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End of Year Contest: Reviews Thread!

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sky_lark

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Posts: 2051

Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 6:00 pm

Post Mon Jan 04, 2021 8:11 pm

End of Year Contest: Reviews Thread!

Thanks to everyone who gave levelmakers constructive criticism and suggestions in the Feedback/Discussion thread! Special shoutout to Quartz who gave feedback on the revisions as well.

This thread can be used for formal reviews of the levels. Feel free to use a rating system or just give your general thoughts! The images have been updated to reflect the latest versions of the levels.

Holiday Bonanza Theme

  • Amazing Technicolor Xmas Hendeca - ZC - Revised (1st period)
    Image
  • Christmas Tree - HTF - Revised (2nd period)
    Image
  • Coronavivacious - BM - Levelgen
    Image
  • Day of the Dead - HTF - Revised (both periods)
    Image
  • Jack-o'-lantern - BM
    Image
  • Matunda ya Kwanza - RET
    Image
  • Menorah Map - BM
    Image
  • NYE Ball Drop - SOC - Revised (1st period)
    Image
  • Pickle Pit - CTF - Revised (1st period)
    Image
  • Santa's Sleigh Ride - RET - Revised (both periods)
    Image
  • Spin the Dreidel - NEX - Revised (1st period)
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  • Toppled Tree Tussle - BM - Revised (1st period)
    Image
  • Xmas Rage - COR - Revised (1st period)
    Image
A Year to Remember Theme

  • Afterglow - ZC - Levelgen - Revised (1st period)
    Image
  • Ballot Counting Simulator 2020 - NEX - Revised (1st period)
    Image
  • Beekeeper's Revenge - COR - Levelgen - Revised (1st period)
    Image
  • Bobdaduck is Freaking Dead - CTF - Levelgen
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  • Cervesa - NEX - Levelgen - Revised (both periods)
    Image
  • Civil War II - COR - Revised (1st period)
    Image
  • Confusion - CTF
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  • El Gendrado Fire - SOC - Revised (both periods)
    Image
  • Electoral Preschool/Electoral College 2020 - ZC - Levelgen - Revised (both periods)
    Image
  • Murder Hornets (BM) - BM - Revised (1st period)
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  • Murder Hornets (NEX) - NEX - Levelgen - Revised (1st period)
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  • Requiem for a Duck - ZC
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  • Rest in Duck - BM - Revised (1st period)
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  • Shopping During the Pandemic - NEX - Revised (both periods)
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  • Social Distancing - NEX - Levelgen
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  • Socially-Distant Bitmatch - BM - Revised (2nd period)
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  • The Big 'Rona - COR - Revised (2nd period)
    Image
  • The Political Compass - ZC - Revised (1st period)
    Image
  • The Two-Party System - CTF
    Image

Feedback Template

  Code:
[color=#FFA500][b]Amazing Technicolor Xmas Hendeca[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Christmas Tree[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Coronavivacious[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Day of the Dead[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Jack-o'-lantern[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Matunda ya Kwanza[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Menorah Map[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]NYE Ball Drop[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Pickle Pit[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Santa's Sleigh Ride[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Spin the Dreidel[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Toppled Tree Tussle[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Xmas Rage[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Afterglow[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Ballot Counting Simulator 2020[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Beekeeper's Revenge[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Bobdaduck is Freaking Dead[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Cervesa[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Civil War II[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Confusion[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]El Gendrado Fire[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Murder Hornets (BM)[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Murder Hornets (NEX)[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Requiem for a Duck[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Rest in Duck[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Shopping During the Pandemic[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Social Distancing[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]Socially-Distant Bitmatch[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]The Big 'Rona[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]The Electoral Preschool[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]The Political Compass[/b][/color]


[color=#FFA500][b]The Two-Party System[/b][/color]
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sky_lark

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Posts: 2051

Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 6:00 pm

Post Tue Jan 05, 2021 12:27 am

Re: End of Year Contest: Reviews Thread!

