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Level Up! Level Up!

Rated 3.5 / 5 stars

The Good: The concept is wonderfully unique and something that I'm glad was done. The platforming physics are pretty solid, and the sprites have a consistently retro feel to them. The medals also provide a pretty good incentive to keep playing.

The Bad: The pixel art was very inconsistent and not really exceptional in quality. If at all possible, that might be something to outsource. There were a multitude of typos and grammatical errors throughout the game's dialogue which significantly hurt its otherwise professional appearance, so watch for those in the future. The story was kind of quintessentially "bad fanfic"-y, but it sounds like that wasn't much of the focus of the project. Also, Nightmare. Yes, I get that it was supposed to be extremely difficult because "that's what nightmares are like"--but just because death is supposed to be permanent doesn't mean you only get one attempt at Super Mario Bros.

All in all, though, Level Up! is still a pretty strong game that will probably keep bringing me back to play until I get that last damned medal. A great distraction for fans of freeroaming and/or platforming... and of course grinding maniacs. My score: 3.5 stars. The sequel looks like a very different game, but I look forward to it nonetheless.

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Mechanism Mechanism

Rated 3.5 / 5 stars

The good: The concept is fairly unique, and the graphics are wonderfully detailed. The general physics seem to be pretty solid, too--no glitches or anomalies that I could find.

The bad: It's about half puzzle, half chance... this isn't really a game where one can think along the lines of, "What do they want me to do here," but rather, one where you have to think, "What can I do with this." Which could be a good or bad thing, depending on the individual, I suppose. There are a lot of levels where you have to get a particular cut just right or otherwise just fumble around in order to get where you want to go. The solutions are very nonlinear and often based on timing and chance, which is why it takes away from the puzzle aspect of the game. Also, the game has no Quality setting, which--with graphics like these--can become a huge problem for people with low-end machines.

Still, it's clear that a lot of effort was put into this game, and the novelty is fun. I found it a little repetitive after a while, but it's definitely worth giving the game a try to see if it floats your boat. I'll give it a 3.5, due to the quality setting issue.

Mushroom Tower Defense Mushroom Tower Defense

Rated 5 / 5 stars

I've never been a fan of the tower defense genre, but somehow I've always found this game to be incredibly addictive. It has enough depth to keep me playing, with all the different effects to collect and take advantage of... but it's not unnecessarily complicated or impossibly difficult. Definitely a good timekiller; I recall losing hours to it the first time I played.

This is one of those submissions where I really can't point out a lot of exceptionally good features, nor significantly bad ones. It's just a very well-rounded game in all aspects. Great for casual and more intense gamers alike--5 stars.

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