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Joined on: Jul 25, 2016

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20 Reviews

ActualKale
For: I Wanna Pass The Inverted Gate Jump By Using The Easiest Way
1.5 seconds. World record?

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[5] Likes
Rating: 1.7 17       Difficulty: 2 2
Jul 1, 2018
ActualKale
For: I wanna be the 宝石ファインダー
After playing this 77 times it just isn't fun anymore

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[0] Likes
Rating: 1.5 15       Difficulty: 10 10
Jun 9, 2018
ActualKale
For: I wanna be the good Hentai
Child pornography

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[2] Likes
Rating: 0.0 0       Difficulty: 82 82
Apr 30, 2018
ActualKale
For: I wanna be the SSR2
This difficulty rating ignores the final screen of platforming and the subsequent boss. These parts are undoubtedly the hardest parts of the game and I reckon most people will find them the least enjoyable parts as well. Unless finishing games feel important to you I'd say they shouldn't deter you from playing the game.

SSR2 is the needle game I think the most fondly of. To a large extent it follows the typical formula of Rukito's games and excels in the places his games usually excel. Some distinct features of his games include:

1. A style of platforming that isn't fast-paced and fluid but which doesn't focus on more precise jumps either. A lot of the challenge and enjoyment of playing a "Rukito game" comes from figuring out how to approach unusual spike arrangements and gradually learning how to consistently pull off jumps which initially gave you problems.

2. A very flat difficulty curve throughout. After the introductory level the game's difficulty kinda levels and any variance comes between save to save rather than between stages. There is also the patented "2 saves per room"-rule which Rukito has been sticking to throughout almost all of his games and furthermore these saves have just about the same amount of jumps most of the time and normally you can expect one or two spikes flying towards you or blocks disappearing below your feet.
I think the difficulty aspect of Rukito's games plays a significant part in the winning concept. Each save is its own little struggle which you usually overcome one jump at a time. Once you start catching on to this you will see yourself progressing at a very steady pace and you will find confidence in the same learning process repeating itself. You start shaky -> build up consistency -> figure out the traps/triggers -> grind it out.

3. A visual style without any disturbing noise or grating elements in general. It's flat and perhaps lifeless to some. There is hardly a traditional atmosphere being pushed through how these games looks but it is also a benefit to have no distractions and there is something to the general cleanliness and the color combinations Rukito picks that I find appealing.

4. Rukito's games usually have their stages themed around basic in-engine objects and SSR2 is no exception. There is a stage which primarily revolves around vines, one around water and one around gravity flips. As with his design in general, I think Rukito does a lot with quite little here. The segments you have to do upside-down for example are usually just unremarkable platforming, sometimes in his regular style and sometimes more generic. However, for whatever reason Rukito just has this tendency to hit just the right spot in making these jumps feel unique and satisfying. I'm not sure if there is much analysis to give here and surely not everyone will agree but clearly there is something to how these segments are laid out, even when they look like really basic unoriginal design, which resonates with some substantial group of people.

Now, if these elements are persistent across all of Rukito's games since GR, what puts SSR2 ahead of the pack? To me it's quite simple, SSR2 is the game where Rukito best nails the difficulty and which has the least major annoyances. The best stages of GR and PYF match the best ones in SSR2 but much of these games, especially the earlier parts, feel like Rukito trying to find his footing as a gamemaker. There is what I would call an overindulgence in experimentation which occasionally comes at the expense of the gameplay (see PYF's water stage as the obvious example). In SSR2 you can tell that Rukito was more concerned with how the platforming plays. To me it is probably his least experimental and most generic (in relation to the average needle) game while still being immediately recognizable as his.

MMM is an attempt at stepping the difficulty up from his earlier games and with this ambition I find Rukito moving a bit too far outside of his comfort zone and as most rooms have 2 saves and are about as dense as usual, the challenge of a lot of saves are inflated by unnecessarily precise jumps (often near the very end of saves) and far too many 16px gaps which aren't in service of how the platforming plays but rather just sink your consistency. The saves in SSR2 are much closer to RZ in difficulty, and this is where I think his design shines the brightest. However, whereas RZ had plenty of discouraging spikes in difficulty (such as the save with two deformed planes) I truthfully can not think of a single save in SSR2 which bothered me in this sense.
I am also glad he skipped the platform-stage for this one. Getting on top of moving platforms, particularly fast ones, from underneath is just a frustratingly wonky mechanic. There are some cool uses of platforms in RZ and MMM but there are also some horrendous ones like the first save of the platform stage in MMM which begins with a long row of 16px gaps you have to make your way through on top of a platform that is crawling at a snail's pace.

Summarizing and final thoughts. SSR2 is very tight and focused, has quite simple but well-thought out design which hits a beautiful spot in terms of difficulty. There is no filler-content, instead each and every save is like its own little separate challenge and it's quite impressive how different one save can feel from the next (something which is desperately undervalued among most needle makers). Game looks very clean, probably has the nicest tilesets out of all Rukito's games. Not really any annoyances, gimmicks well used, getting late, not sure what to add, even if you didn't enjoy playing this game which is understandable if you happen to not like this style of needle you should recognize how well it does what it sets out to do and this is a much better, and OBJECTIVELY MEASURABLE (albeit insufficient), criterion to judge games by than just stating whether you consciously felt yourself enjoying them while playing which is actually not helpful at all for others wondering if a game might be worth their time or not and not helpful to the creator who used his free time to make this game for others to have fun with without getting any financial compensation for it but that's just my opinion it's not some moral imperative just a guide to being less of a jerk to others and I think we could use doing that more often thank you.

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[3] Likes
Rating: 8.7 87       Difficulty: 75 75
Apr 9, 2018
ActualKale
For: I wanna be the Non Turtle Pickle
An overlooked gem from the golden era of fangames. Has the funniest trap ever put into a fangame which bumps the score up significantly.

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[2] Likes
Rating: 8.9 89       Difficulty: 55 55
Mar 21, 2018

1 Game

GameDifficultyAverage Rating# of Ratings
Crimson Needle 2 89.1 8.4 33
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