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lightbulb Doomblah's Pack 8 Contenders Commentary Thread

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12 Dec 2022 01:47 - 12 Dec 2022 22:07 #1
Pack 8 (previously known as Packs 70-79, I think renaming it was premature) has a lot of levels up for consideration being voted on by the community. These are my personal thoughts on all the levels that I've played and not an official moderator statement of any sort.

My thoughts are mostly going to be oriented towards how well the level plays for a speedrunner, and just more generally how fun the gameplay is. I have a slight bias towards challenging levels but I don't think that is bad because I can still appreciate simpler levels if they're fun to play. Aesthetics don't sway me much, they have to be either extremely good or extremely bad to change my mind on a level if it plays well. I like to play levels and beat their hardest Challenge Time usually an Awesome Time before I form a final opinion on them but some of them I can't beat the AT and or don't want to and I'll always point that out when I do.
Last edit: 12 Dec 2022 22:07 by Doomblah. Reason: Phrasing

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12 Dec 2022 01:51 #2
Just put your comments in... The comments section for each level? On the sheet.

brapdoors mbg #OhBoyFreeAM!

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12 Dec 2022 02:14 - 12 Dec 2022 02:19 #3
This reply will have all my thoughts on the levels I've played before Sep/Oct of this year, the rest will be right after I've played them unless I say otherwise. Because I've played them a while ago I might forget specific details about them but I think the overall opinion of them hasn't changed since then.
[hr]
Azure Artifact by: Ignas
This is too short, theres not enough level here, though it is a nice redesign of nockess' level. Fun to play but not deserving of being on the LBs.

-1
[hr]
BROWN PILLAR by: husemat69
10/10 level add this immediately

+∞
[strike]Obvious sarcasm is obvious[/strike]
[hr]
Cone Hopper by: CylinderKnot
My path is now the WR which I think is awesome. What can I say about this that hasn't already been said, this is a good level, add it.
+1
[hr]
Hunter's Magnificence by: Nockess
It should be noted I have not beaten the AT on this as I only spent like 20 minutes to get my one finish of 5:18.618, and I will not comment on that. I recognize that this level is an amalgam of other MBU customs but I feel no nostalgia for any of them because I recognize none of them. It's certainly a good level no question but I think it's overhyped because of some nostalgia factor and because it's a Nockess level, I think Yoshi got that one right. My only complaint is that it might be better as a quota level but other than that its just a good level.

+1
[hr]
Obstruction by: Summer Army
My Personal Best is 13.564, though my Marbleland PB is 13.682 because he reuploaded the level with a more strict AT that I haven't beaten yet. I have no complaints about this level, it's a good level, I don't know why this wasn't rated higher.

+1
[hr]
Rocket Skates by: Endy
I have only played this once for about 5 minutes and managed a time of 3:30.213. I did not like the gameplay of this level, and it's not something I know how to put into words. There's not much flow? Not enough challenge? I'm not sure nothing feels quite right but yet I found it difficult to enjoy playing it. It looks absolutely fucking gorgeous though, the aesthetics are 10/10 perfect, and that's the only nice thing I have to say about it.

+0
[hr]
Spin Doctor by: hPerks
This is one of the best levels ever made why did no one like this level >:(

In all seriousness though this is a wonderfully well designed level. The textures are consistent with how MBP looks it'd fit right in (even though it's missing the signature brown pillars). The gameplay while challenging is never unfair and has a beautiful flow to it if you're up to the challenge. The tricks for each part are simultaneously extremely strict and limited with what you have to do to pass it while having a ton of freedom within those restrictions to do very advanced tricks to speed up each section. There is at least 3 different ways to beat each part with varying difficulties and speeds and I love that about it. And while even the simplest way to beat each one isn't easy this level is never unfair. It's not adding difficulty just for the sake of difficulty.