Screenshots have been updated. By the way, levelchange is reindeer if it's needed, but it shouldn't be necessary when switching through levels solo
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sky_lark

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Posts: 2051

Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 6:00 pm

Post Tue Jan 05, 2021 3:20 am

Re: End of Year Contest: Reviews Thread!

I'll write my reviews based on the official criteria, which are: Level Design and Playability, Aesthetics/Visual Appeal, Adherence to Theme, Fun Factor. Overall though, these are some awesome levels!

If you'd like to use this template in your own reviews, click here.

Amazing Technicolor Xmas Hendeca
  • Design and Playability: 5/5
  • Visual Appeal: 3/5
  • Theme: 3/5
  • Fun: 4/5
  • Total: 15/20
Visually a bit funky, but plays well, and is pretty fun, though a tad difficult

Christmas Tree
  • Design and Playability: 4/5
  • Visual Appeal: 4/5
  • Theme: 5/5
  • Fun: 3/5
  • Total: 16/20
Looks pretty, and structurally plays solid, can be a bit repetitive though.

Coronavivacious
  • Design and Playability: 1/5
  • Visual Appeal: 4/5
  • Theme: 5/5
  • Fun: 1/5
  • Total: 12/20
Visually it's very pretty, though the speed of the flashing makes it a little distracting (though I know the level creator can't fix that). Gameplay-wise, not a whole lot to do, though I realize it wasn't likely meant to be a seriously playable level.

Day of the Dead
  • Design and Playability: 4/5
  • Visual Appeal: 3/5
  • Theme: 5/5
  • Fun: 5/5
  • Total: 17/20
Plays quite well considering it's an asymmetrical level. Revisions made grey a bit more balanced with the rest of teams. Looks ok visually, skull face is nice but other than that feels kind of empty visually. A lot of fun to play, plenty of strategy with engineering items.

Jack-o'-lantern
  • Design and Playability: 2/5
  • Visual Appeal: 5/5
  • Theme: 5/5
  • Fun: 2/5
  • Total: 14/20
Visually it looks really nice! Gameplay-wise, it's not terribly endearing, might help with a longer stem or a resource item or something to give it a bit more interaction, but team bitmatches are always pretty entertaining.

Matunda ya Kwanza
  • Design and Playability: 5/5
  • Visual Appeal: 5/5
  • Theme: 5/5
  • Fun: 4/5
  • Total: 19/20
Really good level. Looks great, plays well, bit of strategy in picking which candle to go in and how to protect teammates. There are mixed opinions on the turrets, but I personally like them, gives weaker teams a chance to steal the flag from a stronger team that went in but couldn't bring it out all the way. This will likely make its way into future parties!

Menorah Map
  • Design and Playability: 1/5
  • Visual Appeal: 3/5
  • Theme: 5/5
  • Fun: 1/5
  • Total: 10/20
Clearly a joke level so I won't spend too much time here, but the art is pretty. Personally wish all players spawned in the middle so it was easier to stay competitive.

NYE Ball Drop
  • Design and Playability: 2/5
  • Visual Appeal: 4/5
  • Theme: 5/5
  • Fun: 3/5
  • Total: 14/20
Another casual level, but the art is pretty. The revision did make it easier to score, but also removed a lot of the turrets, which I felt were pushing the ball down easier, so that's a wash. I kinda wish it was longer, since it is pretty entertaining to play, even with the silliness of the design.

Pickle Pit
  • Design and Playability: 4/5
  • Visual Appeal: 2/5
  • Theme: 2/5
  • Fun: 5/5
  • Total: 13/20
This level is a testament to the review period in my opinion. Was decent before but removing the delayed spawn mechanic and adding alternate paths really made this level a true competitive CTF level, which is cool. I'm not really sure about the thematic relation, I did learn Pickle Day is a thing that happens in November, but there doesn't really seem to be much actual connection to pickles in the level other than text.

