To be honest, while I thought right away that the idea for Remix was cool and the boards looked interesting, I wasn't sure how into it I was going to be when it came down to actual gameplay.
But it only took a half hour or so of playing and I was totally hooked.
So, while it's always hard to put a finger on stuff like this in a conscious way that can be articulated, all I can says is that I found it hard to stop playing this last night, so you are definitely doing a lot of things right here!
My only fear is making sure that there's a balance between randomness and player control. In my opinion, this is actually one of the strengths of D2K: while the refinery board has a "clock" problem, other than that, Jeff built that game (whether accidentally or knowingly) such that there's fewer ways to get unfairly screwed over than there are in DK.
I would say that something needs to be tweaked on that rivet board. Again, nothing major to adjust, it's just that I'm finding myself dying there too often, in ways that I don't feel like are my fault.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Initial firefox spawns on the top two girders are a good idea, but how about setting it so that they can't REspawn up there if smashed? That whole area is pretty hairy if you have to deal with them at all, but when you manage to smash one or two, and then they just respawn up there instantly, you're still going to have a very hard time clearing those last rivets and I feel like you're too much at the mercy of their decisions.
- Another option would be to let them respawn wherever, but put another "elevator switcher" up at the top, maybe by Kong. This way the player could actually get down into the lower portion again if necessary, to lure top-spawning firefoxes down through the broken ladders, or to go back for the hammer if you weren't able to get it the first time. As it is now, once you've jumped off of the elevator into the upper area, you're stuck there. If you have no hammer, and there are 2 (or even 1) firefoxes, you're pretty much relying on the game to be nice at that point, especially since you're forced to take the rivets in a certain order (top right must go before any on the left).
- I feel like I am a sitting duck too often when standing on the two collapsed girders. The player is forced to walk back and forth across that corridor to flip the elevator switcher and then get onto the right side to go up, but it just seems like the firefoxes have too much of an upper hand if they get on there with you. You have to jump over them, or just pray and hope that they go away. Here's what I'm thinking: there are three ladders that disappear when the girders collapse (two below the first, and one in the middle between the first and second). Might it be possible to leave shortened versions of at least one ladder, so that the player has at least some means of getting from the top to the ground? As it is now, if you start on the ground, a jump will take you from ground to the first, and another jump will move you from the first to the second, but once you're up, you can't get down. No way to jump or climb down, and walking off the side will kill you too. I just think there needs to be a way to not be completely stranded and exposed there with a yolo-jump being your only defense. (I know you can actually jump onto the left side elevator from the switcher platform, but that is VERY dicey and will usually be totally unhelpful if firefoxes are swarming the left side.) Geez, you might even consider, instead of ladders, simply putting another hammer next to the elevator switcher. The player just needs some kind of defense/avoidance option there.
Basically I would say to not be afraid of making that board seemingly "too easy." It's already pretty complex as it is, and has a lot of forced linear-ness to it, which is one of the complaints about the D2K levels. Consider how easy a regular DK-style rivet seems, when everything goes well, versus how nasty they CAN be when the game is doing its worst. I would say don't worry about letting the layout "breathe" a little more, and just trust in the evilness of the fireball subroutines to create plenty of awful situations on their own.
- I am in favor of anything to get rid of the Level 3 wild barrels.
I am not exaggerating when I say that the wild barrels on L3 and L4 very nearly caused me to stop playing DK forever. I would be interested in other player input on that, though. Mostly so that I can hear unanimously that nobody wants them (right??)
I would very much like a few players, in particular I'm thinking Dean and Ross, to try this version and give their feedback.