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YaBoiMarcAntony
For: I wanna be the [email protected]
What a happy game this is! Never have I played a game which more easily gives off happiness, never have I been so comforted and warmed by such a small thing as this.

[email protected] is an adventure fangame that pops into your life for a little hello and takes its leave without asking a single thing of you; all the game wants is to make you smile, and I'm still smiling even now while I write this review. There are three stages, all of which focus on using clever gimmicks well and then putting what you learned with those gimmicks to the test on well-made bosses. The music is beautiful and serene, the visuals quiet and perfect, and in all, the experience is just stunning. 3lt shines pacifically and grants its shine to anyone else that is so lucky as to bask within.

It is not a difficult game, and in fact if it were any harder I think that it would break the nature of the game. It took me less than an hour to finish, but even a novice player could easily hobble together a playthrough in a few hours. There was no standout save for difficulty, and the final boss is naturally the peak for boss difficulty. There is also an avoidance at the end, but it stands more as a striking end to a striking game. Set on pure white background to an enjoyable remix of Canon in D, it feels all snowy-white and biting like winter air, bringing an end to this little masterpiece.

Though it dwells in obscurity, 3lt will now remain the standard for all adventure games alongside the ones which I hold near and dear to my heart.

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Tagged as: Adventure Gimmick
[0] Likes
Rating: 10.0 100       Difficulty: 45 45
May 8, 2021
Xingxingchiyann
For: I wanna novel trap
Good

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Tagged as: Trap
[0] Likes
Rating: 6.8 68       Difficulty: 32 32
May 8, 2021
Renko97
For: I wanna A147
Short Game :(

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Tagged as: Needle Short
[0] Likes
Rating: 4.5 45       Difficulty: 50 50
May 8, 2021
Makedounia
For: Not Another Needle Contest
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Rating: 6.9 69       Difficulty: 60 60
May 8, 2021
Needle_Satan
For: I wanna drink chocolate milk
Pretty cool and easy avoidance for beginners

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Rating: 7.5 75       Difficulty: 35 35
May 8, 2021
Cthaere
For: Not Another Needle Contest 2
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
[3] Likes
Rating: 9.2 92       Difficulty: 65 65
May 7, 2021
iluvfroggie
For: I wanna Cenere
also made by frog... But does not get frog pass... Not frog so not good... No frog....

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[0] Likes
Rating: 2.9 29       Difficulty: 72 72
May 7, 2021
Chrisay
For: I wanna see the Sunrise
Enjoyable trap adventure game, has no production value and some annoying segments, but as a whole I enjoyed it quite a bit. Difficult mode adds a few changes (mostly spikes), and gives some of the bosses more health.

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[0] Likes
Rating: 6.5 65       Difficulty: 55 55
May 7, 2021
iluvfroggie
For: I wanna TEF
Not frog... But made by frog... I give it a frog pass...

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[0] Likes
Rating: 7.5 75       Difficulty: 44 44
May 7, 2021
iluvfroggie
For: I wanna be the Frog
Really good frog game frog

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[0] Likes
Rating: 8.7 87       Difficulty: 44 44
May 7, 2021
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