It seemed that to play the level 'right' you'd need to make a map. Fortunately it's short enough that I was able to take a random route and beat the level on my second try. 45 GRID MAZE 5 (Part 5, 15:10 - 19:25) Concept: (4/5) Design: (2/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (2/5) I've always loved the idea of the toggle wall maze that 'switches' half-way through to create a brand new maze. This level plays with that idea, but ultimately doesn't execute very well. The biggest drawback are the invisible walls that block off many of the exits, an unfair move that feels off-putting after you've essentially solved the maze. 46 GHOST TO GHOST (Part 5, 19:25 - 23:50) Concept: (2/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (2/5) Fun: (3/5) A decent entry in the set, although the design didn't make a whole lot of sense to me for such a simple concept. It works though, and is pretty easy. 47 SPRING CLEANING: WITH ICE! (Part 5, 23:50 - 26:05) Concept: (2/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (2/5) Fun: (3/5) Good filler level. 48 COMPANION CUBES (Part 5, 26:05 - End, plus Part 6, 0:00 - 24:45) Concept: (5/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (5/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (5/5) This level is simply a masterpiece!! Best level in the set, and one of the best custom levels I've played. It's not often you spend an entire hour solving a CC puzzle and feel like you wouldn't mind restarting and playing it again just to appreciate what just happened. The two thieves in the ice block room caused me so much grief, but that only added to the pleasure of circumventing them! 49 FOUR LINES (Part 6, 24:45 - 27:36) Concept: (3/5) Design: (2/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (2/5) Fun: (3/5) A teeth level that works okay, but I'm not thrilled with the design. I love the idea of Chip clearing a path through the dirt for Melinda, and I love the idea of teeth that only follow the active player, but neither concept was really explored in much depth here. My solution was pretty much to just run for it, and since that worked it didn't feel like it had much depth. 50 CONTROLLED RELEASE (Part 6, 27:36 - 35:21) Concept: (5/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (4/5) Fun: (5/5) Winning concept, and great process of discovery to figure out what is needed. Great blend of action and puzzle elements. One of the best of set. 51 PINPOINT (Part 6, 35:21 - 48:22) Concept: (4/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (4/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (4/5) This puzzle really wouldn't be that difficult if it was visible all at once, but being as spread out as it is, ends up being a very satisfying challenge. 52 MONOPATTERN (Part 6, 48:22 - 1:04:56) Concept: (3/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (2/5) Didn't care for this level much. The idea of using repeating patterns on the map reminds me a little of COLOR COORDINATION by J. B. Lewis, but isn't really put to good use here in my opinion. The problem is the patterns don't really serve much of a purpose or present a challenge in most of the rooms. The mazes are too simple, the turtles and recessed walls room can be solved in pretty much any way you feel like, the puzzles feel trivial. (Although I do like the final room with the ice blocks and fire.) I'd like to see the concept revisited with a little more care. 53 GRID MAZE 6 'FINALE' (Part 6, 1:04:56 - 1:11:44) Concept: (3/5) Design: (4/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (3/5) One of the better GRID MAZEs. The teleports are nicely confusing, and it's just the right amount of frustrating at first, but you learn the level after a bit. The time limit is short but fair (I beat it with 20 seconds left on my first try). 54 DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING (Part 6, 1:11:44 - 1:16:03) Concept: (3/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (2/5) Cool concept with two ways to win: either collect all the chips but no green key, or else collect both red keys without collecting all the chips. I will point out that the hint is incorrect, and the level is poorly named, because you may push blocks and collect green keys to your heart's desire, and still exit as long as you get both red keys and only 3/4 chips. Either way it's a very easy level, but feels looser than intended. 55 FLOODGATES (Part 6, 1:16:03 - END, Part 7, 0:00 - 12:19) Concept: (4/5) Design: (1/5... but 4/5 if the secret eye is added) Puzzle Difficulty: (3/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (1/5... but 3/5 if the secret eye is added) So... the hint says 'Think before you push' and 'Beware the outside', but as the level is designed you might as well 'pray before you push' and 'beware the inside'. The puzzle is actually quite a nice one in theory, but it plays horribly because about half the ice blocks have recessed walls underneath them, so just when you think you're clearing the path to the exit, suddenly there's a wall there and you've busted the level. Over, and over, and over. I eventually made a pen and paper map and recorded all the blocks that have recessed walls underneath, and then beat the level fairly easily and enjoyably, which proves that's it's actually a good puzzle. But it's unplayable as is. The good news is that simply adding a 'secret eye' tool should make it fair. 56 COCCOON (Part 7, 12:19 - 16:23) Concept: (2/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (2/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (3/5) It's playable, not one I'll remember. 