I know I don’t like roguelikes given my past experience with them, but I figured I’d give Enter the Gungeon a shot since I tend to like SHMUPs (and because it was free on Epic). It starts off fine for the first couple levels (maybe a bit too easy), but when you get to level 3 and the challenge picks up, that’s when the problems start getting more apparent. While it won’t have enemies spawn right by you that jump into you quickly like Binding of Isaac does, it has rooms take up more than just one screen, and when you aim with the right stick, the camera pans to put you on the opposite end of the screen. On top of this, rooms usually have multiple waves of enemies, with the next wave spawning before the first wave is completely dealt with; between this and the camera, it’s very easy for an enemy (or multiple enemies) to end up behind you and hit you before you can react. The level 4 boss (or one of the possibilities for level 4’s boss) is a wall that slowly moves towards you and shoots 4 walls of bullets that you can only just barely dodge past, but it also shoots bullets in a shockwave pattern desynced from the wall, so sometimes the bullet wave comes right before the wall of bullets, making it just far enough that you can’t dodge past without getting hit. Then level 5 manages to get worse by having a dark tileset and also dark enemies that charge at you so you won’t even see them at first. This level was where I first died, and when I chose another character and realized I was sent back to the beginning, I realized I wouldn’t like this game either, so I gave up and decided to beat all the A Hat In Time user levels that were featured except Onsted Parc Island (requires multiplayer), and Snow City (no objective).
This one's already at a disadvantage because Delphino Airstrip was the least substantial part of Super Mario Sunshine, acting as little more than a tutorial. There are two goals: the first is to collect 100 pons, except it turns out there are only 99 in the level, and one of them can't be collected (it's in midair next to others that you'd get launched through, but it's misplaced so you launch past it). Luckily, if you activate the 8-red-pons objective, you can collect two of them and the goal will appear as normal (but the red pon timer will still count down). As for the red pon mission itself, it's not *too* bad, but the game puts dotted lines connecting one to the next one (not one to all the others), and if you try to get them all "in order," you'll end up wasting time and going in a circle; after I ran out of time and died, I realized I had to break off the path after the third one, collect the eighth and seventh ones, then jump back to the fourth one to get them all in time.
VERDICT: Not if you already have Sunshine (and even if you don't, eh).
This one has a bunch of different tasks you need to complete before the goal appears. Most of them are just fetch-quests (find missing owl, hit button on windmill, bring 5 pumpkins to the pumpkin patch), but there are a couple noteworthy parts. One task has you get a ball from a yard while avoiding the view-cones (and if you don't approach the yard from the right side, you'd miss the NPC who tells you that those owls have view-cones when all the other owls are harmless). However, this has one major difference from the stealth segments in the base game: the mud puddles from 1-3 are reused (falling in one stalls you, giving the enemies more time to spot you)! This is a great example of how clever re-use of gimmicks can create new challenges, and it's something the base game could've used more of, even though that whole segment only lasts a few seconds. Unfortunately, the custom boss is a negative point. I appreciate that it is an actual custom boss instead of just a rehash of one of the base game's bosses, but the meteors fall WAAY to fast for you to dodge them, and the shockwaves come out of the boss seemingly without warning, so if you're standing next to the boss to attack it, you'll likely get hit before you can see it coming. I had to equip the laser badge and stand back, but I still got hit by a meteor before finally killing it.
