It’s an okay level. The palettes used are pleasing to the eye and the gameplay can be fun at times, but it’s very obviously unpolished and not thoroughly tested. Overall, a short, vanilla-esque experience with some scripted elements.
Not a Single Player level.
[FYI this has now been corrected ~ PurpleJazz]
Honestly, pretty good level. These reviews don’t do it justice. A bit claustrophobic at times and the witch section doesn’t specify that you have to break some crates, not kill the witch, but other than that it’s a short and sweet level.
It’s grand! It’s flashy! It’s not fun!
The fact that this level pack is rated 9.5 / 10 completely baffles me. It’s obvious that Blackraptor put a ton of effort into making the visuals but the gameplay itself is incredibly tedious. There is a lot of enemy spam to artificially increase the difficulty and length. Some levels’ visuals are overbearing and straight up confusing. Darn, I wanted this to be a quick review but guess I’ll do a short review of each level instead (secret levels not included).
- “City Centre” is just enemy spam. Tiles are often placed just to confuse you and make you question whether something is a solid object or it’s part of the background. Yes, yes, I get it, it’s supposed to feel ethereal, it’s a “dreamscape” after all. It did not matter to me, the level felt confusing and annoying.
- “Pride” is frustrating. Akin to Queen of Board, you’ll have to check for hidden walls non-stop until you find a trigger crate or something that will let you progress with the level. This is not about skill, it’s about how much patience you have to bump and shoot every object in hopes to get further in the level. The visuals are great though, can’t complain.
- “Quiessence” is a weird one. I’d say I like it if it weren’t for the One Way wall at the start of the level. I still don’t know how to consistently get past that wall, I just bumped into it until magic happened and I got over it. The level theme is interesting, music doesn’t fit (just my opinion here).
- “Phantasmagoria”… yeah, I hate this one. It’s an eyesore full of enemy spam, death pits and whatnot. Goes on for way too long and made my retinas burn.
- “HellFire” and “Crystal Mountain” are rather tame compared to the previous levels. They’re… okay. Visuals are fine, level design is pretty good. They share some of the issues I have with the previous levels but they’re less prominent here.
I have a feeling that I’m treading on thin ice by writing this review, because I’m tainting the rating of a “classic” level pack. Again, this is my opinion: I didn’t have fun while playing this. I get the pack’s theme but I dislike the execution. Judging by its size and visuals, it’s obvious that a TON of effort was put into making this level pack. It just didn’t click with me for the reasons I mentioned above. Oh well.
Pretty solid SP level. There are a few eyecandy issues but the level layout is good.
Tip: Use MLLE instead of JCS, it’s a better level making tool :)
It’s a good conversion, it’s just that the recolored snow “grass” doesn’t look… right.
This will be Carrotus graphics in 2014!
This level looks gorgeous.
It’s a bit claustrophobic and there are too many pick-ups but, overall, it plays nicely.
Does exactly what the description says. It’s great if you want a good chuckle.
Fairly lengthy, nice level design, nice eyecandy. I can’t complain, it’s a good vanilla level pack. Give it a try.
Plays well and has gorgeous visuals. Instantly one of my favorite battle maps.
Good level design, good mechanics, good aesthetics (if you like pastel goth, that is), good final boss. If you’re into JJ2 Single Player levels, this is a must-play.
Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!
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.
Eat your lima beans, Johnny.