It’s not particularly good but it’s at least honest.
Ow, my eyes.
[Changed to quick review ~PurpleJazz]
So, there it is, Holiday Hare ’18. After three months of work and around a month of delay, it’s finally here. The pack consists of 7 levels, each being made by a different level maker. Despite my implication in this level pack, I promise that this review isn’t biased and I’ll give my thoughts on each level with the exception of my level, as well as general ideas about the episode.
General information about the episode
The gameplay is mostly well made. The difficulty scaling is done properly and there barely any sections that make you want to say “Bah, that’s bulls**t!”. What I consider to be worth mentioning is that the level pack is very easy. I suggest picking Hard difficulty instead of Medium for a more challenging experience and if you want to play it casually, Medium is the best pick. As for Easy, unless you’re very inexperienced with video games (or with JJ2), don’t even consider it. Visually, the level pack is mostly pleasant to the eye, with no noticeable tile bugs. The music is well chosen, a bad loop or two here and there but nothing too irritating.
Level 1: “Penguinvasion” by Jelly Jam – Rating: 9.7/10
As much as I’m trying to give this level a lower rating, I can’t bring myself to do so. It’s a perfect introduction to what the level pack has to offer, teaching the player all the mechanics and shenanigans they’ll have to deal with throughout the episode. The visuals are gorgeous… until the later part of the level. Jelly’s idea to add the “Club Penguin” section was very nice but the tileset chosen for it was not really the best. The music chosen is also very fitting.
Level 2: “Tipplenborough” by PT32 – Rating: 8.5/10
“Tipplenborough” takes an interesting approach to designing a JJ2 level. Unlike most of the levels, it’s very open and lets the player choose whatever path they want to. This, however, makes exploring for gems and coins a little bit tedious. Due to its massive size, secrets are a bit of a hassle to find and backtracking to explore another path can be a bit tedious, if not impossible (it’s no longer possible to backtrack at some points in the level, such as the ending part). Most of the secrets are very well hidden, to the point that you can replay the level a bunch of times and still be unsure where to find some of them. If you want to get the proper bonus for this level, you’ll have to explore a lot to find enough coins for it since they are, again, well hidden. The level is still interesting regardless of its flaws. The visuals are nice but there are some tile bugs scattered around the level. The music chosen for this level is very fitting.
Level 3: “Cold Paw” by Archon (w/ Slaz) – Rating: 9/10
There isn’t much to say about this level, though that doesn’t mean it’s bad. The level design is nice, although a bit too narrow at times. Well done eyecandy, the music is nice as well. Again, it’s a very nice level but just not as memorable as the others.
Level 5: “Breaking Out” by happygreenfrog – Rating: 9.3/10
HGF’s idea of a level is also very interesting, as “Breaking Out” revolves around collecting a certain amount of coins in order to proceed. This level is the shortest but it certainly is not a bad level. The level design is mostly well done, the visuals are pleasant to the eye and the music is fitting. The boss at the end of the level is the cherry on top, shoutouts to Smoke for making such an interesting boss battle for this level. The boss is a bit too easy on Easy and Medium but a challenge worth considering in Hard and Turbo.
Level 6: “Toyed Badlands” by Slaz – Rating: 9.7/10
“Toyed Badlands” is a perfect blend of open spaces and narrow paths. Not linear in the slightest but at the same time not confusing to explore and getting lost in it is out of the question. The only problem I had with this level is the eyecandy. Don’t get me wrong, the tileset is well chosen, there are no buggy tiles, it has nice animations and all that jazz (pun intended). It’s just that I don’t like how the colors the level uses blend together. This might be very subjective but I don’t think the blue-pink-red of the sprite layer works with the green-mint green of the background. The music is… okay. Neither too fitting, nor completely unrelated to the level’s theme.
Level 7: “Pikitia Ara” by Loon – Rating: 10/10
I consider this level to be the gem of the pack. The gameplay is challenging, as expected for the final regular level of the pack. Just like Slaz’s level, it’s neither too narrow nor too open. The level revolves around spikeballs, which serve for both aesthetics and level design. The enemies are well placed, the pacing is good and the theme of an underground base is conveyed perfectly. The eyecandy is a perfect blend of Carrotus and a shady, metal based bunker. The music chosen fits the level like a glove. Stunning in every single aspect.
Boss: “Frigid Fortress” by PurpleJazz – Rating: 10/10
The perfect way to end such a wintry JJ2 episode. Very well done and nicely scripted final bosses, as well as great visuals and well chosen music. This level consists in two bosses, both of which are fair and challenging (especially in Hard and Turbo). The way of presenting the story of this final level is very nice, properly combining humor with seriousness. Very naisu!
FINAL RATING: 9.5 / 10
TL;DR: Great wintry level pack with nice visuals, gameplay and music. Pick “Hard” instead of “Medium” if you’re looking for a slightly more challenging experience. It’s a must-play for every JJ2 player!