This one's split between two missions. The first is mostly a stealth mission, but it stops around halfway through to make you throw apples at ice. I don't think that segment is supposed to be that difficult, but the Dweller bell begins retracting well before the timer starts to run out, meaning you barely have enough time to make it there and back. The cut-scene at the end of the first mission also takes too long IMO; it could easily be cut in half and still convey the same info. The second mission begins with you needing to shoot a laser at a chain, and it's the only time in the whole mod you need to use the laser badge. The next room has a viewcone pointed at the switch you need to hit, and after wandering around a bit trying to figure out what to do, I equipped and used the main hat, which pointed at a platform I didn't even see before due to the low lighting. Afterward is a larger room with more switches on the walls and viewcone enemies below, and it's not too bad except when the camera suddenly zooms forward and you can't see anything and get caught because of it (though that's a base game issue). The level gets better after this, having you jump past lasers (though it's way trickier if you don't know you can kill your momentum during a dash by pushing back on the control stick), and even forcing a 2D perspective later on so you can see the jumps better (though sometimes it needs to rotate the camera and it's possible to jump past the trigger, which I did the first time I made it there). However, there are a couple parts where you need to jump through vents, and the first one forces a 2D perspective, making it look like you just need to go up and right even though you need to up and *forward*, then right (and I swear I tried going forward a couple times before it finally went). I even got stuck for a bit in my wall-sliding animation since I couldn't land on the upper floor nor fall back down:
After all that, you need to talk to the NPC by the door three times in a row to get through, and not long after is a chase segment. Just like the level in the base game, the enemies follow your exact movements, only touching them results in an instant death instead of simply taking damage. Honestly, the segment isn't too hard except for one part around 2/3rds through where you have to jump on top of an air duct because the camera almost always messes up right there. Every time I died on that segment (or almost every time), it was right there, and when I finally got past that one part, I made it past the rest of it just fine. Given the atmosphere change, you'd think the level is almost over, but there's actually another 15 minutes or so of platforming before the end, even including some more apple-to-ice segments; it's not too bad except the level reuses the platforms on metal frames, resulting in more sudden camera zooms when you're just trying to reorient yourself.
It's funny how The Cunductor's Village tried to maintain the scarcity of Rift Coins by making them cost 1000 pons, then this level goes and puts four of them right at the beginning of at least two of its missions. At one point, I used the default hat, and it pointed to a door that was always locked in every mission, so I guess it falls to the modder to make sure that works. Honestly, despite containing six missions, most of it isn't that memorable; there's some basic platforming for the first mission, a timed objective followed by a switch hunt for the second, then the third has dark lighting which can make it hard to see grapple points. The fourth is a lava level and has some tricky jumps, but at one point it summons chasing hazards suddenly; you're supposed to avoid them for 20 seconds, but if you fall off you get sent back to an earlier part (where the previous checkpoint was) and can run the timer out there where it's easier to avoid running into them. The fifth mission is a stealth one, but it starts with some platforms over a normal looking floor, except falling on the floor triggers a fail-state and sends you back to the last checkpoint. Mission 6 also has stealth segments with some floors that are safe and other floors that are actually the same floor just on the other side of the gate be fail-state floor. However, the standout part of this level is the boss. It starts off like the final boss in the main game where you have to attack it to start the battle, but when I did a homing attack on my first try, it triggered around 5 different hits, so the message box appeared 5 times in a row. To make things worse, a vertical attack beam summons as soon as the message box goes away, and you have little time to react even when your movement isn't interrupted by more text boxes. The actual battle then begins: it's a large arena filled with a bunch of cubes you need to jump on to make your way to where the boss teleported (it teleports to a new location after each hit). Thing is, you're constantly being shot at by homing missiles, and you won't always have the camera pointed at them since the boss or next-higher platform is in a different direction, so it isn't uncommon to get hit by a missile that snuck up behind you. To make matters worse, sometimes the boss will have one platform you need to stand on to attack it, but as soon as you land on this platform, another vertical laser gets summoned that covers the entire platform, so you have to jump away quickly to avoid it, giving you no time to attack the boss unless you come from above and use the homing attack. Also, just like the base game's bosses, this one takes way too many hits to die.
Oh, and when I finally did beat the boss, I got stuck in the ground after getting the goal, so I didn't get to see the epilogue (at least it still counted as me beating the level).
After the last mod, I decided to stop trying to be picky and just play all the mods in the order they were listed. As advertised, this one copies the first part of the Super Mario Galaxy galaxy of the same name, though it has a unique Dweller apple segment, which has its own goal. The path to the boss is more reminiscent of something that'd be in Super Mario Galaxy, and as such, can be sequence broken with the double-jump-dash combo that the base game makes you do in 1-1. The boss itself is a bit finicky since you need to use the base game's finicky homing attack; sometimes it'd work, sometimes I'd hit the boss and bounce off. There's a third goal for collecting five vault tickets, and if you get some while doing the other two objectives, they stay collected, which is nice. The final mission is to collect 100 blue pons; while it is timed, there's quite a bit more than 100, so if you miss a couple, you don't need to worry about going back and getting them (though I did and still beat the mission without running out of time).
