Not Another Needle Contest 2

Creators: pieceofcheese87, patrickgh3, Tralexium, Wolsk, Skulldude, Naloa, Tehjman1993, Wolfiexe

Average Rating
9.1 / 10
Average Difficulty
66.2 / 100
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Tags:

Adventure (2) Needle (8) Avoidance (3) Trap (1) Gimmick (3) Boss (3) Special (1) Dotkid (1) Maze (1) Minigame (1) Collab (8) Contest (1) Tower_Defense (1) Tralexium (6) hub (1)

Screenshots

  • by eggthecrusher
  • by Bob

Creator's Comments:

Bob [Creator]
If anyone would like to try out all the stages in their original form (before we nerfed/changed things with them), here's a download to a separate game containing them: https://www.mediafire.com/file/pvl2db1jiz1c2wq/NANC2_Original_Stages.zip/file

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[8] Likes
Rating: N/A       Difficulty: N/A
May 5, 2021

46 Reviews:

Tehninza
what a game bro

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[14] Likes
Rating: 10.0 100       Difficulty: 65 65
May 2, 2021
Cthaere
tldr:
Would I recommend playing this game? Yes, absolutely
Would I recommend clearing this game? Yes, but not to everyone, and I might even recommend against it depending on the person and circumstances.
Would I recommend you get a save (or even more than 1 save) from someone else to access some of the late game content in the game? 100% Yes
Do I have any issues with the game? Yes, several, some of which are fundamental in nature. I do not love the game to the point of being willing to ignore them, however the game is still completely worth playing despite them.


Now, let's begin:

NANC2 as a whole is too big of a concept to tackle without breaking it down to many parts: You have the contest which affected in game ranking with judge reviews that are included in game, however the stages in the game itself are (presumably, I haven't checked out most of the originals yet) improved with varying degrees of effectiveness messing around the entire order, causing interesting-but-unrefined stages that were some of my favorites in the game to get ranked below polished-but-boring stages that needed nearly no modifications. On top of this, you have the original content for the game, which can itself be separated into the general production value part and the gameplay oriented part. I will attempt to cover all of those, in what I am going to assume is chronological order.



The contest:

I'll be honest, I feel like a lot of things could have gone better in this department, to the point I am glad I did not enter it myself. While the contest was advertised as a thing for everyone, both new and experienced, the truth is that making something that is more than barebones in this time is a nefarious task unless you already have a wide array of existing tools and assets to pick and choose from. While every contest has a last place, the fact that stages that clearly had heart and soul poured into them were given insultingly low reviews - some of which not even offering any constructive criticism to help the maker, merely complaining that the stage is bad - combined with the new people aspect and the fact that these reviews are advertised to everyone, seems very much against the spirit of inviting new people into gamemaking, if all you do is insult them in the process.

To avoid any unnecessary negativity, I shall skip over my specific problems with some of the reviews, the process, or the judge lineup, and merely say that I wish that the stages were tested completely blindly (to the point of the judges refraining from any information about other stages prior to the judging stage), that reviews were made with compassion and positivity in mind, and by a judge lineup that actively plays fangames.



The maingame:

I feel like the nanc team has taken a little bit too much creative liberty to itself in the process of refining the stages, sometimes to the detriment of the stage. I sincerely hope makers have been contacted, if not given authority, over major decisions made to their stages, such as completely cutting certain screens. This is information that should have been conveyed with the initial announcement of the game, to prepare makers for this possibility.

However, that's enough of that. For the meat of the game, I'm simply going to go stage by stage, and give my thoughts very briefly:


soapbar1242 - Deservedly last place. I normally like sudoku, but not for NANC2. Thankfully short and easy to the point where you don't grow to hate it. 2/10.

meem - an endearing yet unltimately failed attempt to capture the essence of yume nikki in a fangame. The fact that there are only 4 areas present hampers it a lot, especially when considering the length of it. It wasn't actively unfun though. 4/10.

gordon jamcast + poimoi - it sure exists. Would have been interested to see where it could have gone, but alas, it didn't. 5/10.

Whit_Send - Would have gotten 6.5 but then maze happened, and after I solved it it turned out I missed an invisible block and so I was stuck not knowing what to do. Cool concept though, would like to see it expanded into a full game with a more gentle pacing. Maze deflated my mood though. 4/10.

