Level Review: Voipqo D’raquo (Baufritz)

Also called Voipqo D’raqo according to the play-browser of the Atmosphir client, Voipqo D’raquo is an intermediate puzzle and platforming level created by veteran design Baufritz, formerly Baufritz96. In this particular review, I will do things slightly different than normal as it is mainly a review for the purpose of feedback, not convincing people whether or not something is a worthwhile purchase- as the majority of my game reviews are here. I plan to establish a new archetype for my reviews- the level reviews specifically, and will not use the same conceptual template as I do for my normal game reviews. In this review I will go room by room and point out the things I liked and didn’t enjoy as much as I could have, give a few potential design tips or add in some things I may have done to alleviate glitchy surfaces, bugs, or whatever other issues, and I will also give an overall pro and con analysis of the level in full. Essentially, I plan to make these level reviews part-part-whole reviews, as I will break everything down by sections or segments before analyzing it in full and assigning a grade. Although Atmosphir offers a 5-star rating system and a 5-tier difficulty ranking, and I will include my personal rankings and ratings for levels according to that here as well, I will be assigning the levels grades out of 10 as I normally do based on the criteria set forth above.

Now, without further ado, allow me to begin this review in earnest, starting with the very first puzzle of the day and the first room it takes place within. Immediately upon starting up the level, players should be mindful that the designer has allowed for virtually no vertical platforming aside from the use of ladders as your character is unable to jump whatsoever. This interesting design choice goes beyond the low-jump puzzle levels we’re often playing and makes for an interesting experience for the duration of the otherwise medium length level, extending the time it takes to play through the entire thing. You’re going to want to constantly be mindful of hidden moving platforms and triggered platforms on stayed locations as well, mainly for the sake of progression through the level. There are two hidden wooden platforms to be found in the first room, a triggered one to start up a third platform allowing traversal to a more elevated perch, and two movable crates to use in order to make your way to the next area. Also, avoid the spiked owl trap and reversed falling spike trap as well, as these are the two traps most likely to kill you in the entire level- not because of difficulty but because of carelessness essentially.

Moving onto the next segment is as simple as triggered the necessary moving platforms and hopping onto the ladder out of the room and into a brief passageway before a locked door. It shouldn’t puzzle you too terribly much however, as the key is in the very antechamber you will find yourself currently stuck in without. Having opened the door you are greeted by the sight of a larger room with three branching openings into three separate rooms. The room directly across from you in front leads to the finish flag and final puzzle, and is currently blocked by a triggered moving platform. The rooms to your left and right are currently unreachable without finding the requisite two hidden moving platforms on the ground level of the room you reside within. Once more, these platforms aren’t too terribly complicated to find and won’t prove very difficult to locate and trigger. Be aware that there are two main traps in this room as well which can kill careless players once again if you aren’t mindful of their presence. The inverted ceiling trap that travels along the path of the wooden ramp directly underneath where you enter the room is probably the largest hazard in sight, as it will stab you in the back if you attempt to go up the ramp at the wrong time or are too slow in doing so.

Trigger the checkpoint just in case before you go anywhere else, should something unfortunate befall your character. Search the large pile of rocks to your left and you will encounter a triggered moving platform which will automatically dip into the ground and trigger something later on supposedly. It isn’t exactly clear if it actually does anything or not that makes it possible or impossible otherwise to complete the level, so trigger it just to be safe. Next, I would ascend the shell platforms to the connector bridges- after having located and triggered the two wooden platforms on the ground level. I recommend going to the right room first in order to go ahead and grab the bomb in the unlocked chest there, as well as the extra 200 points worth of precious gemstones. Either path is open to you at this point and both are equally easy to traverse, however the right side is much faster in terms of thought process required and getting through and back. Once you’ve grabbed the bomb, return to the middle chamber and look up towards the array of skeletal wooden blocks above you, intertwined within the branches of the tree and the palm ferns. Shoot the cracked block with the bomb in order to eject a movable crate with which you can position on the triggered platform up the ramp with the ceiling trap. Be aware of the ceiling trap’s pathway and pattern in your timing to avoid an untimely and unfortunate misstep and demise.

