SMW Central's 7th annual
vanilla level design contest
Q1 2014
Lui37 - "Brisk Barren" ROM 1 / LEVEL 001
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
8 13 20 11 5 57
It makes great use of the falling layer 2 near the end, and the timed lifts throughout jumped out as the theme. Coupling the slippery setting with the timed lifts is what made the level a fresh challenge. That said, the level feels like it has a lot of pointless filler which detracts from the overall enjoyability, and the level feels like it's too long in general. I feel like there could've been more colors than straight-up ice blue in several parts in the interior part of the level.
mariocool1999 - "Sunset Scare" ROM 1 / LEVEL 002
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
12 6 20 14 5 57
Structurally and aesthetically, the level is full of spice. Enemies do a great job of guarding platforms. I liked how the secret passage was hidden to the left underneath some stairs. The only use of ghost-type enemies on the canon path which stood out to me were the Boo Blocks at the end used for a Dragon Coin above a pit, which isn't very yielding to the level's name. The level felt enjoyable but completely themeless from a design standpoint.
Everest - "Peaceful Night" ROM 1 / LEVEL 003
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
15 13 20 10 5 63
The castle was unified thematically with line guide gimmicks and spin jumps, but made use of a lot of native castle elements. Though a little on the cramped side, the level kept a consistent challenge and was thoroughly engaging. Though not repetitive, progression was on the weak side. The background clouds didn't match up with the backdrop color but the foreground palette was pleasant.
Kenny - "Wood and Welkin" ROM 1 / LEVEL 004
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
16 14 19 14 5 68
The second room builds on elements set up by the first room, and takes entirely over a pit so it calls for more caution, giving the level a strong sense of progression. My only complaint about the difficulty is that the hardest obstacle in the second room comes close to the start. The palette was bright, desaturated, and easy on the eyes. Nice job on the canopies, by the way.
Aquamentus - "Frozen Passageway" ROM 1 / LEVEL 007
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
10 17 16 8 5 56
frustration.jpgThe level made creative use of various tiles, but the palette made it difficult to discern between solid ground and decoration, and it was too monochromatic in general -- I had to squint and stare to tell parts of the level apart from each other, which is especially bad considering how the spikes seem to blend in. I didn't like how shells would come out of areas where the layer priority obscured it so it sort of just dropped right onto you. Apart from that, the design was solid - there was a lot to explore, there was a lot of variety, and it always felt like it was going somewhere. It had a strong aesthetic theme and a unified design theme... it's just a shame the aesthetics made a lot of it unfun to play.
MarioFan22 - "Magma Cavern" ROM 1 / LEVEL 008
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
17 17 20 13 5 72
As if the first room wasn't already plenty enjoyable, the second room and its sublevels really delivered. Item-related puzzles aren't mandatory; they're only good for the level's many secrets. The extra life on the secret exit path was hard to get without getting hurt, as it should be. Aesthetically, the level was pretty without being distracting -- my only suggestion would be to have the background and pipe hues not be so similar to the foreground's because it would've been livelier.
PatPatPat - "Sexy Trap House" ROM 1 / LEVEL 00A
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
17 18 20 10 5 70
traphouse.jpgThe vertical part was really fun and hectic, with great use of ghost, castle, and puzzle items. The objective remained simple despite the complexity of the descent, and the puzzle served to get an extra life. Aesthetically, it seemed like everything was dark grey, although everything was still distinguishable (except for lives from super mushrooms in the second room.)

This is also the last time I ever Google "trap house" to find an image to suit this level.
Sokobansolver - "Zip-Line Adventure" ROM 1 / LEVEL 00D
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
18 18 20 12 5 73
glorious.jpgI love Top Gear's soundtrack. ♥ Anyways, this level was brilliantly designed. All enemies, even the dolphins, had a purpose and were on a mission to make life as difficult for the player as possible. They were actively engaging and fun to work around. The ending was spectacular because the line guide moved so quickly where there was no line and it really tested you to see how quick your reflexes have become. Appearance was simple and clean and that's really all I want out of a level.
antimatterhunter - "Devious Devices" ROM 1 / LEVEL 00E
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
14 16 18 14 5 67
The level felt longer than it was because of the utilization of space. It evenly balances line-guided obstacles with trickery on land. The level looked fantastic although I would've had a little more contrast between the lightest shades of blue/green/red and the white. Music also broke when you pause.
levelengine - "Desert Battlefront" ROM 1 / LEVEL 010
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
13 11 20 11 5 60
sandpaper.jpgThe level's theme seemed to be the wall triangle. Solid marks of moving forward were presented, especially in the P-switch run after the midway point where you have to backtrack on what is made into different platforms in order to run up a wall you can't reach otherwise. The level looked really good, except the fact that the outlines were so desaturated.
Harumi Makoto - "Shivery Summit" ROM 1 / LEVEL 011
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
11 6 20 14 5 56
notamused.jpgThe level involved a lot of scaling a mountain. There were shell-kicking Koopas and Chucks as the main obstacles. Overall, the level felt very homogeneous, and I felt no sense that I was going on apart from the orientation changing from vertical to horizontal halfway through (before switching back) and at the end. The level was very pretty and creative in use of decoration, but had nothing interesting about it design-wise. It's really long for a level that's effectively not doing anything.