In awe at the size of this lad. Absolute unit.
Jokes aside, it’s a very challenging and fun level.
Very handy tool.
“A messy masterpiece” is the best way to describe it. 10/10, I enjoyed the heck out of this. Also, Violet should make his own video game someday.
EDIT: I didn’t expect a meme SP pack to bring me on the verge of tears.
Honestly, I can’t tell why this level has such a high rating. I just couldn’t enjoy it: Bad visuals, frustrating level design, unfair deaths et cetera. I won’t go too much into detail, long story short I was very underwhelmed by this level.
I’m too lazy to write a full-fledged review. Honestly, it’s one of the best JJ2 SP levels I ever played, the only problem being the lack of checkpoints. Once you die, you have to start over from the beginning. Other than that, fantastic level, I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a fresh JJ2 single player challenge.
It’s literally just the first episode of JJ2 but you start as a frog. No effort put into this whatsoever.
Incomplete and doesn’t belong in J2O. I had fun for, like, 20 seconds though.
Xenobiotic Xeranthemum is a level pack which contains 5 full-length (that might be an understatement) levels, all of which are themed after JJ1 levels: Diamondus, Turtemple, Tubelectric, Ceramicus and Technoir. Each level has its own set of enemies and the pack is characterized by taking multiple paths to open other paths in order to proceed.
The first two levels are probably the best in terms of gameplay, the other three are not that far off though. Some unfair and unfun segments but it’s got an overall good level design. None of the levels have any coins to pick up and there is a considerable lack of secrets. The major flaw in this is how lengthy and repetitive it can get. I like the idea of opening different paths to proceed but in this level pack, it feels more like a chore after the first 3 levels. The level scaling is fine-ish, ammo placement is good and there are just enough carrots scattered throughout the level. Also, the level design can be a bit claustrophobic at times, though that’s not as much of an issue as it may sound. The ending was a bit anticlimactic as the boss was ridiculously easy to defeat.
Also, Archon, if you’re reading this, players can get stuck in the damaging red water in the Technoir level.
It is, overall, a great looking level pack. As far as I’ve noticed, there are no misplaced tiles. In some levels, the foreground elements are a bit tiring to look at (for example, the clouds in Turtemple). The introductory screens are pretty bad looking, though it might be because of JJ2’s palette limitations. Ceramicus was not very pleasant to look at because of how crowded the level can get. Speaking of an anticlimactic ending, the boss visuals were very poor: the robot boss can be clearly seen behind the “real boss”, there are some asymmetric lights surrounding the boss etc.
There is not much to say about it. The music is well chosen and it fits each level in particular.
Do I recommend this level pack? Yes! However, I don’t recommend playing this level pack in one go. The levels are lengthy and can easily get repetitive after a while. Download and play this level if you’re looking for a solid JJ2 Single Player experience.
Simply beautiful. Do I even need to write a full-fledged review for this? Just look at it, it’s gorgeous. The best fan-made JJ2 tileset by a mile. Great job!
The ending was a bit anticlimactic and there were a few dick moves placed here and there but it’s overall a good SP level :)
I was really confused by zzaj’s review since Smoke’s levels are usually of a good quality. Even though I usually don’t review MP levels, I’ll make an exception this time because I feel like 6 is an exaggeratedly low review for such a great level.
First off, the visuals are absolutely stunning. I’ve played Sonic Mania and I really liked the Press Garden acts but never expected it to look so damn good in JJ2. It really does, I played this level all by myself for like 15 minutes just because of how good it looks. That, plus the custom weapons which I’ll talk about later.
The music is good but… well, I’m not saying that it’s bad but it’s just not the kind of theme you want to hear for longer than 5-10 minutes. I love the track itself but it gets really irritating after listening to it for too long. Maybe it’s just too tense? Hell if I know. Suggestion: If you want to keep it Sonic Mania related, you could use the Metal Sonic Boss theme, the final boss theme or even the Press Garden Act 2 theme, even though it’s a bit too calm for a battle level.
Level Design and Weapons [9.6/10]
The level design is top notch. As zzaj mentioned, it’s got an overall vertical layout. This, however, is not a problem as the custom weapons are made specifically for this kind of level. The tornadoes and the fireworks are designed to hit the opponents who have the higher ground and the thunder makes vertical navigation much much easier. The ammo placement is just fine, maybe there’s a bit too much ammo in some areas (or at least that’s how I feel about it). Oh yeah, also it’s one of those levels that are much easier to play as Spaz. It’s a common thing but always brings me down.
Overall rating: 9.7
It’s not flawless but really solid level nonetheless. I haven’t play tested this with a friend but I can tell that it’s really fun to play. Great visuals, great music, great level design, great level overall.
It’s oddly satisfying.
Bonus points for loss.
Welp, I’m always glad to see new Single Player levels uploaded on Jazz2Online so I just gave this level a shot. Unfortunately, at least for me, playing this JJ2 level was not very enjoyable.
