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Microwave Pack - Discussion

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This is the official discussion thread for CCLP4 voting's Microwave Pack. Feel free to share your thoughts, opinions, and comments on the levels here!

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Microwave Pack has just been updated to replace level 23 with the correct level (Right Place, Right Time), and to correct a spelling error on level 25.

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There's a discrepancy with level 29 too. The voting page displays Block Trap as level 29 but Classrooms takes its place in the set. Same with level 40 except with My Annoying Friend and In the Way.

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Thanks for the report, the set has been updated again. There was a problem with the set those levels come from and the level splicer, but it should be fixed now.

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Well here I am, very late, but I've been busy with C1059-CC2. Anyway...


1: I probably found this harder than it was supposed to be.


2: It's nothing special. Also, the fireballs all pointing north are ugly in Lynx.


3: This would have been better if it was smaller, but all right. It's decent.


4: Cool puzzle, but so much walking.


5: I solved this on the first try. The walkers never posed a problem.


6: Just a collection of water rooms, some pointless, others tedious, all ordinary.


7: Judging by the hint, this was probably made by Craig Vilbig. It's rather good.


8: I don't really like recessed wall mazes.


9: Not really much of a challenge.


10: Several nice puzzles. The teeth contribute to making this level look better.


11: Short and simple...


12: It's really nasty to have the hardest rooms at the end. The player has to redo the easy rooms every single time they cook the harder ones.


13: Not one of Jeffrey's best levels.


14: Another short and simple level.


15: Some rooms are good, others...not so much.


16: I have slow reflexes and I don't like dodging most of the time. I don't feel like snatching a green key in Lynx with only one tile to spare, nor do I feel like improvising.


17: I remember raging on this level.


18: Could have been worse.


19: *universe explodes* OOPS...TOO BAD D: Either way, good fun level.


20: Just to be clear, "short and simple" doesn't always mean "bad".


21: Purpose, please?


22: This level is very messy.


23: Much better than I expected.


24: I've seen better key levels.


25: I think this is ordinary, at best.


26: GLIDERS ARE NOT GHOSTS OK??? This level is absolutely ordinary.


27: This is actually a good maze.


28: This level is a nightmare to those who play without sound effects, like me.


29: Short but fun.


30: Another very fun level.


31: This feels like a pointless block pushing level.


32: A very interesting concept.


33: This level feels too large. It should have been more contained.


34: A really great level. Perhaps the best in the pack so far.


35: OUCH indeed. What a pain.


36: I think this was in JCCLP2, and it is very fun.


37: Um...goodbye.


38: The ending part is annoying, but the rest is a simple puzzle.


39: This would have been fun, but some blue wall placements are annoying.


40: If someone annoys me all the time, they are not my friend.


41: An unusual type of sokoban, but it works.


42: I played this in MikeL4 when it existed, and it is quite fun, now that the Lynx block slapping bust has been fixed.


43: Now THAT'S a good blue/hidden wall maze. Nice pattern, no annoying teleports, reasonable time limit. That's great.


44: It's decent.


45: I'm not sure I know exactly what needs to be done, and I don't care.


46: It's an all right level.


47: That's a good level with a strict time limit.


48: Short but creative puzzle.


49: I've heard so much about this level on the forums. And now that I play it, I'm like "What's the big deal?"


50: I solved this in 13 seconds. At least Deserted Battlefield was an actual challenge.

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21: Purpose, please?


The purpose of this level is the same as roughly 90% of all other existing levels - to be fun and enjoyable to play.

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The purpose of this level is the same as roughly 90% of all other existing levels - to be fun and enjoyable to play.

True, but that's rather generic.  As you say, roughly 90% of all levels aim to be fun and enjoyable to play, but some levels aim to do more than just that.

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This is probably my least favorite pack so far, but it had at least one excellent level and a few other gems. Thoughts below...


#1 (Talisman): I'm normally not a fan of levels in which you see what needs to be done and go, "Oh, guess I'm gonna have to repeat that three more times." Thankfully, it's only more like once in this case. The design is also top-notch, and I love how the combination of fire, water, and bombs can sometimes throw you off as far as what you might want to clear out.


#4 (1.5D): I can't say I've ever seen a level quite like this before, and for that reason alone, I enjoyed it. It's a bit long, but it kept my attention throughout and never quite felt stale.


#10 (Security Gates): The lesson here is definitely "don't judge a book by its cover." At first, back in CCLP1 testing, I kind of dismissed this as another "Which One Next?"-esque itemswapping level, and then it quickly became evident that the challenge was much different: finding a particular item or items to make it to the next section. There are at least a couple of points where you have to be cognizant of either the number of items you can pick up before moving on or what the least wasteful path is to get to what you ultimately need. A really neat, fun idea implemented well.