Aeon - "Grinder Grotto" ROM 1 / LEVEL 012
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
14 14 20 11 5 64
The level was consistently easy throughout, and incorporated some neat use of line guides and grinders. I was expecting a little more diversity on the grinder usage, but some line-guided platform paths were pretty interesting. Volcano Lotuses are used effectively. The level is all grey and while there are no blatant problems, it does make the level look boring.
Katerpie - "Castle of Chaos" ROM 1 / LEVEL 013
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
14 20 18 13 5 70
The level was kind of long for its difficulty, so I found myself using savestates frequently. I felt like the second room was the hardest. There's a lot going on in this level, but the concept development and execution are marvelous. The layer 2 spike room upstages Valley Fortress, and the use of the creating and eating block after the midway point creates fun obstacles.
BlackMageMario - "Bones/Hot Buss" ROM 1 / LEVEL 014
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
8 5 20 9 5 47
The design of this level felt like it didn't progress. It just felt like it tried to be a non-linear heap. There was no real theme or aim that I could grasp so I couldn't really remember the level after I beat it, and the two sections seemed mutually exclusive. Palette-wise, I liked outdoors most, but the inside was far too red.
Carld923 - "Morton's Magma Mountain" ROM 1 / LEVEL 015
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
14 17 19 14 5 69
The level really needed a midway point at the end of the first room instead of the start of the third room - it would just feel right due to the conceptual shift. The third room's Magikoopa maze stuck out like a sore thumb, and it wasn't until the fifth room where I felt like something like that really belonged in this level. I got pissed when the Magikoopa spawned behind a pillar and I couldn't see him in the final room before the boss. Good progression in ideas overall.
notgoodwithusernames - "Quicksand Inc." ROM 1 / LEVEL 016
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
19 15 19 14 5 72
cute.jpgI played this level three times all the way through. Yoshi was used in a simple yet pleasing manner. Progression is great without veering too far away from the level's core idea; it starts with a lot of quicksand and sinking platforms but introduces more industrial elements such as conveyor ropes and building tiles. The level looked fantastic and unlike any other level I've seen with SMW graphics only - my one point off is because of that Yoshi egg glitch, but you can't really work around that when you're using the Grinder and Yoshi together in the VLDC. I also felt like the level got easier as I went along.
Daizo Dee Von - "The Magma Ship" ROM 1 / LEVEL 017
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
13 15 20 13 5 66
Difficulty stayed consistent. The level started a little repetitive but soon improved as a bigger variety of threats and block structures were introduced. While there was no particularly grand design gimmick, the design and aesthetic themes tie in with each other remarkably well. I feel like non-contact objects in the first room could've been more faded/dark to avoid confusion.
Underway - "Purple Plateau" ROM 1 / LEVEL 01A
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
9 9 18 8 5 49
insane.jpgThe level felt crammed to the brink with enemies. In particular, the Fuzzies and Volcano Lotuses became a nuisance. Their placement and usage wasn't all that inventive, but the frequency and line guides of the Fuzzies gave me the sense that I was getting closer and closer to the end because nothing else made me feel like I was getting through the level. The level's foreground looks cluttered. The palette is pretty, but it hurts my eyes - I'm not going to lie.
Magiluigi/Nimono - "Algid Ascent" ROM 1 / LEVEL 01B
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
14 17 18 15 5 69
After completing the level, the first room felt like it was meaningless to the product except to illustrate you going into the mountain. The vertical structure of the second and third areas went hand in hand, and there were plenty of path options available. It was a lot of fun, except for when I fell off the big rope and had to spend a lot of time to get to where I was before. The palettes in this level are also amazing.
yoshicookiezeus - "Lotus Cave Overpass" ROM 1 / LEVEL 01C
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
11 9 20 10 5 55
Most of the entire level seems like it takes place over a pit. Through and through, I am bouncing off of Chucks and spin jumping on Volcano Lotuses and dodging projectiles. The use of rotating and falling platforms is somewhat neat but the level feels repetitive because there's little diversity to how foes are used. The level did seem to get a little harder as it went along. Visually, the level was satisfactory, but bland.
dragoniante174 - "Epilepsia Way" ROM 1 / LEVEL 01E
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
10 12 17 14 5 58
The name had me thinking I would have a seizure... and it looks to be about accurate. There was no indication that jumping on the Torpedo Ted block could hurt me, nor a lot of the box-like enemies. This detracted a lot from the fun factor. Design-wise, there was an awful lot of variety, but it didn't build on any idea exclusively - it instead kept introducing more and more new things often on a very basic level. The raft ride was pretty unique, though. The colors were awesome.
Koopster - "Rushed Ridge" ROM 1 / LEVEL 01F
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
17 13 20 15 5 70
ridges.jpgThe level certainly doesn't seem rushed. >w< The level and its sublevels take a simple set of enemies, primarily various Koopas and Chucks (cameo appearance: Volcano Lotuses) and sets up a nice flow with them. Although I don't have a very high opinion of the Volcano Lotus, the way the Koopas could be used to gain leverage over the Chucks, who were otherwise very effective guards, is what made the level really cool for me. The palette was also colorful and soothing and the detail was nice without being too rich.
S.C.O.R.P.I.O.N. - "Volcanic Boiler" ROM 1 / LEVEL 020
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
18 17 20 13 5 73
The sprites fit the aesthetic theme and the flow of the design, and there were a lot of intricacies to uncover. Though there are are a lot of narrow areas, they are comfortable to navigate with Mario's natural speed and movement. The only thing I didn't like about this level was the fact that the darker cave land was still hard to distinguish as a passable object.
