If you're reading this review for the first time and haven't played the level, go play it(or not), because you'll want to look at the screenshot of the entire level or play it to know what I'm talking about. I'm going to try not to repeat anything already mentioned in the official review unless necessary.
This is also going to be a lot more opinionated than the official review. Be warned.
Here is a full screenshot of the entire level for future reference: Click
First, the level suffered pretty heavily from the lack of secrets. Although this was already mentioned in the review and acknowledged, it's worth mentioning as this leads into my next minor criticism: Coin and dragon coin placement.
Although you managed to perfectly nail the amount of coins, I got to say that there isn't any challenge at all in collecting them. A majority of the coins will just be collected by accident.
As you can see in the level screenshot, every coin in the level can be obtained by a simple jump. Although this isn't an issue for a player who just wants to complete the level, more explorative players(like me) are left disappointed as coins(especially dragon coins) are usually used as rewards for going out of the way to search for secrets or for just doing something that the average player wouldn't. So when you're making your next level, move those dragon coins to somewhere where they won't be obtained by just jumping like this guy:
Don't go too far, though. Coins serve as a great way to give the player a break in a level filled with challenges.
An example of where you could've placed a dragon coin would be right up here: (Click)
My next criticism is about the visuals. The level looks pretty much the same all the way through. This may have been an issue in SMB1, but SMBX isn't nearly as restricted. The three landforms in the level are all basic hills with some sizable peaks in-between. It's excusable if you're trying to go for the authentic SMAS feel, but it did look pretty bland. Unless you're making a vanilla or chocolate level I recommend working on making the terrain feel more interesting and giving the level it's own unique charm.
Next, I'd like to point out that some challenges in the level are reused a bit too much and areas that suffer from some minor design flaws. For example,
Both the hammer bros and trio of bill blasters in that screenshot are seen earlier in the level. And they're even easier this time.
Instead of reusing content seen earlier in the level, you should've came up with something new yet easy as this is directly after the checkpoint.
In that screenshot, I initially thought that the upper path would be optional because of the dragon coin placement. But no, the lower platform is just the location a hidden 1-up. It's a missed opportunity for a short split in the level, although the upper route would've needed to be somewhat more difficult to compensate.
I'll finish this short "review" with three short and minor comments:
The grass BGO is too white, and could definitely use some increased contrast.
The slopes look very choppy
. I thought that you were using Sednaiur's expansion pack, it doesn't appear to have this issue.
And the music was way louder than it needed to be. Compare the volume of vanilla SMBX tracks and the custom music used in the level to hear what I mean.
Everything else was already mentioned in the official review.(E.G. The dragon coins)
It's a pretty good level, but multiple aspects of the level felt lacking. My personal rating would be a 7/10, but this isn't really a review.
Previously known as Catlover341 on the Knux Forums.