Either this mod malfunctioned or it doesn't have any music. The rest of the mod worked fine. It has some unique ideas to separate it from its inspiration, but this also results in some trial and error, like when one NPC's throw arc actually goes *over* the wall instead of towards it, so you need to jump to the island manually, hit the button to raise the wall (which only lasts a few seconds), *then* trigger the NPC's throw. EDIT: Also, this level can take a while to load for some reason.
VERDICT: not really
This level is a meme. The first goal is literally just to walk in the restaurant, talk to the cashier, and order some food (which doesn't even cost pons). The second goal (the one you're actually told about) is to collect 100 pons, but unlike in the Delfino Airstrip mod, there's actually enough this time (maybe even one or two extra). No enemies, though; not even risk of fall damage. When I got the collectible for the second mission, the game crashed, and every time I started the game, it told me that a crash happened "recently." I had to go into the source files and delete the crash dump to stop the message from appearing.
VERDICT: why do so many of these mods lack any kind of challenge?
The description warns that the level takes a while to load, but it neglects to mention that most of that time has the loading bar stuck at, like, 20% (though that's probably not the mod's fault). Most of the microgames are really easy (easier than the original WarioWare, on par with WarioWare Touched), but the ones that co-opt Time Rift segments force a 2D perspective when one isn't warranted, making it unnecessarily difficult to judge depth or see a small gap between two platforms near the edge of the screen. Plus, the description for the "appreciate fine art" microgame goes by too fast to read it (for me, at least), and when I inevitably took damage, the camera ended up zoomed in too far during the transition segment, then it displayed the same objective, but moved on to the next microgame anyway. I'm a little disappointed that the "boss" segment was just a heavily dumbed-down, turn-based retelling of the world 3 boss; it isn't even timed like Dungeon Dilemma.
This one has a neat concept, and the tutorial does a great job of teaching you how to perform the exploit. However, the level never really does anything with it beyond what you see in said tutorial. There's, like, one slope that has some buzz-saws you need to weave around, but that's it.
This is a tower defense with six waves and no way to see the HP of the tower you're defending. The first wave is just you and the enemies, then you unlock destructible barricades; you can only put one up between each wave. After the second wave, you unlock cannons you can activate for a set period of time, and then the level just continues with each wave spawning more higher-HP-enemies. If any do reach what you're supposed to be defending, you can attack them, at which point they'll turn around and try attacking you, so the level really isn't that hard; just kinda repetitive. After all six waves, you see the ending, but the goal doesn't show up. The only thing you can interact with is one of the cannons (which is pointless since there are no more enemy waves), so I had to pause and exit the level manually.
This is one where you have to collect enough yellow pons to open the gate to the next segment of the level. The later segments take place in outer space, where you jump higher and slower (but forward movement is unaffected). This one can actually get a little tricky, especially near the end where it can be hard to see where you can jump up to when you're on the lower platform, though it doesn't matter all that much since falling off just takes one point off your health and puts you back at the start of the segment.