I have no joke spent more time on this level than I have many of the official levels, this level is one of the longest grinds I've ever done my current PB sits at a time of 1:01.987 which took me over a month to do. It took me hours to beat just the Ultimate Time and weeks to beat the Awesome Time, and then I kept going and kept going. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire thing as frustrating as it might've been at times. I understand that the level of difficulty might be off-putting for an Leaderboards level but it's not like theres no genuinely challenging levels on the LBs, all the Short 'n' Sweet courses, MPMC, Speedrunning 101, Gordian Knot, Sloped Up, MBP Expert, there's lots, I don't see why this doesn't fit in along with the rest especially since its just as well designed (if not better designed) than those levels. I think this one needs reconsideration. Don't be afraid of a challenge.

+ 1,000,000 (+1 but since it's out of contention I can be creative with my +s. This is my review I do what I want)
[hr]
start pad party by: A-Game
Eat shit Raging Bull you're not the shortest level anymore ?

-1,000
[hr]
Winter's Wrath by: Daniel
After a couple hours I managed to get a time of 30.405 with some fun tricks and a perfect tornado bowl (also an egg time of 29.399 which I'm quite proud of). A beautiful MBG level with some simple but well crafted gameplay with room for more advanced tricks and pathing, what's not to love about this level?
+1
[hr]

Winter Wisps by: Technostar
Took me a few hours but I did manage to beat the very challenging UT of 50s ending with a time of 46.350 though I think I could get a 44.x maybe 43 if I got an absolutely perfect run. If there's an AT it's much too hard for me. Curves, beautiful curves, and they're not awkward to use they actually flow quite nicely (most of the time), I don't have to struggle to stay on them or anything, it's just wonderful. The HD version looks nice but all the spikes are just decoration they don't have any gameplay use. I only support adding the low res version of this level, the HD one is too laggy.

+1 (Only to the low res version)
[hr]

Wonky by: HappyTreeX1
I love this level. Short and sweet, but not too hard for a casual player (the tightrope is not that bad quit ya whining), with lots of potential for hard tricks and pathing which I took to the extreme on one of my longer grinds for these contender levels of 4ish hours to get a stunning time of 23.190 with the help of an absolutely perfect mine hit. I have zero complaints about this level, MBG aesthetic is lovely, the off kilter design of everything is qwirky without being awkward to navigate, good challenge time, everything is good, great even. I think it becomes greater than the sum of it's parts in a way not many levels pull off. I don't see why people don't love this level more.

+1
Last edit: 12 Dec 2022 02:19 by Doomblah. Reason: Formatting fixes

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12 Dec 2022 02:23 - 13 Dec 2022 03:27 #4
This reply contains my thoughts on the levels I've played in the last couple of days.
[hr]
A by: A-Game
I managed to get a 40.935 on it after maybe an hour or two, I could probably save another 8-10s with a good mine hit but... no. This level was fun to pathfind, not so much fun to play. Some spots have awkward gameplay partially because of bad design partially because of my subverting that bad design with a hard trick. The upside down trapdoors are stupid, bad bad bad, you can jump off the thing that attaches to the underside, not the diagonal part but the flat part on the underside, and that threw me off the map more times than anything. And that part was the last part of my route so that was fun. The one big gem on the one flat bouncy floor, I don't get it? Everything else has some kind of gameplay to it but this one just felt placed there arbitrarily to have 6 gems on each side. The AT is pretty easy, could probably stand to be 5-10 seconds faster. Short and sweet but rough around the edges. Colours and stuff are all over the place it doesn't feel coherent at all.

-1
[hr]
A Concise Course by: Jkk39
"A Concise Course 10.515. Short, cute, well made. -1." I stand by that. The path, the one and only path is very heavily telegraphed and leaves no room for pathfiniding theres no way around the one designated path and as fun as it is to pull it off well the LB levels deserve better levels than this.

-1
[hr]
[strike]MBPC 07:[/strike] Angelic Flight by: Connie
Is there an AT on this level? I managed to get a 19.627 after maybe 40 minutes, the UT is actually a challenge, I love that. Had to get creative with some pathing and optimizing to get it but I know the WR is 15s so either I suck at optimizing or theres something even cleverer out there. I can't figure out how to 15s myself. The aesthetics are great, I like all the angular brown pillars they add some much needed character to MBP levels. The intended path is quite awkward, not enough is telegraphed and uses some more advanced tricks that I would expect in a "tutorial" level so in that sense I think it's poorly made, but if you ignore that and just treat it as a level on it's own it's quite good.