EvilGuy0613 - "Koopa Road" ROM 1 / LEVEL 023
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
10 9 20 11 5 55
Progression only seemed to be marked by the introduction of the Volcano Lotus and the use of sprite rebounding to get through the level, and honestly, it did not seem like the Lotus belonged with the concept. I think the key feature of this level, besides using mostly Koopas, is the invisible bridges marked by stars. It was easy enough to tell where they were. At first, I thought the blue shell sitting on the ground was a sprite, so I was bewildered when I walked through it - it should be easier to distinguish non-contact decorations from sprites and solid objects.
mockingod - "Shivery Smolder" ROM 1 / LEVEL 102
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
11 20 19 13 5 68
The use of the P-switch to transition between fire and ice is phenomenally executed visually and design-wise. That said, the level was awfully cramped and overpopulated in parts, and I didn't have a lot of fun.
superdragonyoshi1 - "Tri-Top Traverse" ROM 1 / LEVEL 103
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
16 15 19 11 5 66
This level had two major approaches: early on, you could either opt for a shortcut by riding the saw up to the top of the room, or you could go the other way AND get a bonus room by taking the route with the shell-less blue-shoed Koopa. Even the upper route has a path branch in which you can run over a part of the level to find a new path, or go the "canon" way. The level makes diverse use of wall springs, line-guided enemies/platforms, and rotating platforms, and while the primary enemy is the Koopa, it never becomes dull. The downside to this level is the lack of a midway point on either path.
WhiteYoshiEgg - "Touch Fuzzy" ROM 1 / LEVEL 105
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
17 20 20 15 5 77
tfgd.jpgHeh, I ended up getting the secret exit first. It took a little while for the Fuzzy theme to come into play, but I was impressed by the utilization of Fuzzy and the line guides. I liked how they jumped, dropped, and weaved to wait for you. Pitchin' Chuck is the major threat throughout the level. The level was also beautiful-looking - working the forest tileset into a tree was interesting.
HackerOfTheLegend - "Vanilla Death Keep" ROM 1 / LEVEL 106
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
10 10 16 9 5 50
mylittlepony.jpgThe level's a little repetitive in the sense it reuses the same ideas several times in the same room or prolonged to the point of tedium, but it has a nice flow to it. Magikoopa got on my nerves. He boxed me in at one point right when I was about to make a savestate and then I saw the magic coming at me and I was like sheeeeeiiiiiiit. Anyways, the second room, I felt like I could just dash and jump through with great ease - it was much simpler to beat than the first room, which is bad news for the difficulty rating. The first room was pretty grey and lifeless so I liked the appearance of the second room more.
KY2010 - "Achromatopsia Area" ROM 1 / LEVEL 107
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
13 13 19 14 5 64
I really enjoyed the first room design-wise, but the second one felt a little easier, probably because it was more wide open. The level has some creepy ambience, which I really like. When I carried the springboard into the second room, there were sprite tile memory problems and glitches with the Sumo Brothers.
Mineyl - "Red Hot Ruckus" ROM 1 / LEVEL 10A
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
15 17 19 12 5 68
This level often, in the second half, has anxiety-inducing moments where the player falls down and lands on this wall spring or tiny bridge and you think to yourself, "oh shit, lava." That kind of excitement is rare in hacks, so kudos. It's where the level's pacing increases dramatically and seamlessly without changing the theme. Admitably, it was on the frustrating side, but it had remarkable craftsmanship. Good variety. The use of land in the background was actually distinguishable from the foreground land completely.
Roykirbs - "Parallel Pyramid" ROM 1 / LEVEL 10D
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
12 13 20 15 5 67
The visuals in this level were spectacular; it does a great job of feeling like a desert and pyramid level. Parts of the level seemed to be symmetrical, which was rather interesting, but the level seemed to have nothing notably memorable about it otherwise. The terrain was a little too cramped and uneven for my tastes. The difficulty was balanced throughout.
chineesmw - "Twilight Lakeside" ROM 1 / LEVEL 10E
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
8 13 14 11 5 51
This level was winding, cramped, long, and frustrating. Visuals were impressive, particularly the rain and the palettes, but the level was overwrought both aesthetically and design-wise to the point of confusion.
GloriousWater - "Gritty Desert" ROM 1 / LEVEL 10F
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
8 9 20 12 5 54
Not that far into the level, I encountered a blind jump. The problem with this level is how slow it felt. There were clusters of sloped platforms with rocks laid out bouncing around and that's how I define this level. The usage of the flying Hammer Bro and shells to kill it were the high point of the level.
MarioFanGamer659 - "From Hot to Cold" ROM 1 / LEVEL 111
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
13 18 20 14 5 70
katyperry.jpgThe football got stuck in the ceiling after bouncing off the lava slope. Nice! ...Anyways, this level started off seeming like it was going to be action-oriented, but quickly transformed into a chain puzzle where you had to occasionally "clone" an item by repeating the puzzle through a pipe. I feel like the On/Off part and the first room did not belong with the heart of the level. It was a good-looking level overall though, and the exanimation and hue blending of the first room were eye-catching.