Very cool - good theme, although sometimes the visuals were confusing. The needle was pretty good though, and the pathing was cool. Unfortunately easy and not very memorable. 7/10.

Some bro - very short, but still cute and fun gimmick needle. Would have wanted more, but oh well. 6.5/10.

Pooks - Good needle, including the secrets, however the real star of the show is the avoidance, which is one of the top 10 things in the game imo, especially since the game is very much avoidance starved. 8.2/10

Renko - What could have been a fun and interesting puzzle stage has been converted into yet another run of the mill mediocre gimmick needle stage with the additions of numbers on the switch spike triggers. The fun part of puzzle needle is figuring it out, not executing it, and if I was Renko I'd be legitimately furious with the NANC team. 6/10, but could have easily been over 7.

RedTeFox - gimmick needle in a box. feels a bit repetitive, but still fun overall. secret was clever, I liked it a lot. 7/10.

Starzor - featuring the most jank gimmick in the game, the hookshot of physics defiance. extremely frustrating when precise or consistent usage is required of the player, but just messing around with it in a relatively safe environment was really fun. 8/10.

jprg666 - more needle than gimmick. I liked the needle personally, but I can't say that this was the most inspiring stage. 6.5/10.

Stonk+Wolsk - an experimental yoshi gimmick/(sudoku?) stage somehow less jank than starzor. can't say it was fun to play but certainly thought provoking. I do hope that vanvan is going to be a mix between this and og vandal, as if it was purely this it'd be too much. 6/10.

stageman21 - Another one to the too short bucket. This one had the most potential so far though, as the shooting trigger gimmick seemed the most promising, although I am not a big fan of the visuals. 7/10.

shign - a top 5 stage for sure. great timetravel gimmick and, at least in the final version of the game, great execution. I feel like final screen suffered from being the only one of its kind, and that having a 50/50 split would have complemented the stage more than an abrupt, unsatisfying end. still amazing though. 9.2/10.

128 up - very solidly designed gimmick needle with puzzle elements, with an emphasis of gimmicks that work based on colors. The concept would likely work very well as its own fangame, but as a small sample of a stage, it doesn't leave a lasting impact. 7.5/10.

Prince - The most atmospheric stage so far, and one of the more interesting ones as well, "pure" needle wise. Slopes definitely deserve more love. 8.7/10.

Rossiter - It was a cute ship-themed stage, then the autoscroller hit and it became a lot less cute. Good secrets, good vibe and nice key gimmick (even if it's just reskinned triggers). 7/10.

KingSlendy+Mauri - Really cool stage conceptually, with 9 small randomized chunks of needle, however execution wise it falters. The visuals are a bit overbearing, many of the short segments (especially the ones that deal with nang speed/grav fields or singlejump stars) are very clunky, and since saves are chunk-based rather than handled separately to make for smooth progression it can lead to frustrating layouts that have no saves, as well as ridiculously easy ones that are flooded with them. Still had fun, and I really want to see this explored further, but it has fundamental issues to reslove. 7.5/10.

Alejo - Once again, record for production value is broken. Cute stage with a variety of minor gimmicks and a big adventure game vibe, but unfortunately the design is a bit too safe and overall a bit unmemorable. 7.5/10.

ninz - Great color-themed puzzle gimmick with fun needle design around it and a very satisfying boss to tie it all up. overall a very solid stage. 8/10.

JoaoTForce - A timing based stage. Fast cycles are always provided, even if they're not always jump-the-moment-you-press-r fast. Not a big fun of the gimmick but the stage is solidly designed around it. 7.5/10.

Asza - Finally, a stage in the true spirit of nanc. While I like projectile based obstacles, the asteroids were unpredictable to the point of frustration, and I generally do not like the timing/enemy based obstacles, and so this stage was not for me, even though I can definitely respect it. 7.5/10.

Makedounia - a sheepblock focused stage. Solidly designed, however I hoped to see more than simple gimmick needle that could be made with basic NANE this high up, and it does not have enough production value to take it into an adventure-y zone either. 7/10.

Lone - Top 5 stage again. Amazing yet simple gimmicks, great level design around it, top tier secret + entrance, good vibe with visual design, just all around one of my favorites. 9.8/10.

Ir0nX - A futuristic themed stage, throwing homage to the maker's Maker levels. Personally, I felt like the visuals were overly intense, and while some of the puzzles were clever, the needle design was not very enjoyable for me. 6.8/10.