Santa's Sleigh Ride
  • Design and Playability: 2/5
  • Visual Appeal: 5/5
  • Theme: 5/5
  • Fun: 4/5
  • Total: 16/20
I guess I'm in the minority that liked the first revision (shorter path) but not the original/second revision (longer path). The longer path seems to be pretty much impossible to even make it even halfway around unless there is like no defense throughout. If I can't complete the path (or can only complete it with zero defense) then that docks points from design/playability in my eyes. However, visually it's gorgeous, and I still give it great marks for pure fun, because it really is hilarious to go sledding through. One thing that might make this interesting is the predetermined module levelgen, so folks couldn't fire, just zip around trying to catch up or knock each other off tactically.

Spin the Dreidel
  • Design and Playability: 4/5
  • Visual Appeal: 5/5
  • Theme: 5/5
  • Fun: 5/5
  • Total: 19/20
This might be my favorite level in the contest. The random chance function is hilarious fun and it's cool to be able to fly around with large quantities of flags... and still need to attack enemies since htey have MORE flags than you!

Toppled Tree Tussle
  • Design and Playability: 2/5
  • Visual Appeal: 4/5
  • Theme: 5/5
  • Fun: 2/5
  • Total: 13/20
Minimal and artsy, I dig that. It's kinda like Jackpot, looks nice but isn't terribly entertaining to play. I do appreciate the loadout zone now has a faster way to get out and there's a resource item flying around for some shenanigans.

Xmas Rage
  • Design and Playability: 3/5
  • Visual Appeal: 3/5
  • Theme: 5/5
  • Fun: 3/5
  • Total: 14/20
The artwork is solid, and it plays reasonably well, with the cores positioned for some fun strategy. But the size just takes this down a pretty big notch in my opinion. Takes longer than it should to fly anywhere and do anything. Combat is thus much more spread out. And because of this, there's not really any point to going through the sides to get to the final core, should just go through the secret tunnel. As I said in the feedback thread, I'd strongly suggest resizing the level a good 25% or so, and possibly shifting around some of the items (such as the large resourceitem hangar) to move combat closer to each other. I do have a good time every time I play it, though!

Afterglow
  • Design and Playability: 3/5
  • Visual Appeal: 4/5
  • Theme: 5/5
  • Fun: 4/5
  • Total: 16/20
I love the Jeopardy aspect, and it's definitely creative/unique, so props for that! It'd be cool if there was a way to limit the zones for the questions so they didn't go by so fast. I think it'd be fun to try to answer them while playing! One note: The white flag blends in pretty well with the zone, I'd suggest either modifying the appearance of the zone or darkening the white slightly (not enough to throw off the color scheme, but enough to contrast with the flag more easily).

Ballot Counting Simulator 2020
  • Design and Playability: 3/5
  • Visual Appeal: 4/5
  • Theme: 3/5
  • Fun: 3/5
  • Total: 13/20
This could just be me, but I don't really understand the reference. It's possible others get it though! Other than that, I like the engineering aspect and there's some cool strategy there with it being team nexus, but there's not a whole lot to do otherwise. It is pretty hilarious to set up as many turrets as possible.

Beekeeper's Revenge
  • Design and Playability: 4/5
  • Visual Appeal: 4/5
  • Theme: 5/5
  • Fun: 5/5
  • Total: 18/20
I'm a sucker for offense vs defense/build-a-base type levels, so well done. The revision here helped a lot, and while green's core still feels super vulnerable if attacked, I suppose that does just stress the importance of using sensor and laying down defenses. Certainly a level I want to play again and again.

Bobdaduck is Freaking Dead
  • Design and Playability: 3/5
  • Visual Appeal: 3/5
  • Theme: 1/5
  • Fun: 3/5
  • Total: 10/20
I like this more than the creator gives it credit for! It's entertaining and frantic to zip around trying to find your flag and cap it. I think it would be better with one flag each, so there could be more strategy involved, but it still plays solidly without. The color change rate is comfortable and not over the top. That said, I'm not a terribly big fan of joking about someone dying, even if it was an inside joke/meme and didn't happen, just feels depressing to me.