#15 (Melancholia): I really enjoyed figuring all of this out, and then when I reached the end, I totally fell for the ploy. Was a little disappointed that the solution wasn't a little more involved. Overall, a decent idea but not a level I'm eager to see in CCLP4.


#16 (Into the Nether): I think CCLP3 has milked the "dig a route for the monsters" design trope for all its worth, and this level doesn't bring anything new to the table. The narrow amount of space to work with when freeing each fireball is also frustrating.


#18 (Crosshairs): This is one of my levels that I was rather interested in seeing in a CCLP for a while, but since its creation several years ago, I think other, better levels that feature monster herding have supplanted it. Revenge of the Level 1 Potted Plant, anyone?


#22 (Wastelands of Tabora): This is absolutely my favorite level in the pack. I love how clearing dirt gradually opens up more routes back to the starting room and how there aren't too many places in which dirt has to be cleared a specific way, other than one close to the start. I'm also a major sucker for levels in which you cross through areas with different objectives or items in hand, and this level pulls that off in a way that never quite feels obtuse. It's a long campaign level but totally enjoyable. Wouldn't mind seeing that blob get changed to a paramecium, though.


#26 (A Ghost in the Corridors): I appreciate when levels don't always feel the need to include blocks or elements in the level just because they need to be used. You don't really need to open both paths to the top half up here, which is a welcome relief. The "ghost" (glider) also provides a lot of reason to keep alert without making the level [CC1 #131].


#30 (Toggle Toggle): This was the type of level I was referencing back at the beginning of this pack's commentary.


#35 (Grudge): I can see this level getting some flack from voters who aren't very fond of dodging, but I thoroughly enjoyed playing this. I had at least two silly cooks in the ball room that provided some laughs, and a lot of the block maneuvering was very clever. The short nature of the level was also appreciated as well. Overall, a tight, fun challenge.


#41 (Extraction): I remembered this level being rather challenging from CCLP1 voting but didn't recall the solution, so I was able to approach it with fresh eyes. Personally, I really enjoy levels that gently ease you into the challenge. This one builds up the core concept until you're in the tough position of managing multiple blocks and trap connections. It's a neat idea that climaxes in difficulty at just the right point before it wears out its welcome. My only complaint is the block-pushing to reach the exit.


#42 (Flappy Chip): The end of my thoughts on the previous level apply here too, unfortunately.


#47 (Reducing): A time crunch can make even simple dodging rather nerve-wracking, and this level has just the right amount of length and complexity to make it work fairly well.


#50 (Lost in the Blocks): ...really?


Favorite level: Wastelands of Tabora

Least favorite level: Lost in the Blocks

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Here's some of my thoughts on some levels in this pack.


3. Crossing the Courtyard


I feel like there has always been an ongoing discussion about invisible walls, on how to and not to use them. Designers have always used these tiles with their levels the wrong way in the past, whereas designers nowadays tend to try to use them in a fair, non-tedious way. There aren't a whole lot of levels that use them this way but I feel this one does and it's one of the few I actually really like. Even with the time limit and getting lost a few times, I had fun playing through it and never felt overwhelmed by the level. One thing I will say is I don't think it was necessary to take up the whole map but for what it is, it was still very fun. Whether CCLP4 needs an invisible wall focused level remains to be seen but this is one of maybe two or three I wouldn't mind seeing in the final set.


9. Gulp


No offense to the designer but I'm honestly surprised this is even in the voting. There is nothing to this level at all and is simply pretty boring.


12. Guide Line


A fun level to play and it still had a challenge to it, even if it does appear to be easy. I also liked that the rooms became higher in difficulty as you progress. A well designed level I would love to see in the final set.


24. Colorblind Dog


This was my favorite level in this pack. Compared to Wastelands of Tabora it's not much but as a key themed level, it was a blast to play even after messing numerous times! It's a very well crafted, executed level and definitely a top pick for CCLP4 in my opinion.


27. Fiery Landmine


Not one of my strong picks for the final set but I still enjoyed the aesthetic and gameplay of this level.


45. Pareidolia


Honestly, my opinions of this level are torn. I really like the concept and idea of it but at the same time, it's a tough level to solve and get the timing right which makes it fun to me. It might not be a strong pick for other voters for me, I liked it enough and I really wouldn't mind seeing it in the final set as a late 130s level.


