Thanks KG! i had a lot of fun making the hub this go around. Actually setting it up for the Intro/Outro was...less fun. Seven speaking roles makes for a lot of screwing around with sequencers. As for The Law of Averages...i think yes and no? Had we had the Orange Diamond from the start, we'd probably have had a general downward shift in grades. To be honest, i'm kind of happy to slap something with the Diamond, one, because it's a closer approximation of quality; two, because a lot of the levels are salvageable with some changes.
You points on the levels are solid, and they stuck in mind while i was playing through again this morning.
Beep beep boop, it's the Tuesday Takeaway!
Toast Overdose - Happy_Chappy
i had a good enough time with this one. It's still over-short, and it could play to the theme more strongly; but it's fun, and the environment is solidly presented (if kind of, to make a joke, factory-standard). One thing i noticed this go around, you can see the end half of the level from the first Checkpoint, which is something i always like (we see a really solid example of this with Chronos's Voltaic Ruination). So, i got the idea maybe we could sequence break right through to the end (which is always funny). Well, you can get over to the right, but you'll be in the wrong layer, so it's right to the floor with you. However, if you play around down there with the Boost Boots, you can trigger the lighting change. So, now, if you pop yourself, you can play the level in the dark from the beginning, and the lighted materials and objects look pretty cool.
Gradia 2: The Forgotten Islands - faceofgame
Yeah, the level select page says it was inspired by Laputa, and it...doesn't really work. The environment is too static for starters. Miyazaki is nuts for incidental movement, fiddly details, and selling environments and settings (it's one of the reasons there's so much eating in his movies). The gameplay is fairly basic, as well, and the grab-able platforms can really screw things up. That was what was knocking my Boost Boots off, it seems. Whenever i got caught grabbing a platform, they'd disappear (which is the opposite problem we had with Bottom of the Beast, from Doomymood; though i have the feeling it wasn't intended this time).
Garden Realm! - ola2020
So, as i mentioned in passing in LBsP - 018, i've been playing lots of LBP2 recently. Just wrapped up the Story Mode, and now i'm looping though Acing the levels (there aren't all that many for me to get, and the Negativitron's Ace is out of the way). It's touching to see that the levels are still getting played, and consistently so. Sure, only double digits for players, but i'm glad there're some legs on the game still. It is, purely from a game perspective, so much better than LBP3. Now, on the other hand, not having Tweakable materials, or the Dephysicalize tool...yeah, i know you can use Grav-tweakers, but still...those are such good tools to have right at hand. i guess what i'm saying is, there's not an awful to say about Garden Realm!, it is a level that exists, and it's not actively unfun. The spotlights are way too bright, though.
Sackbots Don't Swim - Major_Maximus
i don't think i consciously noticed the lack of point bubbles my first time through, but once KG pointed it out, it was kind of hard to miss. Amusingly, that was something that really stood out in a few levels in next week's show, so maybe my brain was doing background processing. This one's another precision challenger, and though not the hardest we've seen, it can get a bit frustrating. Having those platforms up just a touch longer would have cut into that (though, maybe it would've been a bit too easy?). It's got LBP2 written all over it, as well, though i think Major_Maximus uses more than the three base layers towards the end of the level.
Beautiful Forest [JPN] - CodemanPSX
There's not really a lot to go with here. It's still a joke level, and the joke is stale and flat; and that just leaves you with a level that feels grindingly long (even though, in clock-time, it really isn't). The funny thing here is Codeman shows some flashes of decent level design and presentation skill (far more, in fact, than he does in his other levels). Some of the effects are nice enough, and the drop into the background section at the end was kind of cool (and i really should've PiP'ed it). i think he could've made something pretty good if he'd set himself to it, instead of making this bitter-feeling thing.
So that's the that. Not a great set of levels, by any means; but fun enough in the main. i can see where a little polish here and there would make a lot of difference.
Behind the curtain stuff: So, i think i'm going to start recording levels before i record the hub from now on. i've had to do that on a few occasions, and it's not something i really like. However, if it'll prevent something coming up like we dealt with in the last LBsP, that'll be worth it i suppose. i've got the hub for episode 40 basically done, just cameras and dialogue to do (granted, i'm cheating a bit with this one, but it's something i've had in the back of my mind to do for a bit now). My wife's back in town, but she'll be working the next few days, so it should be not too difficult to get back on my regular schedule. i swear, long stretches of time off, without some plan filling them really does my sense of time in. i don't necessarily want to go back to work, but it does give a shape to life.
It's pretty weird to think, but once we wrap up Episode 40, we'll be in the back 1/4th of the season. Time for me to start putting serious thought into what comes next.
As always, thanks for the support and feedback folks! Y'all have a great day!