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Joined on: Apr 8, 2016

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39 Reviews

Mrzwanzig
For: I wanna be the Destination
The platforming in this game peaks early with the first few stages and particularly the secrets. The maze could be fun if it didn't include that silly jump up into the screen transition, and after that it's just a series of progressively more generic and poorly balanced stages. Well, the final stage is actually pretty good, except for The One Save that's randomly super hard. Oh well. The thing is, you only play this game for the bosses, and they're gonna be the majority of your playtime anyway, so I don't hold the mediocre platforming against it too much.

The first three bosses are decent if unspectacular cherry bosses, followed by a fun little Ruka avoidance. Then there's the Heaventrap boss, which I didn't like much at all. It's the kind of boss that's easy most of the time till you get some awkward combination of attacks and it suddenly isn't. The fact that it takes a long time and the hard parts are at the end doesn't help.

But it's all about those last two bosses. These made up about 80% of my playtime, and I really enjoyed them! The Rin & Len avoidance has a pretty hype song, and some really fun attacks, especially the orange barrages for the choruses. I'm very much not a fan of the pretty precise pattern at the very end, but otherwise it's a good time. Everyone knows the final boss, and at 6 minutes it's quite the intimidating gauntlet. The attacks (almost) all follow a pattern of part targeted, part RNG, but they're all distinctly different variations on that core idea. It's a really solid boss that deserves to be as iconic as it is, and I'm glad to have finally experienced it.

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[1] Like
Rating: 8.0 80       Difficulty: 83 83
Jun 10, 2019
Mrzwanzig
For: I Wanna Ponder
Stellar production, music playlist is a great idea, yadda yadda Kurath is god, you know all that. I want to talk about the stages in detail.

Blocks is a good one to start with, as it's fairly straightforward. Fill the space with the puzzle pieces and platform through it. Out of all stages, this is probably the one where the hints system is the most useful. In most stages it would tend to tell me stuff I'd already figured out, but here it can be crucial to help guide your first moves. It's also nice how the stage mixes it up with a few levels where you get several generically shaped blocks and the challenge is entirely in creating possible platforming rather than fitting them in. Mostly not too difficult, but Blocks 6 is a monster.

Pathing has the goal of connecting all the warps in sets of two, leaving a solid trail behind you with every set. The trail can be helpful in creating platforms, but also an obstacle you have to work around. It's one of the most free-form levels, so multiple solutions are usually possible, some more janky than others. One of the easier stages for sure.

Sequence sees you jumping around various coloured blocks in the correct order (or sequence if you will). Since there are usually only a few blocks of any given colour on the screen, with not all of them being in reach, your options are limited enough that you'll usually stumble on the right path before too long. It still feels challenging enough to be satisfying though, and levels 5 and 8 have more blocks packed closely together, expanding your options and making them the more difficult ones.

Botkid is the only stage that requires no platforming chops whatsoever of the player, as all the heavy lifting is done by the kids. You add objects to their environment and program their responses to obstacles. It strikes a great balance between simplicity and complexity, and you are free to come up with lots of interesting paths for the kids to take, turning them into needle gods if you so desire. My only real gripe is with Botkid 10, where one of the kids has to fall into a gap with a rather precise angle in order to get everything to line up, so several solutions that I feel like should have worked just barely didn't, which got pretty frustrating. Other than that, great stage.

Rotation gives you buttons to rotate the screen and tasks you to use this to move various blocks to their intended destinations. It's simple in concept, and not too many twists are introduced to complicate it, so the challenge is mostly in the large number of steps that are required to solve the later levels. Rotation 10 in particular is the longest level in the entire game (so much so that when Kurath helpfully sent me his solutions when I became interested in speedruns, this is the only level that he hadn't written one for). Luckily these long levels don't become frustrating as you get a save on every move you make, and you can quickly undo them as well. This is something I want to really commend the game in general for: it doesn't want the challenge to be about platforming consistency, so it almost never wastes your time having to redo parts of the solution you already did.

Kidamari has you picking up other kids around the screen to unlock the warp, with each one expanding your hitbox to add a new dimension to the platforming. I had trouble initially grasping the helpful technique of creating a "hook" to reach high platforms, but once I got that the stage became very fun. Checking what hitboxes are needed to reach certain kids and the warp will usually be the main way to guide you through this stage. Ultimately probably one of the easier stages, but a very memorable one.