This one has a pretty ambitious opening, featuring an en medias res cut-scene and a theme song to go along with the opening credits, but then you start playing and it's just a basic stealth level. The path splits, and you need to go down both paths to get two keys. The right path has very narrow halls, so you need to wait in small nooks for the guards to go by. The left path doesn't make you wait; it just has you find an examinable object to cause a distraction so the guard isn't looking at the key anymore. Once you get both keys, you have to answer some trivia (the answers of which you can find scattered in the previous rooms), but even if you get one wrong, you can just try again and brute-force it since you only have two-to-three choices per question and aren't penalized for getting one wrong. After this, the level has another split path, one of which is another switch-hunt distraction except easier because there are less guards. The other path is a small maze where the guards don't move, so you just need to work your way around them (it also has a bit of verticality, which naturally means the camera buckles under the sheer complexity of basic 3D). Once you hit each switch at the end of both paths, you open the gate to the next segment: a platforming segment with the same stylization as the opening. Unfortunately, the stilyzation results in both the top and sides of platforms having the exact same white texture, and with most platforms being as close as they are, it can literally be impossible to tell where one platform ends and another begins unless you're either *very* close to the edge or you move the camera around. Worse, the spinning platforms rotate much faster than normal, making it difficult to time your jumps onto them (especially when you *also* have to time your jump from a hookshot swing). After another cut-scene and a slow-mo segment that lasts too long, you reach the boss, except it's literally just a reskin of one of the base-game's bosses. If there's any difference at all, the boss *might* be faster since I found its homing-ground-pound attacks impossible to avoid (though the game spawns enough heart pons that you'll still win on your first try).
VERDICT: not really
This is another "collect yellow pons to open the gate" level, but this one has present boxes for platforms. It also tries to use the exact same model for decorative purposes, but puts them too close to the real platforms.
Beyond that intro segment, each segment of the level is based on a world from the base game: the first one after the intro is based on world 1: there's a mafia that'll throw stuff at you and you use umbrellas to bounce up to higher platforms. The next is based on world 2, but the lighting makes it next to impossible to see the viewcones (which is doubly annoying since the game combines guard owls with regular NPC owls). Another segment has the aesthetics of world 3 and requires using the Dweller Mask, though with all the branching paths, it can be hard to know which leads to a yellow pon and which leads to the gate. There's also a segment based on the city parts of world 2, though I don't remember that part too well.
This one impressed me because unlike all the other mods that reused bosses from the base game wholesale, this one added a gimmick to keep things interesting: you can't hurt the boss normally. Instead, you have to throw an apple to create a Dweller force-field, and you can hurt the boss as long as it is in the force field. The apples also produce a harmful shockwave when thrown, so there's another little thing to watch out for. Unfortunately, the boss is a bit buggy as sometimes it'll be invulnerable while still being inside a force field, and just like its base game counterpart, it takes too many hits to die.
Another yellow pon level. The first two segments just have you avoiding viewcones like normal, but on the third one, you have to deal with the world 2 boss again. At first, I thought I just had to avoid its attacks and collect the pons like normal (which was a neat idea), but on top of its homing-ground-pound attack being nearly impossible to avoid if you don't have the camera facing towards the boss, there aren't even enough pons in the level to open the gate; you *have* to fight the boss to get enough pons, and that made the idea considerably less neat (at least the boss goes away after only a few hits). The next segment is the same deal: fight off the boss, *then* explore the area for the rest of the yellow pons. The fifth segment actually changes things up a bit by combining the world 2 boss with an invulnerable world 3 boss, and it's done in a way that actually works and is fun. Unfortunately, the next segment is ONLY the world 2 boss; the only difference is that the arena is on a train roof, so the platforms are thin. The pattern doesn't get to its more complex stuff, so it's still just kinda repetitive. The final segment recycles the final boss's pattern, only now you have to use balloons to get enough height to use the homing attack. Like the other bosses in this level, its health is far reduced from normal, though its still mostly just a recycled boss.
This one automatically reduces the resolution, and there's an optional "hard" mode togglable at the beginning that causes the game to phase into a massively lower resolution for a second or two before going back to the default lower resolution. I did not play with that mode enabled. That aside, I wanted to like this level because it tries to have challenge while most other mods don't, but of course it has some issues. Notably, some platforms wouldn't display the player's drop shadow, and it seemed random which ones would and which wouldn't. Also, near the beginning, there are some spinning platforms, and the next place you need to jump is much higher than a double-jump from the wall would get you. Turns out, there's a specific maneuver (possibly another exploit) you need to do here: jump on the cylinder like normal, run up the wall like normal, then double jump to get as much height as you can, then dash. Normally, a dash would have you bonk against the other wall, fall, and die, but if you push the jump button, you'll flip out of your dash without killing your momentum while also triggering another run-up-the-wall move. You're never told how to do this move (I had to look up a video) and you only have to do it twice in the whole level (the second is a jump from a hookshot swing, making it much harder to be precise). The level *does* tell you how to do the painting-double-jump and how to jump further on platforms connected to a rotating gear, so it easily could've had one for the earlier maneuver. It's also possible to clip into said rotating gears and get stuck. The final segment is just some basic platforming, but the closer you get to the end, the lower the resolution becomes; I had to rotate the camera so I could see where one platform ended and the next began.