Once you’ve pushed the crate that far, you will have unlocked one of the triggered platforms necessary for unlocking and rotating the platform blocking access to the final chamber. Now, if you head down the left pathway into the elongated room filled with a seemingly impassible sea of spikes, you will see the final platform trigger. Glance at the far wall directly opposite of you for a subtle hint as to the safest path across the sea of impenetrable spike traps and make your way across. Once you’ve triggered the depressed platform be sure to carefully make your way back, doing just the opposite of what steps got you to the other side previously. Once in the middle chamber again you will be able to climb back up and make your way across the connector bridges to a moving platform that will carry you up and to the final chamber. The puzzle in this chamber is simple but potentially the most frustrating of the level. You can also see another precious gemstone to your right upon entering the room, which is easily collectable before finishing the level. As has grown to be custom, find the two hidden moving platforms in order to make the finish flag that is so tantalizingly close accessible.

Traipse along the blocks on the left side of the room, taking note of the cracked piece of wall and the bomb to your right as you go. The easiest way to grab the bomb on the central platform is to climb onto the triggered movable platforms and then drop down, grabbing the edge of the central block and hauling yourself up to retrieve the bomb. As with the other bomb, this one is on a respawn timer of roughly ten seconds, so grab two just to play it safe. Now, you’re going to want to make your way up to the second platform that you triggered, shortly before the currently unreachable one dangling one block above your head. Turn to face the cracked wall and shoot it, carefully controlling your shot and then falling to grip the edge of the now moving platform to your left. As the block respawns, you will be carried back up on the platform and can now finish the level. As far as I was able to tell, there are three gemstones worth 100 points each and your 4 starting lives, meaning the grand total of potential points should be somewhere around 430,000. If there were hidden secrets, I obviously was not a good enough player to discover them and bypassed them. However, as I am the only player to complete the level- at least since the play browser was updated to show results, this is the highest score thus far obtained.

Now, as I’ve offered a little bit of a walkthrough without spoiling everything in its entirety- only giving directions but not describing in vast detail exactly how to complete each challenge, I will proceed to explain some of the things I enjoyed about the level and some things I didn’t so much enjoy. In the first room, many players should recognize that it comes directly from the essential demo that the level known as Voipqo was and ties directly into the continuation of the level. That factor was cool in that it showed a brief glimpse at how the gameplay was going to handle and also provides an extension of a concept as well. The general environment blended together quite well and the props chosen worked with the stone blocks and wooden platforms. The only occasional glitch in the system was if a particular moving platform or prop encountered another block at an odd angle and gave off one of the glitchy looking shaky frames as the two intersected and were the exact same size, not masking the discontinuity as sometimes can happen instead. However, thankfully this was a rare occurrence and only really noticeable with the retracting of the final moving platform leading to the final room.

Having the first bomb on a respawn timer sort of made the second nonessential since it respawned as well, so I would have removed that one’s timer and left the second one as is- forcing players to use it instead of simply collecting ten bombs earlier and blowing through the final stage faster. It makes no difference in all honesty, but holds up better to do it this way. I particularly liked the small puzzles and environmental triggers incorporated into the level, and they were understandably its strongest point. Even without many traps the level’s difficulty stemmed from careful, calculated decisions and wise movement of the interacting objects as well. Rarely was it frustrating although one could make the mistake of accidentally pushing a box into a corner or onto some rocks, making the level impossible to finish in that particular runthrough. Other than this, there were no other factors except for loss of life I suppose should you have failed out due to that. There is no time limit so you are free to mull over things for as long as you’d like.

Now, allow me to lay out some of the main pros and cons I witnessed throughout the level in a shortlist of sorts right here:

Pros: Environment, Use of Space, Puzzles.

Cons: Some Glitchy Looks, Potential Exploits.

Play Browser Score: 4 Stars, Intermediate Challenge.

Official Rating: 8.0/10.0

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