I’m just going to cut right to the chase with this one:
+The technical feats. This stage is by far one of the most heavily scripted stages I’ve ever played, and I’ve played Ozymandius! Loop-de-loops, custom enemies, a custom boss, disappearing platforms that lower down a bit when you step on them (SURELY those must be scripted, anyways… either that or it’s a JCS technical feat, and either way it’s good stuff), and that’s not even the full list! If there is one thing this level deserves a play for, it’s this.
+Tile-set looks nice (hey, it’s also a tileset upload, so I pretty much HAD to mention it, lol). Oh, and the tile-set usage is pretty great too.
+Stage is perfectly playable as all three characters
+This stage has a TON of unique branching paths. Replay value is always a fun time, and this stage doesn’t disappoint with that. Exploring this stage is, quite frankly, much more enjoyable than simply trying to beat it, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing
+Some of the sections are really nicely designed, especially on the lower paths. For that matter, the way you reach some of the lower paths is in of itself pretty well-done
+Gem mechanic is an interesting concept in theory
-Oh gosh the MIDI music, why
-The upper path pretty much allows you to ignore all the enemies. Okay, I know, it’s Green Hill Zone and all that, but if you’re playing as Jazz or Lori this is a bit of a big deal since you can ignore about 50-75% of the level. This is honestly a big part of why I didn’t enjoy the stage as much on my first run through: I decided to try to see if I could ignore the enemies, and, well, I could. It’s MUCH more fun if you don’t ignore them.
-In practice, the gem mechanic feels a bit… pointless? I mean, you could use it for some neat self-imposed challenge stuff, but for regular play it doesn’t seem to really change how you go about playing the level much, honestly.
-Some of the enemy placement is a bit obnoxious.
-For that matter, some of the enemies themselves are a bit obnoxious, though that’s mostly because they’re faithful to their source material in fairness.
Overall, do I recommend a download?
This stage may not be perfect, but it’s great stuff.
(As a side note, why does this stage seem to have more to do with summer than most of the other Summertime Jazziness entries, despite its relation to summer being more incidental due to its tileset’s appearance than anything???)
MAJOR UPDATE: This review has now been changed a decent amount to accommodate for the improvements made to the level, and the score has been bumped up. I may make another small update if/when I manage to completely, 100% beat the level rather than simply getting decent progress like I have in my previous attempts, but I’m pretty sure this is roughly my final thoughts on it now in any case.
Let me start by saying this: This level has a ton of variety, nice tile-set usage, clever concepts, neat scripted enemies, and generally speaking, I would probably recommend giving it a go. Just to give you all a summary of what I like about it before I delve into details on the positives and negatives.
That being said, with the latest update, while some of the issues have been fixed, a few other issues still remain. I definitely had quite a bit more fun with it this time though.
+Excellent tileset usage. It’s a bit of a tricky tileset to use right from what I’ve used of it myself, so this is maybe a bigger deal than I make it sound like it is, honestly.
+The concept of the level. Going around collecting gems while defeating enemies to get ammo to open up more passageways to get more gems and defeat more enemies. This is fun stuff, not gonna lie.
+Nice level design with clever placement of enemies, gems, and other items. This makes the already nice concept even more fun.
+That jump boost item is FUN. Seriously. Okay, okay, it’s a small thing, but the little things count sometimes.
+The rocket booster moving platforms are neat
+The stage tells you your progress, and even tells you how much more food you need for a sugar rush! Both nice touches.
+Nicely scripted enemies with neat concepts
-When Tweedle turns you into a frog, some locations make it way too hard to get back to Eva. I can’t confirm for sure, but some may even make it impossible (certainly FEELS impossible at times in any case)
-A small thing, but some more music variety and/or a longer song would admittedly have been nice
-After a certain point, exploring the stage starts becoming somewhat less fun, mostly because, best as I can tell, the stage isn’t really all that big (best as I can tell, I actually encountered most of the major areas of it in one run or another, even if I still haven’t beaten the stage properly yet). Since the core concept of the stage is exploring around to try to find things, this… kind of makes the stage start losing its charm after a while, unfortunately.
-The ammo is a tad bit too scarce for my tastes. This isn’t an objective flaw, especially with how the stage is designed around said limited ammo, and it’s a pretty small issue at that, so I can’t fault the stage for it too much, but it did hinder my own personal enjoyment of the stage a bit.
Overall, would I recommend a download? Yes. There are a ton of cool concepts here, the stage is mostly well-designed ENOUGH, and generally it’s pretty enjoyable. Still not perfect, but, at least in my opinion, a fair bit better than it was before the update.
P.S. This doesn’t honestly feel like it has much to do with summer, in regards to its status as a Summertime Jazziness entry. Still not a bad stage tho.
