Marker Man Misadventures 7
Welcome to Spookyville. Population: you and me. It's like the jungle world, only more dead and scary. The background track is the most interesting one so far, at least from a technical perspective. It was quite difficult to figure out the measure count of this song, as the first beat of the measure is sometimes a rest. Get ready for this. Around 10 seconds for the loop time, and four and a half measures long. It's not anywhere nearly as bad as that 7 measure loop because of how loose the rhythm is, which makes it more difficult to notice those extra two beats, and wow I am reaching out far to talk about things. I'm just going to start playing the game now.
I have several design questions about this level. What in the world is with the painfully long disappearing block pathway? It just leads back to the 2 coin exit. Is that supposed to be an alternative pathway if the player fails the first block pathway to the left of the exit? In reality, it takes so much more effort to build up to the right pathway and actually attempt jumping on the blocks before they disappear. Even with all of the blocks gone on the left side it makes more sense to just build up from under the tree to the platform with the two markers to get to the exit. There is a similar problem with the spike pit under the first coin: nobody is going to attempt that. Here's what a player will do: build up to the first coin, realize theres a platform above them, then use the disappearing block as a wall to build a line up against that block to get around the whole thing. The only purpose of that long block pathway is to waste your time, and waste my time it did.
This one is a fun enemy. It moves around, and if you get too close to it, it starts screaming and the shout pushes your character back by a huge amount. There is also a behavior where it closes its eyes, and in that state it doesn't move and you're allowed to get near it. However, the best strategy is to place a rectangle shape tall enough so that marker man is higher up than the ghost when standing on it, and the ghost will be unable to see marker man from that height. Or, you could attempt to use the shout to fling yourself to a faraway platform, but that just sounds dangerous.
There's a lot of markers and the level was easy to map, so I can't complain. It's about as close to a hub level as one can get: easy access to all the coins and close proximity to exits of the player's choice. Choose your poison, but watch out for the zombies.
When jumping from one rotating platform to a higher one, I recommend jumping at the peak of its height. The timing is a little tricky, but I found that to have the best chance of making the landing on the higher platforms.
Attempting to go through the pendulums is a really dumb idea. Going under them to the moving platforms is a slightly less dumb idea. Go over everything and save yourself some trouble.
The beginning of the level is interesting because of the shoe boys forever trapped between spike pits. Since they cannot move at all, that makes it fairly easy to just build over all of them. After that, the rest is easy.
Near the beginning of the chain of disappearing platforms on the right there is a ghost in a cubby hole. Getting on the edge of that hole where the marker is does not put marker man in a high enough position to avoid the ghost's shout, causing him to fly straight into the first fading platform. You will have to build a slightly higher elevation there to be safe. As you can see, the ghosts in this level are placed with the intent of causing lots of trouble. Draw boxes surrounding them to stay above their elevation.
It is a fairly simple level. I recommend just jumping into the water and escaping out near the far right of the pool. Climbing up multiple moving platform requires jumping at the peak height of the platform just like in level 60. To get the coin, build from the stationary platform between the two sets of moving ones because it is impossible to build something stable on anything that moves.
I remember when I said there's probably more to learn about this game, and learn I did. If you bubble an enemy, it is temporarily immobile. It will break free after a few seconds. If you pause the game, for some reason that timer still continues! This means if you pause immediately after bubbling and wait long enough, by the time you unpause the enemy will break free immediately. Oh yeah, this level. You run right a lot and fall down a lot.
I wonder if the developers are dreading making levels at this point. I would too if I had all the creativity drained from me and was unable to think of any new ideas for levels. That's what the part of the level where there are fading blocks everywhere feels like. The idea of having a mining level is there, it was just executed without sense or purpose. Do I actually have to show how to make a fun level here?
Oh. Looks like they actually went through the idea of a mining level. Cool.
This is one of those rare times where you need to build directly to a rotating platform, and also one of the rare times where it is possible to do so. Building a long line from the edge of the start of the level to the rotating platforms will work for a while, since the end of the line will drop once it is lifted high enough and land on the lower platform. If the group was rotating counter-clockwise and not clockwise then this would not have been possible.
This level discourages cheating the next part by making the player jump from the moving platform to the fading blocks. The start of the fading block building also has a "ramp" where any attempt to build on it from the moving platform will likely cause the shape to slide off. Now that's smart! Well, it's smarter than usual.
After going through that mess, there's a second rotating platform set that you can jump on, but you basically have to be standing on something between yourself and the fading block in order to be able to build to it. A line from the last column of fading blocks to the rotating platforms works very well, and you can build to the rotating platforms from the top of the second to last column of fading blocks. You can also use the momentum from being at the highest point of the rotating platform to jump to the stationary platform in order to avoid a sketchy build.