Mirann/Oh Hell No - "Stony Seaside" ROM 1 / LEVEL 113
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
8 11 19 15 5 58
melt.jpgThis level was a bit on the "slow and annoying" side due to the claustrophobia and windingness that dominates much of the first half of the level and the overabundance of Volcano Lotuses and Pitchin' Chucks. If not for shells, I think I would be crying myself to sleep tonight. The enjoyment I found in this level came from trying to find all the Dragon Coins. It looks and sounds crisp, but aesthetics alone does not make a good level: the lack of flow really kills the fun factor.
Volke - "Coal Stone Cavity" ROM 1 / LEVEL 114
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
15 13 19 15 5 67
The level had a strong focus on platforming for the first half before it becomes kind of unmemorable and simplistic after the midway point. The rope jumping defined the theme of the level, as did some low-ceiling narrow jumps over lava which were a little slow to get through. The level is on the cramped side for the majority of it, which takes away from the fun factor a little. Palettes are beautifully done; I can't find a single problem with the aesthetics.
zkip - "SMWCVLDC '14" ROM 1 / LEVEL 115
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
8 12 20 13 5 58
The level was elaborate and often sustained two paths to transverse. Both paths have attention to detail as far as guarding goes. Visually, the level felt cluttered, although the palettes were really nice because even though everything was frosty, it still had its own distinctive color -- not everything was simply ice blue. Sometimes, the enemy placement was dense enough to hurt the flow almost to the point of making it a "Stop & Go" level. One weak point of the design is lack of progression until the midway point; the deviation of ideas to vine climbing dropped a hint that I was close to the end but for the most part, I felt like I was playing through the same stuff.
GeminiRage - "Prism Peaks" ROM 1 / LEVEL 119
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
6 10 20 14 5 55
A lot of the ground in this level is steep slopes with the slippery flag on, so the player constantly needs to be on the move while watching the environment to figure out where to jump next. As this level went on, the concept didn't evolve, and a lot of the same ideas were repeated. Difficulty was consistent. The level looked unique: bright like crystal, but a lot of the times because of the soft palette, it was hard to see where I was supposed to stick a landing from some points. The player needs to be able to distinguish land immediately.
MercuryPenny - "Rexes and Koopas" ROM 1 / LEVEL 11A
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
13 11 20 11 5 60
Short, simple, and sweet, as I like to call it. I liked the ways to get the Dragon Coins. The timed lifts aren't used to their fullest potential, sadly, and the level did feel very basic, but was still fun. There weren't any real palette changes, except to the coins, but the level looked clutter-free and like it could be a SMW level (well, apart from the liberal use of coins.)
natnew - "Green Muncher Land" ROM 1 / LEVEL 11B
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
3 11 8 10 5 38
omnomnom.jpgI ended up giving up trying to figure out how to beat this level after going through so many rooms and winding up back at the start. There are too many pointless rooms and the level is essentially a maze. There is not enough time to beat the level. The ice blocks blend in with the background palette-wise so it was a little hard to distinguish them. The level is full of little puzzles and one-tile-wide platform jumps so I enjoyed some of what was there, but as the latter observation shows, definitely not all of it.
Morsel - "One Sunday Morning" ROM 1 / LEVEL 11C
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
19 20 20 14 5 78
itsbeautiful.jpgThis is one of the best levels I've ever played. The way the level flowed from concept to concept and developed each concept was astonishing and seamless. Not only do obstacles agree with each other, but they also agree with the city theme. The pacing of the level is hectic; the level is difficult and requires active input from the player at all times, but never did it feel like it was unstable. The level kept a strong flow going because a lot of it took place on moving platforms and a lot of the enemies were always moving either to the left or around platforms, so as you move right, you react as things come your way rather than moving forward a little, stopping, waiting, then continuing on. Aesthetically, the graphics and the music and the palette all came together to make a really excellent nighttime city atmosphere. I'm completely floored. This really goes to show what interesting levels can be done with SMW's native resources. This level feels like it could've been in Donkey Kong Country... or maybe the music is getting to me.
Giant Shy Guy - "Hostel" ROM 1 / LEVEL 11D
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
1 19 15 15 5 55
The atmosphere in this level was phenomenal - it makes good use of ExAnimation, palettes, and music to bring out its true creepy nature as a ghost house. That said, the ExAnimation worked against the level's fun factor because I frequently had to stop and wait to see where the hell I was about to go to make sure it was safe. Some jumps felt tightly cramped, both in the design and in the form of columns of flames. The rooms felt like I was going around in circles so I wasn't sure how to gauge my progress. It felt like a maze in the worst way.
Trollope - "Malicious Mines" ROM 1 / LEVEL 11E
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
13 18 20 9 5 65
Here's another ghost/puzzle level, but this one felt more progressive than the last. The first room's block shading suggests which blocks you can and can not walk through, and that concept is reused in a different way in room 3. The second room was tricky for me because I didn't get the hint that there was an invisible door, but looking back on it, all the clues made sense. Oh, and it's this song that I like so much... and the level is all purple. While I love both of those things, the level honestly looks a tad dull, and things like the Grinder objects don't stand out as much as they should.
Wurthering - "Floating Fish" ROM 1 / LEVEL 120
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
13 15 20 15 5 68
The level was slow-going and cramped to start, but had interesting obstacles. I've never really seen the Rip Van Fish used outside of water like this, either, so it was rather cool. The level's difficulty was stable throughout and while it was challenging, I never really needed to use savestates because powerups were placed in sweet spots. The aesthetics of the level are just gorgeous, and I really loved the music selection in the outdoor part of the level.