+0
[hr]
Clockwork by: NaCl586
An amazing level obviously heavily inspired by Manic Bounce, I think it lives up to the same level of quality as it too. Took me a few hours but I managed to beat the AT with a time of 1:27.484, sadge that I lost maybe 5s in that run and I'm less than a second from beating the WR, oh well. The red tint is a bit odd but not enough to ruin it. The biggest problem this level faces isn't it's design or gameplay but PQ itself. The physics of rotating platforms are too awkward to make this level as good as it ought to be, especially the very fast cog with the 12s TT on it is pretty much impossible to get reliably. It feels like it is luck based on the physics of rotating platforms rather than my control over the marble. I can't in good faith give this level anything but a -1 because of that.

-1
[hr]
Spectroverse by: Summer Army
I finally managed to get a 55.019, which beats the AT (and the WR at the time of writing this :) haha M@s), after many hours of grinding. The whole level is cycle based which isn't bad I don't think, the cycles seem to line up quite well with what a speedunner would do but that almost feels intentional? It's quite tricky to keep pace with the cycles as you go through it feels like a challenge all the way through... until the last 15 seconds. The fall at the end is far too long, would've been better as just one or two panels but nope, 6. And in order to get the--enjoyably challenging--AT is to after that big long fall of waiting for panels to rotate 4s each (I think, never actually timed it) you have to perfectly slip between the last panel and the wall with some already built up momentum but it has to be perfectly timed and given how random the bounces through the whole tube feel I don't think there's any setup you can do you just have to go by trial and error or get it by random chance and that's not a great design choice. If the AT is changed to 55.255 or 55.355 or something then I think it'd be a good contender for Pack 8, but with the AT as is, it's too brutal for the LBs, as much as I might enjoy the challenge.

+1 (provided the AT is changed)
Last edit: 13 Dec 2022 03:27 by Doomblah. Reason: Formatting errors

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12 Dec 2022 05:33 #5
Basin Hill by: Cylinder Knot
MBG hunt, a surprisingly refreshing thing to see. This map is great, it feels like what Parkour Peaks was meant to be. Tough but not too much so, learning to wall hit in as many places as you can and properly utilizing shock absorbers to climb walls helps a ton and once you find a few good spots to do both then your ability to traverse the map increases a ton. This is a brilliant hunt map that should be added to Multiplayer. All those nice things to say then I gotta do this. I don't want it in LB customs, hunt is not a fun singleplayer experience.

-1

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12 Dec 2022 07:46 - 14 Dec 2022 21:12 #6
Beneath The Waterfall by: NaCl586
Absolutely immaculate vibes, I love the whole aesthetic, setting, everything about the visual appeal of the level. Aside from a few texture oddities, floating grasses here and there, and a lack of water atop the waterfall (how do you forget that part?) the level is visually stunning. I love the giant collectathon without all the tight movements that are normally required for such levels, even the gameplay is relaxing it's all just perfect. I love this level.

I managed to get a 2:59.805 after about an hour of playing and if there's an AT it's beyond me for tonight, I can maybe squeeze out another 10-15 seconds from the route I found with some pathing/ optimizing tweaks. The CTs are adequately set, not too tough but this level isn't too tough so they fit it perfectly.
Update:
I now have a 2:35.630, it's still not the AT. If there even is an AT it's a brutal one.
Update 2: There is no Awesome Time.

+1
Last edit: 14 Dec 2022 21:12 by Doomblah. Reason: Updates

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12 Dec 2022 19:39 #7
Big Blue: Drift Highway by: Cylinder Knot
Somehow I got a 1 lap run with at time of 36.187 but I wasn't recording >:( now the run is lost forever because I can't recreate whatever it was that I did to get that, I don't even remember what I did. Oh well... The level is fine. It's pretty difficult to get the level to flow nicely you have to do a bunch of Natural Bounce tricks that I can't get to work reliably, and its kinda awkward to get every single Time Travel. Not a fan.

