Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Level Editor 2

I am not the greatest puzzle gamer, nor am I a huge fan of puzzle games. I don't HATE 'em, mind, but I tend to overlook really obvious solutions in favour of the complex, and I can get easily frustrated. So, perhaps, I may not be the best person to review Level Editor 2.

But I have. And, well, it's okay. I've played better.


As bereft of plot as any good puzzler, Level Editor 2 is a straightforward go-from-point-A-to-point-B type game. You start on one end of a series of rooms dug into soil, and you have to get to a door at the other end, like so:

Get to the door and you move on to the next level. Okay, sounds good - so how is this game unique? Every puzzler's gotta have a shtick, after all.

The name hints at the power you have, in fact: you can change the level's layout. Not as drastically as you may think, though - you're just given the power to create blocks, usually temporarily, that can be used to circumvent traps and get you safely to the door. Given the name 'Level Editor' I'd hoped for more power over the landscape, but I suppose this will do.

And if you foul up? Well, something like this usually happens:

Painful. So don't foul up. (Though you have an infinite number of re-tries.)


The controls were, by far, the most frustrating part of Level Editor 2. Not because they're BAD, per se, but they're a little complex in that you have to use the keys and your mouse in tandem - which isn't unheard of in browser games, but using them as such in a platform puzzler like this is a different beast than usual.

You are, in essence, playing two different entities in Level Editor 2: the stick man and yourself. You need to guide the stick dude around with the arrow keys, which is easy since he can only run and jump, then use the mouse to lay down blocks. Pretty simple in early levels, but later on you often have to rely on proper timing to survive complex traps, and your brain will inevitably go for the wrong set of controls at the wrong time on occasion. Death!

How could they have improved this? Not sure. A slowdown function while laying down the blocks may have helped (think bullet time), though that would strip the game of some of its challenge. Maybe I'm just a whiner, but the setup frustrated me more than once.


Level Editor 2 suffers from the same problem as most browser-based puzzle games in that the surroundings are, for the most part, the same in every level. You'll always be subjected to the same spikes, the same grass and dirt, the same thrice-be-damned rolling spike balls, just in different setups. The graphics are far from BAD, but they're also not terribly inspired.


Level Editor 2 is infused with a country twang that pleases the ear for a few minutes and, then, gets tiresome. You only get a handful of different songs, none of which are terribly different from each other, and I started to go a little batty after listening to the same track for half an hour.

The sound effects, however, are quite good. There's a fair variety of weird little bouncy sounds for the traps (notably the spiked balls), and your stick man has some delightfully painful reactions when he dies. I especially liked his scream as he falls into endless abysses. (Is it a good thing that I enjoyed when my little guy died? Probably not.)

Challenge Rating

Level Editor 2 is a damn hard game if you're trying to get three stars on every level, and even surviving without worrying about your score can be pretty tricky if you can't split your attention between two sets of controls. I couldn't get through the game without relying on the walkthrough provided (I even used it for screenshots because your guy dies if you hit the shift key, and, well, hot keys, you know?), and I doubt I'm alone. The challenge shouldn't deter players from trying the game, but it might deter some from bothering to get through the whole thing.


Eh. Level Editor 2 is good, but it's not the best. I played more innovative puzzlers years ago, and I'd probably play them over this game. It's far from awful, however, and will prove a more than adequate challenge for master gamers with good coordination. (Really. Those who fumble to coordinate their movements, like me, need not apply.)


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