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the weekly grunge: reviews by nirvana

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#61
nirvana

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TiltWorks
by deurklink1


(note: this is a re-post of deurklink's TiltWorks. because of the recent hacks we have lost information between 8/8 and 9/10. i will not be able to repost theegg's space police: landfills of mars as i didn't have that one saved in a word file.)

i've only played a very few levels where sixaxis is used to add motion to the platforming, and only two of them i thought used it quite well. tiltworks is one of those levels. deurklink has designed fun platforming around the use of the sixasis beyond making platforms move across over gaping gaps (the majority of sixaxis levels i've played contained that kind of gameplay.) in tiltworks the player must use all four directions in order to successfully complete the level.

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at first it was slow going for me... it is not always obvious what tilting in any direction will do. so obviously there must be experimentation. there are little platforms in the beginning where i tried tilting both up and down hoping it would slide from beneath me only to find out i had to tilt it to the right so that the platform would dip to one side to allow me to drop to the lower level. so it can get tricky which way to tilt. sometimes one must tilt two different ways in order to progress. there is a point in the level where you press X to activate the jump pads and above there is another jump pad, but you need to have the controller tilted upward to get the pads to slide in then tilt downwards again once you jump past that point. i think that concept is a great one and wished there was more of it in the level, where you have to time the tilts whilst up in the air.

a good part of the level is a race. the presence of a race aspect does create more tension and challenge to the tilting mechanics of this level. that was a very good move. the only part of the race aspect i didn't like was the constant interruption of speech bubbles throughout by the sackbot that gives the preliminary instructions. in general, i don't really like speech bubbles, only if it adds to a story if there is one, or as in the beginning of this level, used to give instructions and vital information. ironically, i was already a little distracted by the encouragements even before the race began. i realize the creator's intent is to give positive reinforcements, but the end result left me with the thought as to why gameplay is being interrupted in such a way. within a race where time is of the essence, such interruptions become even more of an annoyance. it doesn't add anything to the level. in fact it can be a detraction because the player has to close out speech bubbles whilst trying to maintain whatever tilt motion that needs to be done at that moment, and also trying to keep forward momentum going because of the time factor.

with that being said, i have to say there was a lot of fun platforming to be had as the race began. i especially liked the grabby sponges on metal arms. it's a clever little platforming sequence.

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there is also a part where you have to grab on to these white creatures:

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these creatures can also be controlled by tilting, which could make for an impressive multiplier in the end. i really appreciate the fact that deurklink fashioned most, if not all the platforming with the tilting mechanic in mind. most of the levels i've played that use this gameplay method were very basic. the tilting consisted of left and right tilts that controlled the directional movement of platforms, with no combination requirements like this level has including the added upward and downward tilt.

the final "boss fight" is a rescue of a sackbot in a machine that needs to be destroyed:

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this can be quite the challenge as there is a beam of plasma light that emits from the machine. there is no escaping it, only avoiding it by tilting the controller to change the direction of the spin. i found that this portion needed some coordination and planning, especially once you get down to the last red target. the objective is made a little more involved as there are two devices that release the bombs as well as jump pads that activate and deactivate depending on which device is active. overall, this last challenge is well thought out and if you're a methodical player, everything will eventually make sense. the only nitpick i have about this boss fight is the very brief cutscenes that come up after each target is hit. again, i'm a real stickler when it comes to gameplay flow and i think in this instance with the camera angle being how it is positioned and what it shows, it seems fairly obvious what is happening without a cutscene (no matter how brief) to emphasize the point. in fact, when i played the level for the first time and the cutscene appeared, i died because the plasma light was still rotating unbeknown to me because i was busy looking at what the cutscene was supposed to indicate.

overall this level was very enjoyable to play and i was quite impressed with how well the platforming created took full advantage of the concept of tilt control. everything worked as it should. i had no issues with the tilting malfunctioning at all. the only levels i've played by deurklink were mini games (and very fun ones at that) but this is a nice debut of a full level (albeit a short one. i wanted more!) to have to his credit. a very good effort all around.
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#62
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i have missed reading your reviews!
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#63
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Tumbledown Avenue
by OmieR

with his last few levels, omier has made himself quite well known for his beautifully constructed, atmospheric levels. tumbledown avenue is no different. the player journeys through a city literally falling apart. what is distinctive about this level is the dynamic way the streets of tumbledown are disintegrating as the player makes his way through. most of this happens not through cutscenes, but in "real time", where the player is tossed and jostled about as the landscape deteriorates, which gives the experience an immediacy that is lost when cutscenes are involved. flying cardboard boxes, falling buildings, it's quite amazing how fluid the destruction is.