+0

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12 Dec 2022 20:49 #8
Blood Gulch by: Endy
As always with Endy levels the visuals and aesthetics of the level are top tier. The gameplay is fine, nothing exceptional it feels really quite average. I got a 46.539 in less than an hour, the UT was not a challenge in the least. It's just okay, except for the visuals.

+0

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12 Dec 2022 21:53 #9

Doomblah wrote: Pack 8 (previously packs 70-79... I think renaming it was premature)

This pack was never "previously" anything, since it hasn't even been added to the leaderboards. I think it's fine to stick with Pack 8.

My thoughts are mostly going to be oriented towards how well the level plays for a speedrunner, and just more generally how fun the gameplay is.

Well I suppose I'll have to resign myself to the fact that it'll be mostly speedrunners rating these levels, and not people rating them through the lens of a casual player who just plays for fun and doesn't care about getting top times.

Yoshicraft224 wrote: Just put your comments in... The comments section for each level? On the sheet.

The problem with this is that the rows get so tall, and Google Sheets will only scroll by snapping to the next cell available, so when scrolling on a trackpad it is extremely frustrating to navigate a Google Sheet with large rows or columns, of which the Pack 8 sheet has both. So I actually think the forums work better for this, although it would be nice for Doomblah to edit previous posts instead of posting a whole new post every few hours.

Doomblah wrote: This is a brilliant hunt map that should be added to Multiplayer.

Yes, when are we going to update the multiplayer levels? It's been wayyyyyy too long without an update, and there's so much more new material to consider!

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12 Dec 2022 22:12 #10

This pack was never "previously" anything, since it hasn't even been added to the leaderboards. I think it's fine to stick with Pack 8.

Changed to "previously known as"

Well I suppose I'll have to resign myself to the fact that it'll be mostly speedrunners rating these levels, and not people rating them through the lens of a casual player who just plays for fun and doesn't care about getting top times.

Well I care about how fun a level is to speedrun, and as we've collectively agreed to let the community decide and the community is full of speedrunners... there's not really a way around this. Though I understand where you're coming from.

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21 Dec 2022 05:27 #11
My week in Hawaii is over and I'm back to playing Marble Blast. Without further ado here's the levels I played today.
[hr]
Blasted's Skill Course 3 by: Blasted
I managed to get a 35.131 after about 40 minutes this Ultimate Time wasn't much of a challenge. I don't like that the level is dark, it's not challenging enough to be darkened like MBP expert nor does the aesthetic of the level lend itself to being darker as a part of that. The design feels fairly mundane and nothing stands out as excellent or bad about it. The gameplay is fine, the route I came up with was fairly fluid and had a nice flow to it and lined up fairly well with the moving platforms but overall feels again rather mundane. Pack 8 deserves better than something like this.

-1
[hr]
Caminho Simples by: Connie
I managed a 17.9 with my own path before realizing the AT was way lower than that. I found c0wmanglr's run and copied that, It took me about 4 hours but I finally got a 12.495 with that route. Design is lovely, the green tiles mixed with grass is actually a super nice aesthetic and adds some nuance to the gameplay in an interesting way I think it works really well. The fan is a little awkward but nothing that ruins the level. I haven't any real complaints about the level, it's just good.

+1
[hr]
Cavern of Cannons by: Nockess
Good level. Not much in the way of pathing but that's not necessary for a good level. I'm not a huge fan of it being darker but it's in a giant cavern so that makes sense. Cannons aren't my favourite gameplay feature but they're used about as well as one can in this, aiming and the variable power cannons are terrible and should be used as little as possible. Flows well for the most part and has some clever tricks to speed up certain parts. All the competition for speedrunning this would come down to optimizing each section and I could see that being really interesting here. I see no reason not to add this to Pack 8.

+1

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