Below Kryll

Below Kryll – Entrapment by Shockwave (23e8)

Steam Page || Official Site

Now here’s a good puzzle level! Entrapment makes full use of its room, cramming switches, puzzles, and paths into every inch of it. There are a good number of puzzles here and one aspect nearly all of them have in common is they require the player to figure out what even needs to be done in the first place. Sure, a mysterious old man may pop up occasionally to give some advice, but the hints remain vague enough that players will still need to explore in order to find solutions. Even when you figure out what needs to be done in order to solve a puzzle, the exact way to go about achieving the desired end result usually requires some additional consideration and/or a bit of platforming. Puzzles are also kept small and fast, making for an experience where you’ll constantly need to stop and think for long enough to make solving each puzzle feel satisfying, but where you are unlikely to get stuck for more than a handful of minutes at most. There are a few times in this level when it is not immediately clear if a puzzle has, in fact, been solved so a little more clarity in the form of a brief message could have been added in that regard, but other than that rather minor complain I think this is an all-around exceptional level and one of the best I’ve played in Below Kryll.

Below Kryll – Switch Bonanza by Gors (12e14)

Steam Page || Official Site

This level can take a while to reach because it’s on one of the deeper floors, but it’s worth it! Switch Bonanza is, unsurprisingly, all about hitting switches. Specifically, this level is broken up into five smaller ‘levels’ and a not at all serious tutorial, all of which make use of switches in different ways. The first part is a platforming race to the finish before the gate closes, the second is a short trip across a gap using dragon statue projectiles (this one in particularly is ridiculously difficult if you don’t have Mitsu’s later abilities unlocked), the third is divided between a platforming challenge and a very tightly timed switch race, the fourth is mostly a puzzle, and the fifth demands accurate kunai throwing and some quick thinking. The amount of variety on display here is impressive enough on its own, but I am even more impressed by the lack of a single bad or even mediocre challenge between them; I think the second challenge feels somewhat out of place due to just how much more difficult it is compared to the rest of the level, but even that is only a minor complaint. By expertly blending puzzles, platforming, and precision, this level excels at taking full advantage of the flexibility offered by Below Kryll‘s engine.

Below Kryll – Glider Master by DeathlyShot (25w5)

Steam Page || Official Site

Glider Master isn’t the first level focused on grind rails which I’ve covered, but it presents a different kind of challenge compared to Cartless Mine Cart Ride. The goal here is to become a ‘Glide Master’ by using the grind rails to reach the five shurikens scattered all over the level. Spikes are close to several of the shurikens, but there is otherwise no danger. The general lack of danger doesn’t mean this is an easy level though as many of the rail paths are demanding, requiring quick reflexes and precise jumping with the upper-right shuriken being particularly difficult to reach. Paths also intersect each other in several places, adding in a puzzle element as you try to figure out just which rails lead where. While each shuriken has an ‘intended’ path leading to it, there are also plenty of other ways to reach the shurikens, giving this level a fair amount of replayability. The only downside here is that this level is actually pretty hard to reach in the first place with only one entrance which in turn can only be reached by going halfway through a difficult level to the right of it. Otherwise, Glider Master is a whole lot of fun and is the best grind rail level which I’ve encountered as of this time.

Below Kryll – if at first you don’t succeed… by zubit (12e6)

Steam Page || Official Site

This is a very short level which slightly shows its age through how easily some of the platforming challenges can by bypassed with the air dash, but it’s worth check out because of its awesome concept. Color-coded respawns are commonly used in levels to prevent players from being forced in start over from the beginning if they kill a crucial enemy or misplace an object, but here they are used to add in an element of surprise. There’s a running joke throughout the level of it being completely empty because enemy and object spawns are tired to various respawn points, which you must make extensive use of in order to rewind time. From a swarm of bees to a crushing statue to a one-way moving platform, each respawn point presents a new challenge which makes use of the gimmick in a different way. Overall, the level is a bit too short and the individual challenges are a bit too simple, making this level with a decently entertaining, though not spectacular, execution which doesn’t quite measure up to the great concept.

Below Kryll – Museum of the Dark Lord by Blackmaker (9w11)

Steam Page || Official Site

Museum of the Dark Lord is not quite an art level and not quite a puzzle level either, but it’s very silly either way. As the name states, the entire level takes place within a museum owned by ‘the dark lord’ and there is virtually no danger and only a small amount of platforming involved. There are a bunch of different collectibles here set up as display pieces, each with a short and humorous description. One shuriken is simply at the end of one of the item hallways and the other one demands some simple platforming while not touching red crystals, but the remaining three tie in to the museum itself. Most of the items in the museum are guarded by a security system which will block off the shurikens with piko plants if you try to take them, but you can safely take three items which the dark lord is afraid of, each of which unlocks one of the remaining shurikens. To figure out just what these items are, you need to look for clues in the item descriptions. While most art levels simply hand the shurikens to players or contain challenges entirely unrelated to the art itself, Museum of the Dark Lord stands out by directly combining its art and gameplay elements.