the music is well chosen and suits the level quite well. when i first played tumbledown, the music stopped after a certain amount of time had passed. when an aspect of a level like music is taken away suddenly like that, it is then that one realizes how important music is in maintaining atmosphere in a level. without it, the level felt like it had a giant void. i played this again just recently and was glad to see that the music is now continuous.

spawning into the level, i was quickly impressed by its overall look and atmsophere:

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omier can make a decaying city look so artisitc and visually interesting. as you can see in the above pic, some of the background which glows white creates the illusion of depth. what i think omier makes look easy is his choice of items and materials which lends to his level a certain distinctive look and cohesive theme. in this case cardboard boxes, planks and bolts that seem to barely hold the city together, throwaway items that fill each scene and conveys the neglect, tubes and rain gutters as a means of navigation, all of it works to produce a convincing backdrop. what adds more of a believablity to the set is that there are hints to what the city once was:

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big fancy buildboards toppled over, neon signs twisted and broken hint of a history behind the city that has been left virtually abandoned.

when i went through my first playthrough, i didn't pay attention to the cutscene which hints (pretty graphically :P ) where to go once i pushed the button shown below:

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as you can see, i managed to climb over the boxes and drop down, which i did not know was not the intended route. i thought as i made it to that point that was a HARD way to get to the other side. :P don't make the same mistake i did. there's a waaaay easier way of continuing on with the level.

most of the platforming is grappling, jumping and swinging. nothing about the platforming can be said to be innovative, but the means by which a player is expected to finish the level make sense with the environment. there are piles of garbage that the player has to jump over, hazards in piles of discarded junk to swing across. the grappling part i enjoyed the most as it is somewhat of a challenge to get to the very top of the buildings. each time a player climbs to a certain height of a level, something inevitably causes him to drop down to new areas:

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i especially liked the effect of the little storage building and the hotel sign in this area. the silvery glow seems to convey how aged these structures are. notice the big oil drum looking barrels, the crooked mail box. one of omier's talents is that he makes every item count because they help tell the story of a dilapidated city. in a way his levels seem to be one huge painting. every visual item and effect work together to give a definite sense of place that is given further depth in the details.

there is also a sense of whimsy in the level as you encounter this:

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a cardboard robot in the middle of nowhere and after pushing the button it transforms to this:

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i'm not really sure how this fits into the entire scheme of things but it did make me chuckle when i encountered it. here i wished there was some platforming involved rather than jump buttons that merely hurl you to a higher level.

i really enjoyed playing tumbledown avenue, if merely for the sightseeing aspect of the experience. i was continually amazed at the high level of visual detail, the artistic way each piece of the scene is constructed, the graphic and color choices, all of it culminating in a convincingly fragile city that is crumbling beneath the player's feet. not only a city falling apart, but a city that has a sense of containing its own history.

as i had mentioned, the platforming does integrate well with the environment. my only wish is that there was more of it. i just love platforming that much. but as with many of omier's levels the artistry of the level itself, the way each level is put together in such imaginative ways, including affecting music and effective lighting, creating a distinct atmosphere, a call for more platforming is a minor quibble.

this is a beautiful, rich level to behold. i've played it several times and i always seem to notice little intriguing details i'd never noticed before.
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#64
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i just signed out then i see you had posted a review, so i had to come back! :D
i like the sound of the place falling to bits in real time, looks like a nice level, scenery is defiantly a strong point which i can see in the photos

Great review!! love reading them
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#65
THE_HOG_FLU

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Yes, very nice review. I've got the level queued now.
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#66
OmieR

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Thank you Nirvana for posting such a nice and detailed review, much appriciated :)
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#67
Schnuckelche

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If I was a moderator one day, I would pin this thread. :P
It's been active for such a long time, and nirvana is the master reviewer :)

I would post a level here, but I have non that is really coming up, or is on my mind.
This person is really passionate about this, and does it as an enjoyment to satisfy others, not as a job. Any reviewing advice should be gotten from her! :D
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#68
Rasumii

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Hey Nirvana, mind reviewing my new and improved Clay level? ;)

LBP.me Link: http://lbp.me/v/tcr77j

It's fairly short since it's just a showcase. I intended for people to use the object in Create Mode to test it out a little. But you'll see it hopefully. ;)
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#69
nirvana

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@ rasumii of course, and thank you for submitting! i'll put you on my list.

i have to apologize to everyone ESPECIALLY jerry for being so remiss about keeping up with my schedule. first it was the horrible heat and now that it looks like the season is finally changing to fall weather (yesterday we FINALLY got not only cooler weather but RAIN!) i have gone and started up on dark souls and have been OBSESSED with it again. i've started three new characters. *sigh*

i PROMISE jerry this weekend i will get your review out. and vow that no matter how much fun i'm having with dark souls (and the new DLC coming out in a couple of weeks), i'll get back on track with my review schedule.

apologies for the inconvenience, everyone.
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#70
Schnuckelche