Skulldude - A stage that looks like it was ripped straight off Vandal, and while the needle is very good, it only introduces 1 gimmick, which is itself relatively minor and not well explored, and so it also kinda falls into the bracket of simple gimmick needle that I would have liked to see less of in the collab as a whole. Still very solid stage though. 8/10.

Neos - Yet another short one. Themed after Celeste chapter 8, it plays with fire & ice gimmicks the same way the original does, and while I don't think the level design and secondary gimmicks choice around it complements it as well as possible, it's still charming. 8.2/10.

Pat - I'm very much tempted to put this as a top 5 for me, although if it is, then it's in one of the contested spots. One giant save (if you go for the secret) with a great pastel-esque gimmick and screenwrapping shenanigans. Amazing design and amazing idea. 9/10.

Erik + Arche - Great stage with a variety of original gimmicks, the big star of the show being absolutely the rails imo. Wasn't a fan of the classic waiting gimmick nor of the boss, which did not feel very satisfying to dodge for me, but that did not overtake the gimmick here for me. 8.5/10.

Goran - Again, an atmospheric masterpiece taking place in the deep forest this time, with simple, intuitive gimmicks that fit extremely well with the theme. Unfortunately, the level design was on the weaker side for me, with very long, chokeable saves and certain segments that were clunky to time, but the stage still deserves commendation. 8.5/10.

anxKha - Another pastel spike extension stage, this time with sheepblocks, and a bigger focus on puzzles than execution. Despite being solidly designed, I did not like it too much personally, with the weakest visual design in the top 10 stages, a feel like I was playing a series of ctool maps, and some segments that were pretty clunky. For a new maker, though, this is a very good showing of a deep understanding of level design. 8/10.

gwiz/kale/pat/piece/wolfie - a minicollab of 5 stages. This dragged on for way too long as a stage and would have been far better as individual stages. I seem to recall a limit of 30-40 minutes max to clear submissions. This took me 51, and I daresay I'm a better gimmick needle player than any of the judges, with the possible exception of Wolfie, who was disqualified from judging as he's a maker. As for the stages themselves, I'd rank them forest>autojump>cards>space>snow, with forest being very good, the three in the middle being solid but with their own quirks, and snow being very close to unfun, although it's likely due to the fact I expected the stage to end already by the time I got to it. Overall 7.5/10.

Tralexium - Another one in the true spirit of nanc, this time with a tower defense. Wasn't the biggest fan of it, with no way to speed it up, towers inflicting self-damage, missable money, no restarts til end of wave, no tower upgrade mechanic, and no indication you can heal so taking any damage before knowing that was a cause for restart for me, since that's how I play td games anyway. However, incredible amounts of effort went into this, and it was still very fun once I have been told the relevant information about it. 8.8/10.

Denferok - I'll be honest, I came here already exhausted from clearing the collab stage from 2 paragraphs ago, and was really not in the mood for traps which I do not enjoy too much anyway, so I can't say I enjoyed this. Boss was very weirdchamp both theme and mechanic wise. Not rating this since I cannot be truthful to both the amount of fun I've had (low) as well as a score befitting the effort and quality of the stage (high).

Verve - Just as the last place entry, this one is very much in its deserved place. Amazing gimmick needle stage that just keeps giving, with simple yet genius gimmicks and gimmick combinations that just keeps providing more and more, with great production, humor and atmosphere all around. A perfect ending to maingame content. 10/10


The original content:

It is no secret that the game looks completely gorgeous, being filled to the brim with every shape and form of production value, with each elevator floor as well as the shop having their own theme and set of sprites. Unfortunately, a bit of usability is hurt by this: The minor aspects being small, unskippable cutscenes where no player input is accepted, especially at the start of the game and in save select; However, a far more severe problem lies in the pause UI; Exiting the game is done by the same menu that exits the stage, erasing all progression from it. This can be extremely soulcrushing when done accidentally on some of the longer stages, and is a shining example of why you want to separate the pause screen from the exit game/stage/etc. function.

However, there's also a gameplay aspect of things, so let's delve right in:


Star stages: I'll be grouping these together, since for the most part these are around the same quality. Tier 3 is great due to shign gimmick, and the ship+touhou+pink diamond. Tier 4 had potential due to Lone gimmick but squandered it. Tier 5 is very good with the puzzle gimmicks and the final railway section. Tier 6 is pretty bruh since one of the stages was essentially 5 in a trench coat, as well as the fact that it had tower defense and trap that had to be integrated into a sea of gimmick needle. First two weren't too remarkable, but not unfun.