FPI - "Snake Eater" ROM 2 / LEVEL 001
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
17 20 20 11 5 73
imokwiththis.pngThe eating block was used in many crafty ways to block off parts of the level and enable you to access other parts of the level, and the inclusion of invisible coin blocks in the paths was a stroke of genius. Great job on the evolution of the concept. Enemy usage was overdone in some areas and really killed the flow of the level. The level became increasingly more difficult and unforgiving towards the end. Palettes were really good, but the level felt visually overwrought and confusing.
Mikul3242 - "Winter Wrap World" ROM 2 / LEVEL 002
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
10 9 18 8 5 50
pinkie.pngThe level had a few interesting obstacles but there seemed to be no rhyme or reason to them; the level felt themeless, and the shift to the Lakitu concept was equally out of left field. Furthermore, the Lakitu is easy to defeat because you can hit a block he passes through and he won't bother you for the rest of the level. There is no other threat. The level was short and easy. I did like how that 1up was placed at the far end of the first area. The palette was bright and all blue... not great, unfortunately, but the land in the Lakitu room looked decent enough.
Hinalyte - "Pleasant Forest" ROM 2 / LEVEL 003
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
12 12 20 15 5 64
Was this the name of that forest area in Pokémon Dream World...? Anyways, it felt like the level was built around a clear set of enemies which were used to effectively guard platforms. I didn't catch any sense of progression in design like I did with the visual theme, so the level fell flat in that regard. The aesthetics were really nice.
Confirm SMW Maker - "Nice Ice Adventure" ROM 2 / LEVEL 005
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
0 17 0 9 5 31
I had to correct a problem where you got stuck in the intro. Anyways, the problem with this level is artificial difficulty. There's an area where you stuck munchers on the line guide and have a Bullet Bill generator firing, and the slippery flag is set on - it takes far too much precision. This level also was not tested, because in the vertical part, where the goal post parts are hanging off the line guide, the saws and the platform get stuck on them and you can't go anywhere but into the muncher pit. The level's visuals did not impress - too monochromatic.
SacredSilverYoshi - "Stormwood Manor" ROM 2 / LEVEL 006
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
10 13 19 13 5 60
This level tries to make good use of some ghost enemies. It falls short when it comes to the Boo Circle, because there's not enough activity within the rings to keep the player entertained. The Fishin' Boo part was fairly difficult but tolerable. When I die from the third room on or beat the level, the game freezes. The level looked quite good, with palette animations to create a stormy effect.
Snowshoe - "Frosty Freeze" ROM 2 / LEVEL 007
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
14 10 20 15 5 64
This level felt like it could've been in Super Mario World. While it remains really simple and not conceptually deep like some of the higher-scoring levels, it flows like water and doesn't spam enemies needlessly. The bonus room is modest and not overrewarding. I adore the palettes in this level; they are top-notch and easily the best in this contest next to Magiluigi's.
Hielus - "Realtor" ROM 2 / LEVEL 009
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
11 12 19 15 5 62
The interesting part of the design (which was also the slow part) was how well the flames were used as a hazard. There is no outstanding gimmick, though, and the level feels kind of disjointed from one room to the next. Admitably, a lot of this level's charm is in the visuals - it is truly a surreal level with rainbow clouds, city buildings, and glowing striped backgrounds.
Milk - "A Study in Fulcrums" ROM 2 / LEVEL 00B
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
14 20 19 15 5 73
fulcrum.jpgI felt a little disoriented by the orientation of the objects at first, but realized that was part of the gimmick as I went through the level. Individual obstacles were strong and demanding, but also rather slow. That said, the level kept a steady pace and the gimmick kept me interested enough despite being slow. The level was kind of hard, too. It's booming with creativity, from use of the various tiles to create an entirely new type of castle to the aspect of flipping the same level for a different experience. It may not have been the strongest entry in my eyes, but it was definitely one of the most interesting.
Kipernal - "Uncave" ROM 2 / LEVEL 00C
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
10 20 20 11 5 66
oppositeday.jpgFrom one interesting level to another... this level, in the purest meaning of the word, is weird. I walk inside cave walls on top of starry skies, I swim through lava (which I thought I was going to die on when I fell on it...) I knew enough by the end of the level to tell that the water was going to be fatal to touch, but it threw me off that the midway point was a goal. ANYWAY, while strong in its visual gimmick, there's not a whole lot to say about the level design. It feels rudimentary, and anything interesting like the skull raft ride doesn't have enough time to develop. Short level, but fairly enjoyable.
Lynnes - "Spiny Logging Fort" ROM 2 / LEVEL 00D
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
15 18 16 14 3 66
There were problems with the Map16; moving it all down one row fixed the level. There is a 2 point deduction for that error. Anyways, the level has a really steep difficulty jump, as I found it went from very easy to very hard. The first room didn't get all that deep in the concept, but the use of the layer 2 smash and Grinders to create one hell of a mulcher was creative and brutal. A logging fort and a mulcher are rather unique ideas. I'm a little iffy on the palette because it's rather grey for my tastes, but the level was nicely decorated and not distracting.