Pros: – The level design is not that bad. I haven’t glitched through the level so that’s also a thing. It’s not fantastic, can be a bit too linear and claustrophobic but it’s anything but bad. – The eyecandy is also alright. It’s just the good ol’ “Inferno 1” tileset it uses, nothing changed to it. Same thing for the music, it just uses “Hell Freezes Over”. A little bit of diversity would’ve been nice but at least there are little to no wrongly placed tiles. In general it’s pleasing to the eye.
Cons: – Not Jazz and Lori friendly. There is one point in the level where you have to stay on a rope and do a big jump. I tried this with Jazz lots of times but just couldn’t pull it off (This makes the third image you uploaded on this level’s download page very questionable). Therefore I had to JJMORPH into Spaz in order to continue the level. – No checkpoints. Yes, of course, there is “Save” but that’s not an excuse for not having checkpoints. If there is one that I did not notice, please let me know, I might’ve just not noticed it. – The level has a part that happens at the bottom of the map. It feels very very claustrophobic with very limited jumping. Also it’s just annoying not to see your character somewhere in the middle or the horiziontal edges of the screen. – “Fire”. I don’t know why did you have to use this in favor of all the other possible hazards. If you want me to dodge the fire then don’t put it behind things! – You can get soft blocked if you accidentally fall into one of the pits at the bottom of the map. – The enemies respawn exaggeratedly fast. I just wanted a MEDIUM gameplay experience, not a hard one. – You have to collect all the coins in order to progress in the level. Look, if the level was less hard and at least MENTIONED that you have to collect all the coins (It instead mentions that you need lots of flamethrowers, which is partly true), then let’s say, maybe, just maybe. At that point of the level where you have to use those coins, backtracking to get the others is really hard if not impossible. Don’t do that, if you could’ve just mentioned that I need to collect all of the coins, that would’ve been great. Not to mention that there are some coins that only Spaz can collect. God bless the JJCOINS cheat. – Little to no weapons. You can find very few toasters, some freezers, a little TNT and RF Missiles. There are two upgrades, however they are not very helpful. – Considering how difficult the level is, the boss fight difficulty should’ve been reasonable. Not only that Bolly should be in a tall room with multiple platforms you can jump on (and not a wide one with literally ONE PLATFORM) but there is also wind so you can’t do your nasty butt stomp strategy and Sparks spawning from below.
Looks like there are more Cons than Pros but there is just nothing else I can say good about the level. Sorry.
I can’t say whether I can recommend downloading this or not. I know some of you are crazy good at JJ2 and are always looking for a new challenge. If you’re that kind of person, feel free to try out this level. If you’re like me, an average player looking for a medium difficulty level, do not download this, you’re just going to have an unpleasant experience.
I rate this level 6.7 out of 10. It has potential and it was obviously worked on a lot but if you make such a challenging level, at least warn the players about this. I still think it could be improved. If so, I’ll gladly give this level a higher rating :)
Fairly good remix! Listened to it on YouTube. Even though it’s more of a polished version of the original than a remix. Still, sounds great :)
This is genuinely one of the best SP level packs I’ve ever played. Please keep updating Stone Abyss, it’s wonderful. I highly recommend people to play this! The levels are fairly challenging and the eyecandy is beautiful, if not almost perfect. I had very few issues with this game, which I mentioned below.
-Stinky Toad is simply cruel. C r u e l . Also, the olive-ish color of the level disappears upon death, at least that’s what happened to me. Could you at least add one more checkpoint? It’s just way too frustrating.
-Bilsy is insanely hard to beat. What gave you the idea of making it even harder, Bilsy was already pretty much the hardest boss in the game. Plus the boss area makes it extremely hard to beat him, even with the carrots. Maybe reducing his damage per hit could be a solution?
-Bubba (Thunder Wander) disappears when you go off-screen and the boss fight never ends. I had to use “jjnext” cheat to pass that.
In the rest, I had no problems with the level pack. It’s very very fun, you should give it a shot.
(I played on Medium difficulty, just in case you are wondering.)
I’m really glad you updated the level pack. It’s way less frustrating and more enjoyable now. Just two little things I would like to note:
-The witch can be easily killed while hanging on the rope and shooting bouncers above or using homing missiles.
-I got stuck as Spaz in the platform in right of Eva in Stinky Toad and the only way to get out (I went in the wall next to the platform) was to use “jjk” (I tried using “jjmorph” to become a bird and “jjfly”, none worked).
Anyway, really good level pack. I’ll give a 9.7 this time. Not flawless but not far from being! c:
Oh my god, the update made it even better. Can’t wait for new levels :)’
Three more levels and this keeps going. I can’t help myself but give this pack a 10/10. It’s the best level pack I ever played (and I tried lots, very few are those that I truly enjoyed).
I love it ;-;
Eat your lima beans, Johnny.