Final stage: Played on 1.03, so it was still very hard. Extremely long and very good for the most part, but with enough awkward and unfun segments mixed inbetween preventing me from fully appreciate it. It looks amazing visually, has a dozen different gimmicks that are used both for platforming and puzzle purposes and are mostly very good, and has pretty chill pacing until you hit the final screen of each sub segment where it hits you with the long one, a trope that I am very fond of, although in here it was a bit too hard and learny for me to fully enjoy.

Final boss: 10/10, Contender for best boss I've ever played in a videogame (not just a fangame) ever. It's too good. Even if you don't intend on playing the game ask someone for a save here because I guarantee you will enjoy it even if you're not usually an avoidance fan. The only reason it's rated as high as it is, as without it I'd give the game 8.5.


And there you have it. For summary, read the tldr at the top.

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Tagged as: Collab
[8] Likes
Rating: 9.2 92       Difficulty: 65 65
May 7, 2021
Razzor_iw
Tralexium
(rating based on v1.01 100%)

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Tagged as: Tralexium
[7] Likes
Rating: 10.0 100       Difficulty: 70 70
May 3, 2021
CanusAntonius
Spoiler Alert because the spoiler tags didn't work for me, think it's because the review is too long idk.

Let me start with this, the decision to draw out the original release date to work further on the game was an absolutely good one and the finished product is a testament to that: this game is without question the cleanest and most enjoyable fangame I have played. I genuinely found the game's layout absolutely perfect in my opinion. The Hub, the NPCs, the Shop, all the overarching systems and little touches brought by the organizers have made this the best foundation possible for an immense project that deservedly widens the scope of what a fangame can is. The amount of variety in this has severely increased from the previous NANC, thanks to new additions to the NANE engine, new creators, and new ideas that you might not have ever seen in another fangame before. As far as quality goes for the stages, unlike the previous NANC I found even the lowest tier of stages to be enjoyable, with some of the higher stages being some of the best experiences fangames have to offer.

I also want to especially give thanks to the individuals who took loads of their time to balance the game, which ensures it an enjoyable experience for almost any fangamer, without worries of high difficulties or anything absurd that might blockade you skill-wise. And these changes aren't just removing spikes, you can tell a real effort was made here to ensure putting in god mode was never needed for any stage. It is amazing to have a collab game of this size and variety and be able to go through without ever getting frustrated at any outlying save, so thanks a lot for smoothing the rougher edges and making the entire game enjoyable.

Individual Stages: As an important note, these reviews are based on the stages after a lot of balancing was done to the game overall by organizers, hence why you might notice some variances between these and the in-game judge reviews, and why I don't rate the stages myself, thought if I did nothing would be beneath a 5 out of 10. Also since it is pretty much impossible to review these without mentioning some aspects of the stages, there are some minor spoilers. (For some reason spoiler tags wouldn't work for this review, could be due to the length I'm not sure.)

Soapbox: I'm a big fan of V6 gimmicks in fangames, Arzzt especially makes some great stuff with it that I've played a lot. Somehow this stage reminds me of his games but in a sudoku fashion, so honestly, it was a bit funny once I realized the game wasn't bugging out. As the lowest-ranked stage in the game, this really sets a good standard for NANC 2 by not actually being terrible but pretty enjoyable instead.

Meem: A pretty surreal experience, I found the second half of the stage to be the more interesting one. I think the platforming itself here is a bit too simple, but the aesthetics definitely match the tone you seem to have wanted perfectly. The slopes and design of the second half are also respected, it gives it a more chaotic taste which seems to match the theme. The boss is also pretty quick but nice, which adds just a bit more to a reasonable stage.

Gordon Jamcast / PoiMoi: A fairly short stage that had quite the salad of gimmicks in it. The main thing this one could have benefited from probably was a bit more length, so you could then throw in some extra ingredients, but what there is right now was all well and fine. This is basically a good example of "short but sweet" in the game.