Unlike the Mario-Galaxy-based mod, this one has exactly 50 blue pons, and you have to collect them all. There's no time limit, though, and not much in the way of tricky platforming, even though the trains will mess with your momentum. If you make it to the end and find out you missed some, you can look back and jump down without worrying about redoing your steps since there's a manhole at the beginning that teleports you to the end.
Unlike the previous level, this one puts harmful signposts in front of the train, so you need to jump around them while riding to your destination. Thing is, they're so close to each other that there's no way to jump between them without taking damage. After quite a few deaths, it finally occured to me that I had to use the Time Stop hat, even though neither the description nor the level itself told me it'd be required (and I only had enough to stitch the hat because previous mod levels had yarn as collectibles). Thing is, even with the Time Stop hat (which just slows time down for a couple seconds, not stop time), some sings are too tall or wide to jump past, and I only discovered by accident that you have to go *under* some signs, even though--once again--the game doesn't render their drop shadows. Something the modder definitely had control over were the harmful flower beds; they don't look harmful, and you'd only know beforehand if you spoke to an NPC off to the right side of the area (I had the camera facing left because that's how you approach that part of the level).
This level is way better about keeping the harmful signposts flush with the train and also using different colors to indicate height better (or maybe I just did better because, in the last level, I eventually realized I had to zoom the camera in so I could better see the height differences). It's still tough to see if it's a sign you need to duck under, though. After the signs, rocks will fall from the ceiling indicated by red cylinders, but the roof of the train is also red, so it can be hard to see where exactly they'll land. Then the falling rocks will be indicated by yellow columns, and this is your only warning that these rocks will create a harmful shockwave upon landing. The level has a boss, but it has to have been copied wholesale from the DLC because if it wasn't, the modder would've fixed the fact that you can avoid the boss's homing missiles just by standing still. You can also avoid the waves of regular missiles by standing between them. After that is a room with springs that bounce you to the next platform, a weirdly empty room with conveyor belts that don't push you, and finally ending with a room containing only two regular enemies; beat them and hit the switch in the next room, and the goal will spawn.
Maybe it's just because the last two levels weren't designed that great, but this level blew me away with how well implemented the trains and harmful signposts were. Not only are they all flush with the train (so you never have to duck under one except the very first one which is above regular ground and *not* a train), but it mixes it up by having lava-falls, regular enemies, and even a Dweller apple segment at the end. I've said it before and I'll say it again: this is the kind of level design the base game was sorely lacking, only unlike The Conductor's Village, this has the benefit of maintaining that level of quality throughout the level. Only two things I can complain about are 1) the enemies falling on the train can be a bit hard to tell where exactly they'll land, and 2) that same train segment ends in a hookshot grapple point that I didn't see because I had the camera zoomed in to look for any elevation discrepancies like the previous two levels had.
VERDICT: Yes; this is the best one.
After the opening, the level forces you on the scooter and disables hat-switching. The objective is to outpace a train so your NPC companion can kill all the mafia on top of it (who are throwing cans at you). It's a little unintuitive since the train outpaces you by default (yes, even on the scooter), so you need to hit certain springboards to launch you forward, but one springboard launches you into a nook beside a building, killing your momentum. Late into the level, it has a thin road with three NPCs shooting rockets, but it also has harmful flowers falling between the rockets (where the only safe spaces are), and when they fall isn't synced to when you get there, so it can be hard to react to them.