Fierce Deity Manuz OW Hacker - "Sheer Cold Chateau" ROM 2 / LEVEL 00E
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
16 16 20 9 5 66
While the first room of the castle seemed like... standard castle-fare, the second room was rather impressive with the use of falling layer 2 spike columns and platforms on lines. Death was at every corner, and it was as intense as the level was cold. The palette of the level was too ice-blue all over; even some of the sprites, especially in the boss room, blended in. Contrast was much needed. The death music is broken.
LHB - "Inferno Athletic" ROM 2 / LEVEL 00F
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
11 14 17 11 5 58
The first part of the level feels like a very basic grassland romp. The bouncing Koopas proved a distraction, as I tried to harvest extra lives from them, but for the most part, it was boring and didn't contribute anything to the theme. What it does accomplish, however, is giving you that WTF feeling when the level takes a turn for the fast, furious, and unforgiving. What I don't like is how after a certain point (the timed lift), I find myself hugging the front of the screen and I'm not really sure what lies ahead, and that really hurts the level. The level did feel like it demanded plenty in the way of savestates and was a little too frustrating for my complete liking. Creativity in the autoscroll part was abundant and it became increasingly more menacing, although the springboard + wall was becoming common. Level uses regular SMW palettes. This level would have scored higher if it hadn't had the outdoors parts.
Sockbat Replica - "Stronger than Dirt" ROM 2 / LEVEL 011
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
10 14 20 10 5 59
This is an unusual level in the sense that it's daytime. It's happy. There are ghosts. There are castle sprites. The ghost and castle sprites are used together in various ways to create obstacles that take patience to get through, leading to a level with some really spontaneous pacing shifts. There are a few early Boo Circles that I feel just force you to wait for no good reason, while some of the later ones with the grinders on both sides turn it into an interesting obstacle. I'm not overly fond of the palette; the level looks very plain, but not bad.
SecretAgentYoshi - "Darkest Woods" ROM 2 / LEVEL 012
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
9 9 20 9 5 52
WOW @ That arrow pointing down to death. X_x I realized afterwards it was for the part on the other side of the wall, but it'd be smarter to put it on that side. That aside, this was a fairly decent auto-scroll level, but there's a lot of wasted potential. Some areas of the level have too many branch jumps, and the Magikoopa was often completely benign due to the fast scrolling and the environment not really bringing out his threatening nature. Palette-wise, the color was monochromatic and bland -- there are a lot of colors that can even work for night. The clouds were also kind of bright compared to the rest of the level.
Proto Stratos - "Nocturnal Freeze" ROM 2 / LEVEL 013
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
7 8 20 9 5 49
The first half of the level felt pointless since the concept comes to light in the second half, which is basically the first half with a slippery flag set on. The new icy factor doesn't change much about the level besides making music note blocks and turn blocks solid, so the implementation of the namesake idea is rather poor. All I gather is that you want to grab the P-switch to get up the wall. I feel like the palette for the regular land looked snowier than the palette for the slippery land, and the shading was reversed on the slippery land. The night didn't really look like night.
Gregor - "Fun Gun Factory" ROM 2 / LEVEL 016
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
13 14 18 15 5 65
commiefornia.jpgNofunz Factory had a lot of design choices, both good and questionable, but kept a consistent flow. The second room had a lot of box-jumping, which got repetitive. The use of Ball & Chains with the falling platform right below them that you have to cross over got me fired up. The underwater swimming part seemed irrelevant and its easiness so late in the level detracts from the experience. Most of the level was a moderate challenge, enough to test you but not enough to trigger me to make and load savestates. This level really hammered aesthetics home. It definitely offered bang for my buck. <_> *shot*
MrUltimateKirby - "To The Forest" ROM 2 / LEVEL 01A
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
9 9 19 12 5 54
I found an extra life trick that would make this level interesting in a full hack. The level progresses in scenery but throws way too many small ideas around. Other than the net climbing and that one invisible block to get to a powerup, I'm not seeing anything jumping out at me as unique. The first section felt like a clusterfuck of enemies, but the order in the chaos comes from the fact that the level is still straightforward. The palettes were bright and cheery, though nothing extravagant.
tcdw - "Cloudy Sea Ruins" ROM 2 / LEVEL 01B
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
13 12 20 13 5 63
The level is vague conceptually. I think it's trying to be one of those early-game grassland levels that sort of introduce you to the gameplay mechanics, but it has a little bit of everything action-oriented that a grassland can have, especially in regard to the Dragon Coin placement. It's fun and flows well, but it's not particularly memorable. The palettes are great, but I'm not a fan of inaccessible land surfaces within land. That's where it starts to get unclean and a little overdetailed.
ZMann - "Lakitu's Castle" ROM 2 / LEVEL 01E
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
16 12 20 15 5 68
The big timer had me thinking this was going to be a drawn-out level, but each room was pleasantly brief. The use of Lakitu and/or Spinies in most rooms is what bonds the entire level. It blends these enemies with common castle threats such as Thwomp, nets, and more, but introduces something new each segment to keep the level fresh. No concept became strongly developed, so it all flowed together. The level didn't really have a climax. The palettes and level of detail are great.
