Most professional reviews on J2O show a category, and than a rating for it, and some comments on it, and than pros and cons. All the ratings from the categories are averaged together to make the final score.
Eyecandy is how the level looks. Not only does it have to do with if all the tiles fit together nicely, but if it is pretty to look at… For example, making the tubes and pipes in Labrat translucent would be good eyecandy. Making tiles captioned for windowed mode is also good. Good eyecandy involves a background – not only layer 8, but at least one background layer that looks nice. In Diamondus, if there were no diamonds added, and if there were no trees, but all the tiles fit together, that is still bad eyecandy.
Example of good eyecandy: Diamondus Warzone
Example of bad eyecandy: Volrad’s Cool Treasure Jungle (I picked a level where the author is no longer on J2O, so I don’t end up with a personal attack).
Gameplay usually revolves around CTF and Battle levels the most, because you are not trying to run through single player levels as fast as you can, but gameplay means how everything plays – how smoothly it goes. The popular level, BBlair (Bloodbunny’s Lair) has great gameplay, because you can get around the level very easilly. A level where only Spaz can get around, and he has to time his jumps perfectly to get around well has bad gameplay. Enemy placement, ammo placement, and spring placement can also directly affect your gameplay rating.
Example of good gameplay: BloodBunny’s Lair, Distopia
Example of bad gameplay: Battle Game 2
Weapon / ammo placement:
This is how well the ammo was placed. It is affected by whether or not there are weapons, how many there are and if they are balanced, if there are shields or not, if the all ways fought over seeker powerup is hard to get, and if it wasn’t sloppy. Good ammo placement in single player would mean that if there are shields, they are hard to get, and there aren’t a whole bunch of powerups in one level. Good ammo placement in multiplayer means there are limited powerups, everything regenerates at a good speed, there are no shields, and if great powerups (such as seekers and RF missles) are hard to get to. I also hate it when there are ice powerups in the level. :)
Example of good ammo placement: BlurredD’s castle assassination level
Example of bad ammo placement: Battle 2
This is for single player only. Things that can alter it is if the enemies are in their correct enviroments. If there are a bunch of bees in a jungle level, and no monkeys, than that is not good. If there are lizards in an Inferno 1 level (the cold tileset), something is also wrong. If there are caterpillars in ToxicBunny’s Wartorn tileset, you need some help. Also, skill levels affect this. If the author didn’t add skill settings, don’t give them a perfect score for this! Take a look at the StopEnemy events, and the difference between StandMonkeys and Monkeys.
Example of good enemy placement: The Heaven Tileset example level
Example of bad enemy placement: Holiday Magic (good level, but no enemies)
Bugs have to do with gameplay a little. If you get stuck easilly, than that’s a bug. If you can fall off the edge, that’s a bug. If you forgot to put a generator on something in multiplayer, that’s also a bug. In CTF, if there is not a mask around the ENTIRE level (top, bottom, and both sides), than that’s a bug. If there is a level with a warp and no target, than that’s a bug. cough You can’t scream in outer space ;P
Example of a level without bugs: BloodBunny’s Lair, Violet CLM’s hotel (he made it so if you get stuck in a ceiling, you are automatically warped out)
Example of a level with lots of bugs: Capture1, Capture2, Capture3, Capture
Some reviews end up having more than this, but when I right big, good reviews, I usually use this system. Sometimes, instead of averaging stuff, I rate each category, “Very good, good, okay, bad, and very bad” and than give the level the rating I think it deserves. Other people start the rating at 10, and than deduct points for everything, until the desired score is met.
Eat your lima beans, Johnny.