This level claims to be inspired by Celeste, but in execution, it's closer to The King's Bird. One of the first thing's you'll notice is that your drop shadow won't appear over the jellyfish (springboard model-swaps), but after a checkpoint or two, the level starts making you do maneuvers to keep your momentum while doing jumps. Plus, *because* you need to maintain momentum, you can't stop yourself to make more accurate jumps; you just have to go forward and hope the game's lack of accurate depth perception doesn't fail you. For example, you'll reach the top of a slope with a jellyfish at the bottom, and you have to dash and fall on the slope to gain speed so when you hit the jellyfish, you have enough momentum to make it across the large gap to the next platform. Thing is, right before the checkpoint, you have to do a momentum jump that's *so* precise, I ended up hitting the platform with the lower-half of my player model nearly every time, but the platform has ledge-grabbing disabled, so I'd always fall down and die. After several attempts, I was willing to give up; I just needed proof that the jump was impossible, so I started recording...
...and I made it. Awesome, I can play the rest of the level, now!
And no, I don't know what I did differently.
Not long after that, you reach the 1/3rd point in the level which has a little house you can enter. In fact, you *have* to enter it so you can read how to do the exploit the rest of the level is built around: sprint-double-jumps. Its such a frame-perfect exploit, the game goes out of its way to tell you to go to the options and decrease the frame-rate to its lowest point (30 fps) just so you can do the exploit semi-reliably. Just make sure you examine the computer on the wall and not the TV in the corner, or else the level will waste your time with an unskippable, irrelevant poop non-joke. Honestly, I could look past the exploit being a little unreliable if the level were better designed, but even the second-third of the level has you make sprint-double-jumps towards a wall, then run-up and jump to a platform higher than what the camera would let you jump to accurately. The worst part is the last checkpoint in the final third: not only do you have to do a sprint-double-jump followed by a momentum-maintaining jump from a jellyfish (all while dealing with the game's bad depth perception), but you have to make the jump from a rotating gear on its side (which, again, you can clip into and get stuck), and the platform at the end will fall down after a second. It doesn't help that just holding the dash button triggers a second dash when you land, one that the platform isn't large enough to keep you on. Luckily, this level has an exploit it doesn't tell you about: after the first third, you stop taking damage. This was likely done so falling wouldn't stall you, but if you have to make a jump over a floor covered in urchins, you can just jump on the urchins without taking damage and use that time to catch your breath and reorient the camera. At least the jump right before the goal is a normal one (I still did a sprint-double-jump just to be safe, luckily pulling it off, though when I dashed, I ended up on top of the platform). I swear I spent at least an hour on this level alone.
Making a level that's supposed to be hard is one thing, but when half the difficulty comes from flaws with the game itself, even people who like challenge won't find it fun.
As much as I dislike the previous level, this one might be worse. The gimmick isn't hard to wrap your head around, but absolutely *nothing* you can stand on will display your drop shadow. Plus, they're very thin, their hit-box doesn't match the model (you could be standing on air slightly above it or standing inside it), and when you combine all of this with the fact that some of them *rotate,* you can see why a 30-second segment will take several minutes to make it past. I almost gave up before the first checkpoint. The second segment turns the level's own gimmick on its head by having Dweller platforms' effects reversed with each other, whereas hazards only have their effects swapped with ordinary platforms. The third segment manages to be even worse than the first one: not only do you have to ride across a gap and jump through safe spots quickly lest you be left behind and fall, but if you *do* fall, you have to stand there and wait for your ride to come back (a ride which not only won't display your drop shadow, but also instantly reverses movement without stopping and does so quite a distance from the checkpoint, so you need to jump across a gap towards it, a jump you'll have trouble making due to the game's bad depth perception). The final segment manages to be better by comparison: while some of what you can stand on have razor-thin hit-boxes, you can see your drop-shadow on the harmful block below it.