57 BEHIND CLOSED DOORS (Part 7, 16:23 - 24:46) Concept: (4/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (4/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (5/5) A solid teamwork puzzle with a lot of nice variety. Very enjoyable. 58 WATERFALLS (Part 7, 24:46 - 39:27) This is the only level in the set I didn't beat. Initially it looked provably impossible. It turns out to be possible due to different behaviors from blocks on force floors depending on whether they are before or after the player in the monster order, but I personally consider that to be invalid as a puzzle concept. If there's a way around the monster order part, the level looks like an interesting puzzle, and I'd like to see it reworked so that it doesn't depend on that. 59 MANDALA (Part 7, 39:27 - 59:56) Concept: (4/5) Design: (5/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (4/5) Action Difficulty: (2/5) Fun: (5/5) A sprawling teamwork level, reminiscent of MELINDA 911, that stitches together portions of earlier levels, and manages to stay 100% fresh. I think my solution busted the level somewhat since I didn't need the force boots, but I kind of like that it's busted since there are several creative ways to win. 60 AND OUT OF THE CHAOS (Part 7, 59:57 - END) Concept: (3/5) Design: (3/5) Puzzle Difficulty: (4/5) Action Difficulty: (1/5) Fun: (3/5) The final level in the set, and the third CHAOS level. My least favorite to play, but still fun. Frustrating to pick your way through the maze, as I never felt like I could remember my past routes, felt more like feeling blindly the whole way. I really did not like the blue tank next to the red teleport, as it is too easy to accidentally die when exploring the teleports. I don't understand the cryptic hints, but would like to believe that there's an Easter egg there to discover. Also, does "Nanamin" equal "Alice Cox"?
A few months ago, I LPed several very old custom CC(1) sets, including RolfR1. Its creator, Rolf Redford, found my videos and told me about his other sets, including NewRolfLevels. NewRolfLevels is an unusual set because there are two different versions of it. No, I don't mean "an set with one version on one site and another, outdated version on another site". This one has a main version and an "Evil Mirror" version with "slightly harder levels", according to Mike Lask. The main set contains 20 levels and the Evil Mirror contains 21. The Evil Mirror also contains funny hints in which Chip talks about the changes. I played the levels in Tile World's emulation of the MS ruleset. The first level is called "Second best!" and the hint says "Can you count to two?". I like cryptic hints, this is much better than saying: "press each button twice and choose the second option each time it is possible". Overall, it is a good level. The second level has a strange hint saying that Chip must get to "glider controls", despite the fact there is not a single glider in the level. It begins with a "Joyride I" style slide. Most of the rest of the level involves pushing blocks into bombs. This is all right in the main version, but the evil mirror has a lot more bombs, making the level somewhat more tedious. Finally, fireballs must be cloned in order to free a path to the exit. This part is great. The third level begins with a chip collecting session. Each chip lies behind a series of toggle walls, with the walls toggling every two chips (approximately). This is not a problem because there are always chips that can be picked up. However, the Evil Mirror puts two chips instead of one in a few shafts, which can be somewhat annoying, but if the player plans ahead, it is not a problem. For the last part of the level, Chip has to choose between two sections. One of them includes bees and leads to death. The second one involves tanks and is really good. There are always some safe spots. The Evil Mirror puts a few bombs, making this section slightly more fun and challenging. The fourth level involves several rooms with teleports and balls periodically teleporting. Think Skelzie. I haven't tried optimizing this with the teleport skip glitch. Overall, this is not particularely good. The Evil Mirror adds a few walls in the rooms. This doesn't change anything most of the time, except in the small room, where it is required to go through all the teleports all over again. Evil, but intended. The fifth level is a simple chip-collecting/monster-dodging level that is rather fun and could have been in CCLP3. I would have voted for it, but I wasn't part of the community back then. The Evil Mirror adds ice in a few rooms. Strangely, this makes the teeth room even easier than in the original. However, the fireball room is much