The average length of the levels increases starting from this point, so we’ll be moving through them at a somewhat slower pace than the Tier 1 levels. Though Tier 2 levels still have plenty of issues of their own, they are a significant step up from the levels found in Tier 1.
Rank 16 “Chroma Key” by Gyra Solune
This is the first level which I would have ranked slightly higher on the list. The focus here is on the enemies over the platforming, which has its moments but is mostly flat and unchallenging. I’ll start by saying that the second half of the level is definitely the weaker half. In the second half there are enemies which don’t necessarily feel like they are thrown around carelessly, but they also aren’t used to their full potential, often posing little to no danger to the player and the only platforming which feels particularly engaging comes in the form of a fan which you need to use to reach a platform without crashing into spikes on the ceiling. On the other hand, the first half starts off fairly weak with some basic platforming and easily defeated mouse robots, but is much better overall. There’s a segment where you must rapidly slide under ceilings and jump over spikes while chased by spike crushers, which was the best use I saw of this ‘enemy’ in the competition even if it is somewhat undercut by the fact that you can destroy the crushers. I also liked the presence of a miniboss which could either be dealt with by breaking down barriers with the Gemini Laser or ignored by carefully climbing around it. However, my favorite part of the level occurs near the end of the first half where an enormous number of Telly spawners are placed on multiple sides while you need to jump between narrow platforms. It’s a particularly interesting segment because there are at least two very different ways to approach it; you can rush through it and try to make it to the end before the Tellies reach you, though a few flying, stomping enemies are mixed in with them so you need to be careful or you can take your time and take advantage of Black Hole Bomb and other weapons to destroy huge clusters of enemies when they get near you and gain quite a few bolts and other items in the process. This level suffers from a weak and largely forgettable second half bringing down its otherwise solid first half, but I think it’s still fairly decent.
Rank 15 “Midnight Snow” by blue kirby
With a focus on graphics and music from Kirby’s Adventure this is one of the most charming levels in the game, but it unfortunately has little else beyond its aesthetic charms. To be clear the charm does not just come from the Kirby assets themselves as they are used well to create a real sense of place where the white fields and hills on the surface nicely contrast with the blue brick-filled underground segments. There are also some small path branches and secrets along the way. However, the level itself just drags on for far too long with far too little variety beyond the aesthetics. A fair number of rooms have neither enemies nor hazards and when threats do appear they almost inevitably come in the form of one or two enemies, possibly with a small pit thrown in. The charm gradually wears away and near the end of the level I was actually worried that I had accidentally somehow looped back around to the start on my first playthrough because of how repetitive the screens can feel. I have no doubt that a great deal of care went into the aesthetic design, but actually playing through the level feels like a chore.