Tag Archive: player level

Mega Man Maker – IceMan’s Return by Mr X (161588)

Mega Man Maker recently received its first major content patch, adding in new bosses, enemies, abilities, and a general upgrade to just about everything. Even the name has been upgraded from the original Mega Maker! So, I thought now would be a great time to take a look at the levels people are making with all this cool new stuff.

IceMan’s Return makes use of many new tools, but it’s also just a good level all-around. You’re going to have a bad time if you try to make it through this level with just the buster. slippery ice, disappearing yoku blocks, spikes, and plenty of enemies placed in just the right locations to snipe you while you’re trying to reach a new platform all come together in what might initially seem like disastrous level design. Thankfully, IceMan’s Return provides players with a set of four new weapons perfectly designed for overcoming its many hazards.

Aside from the Mega Buster, your arsenal consists of Time Slow, Ice Slasher, Hyper Bomb, and Ring Boomerang. Ring Boomerang is the least important of the lot, though it’s still good for collecting items from flying enemies and those placed on the other side of walls. On the other hand, Time Slow is crucial for dodging enemy projectiles and helps a whole lot with the disappearing blocks, especially the ones near spikes.

Ice Slasher certainly fits the cold theme of this level and its freezing powers come in handy against some of the tougher robots this level throws at you At one point you need to use Ice Slasher to freeze a row of flames to create a bridge, which is a neat gimmick I wish the level played with a bit more, though the lack of any way to gain weapon energy or backtrack in this room is a minor issue.

As for the Hyper Bombs, their high damage and vertical range can come in handy on occasion within the level, but they really shine in the boss fight against Ice Man himself. Ice Man is immune to the Mega Buster, though he takes damage from everything else and you get plenty of weapon energy refills in the corridor leading up to his room. Hyper Bombs are Ice Man’s weakness and, on top of the extra damage, their vertical explosion serves as a counter to his movement pattern.

Overall, this level is really polished. Time Man’s theme matches the icy aesthetic surprisingly well and the ice blocks themselves are broken up with more metallic ones on occasion to prevent the level from looking monotonous. Every enemy feels like it has been placed with care in just the right spot to make the most out of its attack pattern, yet careful weapon usage allows players to overcome any obstacle. Disappearing blocks are likewise common, but always in small groups so players are faced with a variety of small challenges from them rather than a single, frustrating chain. As to length, this level is slightly longer than average, but it maintains consistent mechanical themes while changing things up with plenty of both horizontal and vertical platforming and the checkpoint placement is excellent.

IceMan’s Return is truly a fantastic level to return to after such a big update.

Snow Machine

Knytt Stories – Snow Machine by RichardJ

Official Site || Level Archive

It only seems appropriate to bring Knyttmas to a close with a level I stumbled upon where Juni must save Knyttmas. This is a very peaceful level where the only remote sense of danger comes from a small amount of water which poses no actual threat and only really exists for the sake of enhancing the scene. The journey here is little more than a straight line back and forth with a few hills and bumps along the way, but this linearity is completely fine as the focus here is on providing a relaxing atmosphere with some nice scenery to look at. While platforming beyond making a few hops isn’t necessary, there are a few small secrets scattered around slightly off of the beaten path. I am also glad that the game makes players walk back to the start after activating the snow machine as it would have likely been easier to cover the journey with a few picture in an ending slideshow, but being able to witness the way the snow has changed the landscape on the way back is a great reward. Snow Machine makes for a wonderfully calming experience as its lack of danger and its straightforward approach properly capture the relaxing nature of taking a stroll through the snow.

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.

Knytt Stories – Level 5 by BloxMaster

Official Site || Level Archive

Even if it’s not exactly the prettiest level out there, Level 5 has some solid design choices. The initial stretch only has some standard platforming and quickly hands out new abilities, though even this part has a bit of a puzzle element to it when it forces players to find a safe route around an electrical enemy. Things get more interesting once you get the umbrella with a long downward obstacle course and some tricky gliding. The puzzle mechanics start to show up more clearly once players reach Level 4 and need to solve two switch code puzzles in a row. Finding the solutions to these puzzles is a small challenge in its own right and figuring out how to properly apply the hidden codes to the switches is another puzzling task as the answer requires the use of some deductive reasoning. The finale of the stage is the first part where Juni is allowed to break free from the otherwise mostly linear progression as players must navigate old areas in reverse with some new hazards in order to even find Level 5. Aesthetics are the only major weakness this level possesses as the standard Knytt Stories music chosen doesn’t mesh well with the graphics and the spikes can sometimes be hard to see, though I do appreciate the work that went into making the level transition ‘animations’ by rapidly swapping through several similar rooms like a video game version of a flip book.

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.