50. Lost in the Blocks


See Gulp's comment. Except this time, I didn't bother solving it because I know I don't want this in the final set.


Favorite level: Colorblind Dog (24)

Least favorite level: Flappy Chip (42)


I didn't like Lost in the Blocks either but that's too obvious of a choice for a least favorite level. :)

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Whitepoint (#2): This is just a blast to play.

Maze Maker (#5): I used to really like this level, and then I got better at optimizing... I quickly realized that you could clear a lot more than the 'maze' path by making a path with a lot of turns near the start, and that was it for the level. Then it just became picking up chips for almost a minute- nothing too interesting there. I think the beginning of Shemozzle does the concept better.

Windowsill Tears (#7): 0 chips on the counter, chips everywhere, and every chip must be picked up to solve. I don't know if that was intentional, but if it was that's an amazing design decision that actually complements the Shattered-esque gameplay. Unsurprisingly, it was designed by the same person.

Bomber's Maze (#13): Honestly... I don't know what I was thinking with this. There's some heavy guesswork and planning required to be able to reach the flippers, at which point the level kind of unravels. It's pretty good for the process, but unfortunately that means it's merely "okay".

#22 (Wastelands of Tabora): there aren't too many places in which dirt has to be cleared a specific way, other than one close to the start.

Fun fact: there's actually zero places where clearing a specific dirt tile cooks the level. You still have a block that can replace the "critical" dirt for the teeth section! And if that's referring to the "must clear the starting room" part...well, the blocks do somewhat hint towards that.

Another fun fact: Tabora is the name of the desert planet in the second Ratchet and Clank game- and it has a huge open desert with lots of crystals to collect, and a really neat side area that weaves back through this open area. Of course, that similarity is coincidental as I went to design a dirt level and then named it afterwards!  :D

My only real regret with the design is that I didn't decide to avoid walls as much as possible until about a third of the way through the process, and I couldn't remove the walls from the starting areas...

Hairline Fracture (#25): It's a Stress Fracture ripoff! The only cleverness here is the partial post, which... is okay I guess? Stress Fracture had such a neat concept that I think another level in its style would be a good fit, but I don't think that level is this one, or even exists yet. Can't wait to see a CC2 element Stress Fracture though, J.B. :P

Fragmentary Airmail (#34): Not a fan of the first fireball room- after needing to get two blocks in position twice, you're given two blocks and a bomb. The correct answer is not the obvious "blow up the bomb with the fireball" but instead "use a block and then get the fireball through everything". The rest of the level isn't terribly interesting either, just setting up more easy partial posts and no real connecting aesthetics.

Grudge (#35): Oh man, this is a tough melee level. There's some nice puzzle elements of thinking ahead here too that make it quite fun to play.


Favorite level: Wastelands of Tabora (#22)

Favorite level, not designed by me: Japanese Game Show (#49)

Least favorite: Extraction (#41) (I did not enjoy playing this level. It's well designed, but I just do not like it.)

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I agree with JB, not too many levels in this pack really wowed me.  I only gave out three 5s, and even those levels just barely earned them in my opinion.


Some of my favorites for this pack:


#6 Go Swimming:  This level is full of puzzle types that we've seen before, but they're good puzzle types (well, except for the cloning part), and I think the level implements them well.  I thought "Trail Master" was a good concept that was stretched on for far, FAR too long in its namesake level, and this level keeps it more manageable in scale while giving you as many tries as you need.  That part was still challenging for me, but felt good to beat.


#10 Security Gates:  Unlike some itemswappers that have you running around a big area, here the puzzles are self-contained...or are they?  Well, in any case, there are defined points beyond which you know you don't need to backtrack, which are nice.  The gates start off very simple but by the end really ask you to consider carefully how all of the available items can be used to your advantage.  I liked how the puzzle ramped up in difficulty this way.


#24 Colorblind Dog:  I believe this key puzzle has many solutions, as I was basically able to improvise as I went along.  That's welcome, and there's something I liked about picking up extra keys by entering the space between the rooms.


#33 Chant of Sapphires:  Something about having the choice--either find a way around every key, or take the easy way out and pick some of them up--made this blue wall maze play in a way I liked more than usual.


#46 White Noise:  A nice easy level with a variety of ice mazes that aren't too big or too tough to wear out their welcome.  I especially like how each time you are returned to the center room, you're lined up to go through the teleport in a new direction so you probably won't accidentally die by taking the same path twice.  Also the aesthetics manage to waste a lot of space without making it obvious, so you initially think the level is larger than it really is.   Kind of cool.