Should… should this even be allowed in the contest?!? It starts out with what essentially amounts to plagiarism of another stage (which, mind you, it’s supposed to be a remake of that stage, so I think it’s fine for this stage to EXIST, but I question whether something like this should be allowed in a contest), and also seemingly has nothing to do with summer outside a few references to it within the stage itself.
That being said… there were a few decent challenge ideas here and there. Nice variety. Tileset usage ranges from good to terrible, and I say that as somebody who has made stages on both sides of that spectrum myself. Some areas are nicely detailed with tons of tiles, whereas others… pretty much just use one tile everywhere and call it a day.
On the other hand, some of the challenges, such as, hilariously enough, the stage’s final non-boss challenge, as well as one early on with bees, are pretty easy to basically just ignore. The stage also doesn’t feel like a particularly cohesive experience. Oh, and the “purple ice hurts you” thing is a bit annoying should you fall into the areas with them, since you’ll have to slowly wait as your health bar lowers because they don’t just flat-out kill you instantly.
I know I’m not particularly elaborating on this one much, but there really isn’t much to say about this one, it’s pretty much just an average stage with some okay ideas and nothing more.
Overall? Meh. I have no idea whether or not to recommend a download, so I’ll tell you this: Do you think a stage with a few passable ideas, a few clever ideas, and some bad execution of those ideas sounds like a stage you’d enjoy? If so, maybe give it a download. Otherwise… shrugs
This is a nice improvement over the previous version. More eye candy and somewhat better enemy placement, the background no longer being glitchy, and somewhat more of an indication as to what you’re supposed to do are all notable improvements. Still some lingering issues, such as some remaining tile bugs, the eye candy could still be better, and the level still feels a bit meh from a conceptual standpoint.
Though I didn’t mention this last time, it’s also fairly short. Ideally, a level should usually be long enough to have at least one checkpoint, and while the lack of checkpoints is its own issue here, it’s also an understandable one since the stage is quite frankly too short to have room for one (though if it was even slightly longer/larger a checkpoint could probably be justified, it’s somewhat close to the border in that regard).
That all being said, I’d recommend moving on to making a new stage. At this point, I think any effort spent fixing the remaining issues would be effort better put into making a new stage.
Maybe next you could focus on trying to make a stage with some kind of gimmick usage? Something like “here’s a level where most of the non-spikey floor is swinging platforms (the exceptions being checkpoints, the very start, and the very end)” or “here’s a level where you use bouncers to break the floor while avoiding accidentally freeing the enemies”. I recommend not using those exact ideas though, they’d probably be pretty bland by themselves. Be creative, and come up with something of your own design!
That all being said, definitely don’t let my rating discourage you from making more levels! I think you should keep making levels, you’re very much on the right track to making something good if this level compared to your previous one (and compared to the old version of this one) is anything to go by. :)
You can easily ignore the enemies, the tileset usage is mediocre at best, the level is incredibly short, and to top it all off, the background is mildly glitched even outside low detail (albeit only at the very start). Better than my first attempts at levels though, which, mind you, I have never uploaded. Keep at it, you’ll get better! :)
This tool is really handy for making translation files, being fairly easy to understand and allowing for an amazing level of customization. The interface is a bit simplistic and lacking even a simple kind of flair to make it easier on the eyes, but it gets the job done.
However, it’s worth noting that the tool isn’t perfectly user-friendly. For example, the “Capture the Flag” menu option’s text appears to be separated drastically from the rest of the text from the same menu. This probably is related to the structure of the language files themselves, but it nonetheless is an issue, however small it may be. It can also be a bit hard to find the specific line you want to replace, which, again, is mostly due to the fact that this seems to pretty directly give you access to the structure of the language files, flaws and all, instead of trying to present it in a way that’s more readable to the user.
I get the reason why it’s done this way, mind you. It’d be quite the daunting task to do it in a more user-friendly way all things considered! That, and this is merely a modified version of an existing tool, so I can understand how it’d probably be outside the scope of this project to fix all that.
Nonetheless, the user-friendliness is the main thing keeping the tool from getting a perfect 10, since aside from the less-than-perfect presentation of the interface, everything else is pretty solid. And hey, it does its job, and that’s what matters the most, right? I can’t really complain, it’s a good tool. :)
If you don’t mind a tool that’s not 100% perfect in the user-friendliness department, I would highly recommend this tool.
…somehow my first review on this site is for a tool rather than a proper level or such.
Who would’ve thought?
(Speaking of which, I hope I did this review right, seeing as how it’s not only my first review, but also a review for a tool rather than a level.)
Eat your lima beans, Johnny.