Level Review: Pie’s Really Small Entry[Small16]

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This is the first level that I’ve reviewed lately of the whole “new batch of levels” I guess you would say, and also the first for the design challenge in question for the month, which has one more day to run thanks to this Leap Day. There are eight entries in the design challenge and so far I’ve played each one and (besides my own) I’ve enjoyed each for different reasons and found them each to be worthwhile experiences regardless of size, length, or difficulty. Some have been puzzle-based levels, some have been exploration and loot collection-based, and others haven’t really fallen into any category other than their own. I think Doctor Pie’s level definitely falls into that final category for reasons I will son share with you here.

The level looks fairly good at times and fairly rough at others. It may get on your nerves that the 25x25x25 cube of blocks outline remains around the level, encasing it in a way and also proving that it is well within the parameters established in the guidelines of the design challenge at the beginning of the month. Or you may pay no mind to that. It may annoy you that the level can be completely finished in under two minutes despite the ten minute time limit allotted to players from the start. Or it may not matter whatsoever. It may even irk you that the level feigns having any difficulty whatsoever and yet once you get to the bottom of things, it’s no more difficult than jumping across a few platforms. Or you may just enjoy getting the opportunity to catch your breath between more difficult levels entered into the challenge such as Jungle Run and Orange Horizons.

All things taken for what they are, I personally enjoyed the level. For what it does, I think it presents itself fairly well enough. It is by no means difficult or even that much of a challenge whatsoever, but it is not a poorly designed level. Yes, there are some mistakes in the design process that can be observed, and yes I would’ve probably utilized more of teh space given to me by the guidelines of the design challenge, but I cannot fault Pie for what has been taken advantage of and what has been created. Let’s look at some facts here as I see them: their is a fairly decent amount and usage of basic props that add to the scenery on the little island-like areas you get to explore, the design of the level itself works well despite there being a few wasted hazards along the way (particularly in one entire spike section which is more of a red herring than anything else), and the time limit could be a bit shorter in order to add a degree of difficulty to the level and increase replay value.

Taken as it is, the only two major issues with the level that I noted in my few playthroughs of it were the lack of utility in the spike section after the brief castle-like area and shortly before the finish, and the excessive time allowed to players. Although the level can easily be completed in less than two minutes, instead of giving players ten, at the least make the time limit five for the sake of adding an air of urgency to the whole ordeal. Or opt to make it even a tad shorter and throw a few diamonds in along the way in out of reach places that encourage backtracking at the player’s own risk. That helps in design challenge levels and having added replay value never hurts as well. As for the spikes, the rotating spike boxes and the floor trap turned sideways in the last segments before the gravity defying finish showcase a slight lack of polish or forgetfulness and laziness on the part of the designer. This happens to everyone, but then that’s what playtesting was made for. I’d recommend making the moving platform travel in some way between the spikes so as to up the difficulty and force players to avoid them rather than ride the platform underneath and not have to worry about them whatsoever as it stands in the level’s current format.

Aside from these two slightly detrimental factors, the design itself is overall well-thought out despite lacking difficulty or much substance in length of gameplay. What’s there is most definitely there and while it revolves around simple platforming to the finish, I found it enjoyable enough. This will be a rather short review, but then it’s a rather short level as well.

Pros: Simplicity, Background, Enjoyability

Cons: Useless Hazards, Complete Lack of Challenge

Play Browser Score: 4 Stars, Beginner Difficulty

Official Rating: 7.0/10.0

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