Continuing with the work I started earlier today, I’ve got one more review for the evening. This one is also a level already awarded Level of the Day, although it may or may not be on the weaker end of the spectrum as far as those levels awarded are concerned. EclectroYoshi brings to us yet another level for review and another platformer featuring sand and hazardous props. Be sure to check out the hub thread as usual for other reviews and updates here. I will continue to do requested peer reviews designer to player to designer even though I have resumed my post as a member of the Editorial Staff as well.
Sable is another level that I played predominately around the time it was released, but I also went back and replayed it to refresh my mind for this particular critique. Not to say it hasn’t aged well, but it seemed to be more annoying to go through with some of its particularly more devious and infuriating mechanics such as the jumping boards coupled with hazards segment on the way to the latter half of the level. The jumping interactives in Atmosphir have been notoriously off since alternative physics were introduced into the game engine upon its update to Unity. That having been said, most levels utilizing those interactives suffer for it. And coupling that with hazards embedded within the blocks leading only to the jumping pads is bound to be disastrous- both for the player and the player’s sanity and the level’s quality as a whole.
Besides that factor of life, one more major annoyance with the level would be the design itself- particularly how the lighting (or lack thereof) messes with your eyes in a way going much further beyond simple optical illusions. Because it is set on a midnight stroll along the beach, the level is predominately comprised of sandy blocks. That in and of itself is no problem whatsoever, but couple it with dim lighting and anytime you drop into a hole completely surrounded by sand blocks you cannot see a single thing and must fumble around awkwardly during the level. That’s a minor inconvenience for the most part but still a major design flaw in the grand scheme of things I’d say.
Besides environmental bobbles and drops, the gameplay itself (besides the infuriating jumping gimmicks failing) is surprisingly solid for the simple level concepts instilled within. Box pushing and platforming are the two key components here in the beginning and wrapping things up, but I can respect the LOTD tag despite the lack of difficulty and the lack of true substance or length to the level. The atmosphere itself while dim in the literal sense is otherwise enveloping in terms of expansiveness surrounding the sandy islands you traverse. There’s not much in the way of sound or amplified and additional design as a backdrop with could be a letdown in some instances, but I don’t think that is necessarily a must-have in this sort of level design.
I occasionally enjoy a beginner-styled challenge and both times I’ve played this level I’ve definitely felt this has been the case made for it. There’s no written or unwritten rules stating that a level must be difficult in order to be worthwhile or worthy of reward and this level proves that. It isn’t perfect by any means and almost all of its difficulty stems more from frustration than difficult platforming or puzzles. However what small challenges presented that there are end up being worthwhile and progress the simple story-driven dialogue bit by bit, piece by piece. So, despite being lower on the totem pole than some levels, I still enjoyed it for what it had to offer.
Pros: Enjoyable Story, Easy to Grasp
Cons: Frustrating Props, Difficulty Seeing, Design Flaws
Play Browser Score: 3 Stars, Beginner
Official Rating: 6.0/10.0