Whit_send: One of the most clever ideas I've seen in a fangame, and something I really hope get done more. I learned my ABCs quite a lot during this one, which obviously became a big part of understanding the stage and its mechanic. The final screen of this stage is one of the most ingenious and entertaining rooms I have ever done in a fangame, so much so that I even went back to play the original version of it and record/publish a video about it. I can see why some changes were made for the official release to tone down the difficulty, but even in the original version I think the maze is highly enjoyable and one of the best things in the game. Oh and the plot twist on that screen, loved it!

Very Cool: This stage was weird, the tileset made me feel like I was on LSD or something. The platforming is all right, but the part where you mixed in docked was definitely good; I'm a big fan of having both regular and dot kid within the same save through triggers, the single/triple jump screens are fun too. However, I especially love the secret screen in this and think this style of platforming would go well as its' own fangame.

Somebro: Honestly was not much of a fan of this stage as the others, it felt kind of bland and as if it should have had a bit more to it. I like the gimmick itself, but I think it would be better served with some more interesting jumps or another gimmick added halfway in. It is not too bad though, so I can see why others might enjoy it.

Pooks: One of the more difficult stages, with some neat gimmick platforming that is somewhat enjoyable in parts and not so much in others. I especially think the gravity flips are often used in awkward situations that I did not like. The avoidance at the end of the stage is pretty fun, it's obviously a bit of work went into it, the secret is tied to it will probably make it one of the hardest in the game, but I do plan to eventually tackle this challenge.

Renko97: I found this stage to be pretty enjoyable, the mixing of the movement and spike triggers made for some interesting platforming. I'm glad the triggers eventually got numbered by the organizers because I can see how not knowing the proper order could make things quite annoying. This stage is pretty solid though, obviously it has some sick pathing created by all the moving stuff.

RedTeFox: Honestly the main problem with this stage is that it felt like I was doing the same screen over and over again, but maybe it was just a weird sense of deja-vu, probably just the LSD from earlier. Liked this one quite a bit, the theme of an evolving room always seems cool when executed well in contrast to something like that K3 secret, and this one does a good job expanding upon itself with some of the NANE gimmicks.

Starzor: Let me first start by saying that I was not really hooked by this stage, the gimmick was a neat idea but it was very finicky and I could not grapple my head around it. Lots of times I would latch on to midair, sometimes I would go inside of blocks, other times the experience would be dampened by extremely questionable room design. The final chase in itself was a bit of a drag, and I feel like stuff like the gap you have to go through could have been nerfed just a bit more. I did find the visual design to be pretty fresh, the boss was cool looking too. Now this may be a complaint based on my lack of skill with this gimmick, I struggled more than most people, so take this all with a grain of salt.

JRPG666: Just a regular needle stage with a few gimmicks here and there but that's about it. There's nothing really memorable at all here, besides maybe the visuals being nice. Even the needle itself is not that enjoyable, a lot of it just feels more difficult than it needs to be. Also the moving platform thing at the bottom of screen two is pretty bad, it's probably one of my least favorite saves in the game. But then you get to the second half, which brings in an actual change that I thoroughly enjoyed, and once the jump refreshers get added it becomes a good time. I think overall having something like the moving spike gimmick for the first half would have benefited this stage immensely, instead of keeping it pure Jtool needle, alongside lowering the difficulty some. Also, the secret should probably have had an exit you could use after you got it and saved it, it seems odd that it doesn't see as a save is right next to it.

Stonk and Wolsk: It starts as a pretty fun idea, and with an additional level of humor that makes it even nicer. I especially love the signs playing a voice rather than a load of text, it adds even more charm. The yoshi gimmick here used in pretty unique ways, with the platforming doing a good job playing off the different factors of it. One of the main things about the stage comes from figuring how Yoshi works, afterwards, the difficulty becomes lessened. The boss itself was unique, and I'm glad it was not hard at all. To reward my efforts, I enjoyed murdering a bunch of Yoshis at the end.

Stageman21: This stage I have a mixed opinion of, from both the actual saves and the visuals. For the visuals, please consider in the future removing the effect covering the kid, it's only lessening the experience with its distractive nature, or at least making it look cooler or something. I do however like the tileset and their animation, those were pretty fun. The majority of the platforming is okay, but man the cherry boss was one of my least favorite bosses in the game, and the secret being connected to it was also disliked, would have preferred something more clever like an extra screen with the gimmick rather than just "go back".