harder and, well, evil. Still, it is good in both versions. The sixth level feels very short in the original. Dodge a few monsters, pick up a key, open the lock, remove three water tiles, stop the fireball cloning with more cloning, pick up the chips and exit. Simple. The Evil Mirror, however, feels like a more decent level. It involves more dodging, causing the level to be somewhat harder and even the fireballs to overflow into the main room. This one is great. The seventh level is called "Not Frogs!" The hint says "I ordered regular frogs not those!" Yes, I always found it strange that frogs have so many teeth. The level is extremely easy due to the large number of water tiles the frogs can drown into and the slow cloning of frogs. The Evil Mirror adds a few bees, changing absolutely nothing. The eighth level is block pushing and simple dodging. It could have been great if it had been harder. The Evil Mirror is interesting, however. There is only one change, but it involves the removal of an ice corner, meaning all the gliders inside the loop escape and become a hazard. However, the trick to get rid of the problem is very easy, but it remains better than the original. The nineth level is very easy. First, an ice slide with cloning fireballs. Just press the up key and move on to the next, room, except in Lynx. Then, chip collecting with teeth. Finally, watch paramecia crawling around the room where you are, then slide out of the teleport into the exit. The Evil Mirror has slightly less gravel in the teeth room, but this hardly changes anything. In the tenth level, paramecia are germs. Funny. Four blocks are provided to get the whole thing in control, but only one is required to "plug the leak" and redirect the flow into the water tile (DO NOT REMOVE IT!) By this point, there is a solid mass of germs around the clone machines, making it impossible to stop the cloning this way (however the level will not fill because most of them go straight to the water). The rest is therefore simple dodging (or not so simple, depenging on how long you took to plug the leak). This is a very fun level. The eleventh level begins with picking up some boots and keys. Rather easy. The next section involves using these boots and keys to free some blocks which will be used to partial post into the exit. This is creative. The Evil Mirror adds a few deadly toggle buttons in the path of the blocks, making it better than the original. The twelth level involves fireballs cloning onto ice slides and dodging them while picking up chips. This is a fun level. The Evil Mirror adds more chips, making it slightly harder, but I prefer the original. Level 13 is called "Dancing Glides", not gliders, and appears in CCLP3. It is the best level so far. The Evil Mirror makes the dodging slightly harder, but not that much. Level 14 is an interesting concept: rooms full of chips with a few tanks that flip periodically. This is surprisingly fun. The Evil Mirror has a few more tank buttons, making it harder and better. This would have been good for CCLP3 if it weren't for the fact it is twice as hard in Lynx due to the different properties of tanks. Level 15 involves pushing blocks...and dodging! Yes, for each block cloned, a bee and a fireball are produced. The job is to stop the cloning! This is very fun, especially in the Evil Mirror where the blocks must be pushed manually in front of the clone machines instead of pressing other clone buttons. Once this is done, there is simple teeth dodging and the exit. Level 16 is block pushing, nothing more. There is a little sliding, but it really doesn't change much. Some blocks are not even required...except in the Evil Mirror, which, as a side note, is impossible in Lynx. But the fact is that this level feels tedious and pointless, the worst in the set. Sorry. Level 17 is extremely simple. The player must clone some blocks, avoid some clone buttons (but the pattern is simple), pick up chips and skate to the exit. In the Evil Mirror, there is global warming, but the level is still extremely simple. I would have preferred it if it was harder. Level 18 is by far the hardest level of the set. The bug room is great, the ball room is all right, the fireball room is too simple and the glider room is really hard. The Evil Mirror, unfortunately, has too many thieves and is therefore unsolvable. Level 19 is Fireball Tourism, one of my favourite CCLP3 levels. I really love it. However, it should be noted that instead of opening a toggle wall, the fireballs are cloned and Chip has to press the button himself. The Evil Mirror adds a water tile before the last two buttons (and an extra block!) and a few thin walls, which change ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Level 20 looks like a hard ice field with several blocks, but the hint has a cryptic and hilarious way of saying that Chip must go clockwise. The evil mirror adds an extra block, but I don't mind. Finally, level 21 of the Evil Mirror is a dummy. There are only 20 levels in the main version. So how would I rate this set? Most of the levels are good, so :star: :star: out of 5. The Evil Mirror? Also :star: :star: . Some levels are better in the original, but some are better in the Evil Mirror, so they compensate for each other. Both sets can be downloaded here: http://www.pillowpc2001.net/levels/NewRolfLevels.ccl.htm Thanks for reading!