Honorable mention:


#22 Wastelands of Tabora:  I agree with JB that opening multiple paths to the starting room is really enjoyable.  This level both looks and plays well, but my enthusiasm for it was dulled a bit when I failed to realize I had to save the walker in the trap at (6, 22) for the second bomb rather than the first.  I didn't quite feel like playing it again.  But that mistake was mostly my fault, so the level still gets a good score.

Edited by ajmiam

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Thoughts on the levels:


1 - Symmetry has the power to make an otherwise easy level somewhat difficult, and I believe it gives this beautiful level the push it needs to move from nothing special to noteworthy.


2 - As much as I enjoy navigating levels with broken force floor paths, this level isn't that fun to navigate and the dirt just reminds me that bugs could've been placed to make the level more interesting.


3 - It's nice that you can't get stuck and the time limit is just right for an invisible wall maze of this size. Kinda feels like a cross of STRIPES? and TRINITY.


4 - I don't mind the long corridors since the level as a whole is pretty great to play.


5 - I'm glad that only some of the chips are required, but I think the chip count is a bit too low and it takes away from the rush you get from collecting chips while dodging walkers since you can just lead them to a large area and mine the rest of the level.


6 - The puzzles in this level don't work well together. They're fun individually, but the level as a whole just feels weird.


7 - Works well as a breather level. It's fun, short, simple, and it pretty much solves itself.


8 - One of the better maze levels.


9 - Not much of a challenge and not much fun to play.


10 - Got boring after the first couple gates.


11 - The difficulty is sort of diminished since you can just corral the teeth into a corner, but the level might work very early in the set.


12 - I like that the paths get more complex.


13 - You're good when you get to the flippers, which isn't that hard anyway, so I would keep this in mind.


14 - Could be a lesson in bugs, but the concept is too simple to serve any other purpose in the set. 


15 - The ball room is pretty extra, but the rest of the level is great.


16 - Even though there are probably other levels just as good, I really liked solving this one and wouldn't mind seeing it in the final set.


17 - Took me longer to solve than it probably should have, but very fun to solve.


18 - The time limit on this is way too high, and there are better levels with this concept.


19 - Somehow exciting and dull at the same time.


20 - Just an all around great level.


21 - I didn't like this level as much at first because it's mostly, or all, chip collecting, but it kinda grew on me.


22 - A big long sokoban with melee and itemswapping mixed in, and the walls move? Yes please.


23 - Could be a great refresher on monster interactions. 


24 - Feels like a LESSON 1 candidate, if necessary.


25 - This level looks nice and it plays alright.


26 - Uh, no. Why is this even in voting?


27 - I like that there's more to this level than just chip collecting.


28 - Too bad it's mostly just waiting.


29 - The best part of this level is the feeling like you're mining for the key and boots.


30 - Could be a LESSON 4 level if needed.


31 - Not much of a puzzle, but still fun to play.


32 - This level implements the four level themes very well and is just an all around fun level to play.


33 - Probably one of the better blue wall mazes.


34 - Probably one of the best levels in this pack.


35 - There are some risky moments in this level, but that just adds to the excitement and fun.


36 - I would recommend this level for an early slot in the final set.


37 - I might like this level more if there weren't so many hidden walls, but the little vaults of chips are kinda fun to raid.


38 - Nothing special.


39 - The random elements make it a little tough, especially with the cramped spaces, but I happen to like random elements and blue.


40 - Who knew such a short level could be so much fun to figure out?


41 - One of my favorite sokoban levels in voting.


42 - Nothing special.


43 - One of the better mazes.


44 - The only monster that really got in my way was the teeth in the SW, and that was only because I wasn't really paying attention. The rest of the level is nice to play. Might work as a breather level.


45 - I thought I wouldn't like this level, but I did in the end.


46 - Pretty good ice level. 


47 - Didn't notice the time limit the first time I played. That's the only thing preventing me from reducing my rating for this level.


48 - Good concepts in this level.


49 - Nice collection of miscellaneous puzzles.


50 - The time limit on this level is probably irrelevant. If you haven't found the exit already, then you probably won't be able to on that playthrough.

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2 - As much as I enjoy navigating levels with broken force floor paths, this level isn't that fun to navigate and the dirt just reminds me that bugs could've been placed to make the level more interesting.


I don't really see how putting bugs you'd have to avoid in place of simple dirt spots would make this more interesting. If anything, it would just make it a bad level. :P

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I was really just talking about a couple bugs in the northwest area where they would actually make an impact, but I see now that only a couple bugs in only a small part of the map is pretty much pointless.

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