Shign: This is a really cool gimmick, and the stage is visually nice, but man it sure is a super high difficulty that I feel is highly uncomfortable in this game. It's one thing to keep your difficulty in the logical puzzle side, another in platforming, but when you combine both you push the boundaries of what is amazing and way too hard, and I think this stage is steering towards the latter. The final screen, in particular, contains some really really annoying jumps that absolutely ruin any enjoyment I had, by the end the only thing I felt excited about was freedom. This gimmick seems like it could be extremely fun, but I feel like that's only if the stage focuses on letting the player enjoy it, rather than become frustrated with the absurd difficulty of all the spike placement. For that reason obviously the line maze thing was my favorite save since it basically had to spikes to worry about. On a side note, what were they thinking about removing the Tactical Nexus music, that song was obviously a true banger, (and hearing it definitely makes me think of Hell, very fitting).

128up: Really liked this stage, the utilization of the line gimmicks and colored sheep blocks came together pretty well. The visuals are pretty clean and smooth, which I always appreciate. The secret of course also makes use of the sheep blocks with a simple idea of having the player do two saves in one go, which I really appreciate. The boss also utilized the gimmicks in a unique way, and so I found it pretty fun to beat.

Princeoflight612: One of the most aesthetically pleasing stages, with a strong reminiscent of games like Catharsis, which is a great similarity to have in my opinion. The atmosphere is moving, the platforming design is interesting, and the overall tone of the stage is pretty unique. It was pretty difficult compared to a lot of the other stages, but I feel at home playing a stage like this.

Rossiter: I really enjoyed the platforming portion of the stage, the visual design was pretty interesting and definitely portrayed a ship at sea, with the water level triggers and keys making up an easy but fun experience. I was not too big a fan of the cannon boat sequence in the second half, it felt pretty awkward when enemies from the past save would continue to shoot me on the next one even if I reset (particular three eyes that shoot you while you're doing the vertical moving blocks save, it became a nuisance to try and watch the birds whilst watching out for eyes you can barely see). The boss was decent, though it didn't really do much I enjoyed having it be relatively easy.

KingSlendy/Mauricio: What a cool stage, it is clear by the design that a lot of time went into making this stage, and basically enough areas to make a few more stages as well. Not only is the gimmick itself pretty cool, but even each individual chunk has some pretty fun platforming in them. I can not really think of any complaints about this stage, it was pretty fun overall.

AlejoFangamer: A visually interesting stage with a fresh coat of paint on every sprite in it, everything from the save to the spikes looks fresh and unique. For the most part, it was pretty decent, but I dislike the majority of the platforming in it. The visuals could not cover up all the tedious saves that await the player. A lot of it just felt too cramped, and for the friendly look of the stage, it seemed too difficult in my opinion. Maybe trying to withhold from using generic stuff like gates or diagonals would improve future works like this, and not spamming breakable blocks in places for no real reason. Your saves that stay away from these are way more fun.

Ninz: This stage by far has one of the most interesting puzzle gimmicks in the game, and it really requires a thinker to make it through this one. The platforming is pretty fun, and it can require quite a bit of thought in order to accomplish the goal. The first secret is good funny, it really teaches you the power of wordplay, and the second one is equally as good with one of the best songs in the entire game. The end of the stage challenges you to make a choice with its boss, either use the presented arena or use your brain, and this choice will ultimately affect the difficulty, this aspect of it was cool as hell. Overall a good stage, though it is in the harder echelon of stages without question, which could possibly lead to fewer people finishing it. Also, there were no Pat balls on the clear screen, what a rookie mistake Ninz, luckily I was able to fix it and draw my own.

JoaoTForce: This stage was a mixed bag, the gimmick was fun and implemented in some unique ways, but as the stage went on it seemed to degenerate with attention to difficulty over anything else. In particular, the last two saves (before the button one) are incredibly annoying, with the first having a very terrible cycle that forces you to wait at the start, and the second requiring a bit more precise jumps than other parts of the stage. Everything before those last two stages though were cool. I do want to note here since other people have mentioned it that I did not actually find the change noise to be irritating but rather helpful, as I could then chant my colors to the beat it created.

Asza: One of the most adventure feeling stages in the game, this was something that definitely had a lot of charm and feeling. I really felt like the theme of a space station was perfectly represented here, with the visuals being perfect for the presentation of it. One thing though that I feel sort of brought down the stage is the boss, which mainly rewarded the player shooting the orbs around it as fast as possible, and had some pretty annoying attacks that will probably insta-kill you on your first time seeing it, not a fan of it in general. Besides the boss though, this stage was really fun.

