We can’t let those Nintendo folk have all the fun now, can we? If you’ve seen the crazy creations coming out of Super Mario Maker and fancied a crack at it yourself, then Levelhead has got you covered. It naturally won’t quite strike that same nostalgic feeling that making our own Mario levels will, but there’s a powerful and versatile editor here that makes creating stages about as easy as it can be. And if that’s not your bag, there are about 100 premade stages that offer up not only inspiration, but a good challenge too.
A light hearted and often funny story sees us take control of a GR-18 delivery bot as a new employee of The Bureau of Shipping. After shooting peoples packages at their front door at faster than light speeds proves… deadly… the GR-18 is devised to instead collect these packages from a separate location and deliver them. This premise sets up the gist of the game; start at point A, navigate tricky platforming levels to collect the package and deliver it to the goal. Of course, it’s never that easy, is it?
I initially was underwhelmed with the challenge on offer; it felt a little like going through the motions. The story interludes were funny in a dad joke kind of way (right up my alley), but each stage flew by without much effort. A lengthy tutorial wedged in early on for the stage building made these opening levels feel like they dragged on too. A tutorial is most definitely needed – we’ll get to that – but to force players of the solo (that can also be played co-operatively) game to complete it to continue felt a bit off. I’m not one to really mess about with level creation tools for too long, and would’ve much preferred this occurred when trying creation for the first time. It’s all woven into the story, but still it felt a little awkwardly placed.
Happily, once we get past the first selection of levels things really kick into gear. Stages become lengthy death traps, full of spinning blades, enemies and all manner of traps and switches to hit to proceed. Our GR-18 can only sustain a single hit, but frequent checkpoints mean we’re not often set too far back. The platforming is tight and responsive, with some lovely looking artwork to boot. Temporary power ups are gained in some stages, giving our robot friend new ways to explore or fight back. I’m reminded of some of the challenge in titles such as Super Meat Boy at times, which is never a bad thing. We also unlock bits for the level editor and our online profile for clearing certain requirements, so there’s plenty of incentive to beat the par times if you’re planning on making stuff.
Speaking of which; the level editor. I was impressed with just how simple Butterscotch have made creating something is. The long tutorial helped, for sure, but there are handy labels adorning every icon. In order to get going it’s pretty much a matter of a couple op button presses, and if you really want to get into the nitty gritty of the stage design you can – right down to the individual blocks of background scenery for complete artistic control. Of course, to make something truly awesome will take some time, but I don’t think I’ve played an editor in a game that’s as straight forward as this.
There’s a whole reputation system to work as well. Levels created go up for others to play. Should they enjoy it, they can tip you some in game currency. Gain enough notoriety and it’ll go to the Tower, a collection of the most popular levels currently available. Some of the unlocks from the single player, such as avatar images, further go to personalising your profile, helping you to stand out. If you’re into level creation, Levelhead really wants to reward your time spent crafting.
Not only are there some well designed and challenging campaign levels on offer, but Levelhead dares you to come up with your own too. A powerful, intuitive editor makes it pretty effortless to get started, and really the sky is the limit for your imagination.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by the publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.