This level starts by forcing a 2D perspective *and* forces movement to be 2D as well. Plus, since the camera moves with you (rather than being locked into place like in ConductorWare), you can still make jumps just fine. Not long into the level, you get some unique powers: a badge that lets you climb a wall by holding X (no stamina, unlike Celeste) and a hat that gives you an extra, aim-able dash. There are also 20 optional collectibles you can find by going down subtle split paths, though I wish the level were better about communicating which paths lead to the optional collectibles because I ended up climbing over the level thinking there'd be one there for sure, but that ended up being the way I was supposed to go and I couldn't go back. Plus, the game went back to a 3D camera without indicating it, so when I tried jumping forward, I ended up going in front of the diamond (balloon model swap that restores your aimable dash) and falling. Beyond that, there aren't too many problems. There's even a positive detail since the level has a custom death animation where hazards ignores your HP and send you back to the checkpoint faster than the default one.
This one has you go through four segments that are hand-crafted, but are in a random order and pulled from a set of way more than just four segments. The ones I played were okay, but 1-2 deserves special mention since it managed to have walls that *don't* cause the camera to zoom in when bumped into! They still obscure your vision, but the base game sorely needed some of these (especially since the camera will zoom in if it gets behind one of the horns on the houses in world 4). Unfortunately, 7-1 has a cheap shot: you have to use a spring to bounce to a distant platform, but it doesn't send you far enough to land on it, so you have to jump at the side so you automatically run up and grab the ledge. That's fine, but the level has one of those invisible cat enemies on the platform, and it happened to be placed right were I was running up, so I immediately got knocked down and sent back to the checkpoint. There's a "hard" mode where you have to play through all of the segments in a time limit, but after experiencing that one cheap hit, I decided not to do that.
This just has you running around world 1 collecting candy-corn (blue pon model swaps). There are a few new areas, like a nightclub and a crow hideout with some basic stealth segments, but I didn't see much that was that interesting.
This one's based around using the laser badge and brewing hat. It starts simple enough, but slowly gets more complex. There's one part where guards are walking back and forth, and you have to time your laser to hit a switch, except hitting the switch seemingly did nothing; I had to go to the other side of the platform and shoot the Dweller bell. There's one part where you have to shoot a laser at a switch I didn't see the first time to get a platform to stop spinning way too fast, but what the game doesn't tell you is that the switch toggles *two* spinning platforms, so when you jump forward, you need to turn around and use the brewing hat to hit the switch again. There's also a part with platforms that disappear quickly, and at the end is a switch on a small platform, but it triggers a platform to come down, so if you do a regular attack, you'll get knocked into the abyss (though the switch will stay triggered). Still, it mostly has good ideas.
This level automatically saves your progress after each room, but sometimes it'll hang on a black screen between rooms. If this happens, you can pause and unpause the game and it'll load the next room just fine. The first room is a tutorial of sorts; there'll be ice spikes blocking you, so you hit a switch that drops a red cube down; throw the cube at the ice and they'll both disappear. Then you'll encounter some flames; hit the switch to drop a blue cube, throw it at a flame and they'll both disappear.
The second room picks things up a bit by having you throw a blue cube onto moving platforms with flames on them. You don't need to hit the last one since you can just jump to the ground at the end from the third platform, then hit the switch that opens the path forward, but since the third platform won't display your drop shadow, it can be hard to jump back on it accurately (though if you fall, you'll be sent back to the beginning with one less health and the path forward still open, so it's not that big a deal).
The third room practically drops the fire/ice gimmick entirely and just becomes a switch riddle; wander around the room until you see markings on the wall that indicate which switches you have to hold down with the black cubes since that's all they're good for. At one point, the switches will open a door, but it's a door inside the bottomless pit! Needless to say, finding out that's what happened took me a while, though the whole room is very subtle about where things show up.
The fourth room introduces robo-mafia; they act the same as regular mafia except sometimes instead of their main punch attack, they'll do a second attack where they glow and summon three vertical lasers. Whenever I attacked them, I took damage, so I assumed they were invincible and moved on. I reached a switch in their room by doing the Shiny Slushie Falls maneuver, but that opened the way forward. Did I sequence-break the room? Is there really a way to kill those enemies? Eh, I don't care to find out.
The fifth room is just a long drop into water, but you have to do trial and error to find out where its safe to fall without falling onto lava cubes (center of the wall opposite to the start point). Once you make it to the bottom, the lighting becomes so bad you can barely see anything, but you still need to find where the exit path is before you drown.