Makedounia: Always a fan of the colored sheep blocks and the way they create some puzzle-y platforming, and this stage is certainly no exception. Everything felt smooth and unique, and the implementation of it with the gimmick vines at the very end is one of my favorite screens in the game, a final test to see if you have grit. This stage was pretty good all around.

Lone: Not actually sure how I feel about this stage. The gimmicks in it are fine, and I especially loved the secret, but the platforming I found to be some of the hardest parts in the game. I enjoyed figuring out the puzzle behind each save, but executing them proved to be more difficult than the majority of the other stages. The final screen, in particular, I found to be especially hard with how many exceptionally irritating parts are in it, from the tedious starting jump where you need to go under angry water and shoot the thing above it, to going from the double jump water upside down at the left of the screen, all the while having to do the entire thing in one save. I really think this entire stage could have benefitted by having your save budget not be near the ground and your difficulty touching the sky, I imagine the original difficulty probably would have made me just completely quit the stage permanently. Also with the background: just don't; I felt sick playing the stage till I committed to keeping it at the lowest speed, and even then I just wanted it completely turned off. If you can find a way to change your priorities here, I think you really do have something special that rivals the likes of stuff like Save my Boy and other misc. gimmick needle games, it definitely shows a load of promise.

Ir0nx: What a fun stage, one of my favorites. It's pretty short and relatively easy, but the visual design and platforming make for a well-pleasing experience. I think this is probably one of the best stages in the contest visually. It certainly has an adventure game feel to it, and everything in it goes pretty smoothly. There is nothing in the stage to complain about, the only thing I can give feedback on is maybe consider adding a boss to tie it all together and hit the home run.

Skulldude: By far one of the best mixture of gimmicks I have experienced, the vine and upwards block thing is a really cool combination that leads to some highly interesting saves. This might be some of the best platforming in a fangame I have ever seen, and while it tends to be on the difficult side I did not find anything to go extremely overboard. If the needle games you make are anywhere near or higher to this level of fun then I have truly been missing out and need to start playing them soon.

Neos: Seemingly inspired by Celeste, which is obviously a good inspiration to have for a platformer game. I found this stage to be pretty fun, with the lava and ice swapping gimmick to be executed pretty well throughout the level. It was short and sweet, nothing felt too difficult or tedious, save balance was pretty good. All around a great stage, could be nice seeing it in a longer form in a future adventure game.

Patrickgh3: Brilliant implementation of a jump refresher pastel spike into a tower sequence that showcases once again Pat knows what he is doing. The whole difficulty from this comes only from figuring out what the order of operations is, thus it becomes pretty easy once you get the hang of things. To accomodate this, the stage features one of the coolest secrets in the game where you need to utilize your knowledge of it to accomplish the entire stage.... in a single save. This will easily be the hardest secret for me to get, but it definitely will happen!

Arche & RandomErik: One of the best visually designed stages in the game, the cartoonish feel to it is very impressively good. I especially enjoyed the big screen with the secret and the rails, it kind of reminded me of an old PS2 game called "Scaler". The secret screen had something that allowed you to zoom out, and I found this to be really helpful, which is why I also wish it existed on the save before the boss. An immediate thing that should 100% be fixed and considered in the future is not color coding attacks to Red and Green, have some consideration to color blind people because it basically makes this boss pretty much impossible.

Goran: This is a stage that I found to be somewhat controversial in my own head. The visuals are pretty decent, it obviously felt like I was in a forest. The majority of the platforming was alright, though there are a few parts like the two vine shaft with a button and dart shooters. Speaking of which, the dart machines are annoying as shit, but considering in Terraria they are there to be exactly that you probably intended this on purpose and accomplished said purpose. Above all the other issues in this stage though is the lack of save placement. I understand that one room per save is generally common in fangames, but I feel like this stage could benefit by having more. It is pretty fun, but each segment just seems to be way too long to not have a save, especially when a lot of it are different parts that easily make sense to have one for.

AnxKha: Hell yeah, what a great stage. This is easily the best gimmicky-puzzley platforming in the game, and I loved every minute of it. From dotkid to V6kid to everything else going on, there's so much creativity and entertaining segments in this stage that it is basically flawless in my opinion. Everyone should be sure to atleast give this stage a try. Well done with this one.