Ludus - "Why the Sand's Hot" ROM 2 / LEVEL 021
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
12 12 20 10 5 59
This level has pacing ADHD, as there were often times where I was slowed to a stop waiting for projectiles to finish moving out of the way, and other times where the level moved fairly quickly. There was a lot of enemy clutter in general which made a lot of the level annoying to play through. The only part that really jumped out at me in terms of creativity and thought was with the eating block and the use of "phantom blocks" to create a thrilling race against death. That said, the ghost blocks animate a little too slow and I stumbled through that part a lot. The level was extremely detailed, the tilesets flowed together, but the palette was just so... depressing and lifeless. *sighs and takes Prozac*
worldpeace - "Cavern of Pandora" ROM 2 / LEVEL 022
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
20 20 20 15 5 80
THE BESTThis level has a really interesting gimmick. Arrows point down to special switches in the level that reveal both prizes and traps. The level forces you to understand this concept before moving on, as the beginning is blocked off. The concept evolves as the level progresses and the space the sprites are placed in are really molded to bring out the most effective use of them - the Thwimps, the Chucks, it's all good. Each task becomes more grueling and intricately structured than the last. This level was a lot of fun to figure out, as it was fairly forgiving if you messed up a puzzle. The level kept a simple appearance, clean palettes, and an interesting inverse-shading in the background of the cave.
Shog - "Reznor's Ice Path" ROM 2 / LEVEL 023
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
13 15 20 14 5 67
Immediately when I start this level, a bomb is walking right towards me. Awfully close. The first room feels really, really claustrophobic, but the second room on redeems the level. I liked how if you made it across the turn block section without losing your big status, you were able to gain access to a room where you have to perform a special puzzle with a Koopa to be able to reach the secret exit way up high in the level. The level is nicely decorated with Thank You ending graphics and canvases, and the palette is eye-catching.
ferrety111 - "Snow My!" ROM 2 / LEVEL 101
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
20 13 20 14 5 72
It's a straightforward bouncy level with Ninjis and music note blocks! I can't say I was blown away by the utilization of the music note block, but this level was fast-paced, fluent, and fun all around. Most of the Dragon Coins fit the ebb and flow perfectly. I liked the palette, for the most part, but I have a nitpick about those clouds since I like seeing the shade gradient flow right into the sky color - seeing the final color be darker than the sky is a bit weird to me.
Blue Leaf - "Blazing Peak" ROM 2 / LEVEL 105
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
16 20 20 15 5 76
This level combined rotating platforms with lava slopes to bring you pulse-pounding action, as you have to get dangerously close to that lava sometimes to know you're clear to make a successful jump. The layer 2 scrolling in the second room didn't get in the way of the fast paced too much; waiting was minimal. I liked that most of the Volcano Lotuses could be comfortably navigated around. The volcanic theme ties both halves of the level together. The palette of the level is excellent.
gibbl - "Bullet Bill Forest" ROM 2 / LEVEL 106
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
14 13 19 11 5 62
innawoods.jpgBullets, shells, cannons, my favorite Seiken Densetsu 3 song... I feel like you made this level just for me. ♥ This level was pretty damn mean, as it required a lot of attention and precision -- the nature of the Bullet Bill shooters forced a hectic pace despite the common single-tile-wide platform jump. It wrapped itself around a few core hazards, which I admire. Some obstacles were really cool, like the area you were on a rotating platform and ducked below a muncher. I had to use screen-shifting at one point to gauge when to jump... ok, these puns aren't very gunny anymore. A little harder than what I'm accustomed to, overall, but consistent... the palette is standard from SMW and the visuals are clean.
Metaknight 3 - "Cumulus Crag" ROM 2 / LEVEL 108
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
8 9 18 10 5 50
cliud.pngThis level had a rather cute appeal, but design-wise, fell flat. I never get the sense that there's a design theme going on, only a visual one. I mean, the level feels like "just curvy platforms with enemies on top." It's evenly paced, but offers no defining challenges and feels incredibly easy. Lucky there's no technicality rating, because there's quite a few Map16 problems with this level that enable me to walk through walls and there seem to be some contact problems with the castle tops visually. I liked the rain and the transformation of bush tiles into clouds and those big water bubbles that you could swim in. The palette does look nice, but the ground designs are kind of a mess.
Superkingyoshi - "Dark Depths" ROM 2 / LEVEL 10A
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
13 15 19 15 5 67
>mfw showtime // The level is claustrophobic and a little confusing since the path is all over the place. It's a hard level to get a feel for the first time around, but the atmosphere enchants you enough to bring you back for a second round. Diggin' Chucks were used particularly well as well as floating rock/moving checkerboard platforms, although near the end, there's one such Chuck that throws rocks right onto the springboard area near that last Dragon Coin, which overcomplicates things. I encountered a sprite tile memory problem that caused a checkerboard platform not to spawn, but the level is clear of problems otherwise. I liked the secret 1-ups in the level.
Ascaska - "Baked Fish Cake" ROM 2 / LEVEL 10B
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
11 12 20 15 5 63
This is a strange level in the sense that it includes a lot of enemies inside bubbles that drift your way. The pacing is slow, and there's a bit to explore to get all the Dragon Coins so some of that pacing is justified while a lot of it feels like it's forced by the ever-changing platform heights and bubbles. The addition and increasing use of line guides gave me a sense that I was progressing through the level. I noticed the tint of the level is like a baked fish cake, haha... that said, the palette is really great!
Maruhai - "Hanging Gardens" ROM 2 / LEVEL 10C
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
14 12 20 13 5 64
Here we have a grassland in the sky. Koopas and Chucks are the main threats and they do an effective job of playing watchdog on their platforms. There were some instances where you needed to bounce off of them to proceed or get a Dragon Coin (and I really liked how you placed most of the Dragon Coins to encourage exploration.) There were a few more fun things, such as getting shot out of a pipe. The bulk of the level was a vertical ascent, where the changes in the environment dropped hints to me about how close I was to the end of it. It was long, and didn't really do an awful lot of creative things, but the level was enjoyable. I loved the palette, though the land had some strange carving.