Shortly after Chip's Challenge Level Pack 3 was released three years ago, I promised to write a review of the collection of 149 custom levels. As the next such set is upon us, I thought it is finally time to make good on that promise. I'll try to recall my initial feelings for the set, as well as how it felt going back to the levels and optimizing them. I have a few comments on what I think are great aspects of the set, and a couple about its shortcomings. I have to admit that I am a bit biased to write this review, because I just simply love the set. I further claim that there is nobody in the world that has played it as much as I have, since I have actively been working on improving my scores in both MS and Lynx modes for quite some time. If you can forgive me for these two faults, read on! It was Christmas. We were visiting my in-laws and the only computer I could use was in a room with two teenagers sleeping. It was just before 2 am. As quietly as I could, I snuck in the room and I turned on the computer. The room filled with a sharp whirl of the fan that luckily soon died down to an acceptable level. I downloaded the set and the accompanying fresh version of Tile World. For the rest of the night I immersed myself in exploring the challenges Chip faced and the story presented in new screens between levels. I was excited after each level to see what the next one was. Every level I had not played earlier was particularly enjoyable.1 I was not concerned with optimal times, but rather just wanted to first see how the set felt. The newsgroup was vibrant with score updates from others. Those updates did not come in level order and many of the records were from the CCLP3 staff. Clearly not all people were playing the set through in order and without an editor, as I had chosen to do. As everyone else started waking up around me, I had to suspend my progress. I had had a great first night and had no doubt that the set would be a great success. As the holidays progressed, I only had limited amounts of time to work on the levels and it seemed every day I could only advance a few more levels. This was also due to how involved the levels were becoming, and I was not even to the half-way mark yet.2 The set was getting crazily difficult, but as I was familiar with most of the difficult levels I managed to complete the set in a month. I was exhausted but wanted to revisit many levels to see on which ones I could match the records. This turned out to be a learning experience and a lot of work that is not yet complete. I was lucky enough to etch out a few scores under my name, but the speed and consistency that the veterans were doing the same was on a completely different level. At some point I turned to playing in Lynx and slowly started reporting those scores too. There are still many Lynx scores there for others to improve upon, though I hope I haven't made that too easy. So that's my first contact with the set. I was there at the release and all of that was a new experience for me. I don't imagine anything can quite match the novelty of that first time again. I don't want to get into analyzing individual levels here, so I will stick to five general points about the set. 1) The levels included in the set are all very well designed. There were over 2,200 levels in the initial voting pool and clearly some of the best individual levels made it into the set. As Chip's Challenge is a puzzle game at its core, many of the highest voted levels turned out to be puzzles. It's apparent in the final product that the staff was very restricted by the voting results of a community that could only see one level at a time, and not the full experience of what the set would feel like. This resulted in a set that feels very heavy, particularly if one does not know what to expect. Later levels in the set that deviate from a heavy puzzle emphasis are very welcome. The flow of the set has it's positives too though, like the throwbacks to CC1 levels in certain slots. Among these, the results of the Level 1 and Cypher Level Contests were nice to see. 2) The updates made to levels, in particular the name changes and time limit re-evaluations, were inspired. I loved the new names of levels. Connecting the Jumble and Replay levels as series was neat. All the time limits worked well, being tight enough on levels where it made sense. It was a good move to allow some levels to be untimed, which was not a given as CCLP2 did not choose to do this. Several levels were updated to avoid busts, but in some cases this resulted in a very different level than the one that was voted on. I was surprised that no updates were made to levels after the release, even though some designers requested this and new major busts were discovered. I understand this in a way, but would have preferred that such a thing would have been made clear during the release. For example, saying that an update may be made