The sixth room has platforms that won't move unless you hold their switch down with a cube. The way forward is blocked by ice, so you need to hookshot to where the red-cube-switch is, then bring the cube up a staircase where more robo-mafia are. Okay, there has to be a way to kill them. After a bit of experimenting, I found that if you get just out of their range and use the brewing hat to throw bombs at them, they'll take damage without you also taking damage. Then you can bring the red cube up the staircase safely and not be able to see down unless you go into the options and disable Top-Down Camera. Then you can jump on the platform and still take fall damage, so there's effectively no difference between landing on the platform and falling into the pit since you keep your cube and take damage regardless. Then, you can finally switch the red cube out for the blue one and open the path forward. Also, I think the moving platforms are slightly desynced, so I don't know if the jump between them while carrying a cube can be done reliably.
The seventh room starts with a hall that has stalactites falling down, so you need to watch the ground to see their shadows. Then, it proceeds to make you fight a group of robo-mafia, except now, using the brewing hat sometimes still causes you to take counter-damage. It was here I finally figured out what's up with them: when they glow, they can't be attacked without you also taking counter-damage, but you need to be close to attack them, and when you get close, they'll trigger their attack animation, and one of those animations causes them to glow, thus causing you counter-damage. The only way I got past that part was by immediately running back into the stalactite hall when they spawned so that most would get stuck on the wall and I could pick them off one by one. After that, you can bring a red cube to the ice wall blocking your path and reach the exit.
The eighth room is nothing except the entrance and the goal, so if you want to replay the level, you won't be able to. The description says there are only six rooms, so I guess this one and the tutorial don't count.
This one has that gimmick where certain blocks toggle between transparent and solid to the beat of the music. It also combines this with the viewcones, resulting in some tough but fair challenges (though I did find myself doing the Shiny Slushie Falls maneuver to avoid falling into a couple pits). I did think it was unintuitive that the pink shockwave acts as a springboard, but the level is designed so that you'll almost certainly hit it and figure it out yourself. Not so well-designed is when the level puts viewcones above where pink shockwaves spawn (above where the camera will see them), so you bounce up and suddenly get caught. Some of the rooms are also a bit cramped, which results in more camera zoom issues. There are also some switches you need to hit to disable certain viewcones, and they can be easily missed given the action-oriented nature of the rest of the level.
I initially skipped this one because it went out of its way to say it requires the DLC, but as I was writing this post, I realized there were a bunch of levels that were tagged as requiring the DLC, but I played them just fine, so I decided to go for it. This one probably would have been better for introducing the train/signpost hazard since it starts off pretty easy, just having regular blocks you need to jump around while keeping up with the trains (and if you're too slow, you can just wait on the platforms for a few seconds and the next pair of trains will show up). It even has parts where the signposts clip into the trains so you know you can't go under them. You also never have to duck under a sign (though you do need to jump around one or two). That said, it does use the same color for a sign you have to go under as a sign you need to jump over, though I was able to react since I already knew to keep the camera zoomed in. The trains also weave around, so part of the challenge is just keeping the camera centered. Weirdly, the level uses the same enemies as in Operation: Re-rail, but you can't damage them here; they just make the squeaky bounce like you attacked a harmless NPC, but they can still hurt you. I guess you just need to avoid their attacks while waiting on the next train (which, again, doesn't take long at all). The last stretch is similar to the beginning, except now you have to use the Dweller mask to get through Dweller platforms while also keeping up with the trains (though again, if you miss them, you can just wait), followed by one more straightforward stretch of dodging signpost hazards. By the way, even though you *can* wait, it's still entirely possible to keep up with the trains for each segment.
Overall, my opinion on the base game hasn’t changed (wait for a sale way better than 50% off). While there are a few good levels here, most of them focus more on writing/atmosphere than game-play, and many of the ones that do try to have some challenge tend to fall victim to the base game’s issues (bad camera, no-or-nearly-invisible drop shadow/bad depth perception, clipping into gears, etc.).