SLBros. - "Cortex Pyramid" ROM 2 / LEVEL 10D
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
16 15 19 15 5 70
What I really loved about this level was the fact that it was designed so that there is a lot to explore, but you can also breeze through it if you just want to get to the end. The Dragon Coins are often put nicely off the main path. There's a cool bonus room that you can reach if you find the invisible coin blocks, which I like. (More goodies, more fun.) I had a couple of issues in the pyramid, though: one of the spikes fall when the spike ceiling is out of view and I got hit by that with no time to react, and I had a moving block fail to spawn near the top of the level. This level was very aesthetically pleasing and made creative use of the native graphics without overdetailing the level.
GlitchMr - "Reset Tower" ROM 2 / LEVEL 110
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
12 15 20 11 5 63
The concept was cool, but the execution didn't deliver as much excitement as it could have since it felt really easy and comfortable to get to a checkpoint with 11-17 seconds left. There was one checkpoint I was even able to skip. I also felt like there could've been more diversity in the design with all the tricks you can do with castle sprites. The level kept a steady pace and forced you to stop for nothing, which was good. I encountered one area after the midway point with sprite tile memory problems which caused a platform not to spawn. I like purple, but the contrast between the light blue-grey and purple is rather bland.
yogui - "Nonsens Zone" ROM 2 / LEVEL 111
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
12 18 20 14 5 69
footballsinspace.jpgThis level is completely frivolous. It has funky palettes, footballs bouncing everywhere, sparkles you swim through... it's about as surreal as it gets. The key doesn't go in the keyhole. The signs lie. Anyways, the terrain in the second room felt like slopes for the sake of slopes but it was fun sliding through footballs. The most challenge seemed to come from Sparkies and Hotheads. It was definitely different.
SilverSwallow - "Inside Intestines" ROM 2 / LEVEL 112
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
14 20 19 11 5 69
The level feels long, winding, narrow, yet flowing, much like intestines. The gameplay gets creative in the second half and there are a lot of fun obstacles. Using the Dragon Coins to cover up a bridge that can be crossed on your second playthrough with more level to explore was a cool idea. My issue aesthetically is while it's a nice color, it's just too much red, and I can't distinguish that well between stuff I can walk on, stuff I can walk through, and stuff that would have a solid ceiling. I was a little nervous going into the water with lava graphics because I wasn't sure what it was. This demonstrated a great use of SMW's graphics.
Gamma V - "Emerald Grotto" ROM 2 / LEVEL 114
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
11 14 20 14 5 64
Puntin' Chucks were used particularly well. There was quite a bit of enemy clutter in the first room and while the use of Layer 2 in the last half was creative, both aspects yielded to a really slow pace. I liked how you crated crystals. The palette is pleasing overall, and the layer 3 rock background suits comfortably.
Exor Knurd - "Frosted Flame Fort" ROM 2 / LEVEL
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
8 12 19 11 5 55
frostedflakes.jpgThe level had a lot of ideas going on, but it felt so disjointed and clunky. You go from a lava room to a layer 2 spike/lava room with the on/off switch guiding it to a vine climb with Sparkies to a castle top with flying fish. I got annoyed in the final section, admitably, by the flying fish and falling hammers. Some of the line-guided enemies were threatless. The level used standard SMW palettes.
Golden Yoshi - "Forest of Illusion" ROM 2 / LEVEL 116
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
8 19 15 13 5 60
The second half of the level seemed considerably more tolerable than the first because the level leads you more around the disguised, dangerous tricks rather than through them, so you don't have to wait and watch as much. That said, the only part of the level that really impressed me was raising up the baby Yoshi in order to get the secret exit since you had to bring a throw block to him in order to make him grow. Aesthetically, I thought the level was good.
Shyguyninja090 - "The Comeback" ROM 2 / LEVEL 117
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
3 4 20 10 5 42
The level felt like it was mindlessly assembled. It was very plain and had no real concept. Blue Yoshi was given to you right at the beginning, and you could easily skip over two of the three major rooms. The level was long and had no midway point. Palettes were standard of SMW.
Truxton - "Spooky Scary Swamp" ROM 2 / LEVEL 118
Design & Fun Creativity Difficulty Aesthetics Orthodoxness Score
13 12 20 12 5 62
spooky scary skeletonsA couple of the Dragon Coins were fun to get but I didn't like the one that was near the Boo Circle that I had to backtrack a little on to get. The Boo Circles in general took away a lot of enjoyment from the level because they killed the pacing and there was often nothing to do in them. Other than that, enemy usage was superb. The level had nice decoration - I really liked the lamps. The outside palette was kind of boring, though... too much blue, and it didn't really look like a swamp so much as a haunted lake.
My scoring rubric does not follow
an even distribution but reflects
my opinion on what each score
means, and is as follows:

red: 0-42: F / "Not for me"
orange: 43-55: D / "Unfulfilling"
yellow: 56-67: C / "Ambivalent"
green: 68-72: B / "Enjoyable"
blue: 73-75: A / "Impressive"
purple: 76-80: + / "Favorites"

~ counterfeit [371]