Gwiz6, Kale, Pat, Piece, Wolfie: The longest stage in the game by far, enough so that it could be its own standalone fangame in its own right. This one was pretty great, I especially found the second stage with the cards to be my favorite part of it. In contrast, the snow area was kind of annoying, especially the save with shooting walls near the end that felt pretty cryptic to figure out. The end of the stage was pretty funny, one look at the boss health bar made me worried about how little damage I was doing, so I am glad something brought me out of the nightmare. I think the only fault I can say is the length makes it feel like way more of a chore to complete than the other stages, it felt like a huge commitment to do that I would have preferred to have not been stuck in due to stages not saving your position when you leave. Though since there was literally five different makers, the length does make sense so that's not too much of a problem.

Tralexium: I am fucking amazed by this stage, it is by far the best one of the game in my opinion, well deserving of the high placement it made. I literally forgot I was even playing a fangame, this feels like something I'd buy off of steam. I even think this is better than regular tower defenses like Bloons. Adding the additional aspect of the kid having to dodge is one of the best coolest features here, and I think this might be the first time I have seen anything like it in Tower defense. Words cannot express just how great this stage was, and I think even if you don't like fangames you should download NANC 2 just to try this out.

Denferok: Nothing beats a little bit of good humor, except this one has more than a little bit. Normally in fangames, I find myself getting annoyed by traps, but this one actually had me laughing and feeling excited to see what I would get messed with by next. This is one of the most enjoyable stages of the game, and even the boss resembles just a good time. Without spoiling too much of the traps, the sign is a small yet hilarious one that really got me going, and of course, there was a cactus; this was some great stuff.

Verve: Here is my feedback as per my obligations: this is by far one of the greatest lengths of platforming I have ever played. Every screen utilizes some sort of gravity gimmick, and the entire stage takes it to some interesting and fun places. There are so many great saves in this that I cannot think of one that sticks out in particular, they are all equally amazing. I can easily see how this stage won first place in the contest, and since I saved this for last the ending of the stage also feels like an appropriate ending for the contest portion of NANC2. This was all around a perfect final challenge for people not wanting to do the extra stages, and something I would definitely recommend to fans of gimmick needle.

S Stages: I have only done a few of these upon writing this review, the rest I had to watch as I wait for a few balance-changing updates. So far these seem to be the ultimate ending to NANC 2, and do something that I think is absolutely genius. Instead of NANC 2 being a contest still, these stages make it seems like an entire collaboration between every gimmick in the game. Every maker's stage is properly represented here, and I love it, it is the ultimate sense of finality that a game can get. Once I properly conclude my adventure I will be sure to update this to include the final stage.

Overall, I think NANC 2 is without question my favorite fangame, and I think to take this title from it will be pretty damn hard for any other fangame to do. There is so much love and dedication put into it by the various makers and organizers that it is hard to not be shocked with awe by how amazing some parts of it are. There are so many brilliant parts in this game that are so good that basically any fangamer should feel obligated to at least give this a try and see what it has to offer. For me, it was a giant maze made of ABC blocks, an avoidance that I actually enjoyed, entertainment in doing the same room over and over again, a horde of yoshis to massacre, brilliant sheep block usage, loads of fun pastel block segments, water that was pissed at me, a knighting from the Queen, a stage I still feel like I downloaded from steam, the only trap game I have ever tried and liked, and an elevator ride that actually made me emotional as it became the conclusion to a whopping 35 stage main game.

With so much to give, NANC 2 is by far the most ambitious and entertaining thing I have played in about a year, not in terms of fangames but rather games overall. Seeing developers who care about the game so much that they are actively still patching out bugs players find really shows just how much they too enjoy it. This was an experience like no other, and once it ends I think most people will probably walk out breathless.

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Tagged as: Adventure Avoidance Trap Gimmick Boss Dotkid Maze Minigame Tower_Defense hub
[5] Likes
Rating: 10.0 100       Difficulty: 67 67
May 8, 2021
Chatran
Honestly, regardless of how much of the actual gameplay I may not like that much from what I've played so far, the entire package is impressive enough to warrant this rating. There's just so much variety, so many makers trying shit out, so much creativity in the design. And the way it's presented is stellar. If you see me complain about shit here and there in various servers, take it at face value. Do yourself a favor and try this out

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[5] Likes
Rating: 9.0 90       Difficulty: N/A
May 3, 2021