Cervesa
  • Design and Playability: 2/5
  • Visual Appeal: 5/5
  • Theme: 5/5
  • Fun: 2/5
  • Total: 14/20
The latest revision adding in more frequent nexus access improved this level a lot, but at the end of the day, from a gameplay perspective, it's still just a circle with a nexus in the middle. I REALLY like the levelgen/art aspect though, that's super creative and well done.

Civil War II
  • Design and Playability: 3/5
  • Visual Appeal: 5/5
  • Theme: 5/5
  • Fun: 4/5
  • Total: 17/20
My goodness, what an impressive level. So many fun jokes inside, the levelmaker clearly put a ton of work into it. It's also very finely balanced, with every game we've played coming down to the wire. There's a little bit of strategy for defensive depending on where players are in relation to their spawns, but ultimately the best strategy seems to just be to attack as quickly as possible, so this detracts from the fun factor a little. Still, I have a bunch of fun every time I play it as there's always new areas to explore.

Confusion
  • Design and Playability: 2/5
  • Visual Appeal: 2/5
  • Theme: 1/5
  • Fun: 4/5
  • Total: 9/20
I'm a little disappointed the levelmaker didn't take advantage of either revision period to improve the level, because there was feedback provided that could've made this level quite a bit better in my eyes. I still think there's a lot of potential with it in terms of the overarching design of the three areas all converging in the same area before heading back to their bases. It's just very campy with more than like 3 players. A competent defense can effectively shut down their base. But it is pretty fun for 2-3 players, and can get quite interesting in needing to escape but also dodge the third team who want to take the flag you stole for themselves.

El Gendrado Fire
  • Design and Playability: 4/5
  • Visual Appeal: 4/5
  • Theme: 5/5
  • Fun: 4/5
  • Total: 17/20
The only non-jokey soccer level, and for representing the soccer category, it does a pretty nice job! I like the change in the individual bases, but I wish the channels were a tad smaller, as the ball seems to bounce around more than desired. The art is really minimalist and fun, and the theme is clever. Good work.

Murder Hornets (BM)
  • Design and Playability: 3/5
  • Visual Appeal: 3/5
  • Theme: 5/5
  • Fun: 3/5
  • Total: 14/20
I like the overall aspect of turrets buzzing around weaking or killing you, but I'm not a fan of how easy it is to kill the outer ring of turrets. I would've rather seen those get regenerated slowly instead of having to tediously fly around repairing each one (only to have them be destroyed again quickly). WIthout the regen the level ends up being mostly just a kill turrets faster level as opposed to more bitfighter combat, though maybe that's just my approach. I also really dislike having to die in order to change loadouts in bitmatch, that's just a general principle I'm opposed to. Those things aside, the artwork is cute, adherence to theme dead on, and it's decently fun to play, so props.

Murder Hornets (NEX)
  • Design and Playability: 4/5
  • Visual Appeal: 5/5
  • Theme: 5/5
  • Fun: 3/5
  • Total: 16/20
Color scheme, overall feel of the level, and artwork are all gorgeous. Levelgen is amusing, though a tad annoying (but I'm sure that's kind of the point). The revisions having partial spawns outside the bases were smart. It's decently fun, but feels a bit empty - I think a few resource items and engineer could make this quite compelling.

Requiem for a Duck
  • Design and Playability: 0/5
  • Visual Appeal: 2/5
  • Theme: 2/5
  • Fun: 0/5
  • Total: 4/20
Lmao I'm sorry for being harsh but good lord you've made joke maps better than this lol. Two minutes long?? At least add another team for quacks sake!

Rest in Duck
  • Design and Playability: 2/5
  • Visual Appeal: 3/5
  • Theme: 2/5
  • Fun: 1/5
  • Total: 8/20
Think this would play better and be more fun as a rabbit mode. Artwork is very cute but the morbidity of these dead duck levels I'm really just not a fan of, even though I know it's a joke. I'm also not totally sure how much a reference to this inside joke/meme really fits the spirit of the theme, since it didn't even actually happen.