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You know, I've also just had some rain today. Whilst sleeping that is. I've also had the system tell me that 'tis over heating and I must turn it off, so I've been not very active on the game itself compared to here.
i'm sure everyone is patient with you and understand your weather situation, and is happy that you still dedicate time to review levels. :)
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#71
THE_HOG_FLU

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@ rasumii of course, and thank you for submitting! i'll put you on my list.

i have to apologize to everyone ESPECIALLY jerry for being so remiss about keeping up with my schedule. first it was the horrible heat and now that it looks like the season is finally changing to fall weather (yesterday we FINALLY got not only cooler weather but RAIN!) i have gone and started up on dark souls and have been OBSESSED with it again. i've started three new characters. *sigh*

i PROMISE jerry this weekend i will get your review out. and vow that no matter how much fun i'm having with dark souls (and the new DLC coming out in a couple of weeks), i'll get back on track with my review schedule.

apologies for the inconvenience, everyone.

If it makes you feel any better, the Conan levels have a very "dark souls" feel to them. I can't wait for you to play them and see for yourself.
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#72
GG-76-

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Hi Nirvana,

As I promised few months ago, my new level is in your reviews thread. This level is not as ambitious than my Alice in wonderland level, it's an unfinished platformer level. It is on my moon since several months and I did not playing LBP these last 2 months, but today I played LBP and decided to publish it :)

I tried to make an hard work on visual to create an interesting atmosphere and I used a very good music composed by comishguy67.

Let me know what you think about it, i'm under pressure, I hope you will like it :)

EDIT: level link http://lbp.me/v/gb3byd
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#73
Liquid_Blood_

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Hi Nirvana! Once you get through your other requests, I've published a new level that I believe you have yet to play. ;) As someone who's watched my work grow up over the years, I'd enjoy any review you feel like writing.

Here's the lbp.me

Here's the LBN thread

I hope you have a gorgeous time! <3
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#74
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I hear someone's playstation isn't making wierd noises anymore ;) lol after you have enjoyed dark souls dlc and you get round to writing reviews again send me a message! You know how much I love a weekly grunge lol :P
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#75
nirvana

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hey guys, thanks for submitting your levels to my thread, especially since my PS3 and i have been very flaky of late. i didn't want to say anything until i was sure, as well as the weather holding out to be a lot more autumn-ish, but it looks like my ps3 is NOT dead and i have for the past week turned it on and not heard any weird noises or strange vibrations. :P

i will do my best to get these levels played and reviewed. i got jerry's played but had a bit of a problem with a glitch on the last level so that will be my first priority.

i am especially excited to see gg back on the forum. and a new level from liquid, too.

thank you guys for your continued support. :)
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#76
FoX_EyE

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Hey Nirvana. :) Can i ask for a review?! :P Well you already beta tested it once but its a bit different now then when you played it...:D
You already now wich level im refering to, lol

Heres the lbp.me link.

LINK:
Walking Dead: Hope

hope you enjoy... :)

foxeyelbp204-2.png

thanks again Alp for the awsome sig...

 

To all the New Members of LBN, foxeye wlecomes you... If you need any help or have any questions feel free to ask.
:) Enjoy our wonderfull forum. :)


#77
EnochRoot

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You do realise Nirv is a big fan of thw walking dead and zombies in general? No pressure then foxeye but it better be good or she'll send the zombies hordes round to munch on your brains!

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#78
FoX_EyE

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You do realise Nirv is a big fan of thw walking dead and zombies in general? No pressure then foxeye but it better be good or she'll send the zombies hordes round to munch on your brains!

Ahhh! Im not afraid, ive got the only thing that zombies truly love...
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A blond chick... (is it me or is this just Twilight with zombies in place of vampires..Yeah this is a movie based on a book... O.o A zombie who´s heart starts beating as he falls in love... :S Well at least he doesnt glow in the sun...XD) Ok sorry Nirvana went offtopic here... :P

foxeyelbp204-2.png

thanks again Alp for the awsome sig...

 

To all the New Members of LBN, foxeye wlecomes you... If you need any help or have any questions feel free to ask.
:) Enjoy our wonderfull forum. :)


#79
Noir Vasily

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It's an excellent service to have been popular unlike any other I've seen in the game, moreover it's incredibly rare nowadays, and it's amazing to make use of your skills into writting reviews for the community, as do I, but I basically prefer to nitpick in levels and try to fix up the smallest of details, and I can sense your style is a lot different from that. Anyways though, not trying to bring that up, but this is truly a touching deed for the community and I enjoyed reading your reviews! and right now it's really tempting to submit a level, but that'd probably be a future project of mine, but I'd definitely like to see more reviews!
'Treasure your life's purpose for a living and never be naive with the ways of the world. You only have one life to enjoy, and stay away from modern sins.'





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