during the first three months, but after that time no updates will be considered would have worked very well. Overall I felt the set was put together expertly and connected to a story very well. 3) The Tile World update was also a very welcome thing. The user interface was an improvement, though I missed some keyboard shortcuts. The ccx-files allowing a story to be told and crediting the designers was an essential upgrade. Some things were missing, like clear indication of odd/even step, or even random force floor direction at the start of a level in Lynx. The death messages were cool. I missed a simple way to change the graphics and a good way to compare one's scores to the bold. At least some love was shown for competitive play with the "copy score" function. The best new thing in my opinion was the ability to fast-forward replays of solutions, though a full map view during playback is still just a dream. The biggest let downs were the lack of a simple all-in one download which I thought was promised, as well as the lack of even the smallest update later on to fix small yet annoying bugs.3 4) I truly admire the work done on the scoreboard at the release of the set. Everything worked just like it should. There was a reasonable restriction on how many scores one could report at first, and the restriction of releasing solutions only after three people had completed the set was a step in the right direction. Maybe it should not have limited casual solutions, though, but only competitive ones. After the initial ban on solutions, I still felt there was not clear enough stance on which routes should be allowed to be released and which would be better left for players to discover for themselves.4 It is my understanding that the staff did not optimize the levels before the release, which sounded fair but probably let a few unfortunate details on some levels slip through the cracks. Too many levels that contain randomness require almost perfect luck. Some other levels are simply ridiculous to optimize due to other factors and might have been better off if they were untimed if they had to be included at all. 5) If I take a step back from the set itself, I can see that the process of creating it was not simple. The people that announced the opening of submissions were not the same as those that released it in the end. I am glad J.B. stepped up to the plate and organized a team around him to get the job done. There had to be a tremendous amount of work to be done behind the scenes between the closing of the voting and the release of the set. It is too bad that after this point some of the follow-up work was a bit sloppy. I've already mentioned the lack of an update to the set or Tile World, or clear guidelines on competitive play, but also there was no information released about the voting results. These results and other information about the formation of the set would have been interesting to hear and possibly could be useful to know for future projects. Additionally, there was no decent support for new players trying to solve the levels for the first time, like perhaps with proper hints and help on the Chip's Challenge Wiki or a page explaining what to expect within the set. As far as I know, there was very little promotion of the set anywhere. Maybe everyone was too busy enjoying the set itself to think about these things. At least I was. In the end, I am a sucker for difficult puzzles (in the right context), so I felt this set was made for me. I still love it, but I kind of fear it as well.5 I felt the staff did an outstanding job compiling the set and I appreciate all their efforts. I want to thank the CCLP3 staff and anyone else who was part of realizing this whole experience for me. There are some aspects of the set that understandably people do not like as much as I do, unfortunately to the extent that some seem to hate it entirely. I like to think that in the right context and time, anyone could learn to love this set as one of the greatest works humanity has ever produced. I would not trade it for anything. -Miika Toukola 1 I had taken part in the voting process of CCLP3 but I did not get to play even half the levels in the voting pool. Almost a third of the levels in the set were new to me when I played it for the first time. 2 I have since learned that the half-way mark is at level #75 if you count by level number, at #95 if you count by how long it takes to watch the quickest solutions, at about level #100 if you are solving through the set after knowing the solutions, and at about level #140 if you are solving the levels for the first time without help. 3 Literally as I write this, an update like this has been released! 4 For example, maybe the second person who scores a route shouldn't be allowed to release the solution. This would allow the first scorer some say in the matter and yet once enough people, like three, have scored the route successfully, then it could be released if they want. 5 I have fewer than half the bolds in MS and still need to work on all the others. It is such a tremendous task to optimize the whole set that its proportions are hard to comprehend.