Despike is a doozy. The screen is a grid of squares that have on/off states, as well as being either red or blue. You get a predetermined limited sequence of moves that will toggle either the red, blue or both. Basically, you're looking for a series of rectangles that overlap in just the right way to serve your goal. It sounds complicated, and it is, but honestly it didn't take me TOO long to get the hang of the concept. Understanding the rules is one thing though, solving the puzzles quite another, and these puzzles are HARD. Your mileage will vary of course, but starting from Despike 4 there were a few puzzles that took me hours of staring at them before the solution dawned on me. It never felt unreasonable though, I just didn't have the eye for it, and figuring it out was always very satisfying.

Sudoku is similar to Blocks, just with sudoku puzzles instead of jigsaw puzzles. The sudoku "numbers" represent various block and spike arrangements, and as with Blocks there will be times when your platforming path must be taken into consideration as part of the puzzle. Some of these can be quite challenging, so the ability to toggle a grid with numbers is extremely appreciated.

Lasers is your obligatory "redirect the light beams" puzzle that any puzzle game worth its salt has to include. You get a limited number of 3 different mirrors that you must place in order to guide the lasers to their targets. Not much to say, you probably know what to expect with this. It's well done, and one of the more challenging stages.

Matching is a really clever idea where you have to divide a number of screens into sets of two that you can get through with the same inputs, with additional gimmicks like flipping the screen and low gravity being introduced along the way. If Despike has the hardest puzzles, this has the hardest platforming (and also pretty hard puzzles). Lots of potential for janky solutions here, and even the intended solutions occasionally veer in that direction. Getting stuck against a wall safely in one screen while you get through the other is often a viable tactic. Great stage to end on.

The bonus challenges are also great. Chess avoidance might be my favourite part of the game, and the tower defense is impressively detailed for a bonus challenge.

Kurath says in his comment for this game that "The focus is on presenting the player with all information and having them solve puzzles in a logical fashion". I think he absolutely succeeded in this goal. I'm never a fan of puzzle games where the puzzle is in figuring out how it works, or in trying random crap to get a response. The puzzles in this game always feel fair, fun and rewarding, and it comes in such a polished package that everyone with an interest in puzzles owes it to themselves to check it out.

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[2] Likes
Rating: 10.0 100       Difficulty: 65 65
Jun 9, 2019
Mrzwanzig
For: I wanna Figure
Quite a lengthy needle game, a good 50+ screens depending on how you count (the game being rather wacky about screen numbering). The difficulty starts out relatively mild and ramps up gradually before more or less levelling off around the halfway point. The second half consists mostly of 5 stages that can be tackled in any order, all centered around some basic gimmicks like jump refreshers or vines.

I don't think the game is ever a gem of needle design, but it is consistently good. It's pretty hard to balance the difficulty for a needle game of this difficulty and length, but aside from the second save in the water stage, nothing really got me stuck for TOO long (speaking in relative terms of course, I am bad at needle and this game took me 45 hours). So I think that's commendable.

The bosses are not much more than a short reprieve from the needle grind. Aside from the much maligned red/white fruit and the final boss, they're all quite easy, and even those two don't come close to being as hard as the platforming.

All in all, if you're up to the challenge, this is a solid choice if you want a tough needle game to sink your teeth into.

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[3] Likes
Rating: 7.5 75       Difficulty: 83 83
Apr 15, 2019
Mrzwanzig
For: I Wanna Kirakira
Really enjoyable barrage avoidance to a bopping track. The staple attacks are all here: fast RNG, curving, bouncing, an attack that heavily restricts your movement and of course the classic infinite jump final. The standout attack is the arrows that reverse and dance around to the beat of the song, which I found very satisfying to get used to, and I like how it is brought back near the end with a different spin on it to create the toughest attack in the fight.

Definitely recommended for anyone at least moderately experienced with avoidance.

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[0] Likes
Rating: 8.8 88       Difficulty: 78 78
Apr 7, 2019
Mrzwanzig
For: I wanna be the Vector
Fairly short but difficult needle game with enough variety in the types of jumps to stay interesting throughout. Your mileage may vary, but for me the (by some distance) toughest save was on the second screen of the game, which was somewhat discouraging

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[0] Likes
Rating: 7.3 73       Difficulty: 80 80
Apr 7, 2019
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118 Cleared Games

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