Shopping During the Pandemic
  • Design and Playability: 3/5
  • Visual Appeal: 1/5
  • Theme: 5/5
  • Fun: 3/5
  • Total: 12/20
I honestly preferred the first revision to the second, I know it was more campy that way but this latest revision seems much too hard. Maybe I'll change my mind during the final party. I do think the portal in the middle should have stayed, that was a critical outlet for trying to survive with flags. Props for the creativity of a niche theme.

Social Distancing
  • Design and Playability: 1/5
  • Visual Appeal: 1/5
  • Theme: 5/5
  • Fun: 2/5
  • Total: 9/20
This was another level that I really wish took advantage of the revision periods. The levelgen is fantastic, but with the impenetrable bases, there's very little reason to venture outside. It's pretty frustrating to watch as players just hoard a bunch of flags and score knowing that the only way to keep up with them is to go do the same thing and pray they slow down. I would strongly recommend getting rid of the impenetrable bases and resizing the whole level down so there's more usage of the levelgen, because it really is genius.

Socially-Distant Bitmatch
  • Design and Playability: 2/5
  • Visual Appeal: 3/5
  • Theme: 5/5
  • Fun: 3/5
  • Total: 13/20
Reasonably fun, well timed, a nice break-type level from some of the other action-packed levels. Nice theme tie-in.

The Big 'Rona
  • Design and Playability: 4/5
  • Visual Appeal: 4/5
  • Theme: 5/5
  • Fun: 2/5
  • Total: 15/20
Clever aesthetics, mechanic, and theme tie-in. Revision definitely improved the competitiveness of the level, but it's really tough to outlast the competition with everyone slowly being reallocated to one team (usually team covid). I get it, that's the tie-in, but from a fun standpoint, it does make the level a little less entertaining to play. I do enjoy going after Arctic's core every time though :)

The Electoral Preschool/Electoral College 2020
  • Design and Playability: 3/5
  • Visual Appeal: 4/5
  • Theme: 5/5
  • Fun: 5/5
  • Total: 17/20
It's a shame we didn't sort the levelgen issues out until after the second contest party, but I hope we can play this during the last party, it looks like a ton of fun. The levelgen is super creative and clever. It did seem to be a bit wonky, showing a different total in the top than in the flag counter, but overall looks cool. I bet there will be some interesting strategy in sprinting to Florida, Texas, California etc. It is still an open map zone control, so I'm not sure how playability will ultimately be, but I think it will be fun to play at least.

The Political Compass
  • Design and Playability: 1/5
  • Visual Appeal: 3/5
  • Theme: 5/5
  • Fun: 1/5
  • Total: 10/20
I liked the first revision more than the second. With two flags there was some strategy and it was possible for teams to take a lot of zones and get on the board if they were being more left alone than the other flag carrier. With only one flag though, whoever gets the flag first has a big advantage, since with four teams there's basically always someone fighting the flag carrier. So you can only capture like a dozen zones at most before you die and someone takes over, and that process rinses and repeats for the whole game. It ends up feeling like team rabbit basically. So I'd be a fan of going back to two flags. I do really like the theme tie-in, it's more subtle than most but very clever.

The Two-Party System
  • Design and Playability: 3/5
  • Visual Appeal: 3/5
  • Theme: 5/5
  • Fun: 5/5
  • Total: 16/20
I think this level was more intended to be a jokey/casual level but I honestly like it a lot, cracks me up every time. Poor 1.8% yellow haha! So I can't really dock too many points for the design, since their crappy spot and base are critical to sell the joke. But even yellow's near inability to win aside, it still manages to play quite well, with an ongoing battle between blue and red. And I suppose if the teams were arranged putting the best players on yellow it could end up being quite even.

Levels I'm probably voting for in the first round (still mulling it over though. Very tough to decide, so many good ones):

Holiday theme: Spin the Dreidel, Matunda ya Kwanza, Day of the Dead, Santa's Sleigh Ride
Year to Remember theme: Beekeeper's Revenge, Civil War II, Electoral College 2020, El Gendrado Fire
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