I saw a shoe boy jump off a ledge and into the water. It floated slowly into the water and after he went under he started accelerating to the bottom. He should've accelerated into the water and then floated once under, because that's how real life works, but whatever.
If you happen to fall at any point, you are saved by the water underneath. If you haven't gotten the coin yet, use the provided platform where the shoe boys are and start digging upward, aiming for the empty space to the left of the coin.
Now since I am actually impressed by this level and I have deemed it worthy enough for criticism, I would have preferred if a few things changed about the level. There is no further challenge after collecting the coin, and it is trivial to get once you land the jump from the first rotating platform set. This means digging further to where the second moving platform set exists is a pointless exercise. It is clear that the moving platform is to be approached from the left because it is fairly isolated and rotates clockwise, meaning it can only be accessed by building from the left side. There should be further vertical platforming from that spot to lead to either a marker stash or a second coin, where that can be used for some two coin exit that skips a lot of the world or leads to the bonus level. Furthermore, add more markers in all of the empty spaces inside the fading block structure to encourage having to think about how to dig to those markers while still being able to navigate through the rest of it. Since the most sensible path back up to the coin is from that shoe boy platform, do not allow the player to climb back up to the moving platforms on the right. Although the player could get to those platforms using a power up, blocking that access forces the player to go digging again, which should be the main focus of the level. Alright, enough talking!
The title explains itself
The platforming is actually getting quite ridiculous. This entire spike segment involves jumping to and from bouncy platforms, fading blocks, and moving platforms. Honestly, just screw it. Build a path on the spikes and just walk under all that. It is the smart way to tackle this segment.
I started to get into a zone. Walk a little, map the level, walk a little, map the level. As I realize more and more that these levels are often just cut up pieces of challenges glued together like a jigsaw puzzle with no pieces that connect, no cohesiveness, no larger meaning to gather from the individual parts, I begin to zone out, much like one zones out after driving on the highway for more than an hour, and full automony takes over. Hours pass without me ever realizing it, and before I know it, I fall asleep and the cycle starts again the next day. What used to be the thrill of discovery and the want to gain intimate knowledge about the game that kept me going is now slowly shifting to the fact that it is low-effort busy work that makes going further into the madness easier to do. The feeling of progress still persists, but the meaning behind the progress feels more like watching numbers go up, playing incremental games, increasing your level and your stats in an RPG. It looks like I learn so much about the game from seeing the maps, when in reality my rate of improvement has stagnated. My only option left is to ride out the rest of this metaphorical flat line, coasting as far as I can and praying that I do not end in the middle of nowhere, my willpower dying off.
This level sucks.
Zombies are back, and they are here for you to jump over. I don't even need to build over them anymore. So many obstacles are avoidable by a well-timed jump, and if you have been playing up until this point, you should be good enough to move past these obstacles without slowing down.
Well. This was the simplest world I've had to do yet. The next dog level is here and I'll be able to see what's beyond this spooky forest. When I first played this game I ended up stopping at this world. Even then I probably only saw about 50% of the levels. Now everything beyond this world is going to be truly new to me.
What's interesting about this level is that if you hit the edge of the bouncy platform, your sprite will be just near enough to hit the spikes for one frame. Using this, I can now say that the spikes deal exactly 25 damage per frame. It is not instant kill, but it might as well be. Because the spikes and bouncy platforms alternate on the ceiling and the opposite way on the floor, marker man is always in danger of dying to spikes if he stays in one place for too long. This level is pretty strange, overall. There will be a lot of vertical movement happening, and there are times where you do not want said vertical movement. One of the best ways I found to dampen that momentum is to place a shape above you, which will stop you from going higher and keep you low enough to the ground to shift over another column or to avoid the ceiling spikes.
A couple of pain points. On one section there is no bouncy platforms on the bottom of the transition between two columns. This means marker man cannot simply jump over to the other column because there is not enough room to jump high enough to make it over. So, build a line between the two bouncy platforms and walk over that and delete it when finished. I also learned that building a line wall to climb up it when the ground is bouncy causes marker man to lose his grip while climbing, which will make the wall climbing technique ineffective. Try and build over the spikes and then perform a super jump from there to save time instead. Also, note the part of the map that says "THIS PART". As you can see, marker man has to hug the right side of the wall violently in order to land on what little platform there is. Make sure you are completely over to the right by the time you hit the bottom, otherwise marker man will hit the corner and fly left and land on the spikes. That same bouncy platform is also dangerous because marker man cannot safely start building jump height without accidentally hitting the spikes to the right of it. This means you'll have to get to the platform with the coin on it and start jumping from there.
Alright. Time to see how linear this world really is.
For the most part, it is linear with some shortcuts added in. Unfortunately (or fortunately), there is not a path that covers every level: at least one level must be skipped. The minimum number of levels to complete the world seems to be eight. Neat. We are now in the 70's, which (hopefully) means the game is more than halfway over now. Bye?